Sumo is a sports that everyone can enjoy.
The rule is very simple. This player will lose a match if step out from dohyo, touch of any part of body outside dohyo, down into dohyo, touch of any part of body but sole to surface of dohyo and make a faul.
Therer are professional sumo also, so called ozumo(grand sumo).
The Japan Sumo Association(Nihon Sumo Kyokai), a public corporate, is the organization that promotes sumo's development as a mission. They are regularly holding ozumo (professional sumo wrestling tournament)6 times throughout a year. (January,March,May,July,September,November).Sumo is fought by a tournament of 15 consecutive days.
Two sumo wrestlers so-called Rikishi wearing mawashi(sumo belt)only ,face each other at both shikiri （the mark lined in white )of 70 cm in between at the center of dohyo(solid sand mound of round shape) and rise to their feet in the same breath within each limited time.
(4 minutes maximum for makuuchi(higher ranked sumo wrestlers)
,3 minutes for Juryo(middle ranked),
and 2 minutes for makushita and other(more lower ranked) . In ozumo, there is no classification in bout by weight. which is characteristically different from western wrestling.
buttles are judged to be lost in the match. The judgment is done by gyoji(sumo referee)
butit is possible for maximum 5 other referees of ex-sumo wrestler watching the match around dohyo to join the judgment.
There are 82 tricks and 5 non tricks and 8 fouls in sumo . Immediately after match is over, both wrestlers ,regardless of bout outcome, have to make a standing salutation with head down, respecting opponent for their earnest fight politely. In the meantime, there are numerous amateur sumo organizations which underpin ozumo. It is possible for amateur to join ozumo. According to his outcome during his career of amateur age, he could be starting from grade 10th to 15th of makushita. On the other hand, ex-sumo wrestler is often coaching amateur . As such, they are cooperating each other. We have, for example, Japan Sumo Confederation, Student Sumo Confederation of National& Public University, Wanpaku(impish boy)SumoAssociation, and so on. There are also a lot of sumo contest and/or championship of amateur prevailing nationally and internationally. Amateur sumo is following most of ozumo rule but sometimes they make an exceptional rule to have the match by age or weight as follows; By Age = Classification of elementary, middle and high school and university and open By Weight = Less Than 65 kg, LT75kg, LT85kg, LT100kg, LT115kg LT135kg and Free By Trick = Same 82 tricks and 5 non tricks as ozumo, but such dangerous acts as sabaori, (give mawash i a jerk with downward strength ),kubinage(neck throw),and sorinage (backward throw)are prohibited. Gyoji =One main referee and minimum one sub referee Wears Allowed = Under-pants are possible for elementary and middle school boys Sumo originally meant to wrestle strength with others, so that the original Chinese letter for sumo was expressed as “角力”which derives from “角てい”during Shin dynasty. Even today, we often say角界(kaku kai)for sumo circle.
There are similar sports as sumo available in other parts of world;Bufu in Mongol, Shirumu in Korea and wrestling in Turkey and other parts of Eurasia continent. A mural painting of caves alongside the Nile River of 2,500 years ago depicts men’s bout of wresting. So, it may be said that bout is an intuitive expression of healthy human beings to show his strength It also symbolizes each local character. And some had developed to current wrestling and other to sumo. Today, we have seen an influx of hopeful youngsters from overseas countries into ozumo to compete with native Japanese sumo wrestlers.
Sumo was originated for male sports but nowadays, sumo for female called “New Sumo ”is also available. For this, an organization called Japan New Sumo Confederation exists.
Sumo wrestler shall not be allowed to wear any but mawashi, but in case that he is injured , he is allowed to wear bandage, supporter, and white socks. This means that any seemingly offensive wears are not allowed to use in sumo bout. Sumo was originally a part of Shinto (Japanese indigenous religion)events. Most shrines held sumo contest when a festive was held there. It was called as a dedicated sumo to shrine. Ozumo sometimes hold a touring sumo at Ise Shrine and Yasukuni Shrine. They also hold a dedicated sumo at Meiji Shrine when a new year comes and new Yokozuna( Champion sumo wrestler) inaugurates. When wrestlers are displayed in the ring, they clap their hands and Yokozuna tightens his tsuna(rope)mawashi. These derive from Shime-Nawa of Shinto. And Shiko(stamping) is an important practice of sumo trainings and at the same time, it means to drive evil- spirits away, stamping them down to the earth.
