japan culture

Japanese sports “SUMO”

Sumo is the national sport in Japan. It is a kind of martial art where two sumo wrestlers,
or rikishi, fight in a ring, or dohyo.
As you may already know, a wrestler loses the bout if he is forced out of the ring,
or if any part of his body other than the soles of his feet touch the ground.


To be a sumo wrestler, you must be at least 173 centimeters tall and weigh 75 kilograms.
It is said that some people who were not tall or heavy enough,
hit their heads to get a lump or drink a lot of water before the measurement.
There was one wrestler who even had surgery to put silicon on the top of his head before the measurement.
You see many sumo wrestlers, however, who are taller than 180 cm and weigh over 100kg.
They have their hair tied up in a certain style, called oicho.
This is not just a matter of aesthetics, but protects the wrestlers’ heads when they go head-to-head
at the beginning of the match or if they fall out of the ring.

The Japan Sumo Association holds six tournaments, or hon-basho, each year.
Tokyo hosts hon-basho in January, May and September, Osaka plays host in March,
Nagoya in July and Fukuoka in November.
Sumo wrestlers wear a silk belt, or mawashi, which is 10 meters long and weighs four to five kilograms.
They also attach fringes, or sagari, which have 17 to 21 strings to the belt.

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