Anyone seeking a splendid experience of traditional Japanese culture should spend a day watching sumo, Japan’s unique national sport. Centuries of history are expressed in sumo’s countless ceremonies, each performed with careful precision. Archaic fashions can be seen in the topknot of wrestlers and in the beautiful ancient uniforms of participants, from sweepers and heralds to referees and champions. Insights into Shinto religion may be gained by close attention to sumo purification rituals, details of dress and decoration, and the strict etiquette and self-restraint of the participants. Of course it is the discipline, determination, and skills of the rikishi (“powerful men”) which provide the action, thrills, and stars of sumo. They are striving for fame and fortune. But their Spartan lifestyle, surprising physical grace, admirable sportsmanship, amazing decorum both in and outside the ring, and their dedication to impossibly high standards of excellence are also key attributes of traditional Japanese culture to be noted while enjoying sumo.
20 years of sumo fan