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SUMO (相撲) is a popular wrestling sport from Japan, which is the only country in the world where it is practiced professionally. It’s said that Sumo has began in ancient time in Japan and it’s been associated with Shinto ritual. The sport become immensely popular and an entertainment for nations in Edo Period. Now, the grand sumo tournament is held 6 times a year and it is one of most famous sports in the country.


Simple rule of Sumo is that Rikishi (wrestlers) attempt to force an opponent to go out of circle ring or to touch the ground with any body part other than the soles of his feet. There is Gyoji (referee) inside the circle along with the wrestlers while they play.

Sumo is played inside the circle ring named Dohyo, which is 4.55m in diameter made with clay and sand. There are usually 6 things burried underneath Dohyo to purify the field, namely kaya nut, washed rice, chestnuts, kelp, salt and dried cattlefish.


Sumo’s winning technique is known as Kimarite in Japanese. Today, there are 82 winning techniques approved by Japan Sumo Association. Here are most commonly used sumo techniques :

Oshidashi (押し出し) – Pushing an opponent out of the circle without holding Mawashi (sumo belt)

Yori Kiri (寄り切り) — Forcing out an opponent out of the circle by holding Mawashi(sumo belt)

Tsuridashi (吊り出し)— Lifting an opponent out of the circle

Hatakikomi (叩き込み)– Slapping an opponent down to the ground in the circle

Uwatenage (上手投げ)– Throwing an opponent to the ground by grabbing Mawashi(sumo belt) – OVERARM THROW

Shitatenage (下手投げ)- Throwing an opponent to the ground by grabbing Mawashi(sumo belt) – UNDERARM THROW

Hikiotoshi (引き落とし) — Pulling on an opponent’s shoulder, arm, or mawashi(sumo belt) and forcing them to the ground


There are about 600 professional Sumo wrestlers and over 40 Sumo stables in Japan. There are SIX divisions in Sumo: Makuuchi (max 42), Juryo (fixed at 28), Makushita (fixed at 120), Sandanme (fixed at 200), Jonidan (around 185), Jonokuchi (around 40). Wrestlers enter sumo in the lowest division – jonokuchi, and ability permitting, work their way up to the top division- makuuchi. The grand sumo tournament is only played by Makuuchi wrestlers.

There are several ranks in Makuuchi division: Yokozuna (the grand champion), Ozeki (champion), Sekiwake (the 2nd champion), Komusubi(the 3rd champion) and Maegashira. There has been only 72 Yokozuna(grand champion) wrestlers in the history of Sumo in Japan.


The grand Sumo tournaments are held SIX times every year: 3 in Tokyo (January, May and September) and 1 in Osaka (March), Nagoya (July) and Fukuoka (November), and each tournament lasts for about 15 days. This
system was established in 1958 and followed till date.

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