Sumo… not just a fat-guy push-fest

27 07 2007

Yokozuna Asashoryu completes the opening ritual danceSo last week (July 20th) I went to the Summer Sumo Tournament in Nagoya… well, let’s start with calling it by the proper term: Nagoya Natsu Basho (Natsu = Summer, Basho = Sumo Tournament). Certainly a fantastic experience, we got to see some of the biggest & best battle it out for the Emperor’s Cup.

Before we cover all of that, some background…

  • Rikishi (wrestlers) are split into 3 divisions. We’ll only worry about the top division – the Makuuchi.
  • Within the Makuuchi division, there are 5 ranks (from lowest): Maegashira; Komusubi; Sekiwake; Ozeki; Yokozuna. Movement can occur up & down, except for within the Yokozuna rank. Once a Yokozuna, you cannot be demoted… they can insist you retire tho’. Currently there are 2 Yokozuna – Asashoryu & Hakuho (both born in Mongolia).
  • They compete on a packed clay surface, called a dohyo. The outer ‘rope’ is made of straw.Our viewpoint… ok for zoomlense photography!
  • Whilst all divisions compete, the Makuuchi battle at the end of the day, with the Yokozuna fighting last of all.
  • If a lower rank rikishi defeats a Yokozuna, it’s traditional that the crowd throw the purple seat cushions into the air.

Now… on with the commentary! A fairly sultry day, we headed into the Nagoya Rainbow Hall. Our seats were quite good, and with a zoom lense I got some pretty good photos. And on with the battles! Read the rest of this entry »