The 2009 May Grand Sumo Tournament is underway in Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan. The fifteen-day event promises some serious sumo action and adventure in the only country in the world that practices the sport professionally. However sumo also attracts professional sumo wrestlers from across the world.
Sumo is an ancient sport that dates back over 1,500 years and it is said that the very origin of the Japanese race was dependent on the outcome of one sumo match. The roots of sumo were religious with matches being a ritual dedicated to the gods to deliver a plentiful harvest.
During the 8th century the Imperial Court featured sumo in their ceremonies. The annual festival was a full-on serious wrestling and boxing event with the winners joining in with the music and dancing after their matches. The Imperial Court helped to shape the modern sport of today by introducing rules and formulating techniques.
If your travels take you to Japan then try to catch a sumo match, which promises to be a unique sporting event and a great conversation piece. Even if you’re not in Japan you could always try out an inflatable sumo-suit for a taste of the action!
By Julie Bowman