Rachel in Tokyo

This is a blog about an American law school student studying in Tokyo for the semester.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


This was one of my favorite pictures. I took this while I walked around Ryogoku looking for a bite to eat. The entire section of town is devoted to the sport!


The trophy was as big as the wrestlers themselves!



This defeated sumo is walking away, probably to the nearest ramen restaurant to regain his energy and train for the next time!

Usually the sumo wrestlers seen walking around outside the stadium, have frowns on their faces, because they most probably just lost their match.

I thought this guy looked like a young SUMO IN TRAINING. But then again, he may have just had a few too many bowls of ramen... but given the close proximity to the event, I truly think that he was a young sumo-to-be.

Here is the train station where the sumo stadium is: RYOGOKU station.
Before each event, a singer comes out to sing his song. The same guy sang the whole day, however, for each new battle, a new official would step into the ring. Each with a new, different, very expensive kimono.

When the Sumos come out, they stomp their legs (one at a time) with a huge THUD, to show their might and strength, in an effort to intimidate their opponent.

I managed to get several different angles at the event. I walked around until the security officers would ask me where my seat was, because I was starting to encroach on the spaces of those who paid much more for their tickets. I, of course, bought the cheapest ticket I could, upon the advice of all of my Japanese friends who explained that the stadium remains at about 1/2 capacity until the final heavyweights start to battle late in the afternoon.

The interesting thing about RYOGOKU stadium, is that it was built for the sole purpose of hosting sumo wrestling. Although this may not seem like the most economically efficient use of an arena space, it does make for a great sumo tourney 4 times a year!

Many Sumo wrestlers who make it big (no pun intended), open up their own restaurant when they retire.

As I walked around the stadium, I noticed many posters of previous famous championships. I took pictures of these, and then turned around and saw a couple of sumo wrestlers standing behind me eating-- the same ones who were pictured! Well, they looked very similar, if they were not the same!

The goal of each match is to stay IN the ring, and ON your feet. The moment a wrestler steps a foot out of the rope of the ring, or drops to the ground with his knees or rest of his body, he is out. To hear the wrestlers commence is quite entertaining. They start with a HUGE SLAP -- their two mostly naked bodies slamming into each other. The flesh sounds like two huge pieces of flesh pounding together.

As part of their formalities, they STRETCH their legs, and bring their feet down with a huge THUD. They sprinkle salt in the ring, to purify??, it's all part of the 5 minutes of formalities before each 20 seconds of match.

Many different nations are represented. Although the Japanese monopolize the event, they do allow others to compete. 2 of the most popular wrestlers, in fact, are Mongolian and Bulgarian! Don't forget the Hawaiian!


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