Japanese Culture: Sumo Wrestling

Mar 03, 2023


Sumo wrestling is a traditional Japanese sport that dates back over 1,500 years. It is a form of competitive wrestling where two wrestlers, or rikishi, attempt to force each other out of a circular ring, or dohyo, or to make their opponent touch the ground with any part of their body other than the soles of their feet.

The sport is steeped in tradition, with many rituals and customs that reflect its deep cultural roots. For example, sumo wrestlers wear traditional clothing, consisting of a mawashi (a type of loincloth) and a thick layer of white body paint, which is intended to give the appearance of a strong and imposing physique.

Wrestlers face off before the fight begins

Sumo tournaments, or basho, are held six times a year in Japan, with each tournament lasting 15 days. Wrestlers are ranked based on their performance in previous tournaments, and each day of the tournament, they face off against an opponent from a similar rank. The winner of each match is awarded a victory, or kachikoshi, and the loser is given a defeat, or makekoshi.

The highest rank in sumo is yokozuna, which is only held by a small number of wrestlers who have achieved exceptional success in the sport. Yokozuna wrestlers are held to a very high standard and are expected to exhibit exemplary conduct both on and off the dohyo.

Sumo wrestling is a physically demanding sport that requires a great deal of strength, skill, and endurance. It is also deeply rooted in Japanese culture and tradition, making it a fascinating and unique aspect of the country's heritage.

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