Published: March 15th 2006March 15th 2006
Marking the start of another tournament.
This past Sunday, many thanks to Vo-san for purchasing tickets, a group of about 25 Gaidai exchange students embarked from Hirakata for the opportunity to watch Japan’s traditional sport of Sumo. Six tournaments are held every year, each one lasting 15 days. Three of the tournaments are held in Tokyo, and one in Fukuoka, Osaka, and Nagoya. Of course because I am representing the Kinki region I waited until March, which happens to be the month Sumo storms into the Kansai region. For the sake of the reader I won’t go into too many details on traditional Shinto-related aspects and rules of sumo, but if this happens to interest you then check out Japan-guides site at http://japan-guide.com/e/e2080.html...
Basically about three hours of bouts take place between wrestlers representing an East and a West side. Warm-up before bouts often includes some sort of psychological tactics to fool around with the opponent. This can last up to 4 minutes, but the actual match lasts only mere seconds. However, these seconds are action packed with the ‘sumo crescendo’ which helps keep the fans content.
Sumo wrestling among Japan’s youth has by no means broke through to the main stream or to younger
The identity of this wrestler is unknown...
generations, and among those in attendance, foreign watchers are a dime a dozen. Going along with this interest of sumo wrestling among foreign fans, I think it’s interesting how popular the foreign wrestlers are in sumo. The top ranking wrestler, yokozuna, is currently a Mongolian wrestler named Asashoryu. A few rows in front of our group even existed a Mongolian cheering section, armed with massive congratulations signs and many Mongolian flags. Having lived in Mongolia for a few months, I enjoyed the Mongolian pride, but possibly the Japanese aren’t so fond of this.
Anyway, Sumo was a great time and if you are ever given a chance to go watch it do so because it is a great way to see a traditional sport and some Japanese culture.
Below are also photos from a surprise Birthday party we threw at the Kansai Gaidai’s Cafeteria.
There are more photos below