Where is the origin of the Japanese gamecocks?

Tomoyoshi Komiyama, Kazuho Ikeo, Takashi Gojobori*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The tradition of cockfighting is widespread throughout the world. There is no doubt that the gamecock has evolved together with the human culture of cockfighting for a long time. In Japan, there is a group of gamecocks called "Shamo" that are used specifically for cockfighting. However, the process of the geographic distribution of cockfighting and the influx route of gamecocks into Japan are totally unclear. The molecular evolutionary study of gamecocks is obviously useful to gain profound insight into the understanding of not only the evolutionary origin of "Shamo" but also the distribution process of cockfighting as a culture. In this study, we collected blood samples of gamecocks from 11 different prefectures in Japan. Then, a phylogenetic tree was constructed using a total of 42 mtDNAs (D-loop, 1100 bp) sequenced. It showed that Japanese Shamo was clearly separated into two different groups: One group contains the samples from the island of Okinawa and the other group is composed of the samples mainly from Kyushu and Honshu of Japan. It suggests that Japanese Shamo must have been brought to Japan from two different origins. Our examination of historical records showed that the results of the phylogenetic analysis is consistent with the view that Japanese Shamo was originated from Southeast Asia and the mainland China independently, but was geographically a bit mixed afterwards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 23 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Domestication
  • Gallus gallus domesticus
  • Mitochondorial DNA
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Okinawa
  • Shamo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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