Written by By Staff Writer
"Japanese Art Culture Rethinking Gender Censorship on Equestrian Mountaineering," a recent piece on the blog of the Japanese board of standards and ethics was entitled, "Why riders can't be nude in a riding performance for gross misconduct". The headline refers to the standard-bearer -- the Jade Koshun -- the foremost example of the intricacies of what it means to be a superior rider. The horse and rider, it is believed, are, as you would hope, both highly-praised being eluding. But there is a difference, it seems, between sex and nudity: riding bare-chested is regarded as gross misconduct in Japan, and hence unacceptable to be sportingly displayed.
It has been said that, if ever, there were plans for nude competition, such as the piece of naked horse-riding shown in the background of an often-photographed Japanese postcard in a series entitled "The Humans of All Race Ages":
It's hard to imagine, when visiting a fair in Japan, where the exquisite displays of graceful nude horses. In the forefront, trains of riders galloping out across rolling fields. In front of that, horses saddled with bridles. The riders are all clean-cut, even smiling in some cases, wearing a fashionable set of boots, and each horse is beautifully dressed, a crisp white wicker saddle and sneakers. There are no frills and gilding, just clothes, and never is there a hint of scandal.
The history of the jumper
Despite all of that, some of the world's best jumpers, as they are called, are stripped down in the jumping arena for their competition rounds. In the background, mounted police, and in the middle, a herd of horses painted in a series of harlequin colors. In all, it looks like something out of an 18th-century Wessex mansion.
And if you come from the Netherlands to take part in one of the biggest indoor jump events in the world, it is clear what the atmosphere is like inside; the jumpers almost disappear from sight and, along with them, almost all of the furniture. Men and women sit there in their uncovered stalls eating, and drinking. Their pleasures and pleasures are seen by more than the spectators, whose eyes are bent toward the stage, where what is being shown.
It is not always pleasant to watch
Organizers and well-wishers; shout out when the jumps go over (and this is a real event, not a training exercise). Jumpers fall and roll; their riders put them up and gallop round them again. The day is relentless: every 10 minutes or so there is another jump around the stadium and, when the competitors go to enter it, they go all the way over (there are too many for one of the many junior jumps), and fall off the horse. When the jump's over, they stomp on their ankles and look back in annoyance at the crowd's noise, while the commentators and bloggers talk on about how pretty these guys are in their pretty suits and their perfect horses.
Whilst the opening ceremony and prize-giving ceremonies are held indoors, the boarding house facilities is open until midnight (the venue is not for drink but for breakfast). And it is here where the rides run, and where the toilets and showers are hidden away.
It's a feast for the eyes and for the senses: time, space, and spatial perceptions are used to maximum effect:
The stairwells are used to show the scene in which the jump competition is played out. There is a filmed side view of the field -- a sheet between the horse and its rider. Then, on the wall opposite, a full-screen view of what's going on: full-motion images and sound, interspersed with a series of photograph tracks showing the beginning and end of the jumps.