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Throwback Thursday: Sumo

Top ranked Hakuho perfroming the Yokuzuna ring-entering ceremony in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament

This edition of Throwback Thursday is again about some of the interesting conversations I had with people who looked at my portfolio.

Sumo is a traditional Japanese sport that has captured the attention of people all around the world. Originating in Japan over 1,000 years ago, sumo has been a part of Japanese culture and tradition for centuries. In recent years, it has also gained popularity in countries like Australia, where people are fascinated by the athleticism and unique cultural significance of this ancient sport.

A bout in the controversial Nagoya summer Grand Sumo Tournament held on the 14th and second final day, Nagoya 2010.

Sumo wrestlers, or rikishi, compete in a circular ring called a dohyo, which is made of clay and covered in sand. The objective of the match is simple: to push your opponent out of the ring, or to force them to touch the ground with any part of their body other than the soles of their feet. Matches usually last only a few seconds, but can also go on for several minutes if the wrestlers are evenly matched.

Sumo is not just a sport, it is also a highly ritualized art form that has deep cultural significance in Japan. Before each match, the wrestlers go through a series of rituals, including throwing salt to purify the ring and themselves, and taking part in a ceremonial stomp known as the shiko. The wrestlers also wear a unique outfit consisting of a loincloth called a mawashi, which is wrapped tightly around their waist.

One of the most fascinating aspects of sumo is the physical size of the wrestlers. Sumo wrestlers are among the largest athletes in the world, with many weighing over 150kg. Despite their size, they are incredibly agile and flexible, and their matches often involve lightning-fast movements and impressive feats of strength.

Sumo tournaments, known as honbasho, are held six times a year in Japan. The most prestigious tournament is the Grand Sumo Tournament, held in Tokyo in January, May and September. During these tournaments, the best sumo wrestlers from around the world come together to compete for the title of yokozuna, or grand champion. To achieve this title, a wrestler must win two consecutive tournaments or achieve outstanding results in multiple tournaments.

In recent years, Australian sumo fans have also had the opportunity to watch live sumo matches in their own country. The Australian Sumo Federation, founded in 1992, is the governing body for sumo in Australia and hosts regular tournaments and events throughout the year. These events provide a unique opportunity for Australians to experience the excitement and spectacle of sumo up close and in person.

In conclusion, sumo is a fascinating and unique sport that has captured the hearts of people all around the world, including Australians. With its deep cultural significance and impressive athletic performances, sumo is sure to continue to captivate and inspire people for generations to come.