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28-year-old man chokes to death after rice ball speed eating contest

22 Comments

A 28-year-old man has died three days after choking on an "onigiri" rice ball during a speed eating contest in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture.

According to police, the contest was held on Nov 13 by the local branch of the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA), Sankei Shimbun reported.

To promote locally grown rice, JA East Biwako in Hikone has held the speed eating contest each year. This year's event was held at a wholesale market. There were 15 contestants and each one had to eat five rice balls in three minutes. Organizers had prepared green tea to help the participants swallow the rice balls more easily.

According to JA, the man started choking on his last rice ball and lost consciousness. A doctor, who was present, was unable to help the man, and he was taken to hospital where he died on Nov 16 without regaining consciousness.

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22 Comments
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So sad, I hope his family is okay

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I see a lawsuit coming. The organizers should have foreseen such result from eating riceballs. A stupid show with a deadly result. I hope the family gets all the money so that these morons will not sponsor such events anymore in the future. Eat slowly, chew your food.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

They must have been very large rice balls.

Alo, these speed-eating contests are immoral, and shouldn't be allowed. I'm quite serious - what kind of (first) world do we live in, where we have gluttony as entertainment, when so many people go without food?

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Next year perhaps they will try a mochi-eating contest. It's the obvious next step.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It really is sad that this happens. Do these people only think about themselves or the 15 seconds of headlines? Next year let's hope it isn't speed eating live, freshly cut squid or octopus tentacles. In the USA the report usually has alcohol may have been involved as the final comment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"To promote locally grown rice..."

Oops! Seriously, why do they do such stupid things when it has NOTHING to do with the quality of their product? Now are they going to downplay the fact that their rice is associated with death? Who decides to hold such things? Why was there a doctor present when there was nothing he could do and when the obvious danger in such an event would be choking?

A stupid, and entirely preventable, loss of life.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The All Japan Kitchen Knife Manufacturers Association is currently reconsidering their planned speed knife juggling competition next year to promote locally produced knives.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Chlorine in the gene pool is the first rule of the modern Darwin Award. The good news is second and third place holders have a chance to win next year. Why do people try to prevent other people from doing something stupid? It is human nature to try to be in first place and an after-thought says why did he/she try?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Under pressure of time, I have choked on rice several times over the years. It can be extremely painful, and trying to pour tea down your throat does not always unblock it immediately. This guy must have suffered.

Please be careful out there. A seemingly innocuous bento could be deadly. Take those first few mouthfuls slowly!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Article states:"To promote locally grown rice, JA East Biwako in Hikone has held the speed eating contest each year."

His family should get a lawyer and sue JA East Biwako. They already knew the danger and they should be liable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He died 3 days later? Odd. also if he chose to participate in this type of contest then he kind of took the risk himself, no

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He died 3 days later? Odd. also if he chose to participate in this type of contest then he kind of took the risk himself, no

three days later would indicate he was taken off life support. Unless he signed a waiver that had clearly stated the known risks then ,no, he never took the risk himself. It was incumbent on the organizing organization to point out the risks to the participants. I see a law suit coming up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rice is really overrated as a food, too. I think it would be more useful as a glue. It always gets stuck in my throat, along with bread, so I have developed a habit of chewing everything 45 times.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I was told that the same bloke won last year's contest, is that right!?

Love my food but always found those 'food contests' pretty silly, and dangerous when there is a time limit. No headstone epitaph I guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sfjp330 Article states:"To promote locally grown rice, JA East Biwako in Hikone has held the speed eating contest each year."

His family should get a lawyer and sue JA East Biwako. They already knew the danger and they should be liable.

They will be lucky to sue and get anything, since there was a doctor it obvious contestants signed acknowledging the dangers and absolving the organizers of any responsibility

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stupid competitions and a stupid way to die. All those stupid TV shows in Japan showing people eating kilos and kilos of food just as some kind of 'entertainment' are ridiculous and embarrassing to watch.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

randomnator: "I see a law suit coming up."

I don't. I see a small pay-off, a moushiwakearimasen, and the company otherwise getting off Scott-free. Even if it came to a lawsuit, I guarantee a judge here would pull the usual, "guilty/not-guilty" sentence out of the bell jar, saying, "While it's true that the company is guilty of not warning participants of the danger, the company cannot be said to be guilty of the resulting death."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I guarantee a judge here would pull the usual, "guilty/not-guilty" sentence out of the bell jar, saying, "While it's true that the company is guilty of not warning participants of the danger, the company cannot be said to be guilty of the resulting death."

And where did you get this piece of information? It wasn't in the article so how did you find out that the company did not warn the participants? Do you have a link or did you pull it out of thin air?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

drlucifer NOV. 23, 2016 - 03:55PM JST His family should get a lawyer and sue JA East Biwako. They already knew the danger and they should be liable.They will be lucky to sue and get anything, since there was a doctor it obvious contestants signed acknowledging the dangers and absolving the organizers of any responsibility

Here is the case from 2007 lawsuit in Sacramento, CA.

A jury has awarded $16.57 million to the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a Rancho Cordova mother of three who died after a water-drinking contest sponsored by local radio station The End (KDND 107.9 FM).

Sacramento attorney Roger Dreyer of Dreyer, Babich, Buccola & Callaham LLC filed the suit on behalf of Strange’s husband, William Strange, their two children, and Ronald Sims, the father and guardian and Strange’s oldest child.

The family of Strange, who was 28 when she died, sued Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications Corp. and its subsidiary Entercom Sacramento LLC. Entercom owns and operates KDND 107.9 The End. The lawsuit named eight employees of Entercom as defendants, including “managing agents” John Geary, Steve Weed, Robin Pechota and Liz Dial, and “the talent,” Adam Cox, Steve Maney, Patricia Sweet and Matt Carter.

The jury found that neither Strange, nor Entercom Communications, had any fault in her death. They assigned 100 percent of the fault to Entercom Sacramento.

Defense attorneys had argued that if there was any liability on the part of Entercom defendants it was the result of Strange’s own “contributory negligence.” Ginger Sylvester, a spokeswoman for Sacramento Superior Court who was present for the verdict, said the jury did not find any “contributory negligence” on Strange's part.

Strange died Jan. 12, 2007 at her home following a contest in which participants drank as much water as possible in a three-hour period without going to the bathroom. The winner received a Nintendo Wii video game system. The contest was promoted as “Hold your Wee for a Wii.”

The suit stated Strange never signed a release of liability contractually relieving any defendants of their care of duty in organizing and running the contest.

The suit alleged the defendants failed to conduct an investigation to determine the health risks of the contest and failed to have medical professional present during the contest. Their negligence, the suit alleges, caused Strange’s death.

The suit sought a judgment against the defendants for punitive and other damages, and all funeral and burial expenses.

Economic damages awarded to the plaintiffs totaled $1.5 million, while non-economic damages totaled $15.1 million.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2009/10/26/daily83.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@sfjp330

"Sacramento"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sounds like the level of doctor in my town. All mothers jump into action when they see their kids chocking and there are numerous techniques to free food from the air ways, this doctor was obviously useless. Ambulances sticking to the speed limit wouldn't of helped either.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

this doctor was obviously useless.

Yep, the four paragraphs of text in English, translated from the original Japanese written by a person who probably wasn't actually there in the first place are more than enough to determine that without a doubt the doctor was absolutely and completely useless, and there were without a doubt no extenuating circumstances like rice being sticky or something like that that could have prevented him from doing his job. Because as we all know life is like TV, and everyone can always be saved if only doctors are competent enough and not 'useless'.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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