HomeOther SportsThe Art of Sumo Wrestling: A Look into the Japanese Tradition

The Art of Sumo Wrestling: A Look into the Japanese Tradition

Sumo wrestling holds a distinguished status among sports worldwide.

Dating back to ancient times in Japan, this traditional form of wrestling has garnered admiration from viewers across the globe. Even in the modern era, the popularity of sumo wrestling remains steadfast, attracting millions of visitors who journey to Japan each year to witness the captivating spectacle firsthand. As the sport seamlessly adapts to contemporary life, fans can now engage in the excitement by placing wagers on the latest sumo matches at sites that support online japan bets. In this article, we will explore the early history of sumo wrestling and see what lies ahead for the future of this time-honored sport.

Early History of Sumo Wrestling: Origins, Evolution, and Popularity

The early history of sumo wrestling can be traced back to pre-1185 when it originated from a ritual dance. The term “sumo” was first mentioned in a Kojiki manuscript dating back to 712. Throughout the middle ages, sumo evolved from a ritual into a military combat exercise among samurai, experiencing continued success. Sumo’s popularity continued during the Muromachi period, becoming a sport enjoyed by the masses. Viewers sponsored wrestlers during this time, earning a percentage of the winnings. The first recorded attendance of over 1,500 wrestlers took place in February 1578 at Oda Nobunaga.

Later History: Revival and Transformation

After a decline during the Edo period, sumo wrestling regained popularity during the reign of Emperor Meiji. The sport was tasked with becoming a national symbol, hosting prestigious events throughout the year, and serving as a celebration after military victories. The Japan Sumo Association was reformed in December 1925, leading to an increase in competitions and the number of events per year.

Professional Sumo Wrestling: Organization and Requirements

Professional Sumo Wrestling is organized by the Japan Sumo Association, and the members are called Oyakata. The association is made up of former wrestlers, and these are the only ones able to train new potential professional sumo wrestlers. In order to turn professional, the wrestler must be a member of the training stable run by the Oyakata. The latest figures from 2007 showed that there are currently a total of 43 training stables, with over 660 wrestlers currently in training.

There are a number of tasks that must be completed before a wrestler can turn professional. These include completing at least nine years of compulsory education. Furthermore, potential professionals must meet the minimum weight and height requirements, which means a wrestler must stand at least 173cm tall. The figures were later released by The Japan Times in 2019, as they claimed that a height of 167cm is the minimum, while all wrestlers must weigh at least 67 kg. But, the publication also claimed that there is more flexibility on these requirements in the modern era, as wrestlers could turn professional even if they are just under the designated classifications.

Sumo Wrestling Championships: Honbasho and Legends

There are numerous events on the calendar that are staged throughout the year, but few are as prestigious as Honbasho. This event was established in 1926, with the winning wrestler picking up the Emperor’s Cup. In total, there are six Honbasho events throughout the year, with the tournaments lasting for 15 consecutive days. The event is governed and organized by the Japan Sumo Association.

The most successful wrestler in the history of the event is Hakuho, who landed a staggering 45 wins between 2006 and 2021. However, his record-breaking run ended following his retirement in September 2021. The current champion is Kiribayama, who won the first Emperor’s Cup in 2022 after defeating Daieisho. Some of the other most successful wrestlers in history include Taiho, who won 32 championships between 1960 and 1971, and Chiyonofuji, who landed 31 titles between 1981 and 1990.

The Future of Sumo Wrestling: Rising Stars and Global Audience

The future of sumo wrestling appears promising, with emerging stars captivating audiences worldwide. Sumo event attendances in Japan remain high, and there are expectations of hosting significant events in Asia in the coming years. The sport’s popularity has endured over time, with the Japan Sumo Association playing a vital role in its organization and development. With a rich legacy and a growing fanbase, sumo wrestling continues to thrive as a treasured cultural phenomenon with a promising future.

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