Jessica in Tokyo: Grand Sumo

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sumoSeeing a sumo match is an important check level finishing any extensive stop by at Japan. Sumo is the Japanese recreation where a ‘rikishi, ’ or sumo wrestler attempts to force another wrestler either out from the ‘dohyō, ’ or ring, or to force all of them to the touch the bottom with an integral part of themselves other than the bottoms of the legs. The activity has actually a history spanning hundreds of years and several traditions and ritual elements.

Honbasho tournament

The competition is a round robin in which each fighter associated with top two divisions will contend daily, because of the lower rated fighters competing on only seven of days. These ‘honbasho’ (literally primary, or real tournament) are held simply six times per year, and tend to be the only times that a rikishi can climb up or fall in their positions. It is therefore imperative that they achieve ‘kachikoshi’ – winning most their bouts – to at the very least keep their particular existing standing. The low ranked wrestlers’ battles begin at just a little following the location doorways open at around 8:15, nevertheless crowds of people usually do not arrive until about 15:30 prior to the ‘dohyō-iri’ ritual, the penetrating for the top-ranking ‘makunouchi’ wrestlers toward band.

Shinto reflections in honbasho sumo

Sumo has its roots in Shinto practices numerous centuries old. It is most obviously shown inside fact that the referee, or ‘gyoji’, is wearing the style of a Heian Period (advertisement 794 – 1185) Shinto priest, and that above the ring is a canopy into the style of a shrine roofing manufactured from equivalent material and built making use of the exact same methods as compared to the Grand Shrine in Ise.

One other way where we are able to see the Shinto faith in sumo is within the prefight rituals. Prior to the bouts of these wrestlers ranked in the top division of fighters, these ‘makunouchi’ will go into the dohyō together dressed up in ‘mawashi’ loincloths, extravagantly embellished and contributed by affluent clients or company sponsors. Following this the ‘Yokozuna’ (the highest ranked wrestler, denoted because of the 20kg braided hemp line covered around his waist that hang white zigzag-shaped papers like those at Shinto shrines) will go into the band. This fighter claps his hands vigorously to summon the spirits and stamps heavily on a lawn to ‘stamp on’ any evil spirits. This ritual reveals the typically shaman-esque standing the sumo wrestler keeps, and it is possibly the most internationally famous component of sumo. Its a second not to be missed.

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