You also see that they clap their hands and extend their arms to both ends and turn their palm down to the ground immediately after wrestlers are displayed in the ring. This shows they have no weapons in their hands and fight with unarmed. And other Shinto related sumo events are such as that when dohyo-biraki(commencement of practice at dohyo) of each sumo-beya(training room run by a factional boss of ex-sumo wrestlers)starts or on the very day before a regular sumo tournament begins, dohyo-matsuri is held for praying no accident at dohyo during the tournament. Gyoji, acting as Shinto priest, recites Shinto prayer and offers sacred wine, chestnut, washed rice, surume( dried squid), salt, thatch seed and tangle to four corners of dohyo by which he could purify dohyo. As such, dohyo deems to be a sacred place.
Until Meiji era started, no female could be permitted to see sumo. Even today, it is somehow controversial to have a female at dohyo.
As a rare Shinto event, there are “Naki-Sumo”(Weeping Sumo) and “ Karasu-Sumo”(Raven Sumo). The former is to pray for infants steady growth . Many shrines and temples throughout this country have long been succeeding this tradion, while the latter storied that Kamotake-Tsunuminomikoto, the grand father of the founder of Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto led The Emperor Jinmu to conquer his enemies resided in eastern Japan in his disguise of a huge and wondrous raven and contributed a lot to its success. Sumo symbolizes this religious event, driving evil-spirits away from a sacred place. In fact, a sumo wrestler in disguise of Tone (warrior) holding a bow and arrow imitates raven cawing and afterward, boys used to play sumo. Whenever we have a festive, we are to hold sumo championship at the festive site. Originally, shape and largeness of dohyo had not been fixed. some were square and others round but in dual rounds. The largeness of dohyo was rather smaller than current one. Currently, it is regulated that it should be round in encircled with 20 small straw bags and 4.55 m in diameter while two shikiri(getting off the mark) of white color must be lined at 70 cm in between at the center of dohyo.
Sumo was originated long before dating back to era of The Emperor Suinin in A.D.360 Since then until now, it has been loved by all layers of people; nobles, warriors, laymen of this country with slight modifications but the basic mode unchanged. Sumo is widely accepted in Shinto events, local festivals, amateur sports and ohsumo, and thus, it is really worthy to be called national game. It can also be developed to a further extent and prevailed overseas countries as well. Sumo , together with Judo and Kendo(Japanese fencing), became a compulsory subject of middle school athletics from the year 24th Heisei(A.D.2012). Therefore, we can expect an increasing number of students who select and practice sumo, thus building up a stout body with a polite and high moral. And sumo also became well-known even in foreign countries and those who love sumo are increasing to come to Japan to enjoy sumo bout firsthand.
HistoryOrigin of sumo is very old. Ancient age tomb depicts sumo-like scene. When we study sumo history, we find sumo is quite often told in myths. One of those myths told us that two gods called ”Takemikazuchi” and “Takeminakata” grabbed their arms each other and threw one another.
Kisaburo Onogawa Kajinosuke Tanikaze
In April of 2nd Kaei (A.D.1849), Shogun Joran Sumo by Ieyoshi Tokugawa was held at Edo Castle.
On June 3 of 6th Kaei (A.D.1853),Perry led a fleet of battleships to Uraga. This point is a time of change in Japanese history. An Ukiyoe depicts a sumo wrestler throwing a crew of the fleet.
End of Edo era. Thus, feudal lords had bankrupted. Sumo wrestlers who feudal lords employed became difficult to exist.
