Sumo wrestling


Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport. It originated in ancient times to entertain the Shinto gods. Many of the rituals with religious background are still performed. Yokozuna (横綱, yokozuna) is the highest rank in sumo. When a wrestler reaches the rank of yokozuna, he cannot lose this status, but is expected to retire when his time is due. Many former Sumo wrestlers remain active in the sumo world as members of the Japan Sumo Association.

The one currently active yokozuna is Hakuhō (白鵬), the 69th yokozuna, from Mongolia, promoted in May 2007.

Taihō Kōki (大鵬幸喜) was the 48th Yokozuna in the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. He is generally regarded as the greatest sumo wrestler of the post-war period. He became a yokozuna in 1961 at the age of 21, the youngest ever at the time, and he won a record 32 tournaments between 1960 and 1971.

The basic rules of sumo are simple: the wrestler who first touches the ground with anything besides the soles of his feet, or who leaves the ring before his opponent, loses. The dohyō (土俵) is the ring in which sumo wrestling bouts are held. A modern dohyō is a circle of rice-straw bales 4.55 meters in diameter, mounted on a square platform of clay 6.7m on a side, and 34 to 60 cm high. The fights themselves usually last only a few seconds, or in rare cases, about a minute.

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