"Now's your chance! Go for it!" - the cheers of children filled the venue. Eliciting the cheers and attracting children's gazes while engaging in fierce wrestling moves were small robots.
It was the scene of a robot wrestling match held at the Setagaya Kumin Kaikan hall on Oct. 26, sponsored by a group called Robot Pro-Wrestling "Dekinnoka!" Four matches were held in the morning and four in the afternoon with 10 robots participating.
The robots entering the ring were between 40 and 50 centimeters in height and weighed about three kilograms. Some of the robots wore distinctive costumes or masks and some moved comically while others demonstrated violent moves and techniques that shook the ring.
Established by Yoshifumi Omata, 32, a company employee in Soka, Saitama Prefecture, nine years ago, the group currently has 10 members. Some members control their own original robots made from scratch.
The Yomiuri Shimbun Robots that are damaged in their fierce fights receive careful, compassionate treatment and are repaired between matches. Spectators can watch the robots fight free of charge, with a ringside announcer making on-the-spot explanations and comments during the fights to liven up the mood.
"I'd like to control a robot, too," said Mashu Hamaguchi, 7, a first-grade primary school student who visited the venue.
Omata said: "It's interesting when one's own robot moves as you expect it to. I hope young people become interested in making things through experiencing this simple enjoyment of controlling a robot."
Motivated by these small wrestlers, children might become interested in science, which could help advance Japan's science and technology in the future.