After the Meiji Restoration On April 17 of 4th Keio (1st Meiji,A.D.1868),The Emperor Meiji had been presence at Kyoto sumo held at Zama Shrine,Osaka. In March of 2nd Meiji(A.D.1869),Osaka sumo abolished their banzuke of horizontally written of two(East/West) columns and unified to Edo style of vertical written of one. In June of same year, Daimyo’s domains had been abolished,. Consequently, their sumo wrestlers were unemployed. In March of 4th Meiji(A.D.1971), a joint sumo of triple cities(Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo)had first been held in Kyoto. In August of same year, Meiji Restoration Government proclaimed Bobbed Hair Order, but mage(sumo wrestler hair style) became exceptional from this order.
In January of 21st Meiji(A.D.1889), the letter of Juryo on banzuke sheet was written a little bolder than before. In January of 22nd Meiji(A.D.1890), Tokyo sumo had changed the nomination of Sumo Kaisho which had been used from Edo era to Tokyo Ohkakuteii Kyokai(ozumo kyoukai) . and limited the number of Toshiyori (retired sumo wrestlers who can stay at the association after retirement as they own certain amount of the share)to 88. In February of 42nd Meiji(A.D.1910), Tokyo ozumo Association added a stipulation clearly stating that nomination of Yokozuna should be limited to champion wrestlers only, not for the highest ranked wrestlers .
In June of same year, Kokugikan( national sumo game pavilion ) was built, so that it could be possible to hold 10 days successive performance without any cessation regardless of weather. In January of 43rd Meiji(A.D.1911), both Tokyo and Osaka ozumo Association had broken up their relationships because of Yokzuna problem of Ohkido of Osaka. In November of 1st Taisho(A.D.1912), both associations had reconciled. In September of 12th Taisho(A.D.1923), Ryogoku Kokugikan had wholly been burned down by Kanto Mega Earthquake
. In April of 14th Taisho(A.D.1925), sumo performance had been held to cerebrate the birthday of The Emperor Showa at east court of Akasaka Imperial Palace, Tokyo. With allowance from The Emperor Taisho, Emperor’s Cup to be donated
In July of same year, both Tokyo and Osaka Ohsumo Associations, competing with each other so far, had dissolved themselves and made a sign to unify both associations into one. Tokyo had proposed Osaka that both ohsumo could compete with each other for the Emperor’s Cup which had before been given for Tokyo only. Thus, their face being saved, Osaka had accepted Tokyo’s proposal and agreed to be unified. On December 28, Ministry of Education/Culture had approved Dai-Nihon Sumo Kyoukai (Great Japan Sumo Wrestling Association), as a public corporate. In 15th Taisho(A.D. 1926), Tsunenohna, 31st Yokozuna, won the January basho and got the first Emperor’s Cup. In January of 2nd Showa(A.D.1927), both Tokyo and Osaka Sumo Associations had officially unified and named the unified Association as Great Japan Sumo Wrestling Association. In January of 3rd Showa(A.D.1928), shikiri is regulated to be lined in the span of 60 cm in between both lines of white at the center of dohyo. Time limit for shikiri was also set up as being 10 minutes for makuuchi, 7 minutes for juryo and 5 minutes for makushita. In May of 5th Showa(A.D.1931), diameter of dohyo is also regulated as 15 shaku (4.95 m), and dually encircled straw bags into one. and the roof of dohyo to be constructed in Shinmei style. In January of 7th Showa (A.D. 1937), those sumo wrestlers of Dewanoumi faction ranked in west of banzuke besieged Shunju-en, Ohoi,Tokyo, appealing to renewal of sumo-do(How should sumo be). Some wrestlers ranked in east also joined this appeal, retiring from the association. This caused cancellation of the January basho. This was called as Shunju-en Incident. In 12th Showa(A.D.1937), Dai-Kokugikan (national sumo pavilion) was completed at Sekime, Joto-ward, Osaka and pre -Osaka basho was held on both days of June 12 & 13. In May of 14th Showa (A.D.1939), sumo basho of 15 days started.
