It can be said that no form of wrestling is more iconic than Japan’s Sumo wrestling. Originating from Japan, sumo is only professionally practised there, and it is so popular that it is recognised as the country’s national sport.
Sumo is a wildly exciting sport. Despite the sheer bulk of the sport’s participants, it is considered a form of martial art that preserves several ancient traditions and ritual elements.
The rules are fairly simple, too. A rikishi (wrestler) attempts to force his opponent out of the circular ring or touch the ground by anything besides the soles of the feet.
Since 1958, there have been six Grand Sumo tournaments held annually, each lasting a fortnight. The tournaments are held in Tokyo during the months of January, May, and September, in Osaka in March, in Nagoya in July, and in Fukuoka in November. Each tournament begins on a Sunday, goes on for 15 days and ends on the third Sunday.
The grand champion who stands at the top of the sumo rank hierarchy is called the yokozuna. The yokozuna cannot be demoted like the remaining wrestlers, but when his performance worsens during tournaments, he is expected to retire. The Japanese consider this practice a fair-and-square method of maintaining quality within the sport.
The best way to enjoy a tournament is by attending one, and it is not different with Sumo. The tickets are sold at the Nihon Sumō Kyōkai, for each of the 15-day tournaments. We highly recommend you enjoy the national sport of Japan by attending one of these matches to thoroughly enjoy your trip to the Asian nation. Be sure to soak up their culture, too!
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