Japan’s Grand Sumo March tournament begins with the return of Yokozuna Hakuho
TOKYO, JAPAN: The first day of the March Sumo Tournament began today in Tokyo. Hakuho. a top-ranked Yokozuna, returned to the ring after missing the last tournament. He made short work of the January tournament winner Daieisho, a highly ranked Komosubi.
Komusubi ranked Mitakeumi scored a big win over his higher-ranked Ozeki opponent Shodai. His fellow Ozeki ranked Takakeisho, who had a disappointing January tournament after winning in November, won big over Onosho, ranked Maegashira #1.
Sekiwake ranked Terunofuji had a spectacular throwing victory over Maegashira #2 Hokutofuji. Veteran Akiseyama, ranked Maegashira #12, who had a sensational tournament in January, obliterated Maegashira #11 Kotoshoho.
Here are the 1st day’s results in a 30-minute video.
Fan favorite Wakatakakage was forced into a rematch with Sekiwake ranked Takanosho when their first bout ended in an exciting double-throw draw with both men landing outside the ring at the same time. Takanashi made short work of a disappointed Wakatakakage in the rematch.
The March tournament goes for 15 days. 42 wrestlers compete in the highest division. There are 21 bouts per day. The top rank is Yokozuna, followed by Ozeki, Komusubi, Sekiwake, and the Maegashira ranks. In the current tournament, there is 1 Yokozuna, 3 Ozeki’s, 3 Komosubi, and 2 Sekiwake competing. There are 6 tournaments a year.
Sumo may be seen daily during tournaments on NHK.
NHK also has the wonderful Sumopedia documentary shorts on Sumo. Here is a fascinating look at the rivalry between two legendary Yokozuna, Akebono and Takanohana.
See the Grand Tournament Schedule here
From the World History Encyclopedia – Sumo
Sumo (Ozumo) is an ancient form of wrestling which has long been the national sport of Japan. Its origins go back to the Yayoi period (c. 300 BCE – c. 300 CE) and it incorporates many elements of the Shinto religion in its various rituals and conventions, the combination of which usually last much longer than the actual sporting contest. Still considered a sacred event, the pavilion in which sumo bouts are performed is regarded as a Shinto shrine.
A Sumo Bout
Two Sumo wrestlers face each other standing within a ring marked out with rope on a raised square platform made of compact clay. The platform measures precisely 5.7 metres (18.7 ft) on each side, and the ring or dohyo is a perfect circle with a diameter of 4.57 metres (15 ft). High above the platform is a roof pavilion, and the whole ensemble continues to enjoy the status of a sacred Shinto shrine which it resembles closely.
The winner of the bout must either push his opponent out of the rope ring or force him down to the ground. If any part of a wrestler’s body besides his feet touches the clay flooring then he has lost. The wrestlers, with their hair tied in a complicated topknot in imitation of medieval samurai, wear a mawashi or large belt which can be grabbed by their opponent to push, wrestle, or lift them across and out of the ring. The task of pushing out an opponent may take only a few seconds in the fastest bouts, but the difficulty lies in the tremendous size of the wrestlers. Many sumo wrestlers generally weigh in at 150 kilos (330 pounds) but some of the giants of the sport can weigh over 200 kilos (450 pounds).
This image was first published on Flickr. Original image by sophietica. Uploaded by Mark Cartwright, published on 06 April 2017 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.