After Outbreak of Pacific War between Japan and U.S.A. In December of 16th Showa (A.D.1941), Japan made a sudden attack in Pearl Harbor. The war between Japan and U.S.A. had begun. Nevertheless, ohsumo had been continued as follows; Showa(A.D.) Basho Champion Ranking Heya Outcome 16(1941) spring Futabayama Yokozuna Tatsunami 14-1 summer Haguroyama Ozeki Tatsunami 14-1 17(1942) spring Futabayama Yokozuna Futabayama 14-1 summer Futabayama Yokozuna Futabayama 13-2 18(1943) spring Futabayama Yokozuna Futabayama 15-0 summer Futabayama Yokozuna Futabayama 15-0 19(1944) spring Saganohana Komusubi Nishonoseki 13-2 summer Haguroyama Yokozuna Tatsunami 10-0 autumn Maedayama Ozeki Takasago 9-1 20(1945) summer Bishuyama 1st Maegashira Isegahama 7-0 autumn Haguroyama Yokozuna Tatsunami 10-0 In 19th Showa(A.D.1944),
Ryogoku Kokugikan had been taken over by military. And some sumo wrestlers
had been called for a military training.
In May of same year, 10 days sumo when not rainy, was held at Korakuen Stadium. In November, same was done at same place. In March of 20th Showa(A.D.1945), by US air-strike, Ryogoku Kokugikan was damaged. In June of same year, 7 days sumo was held at damaged Kokugikan without any announcement. In August of same year, the war had ended . In November of 20th Showa(A.D.1945), first postwar hon-basho(regular tournament of ohsumo) of 10 days was held at the damaged Ryogoku Kokugikan. In December of same year, US occupation HQ had taken over Kokugikan. In 21st Showa(A.D.1946), hon-basho(summer) had been cancelled since repairmen of the damaged Kokugikan had largely been delayed. In June o 22nd Showa(A.D. 1947), natsu(summer)-basho of 10 days when not rainy was held at Meiji-Jingu-Gaien. In November of same year, aki(autumn)-basho of 10 days when not rainy was held at the same place. 3 awards of most valuable prize, fighting spirit prize and technically excellent prize were established from this basho. In May of 23rd Showa(A.D.1948), natsu-basho of 11 days when not rainy was held at Meiji-Jingu-Gaien. In October of same year, hon-basho of 11 days was held at Osaka temporary Kokugikan. In January of 24th Showa(A.D.1949), hon-basho of 13 days was held at Hamacho temporary Kokugikan. In May of the same year, natsu-basho of 15 days was held at Hamacho temporary Kokugikan. On October 23 of the same year, Ozeki Chiyonoyama (Dewanoumi ) became champion at record of 13-2. In January of 25th Showa(1950), 15 days ohsumo was held at temporary Kokugikan set up at Kuramae, Tokyo. Kuramae where matches were always heated and people were so excited had repeatedly been repaired but no roof on it. In January of 60th Showa(A.D.1985),new Kokugikan had been completed at Ryogoku, Tokyo but in order to keep the atmosphere, roof had not been set up there. In July of 27th Showa(A.D.1952), rikishi-nobori(sumo wrestler banner) had been hoisted since 43 years when done at Ekoin, Honjo, Tokyo of 42nd Meiji(A.D. 1910). In September of the same year, pillars had been withdrawn from the four corners of dohyo and instead, four colored tassels were hung from suspended roof . These four colored tassels of blue, red, white and black are such talisman as protecting each of four corner s of dohyo, namely east, south, west and north in order. It also means four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. In January of 28thShowa(A.D.1953), it was decided that hon-basho would regularly beheld at 4 throughout the year as spring ?basho at Osaka while summer, autumn and winter at Tokyo.In September of 29th Showa(1954), Kuramae Kokugikan was completely repaired, and natsu-basho was held there.
