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Sumo – Part 2

sumo square off tokyo ryogoku japan rikishi

These two makuuchi (top division of 42) wrestlers (Toyonoshima (豊ノ島) on the left and Takamisakari (高見盛)) are an instant away from smashing into each other. The referee stands between them with his gunbai. You can also see one of the five shinpan (judges) to the left of the referee in this picture. Don’t miss the expressions on the faces in the crowd either.

sumo pillow seat cushion

One thing I hadn’t noticed when I first witnessed sumo in person 21 years ago, nor have I seen on the NHK broadcasts of sumo, is that the higher ranking sumo wrestlers each have their own special cushion to sit on while waiting for their bout. Most are brightly colored and feature the sumo’s theme. For instance, the wrestler with this orange pillow (武州山 隆士, Bushuyama) may also wear an orange kimono into the stadium (pictures of the top sumo wrestlers entering the stadium forthcoming) and may also have an orange, embroidered apron (keshomawashi) to wear during the ring-entering ceremony before his matches.

It seemed a bit silly to see the colorful seat cushions trotted in and out on a continual basis.

advertising at sumo match ryogoku tokyo japan mcdonalds makudonarudo

The advertising between matches was also somewhat ridiculous. You sort of miss it on TV as NHK usually switches to commentators or have writing over the ads featuring the upcoming wrestlers’ names and records. You can’t miss it in person though. The ad for Ozeki Sake before the ozeki matches seemed somewhat clever and brought a smile to my face, but ads for McDonalds and one for a place to have your pet cared for are very much out of place. The ads are walked around the ring, sometimes after the wrestlers are already in the ring, and can actually prevent the sumo guys from getting into the ring or back to their corner.

I understand the sponsored bouts feature more prize money due to the advertising; the money is presented to the winning wrestler in an envelope on the gunbai immediately after victory. I’ll show you a photo of that performance in a future blog entry.

One Response to “Sumo – Part 2”

  1. 1
    Steffe:

    Ha ha, I would have to agree with you about the advertising.

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