Where: Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan
Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan, and involves two sumo wrestlers (rikishi) fighting in the sumo ring called dohyou. The basic sumo rule to win a fight states that the one who first makes his opponent step outside of dohyou or makes him touch the ground with any part of his body (apart from the soles of the feet) wins.
Six Grand Sumo tournaments (basho) are periodically held each year in Japan. Also, many sumo tours (jungyo) are planned in different cities in Japan and around the world.
There are six divisions in professional sumo: makuuchi, juuryo, makushita, sandanme, jonidan, and jonokuchi. Makuuchi is the highest division, and yokozuna (grand champion) is the highest rank in sumo. Only wrestlers promoted in makuuchi and juuryou are called sekitori and considered as real professional sumo wrestlers.
It’s recommended to buy tickets in advance if you want to get good seats. Tickets are usually sold about one month beforehand but tickets are usually available at the ticket counter on the day you go.
Sumo wrestlers in the trainee divisions start their matches around 8:30 a.m. Wrestlers in Juryo start matches around 3 p.m. Makuuchi wrestlers enter the sumo ring around 3:55 p.m., and the Yokozuna Dohyo-iri (ring entering ceremony) is held. Makuuchi matches start after the ceremony. Sumo wrestlers in the higher ranks, such as Ozeki and Yokozuna fight after 5 p.m. It is the best time to watch sumo if you want to see famous sumo wrestlers.
Each tournament lasts for fifteen days with the sumo wrestler who attains the best record of wins over losses being awarded the Emperor’s Cup on the final day.
A fascinating sport. Here’s a Sumo bout from when Chiyonofuji was in his pomp.
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