In May of 30th Showa(A.D.1955), The Emperor Showa had inspected 10th day of natsu-basho held at Kuramae Kokugikan for the first time since end of the Pacific War. And he left tanka( Japanese brief poem) chanting his relief from miserable war with settlement and recovery and appreciation of being peaceful
In January of 32nd Showa(A.D.1957), it was decided to add one more sumo tournament in November at Kyushu to said four basho. Thus, hon ?basho became 5. In January of 33rd Showa(A.D.1958), it was also decided to add one more in July at Nagoya, Thus hon-basho became 6 in total. In January of the same year, Dai Nihon Sumo Kyokai had been altered to Nihon Sumo Kyokai(Japan Sumo Wrestling Association). The 2nd chapter of the corporate stipulation says that they intend a healthy growth of sumo-do and contribute to the public for their physical or spiritual betterment. In March of the same year, Wakanohana, the 45th Yokozuna ,inaugurated. Since then, a boom of Tochi (Tochinishiki, powerful Yokozuna opponent of Wakanohana)vs Waka Age had come. In due course of TV prevailing throughout this country of this age, another good matches such as Taiho vsKashiwado Age, Kitanoumi vs Takanohana Age, Chiyonofuji hegemony became booming successively. In January of 43rd Showa(A.D.1968), Prime Minister Award was newly established. In May of 45th Showa(A.D.1970), span of both shikiri lines was extended to 70 cm from 60 cm. On October 4 of 59th Showa(A.D. 1984), Kuramae Kokugikan had been closed. In January of 60th Showa(A.D.1985), Ryogoku Kokugikan had newly been opened.
In January of 7th Heisei(A.D.1995), Takanohana, the 65th Yokozuna, inaugurated. In July of 10th Heisei(A.D.1998), Wakanohana, the 66th Yokozuna, inaugurayed. Waka-Taka age had started. In January of 13th Heisei(A.D.2001), number of trick was officially limited to 82. Physical check for recruiting sumo wrestler newly was revised as; 173 m minimum for height and 75 kg minimum for weight for first pass and for those who could not reach minimum required in the first pass can get another test of their physical ability if they are higher than 167 cm and heavier than 67 kg. There was also a revision in makushita ranking system; according to outcome of amateur sumo, the can be classified into makushita 10th to 15th grade. In March of 15th Heisei(A.D.2003), Asashoryu, the 68th Yokozuna, inaugurated. Local sumo tour was changed from a volunteering of Japan Sumo Wrestling Association to sold-out to each local impresario. In January of 16th Heisei(A.D.2004), official injury rule was abolished. Activity of foreign sumo wrestlers became outstanding in upper ranks. In December of 17th Heisei(A.D.2005), Japan Sumo Wrestling Association cerebrated the 80th birth since its corporate In 19th Heisei(A.D.2007), May tournament counted a record high18 foreign sumo wrestlers . In July of the same year, Nagoya-basho cerebrated 50th birth since its debut. In September of 20th Heisei(A.D.2008), the Association had first called in council member from outer circle. In January of 22nd Heisei(A.D.2010), Asashoryu, Yokozuna fromMongol ,the3rd ranked championship winner of 25 times in sumo history, had to quit himself from ohsumo because of lack of Yokozuna decency qualification. On October 10th of the same year, Sumainosechie as a national ceremony of July 7 in presence of then Emperor had reappeared at Heijokyo site of Nara city when they cerebrated 1300th years since transfer of their capitol to Heijokyo in Nara. There,10 amateur sumo wrestlers performed it waiting for the emperor’s judgment for ambiguous match as thought so in Sumainosechie. In March of 23rd Heisei(A.D.2011), the March tournament had been cancelled. Cancellation of hon basho is only twice in ohsumo history . Another one is natsu-basho of 21st Showa for delay of repairmen of bombarded Kokugikan . In April of the same year, hon-basho of May had been held free without admission fee as titled as a checking basho of sumo wrestlers technicality. In July of the same year, ohsumo had been normalized, holding July tournament. In January of 24th Heisei(A.D.2012), Kitanoumi was elected as 12th director general of the association.
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