Pillow Fighting: From Playful Pastime To Competitive Sport

By Peter C November 21, 2023

In its inherent form, pillow fighting lacks any established rules. You just take the pillow and smash it against the nearest body. It is a fun experience when you do it with friends or relatives, and it is seen as romantic for lovers. However, pillow fighting has now been appropriated and can be considered a standard sport in some quarters.

Source: gpointstudio/Shutterstock

About 50 years ago, two local community groups in Sonoma, California, decided to establish a World Pillow Fighting Championship. Can you figure out the objective? It’s all about fundraising for a charitable cause. The concept of the game appeared quite straightforward: two individuals each grasp a pillow, sit atop a suspended log over mud, and engage in a playful battle. The first person to get knocked off automatically loses.

In Japan, pillow fighting embodies a unique blend of theatricality and competition. The All-Japan Pillow Fighting Championship features a structure where two teams, each consisting of five players, engage in spirited battles.

Before the commencement of the match, every team member is seen under a duvet, feigning sleep. Right after the referee’s signal, the players swiftly rise to their feet and rush towards the dividing line, snatching up pillows along the way.

Source: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

It is important to note that instead of swinging, players fling the pillows in this game. Any team member who gets hit by a pillow is methodically eliminated from the game. There is a player that is tasked with the responsibility of bringing their duvet along, holding it up to serve as a cover or defense for their teammates.

There is a second player who is appointed “king.” Once one team hits the other’s king, that offensive team claims victory in the match.