An Exciting Sports and Cultural Spectacle
Nihon Sumo Kyokai Grand Tournament
Few figures are more identified with Japanese culture than the Sumo wrestler. While some consider Sumo to be a modern martial art, the seasonal sport in fact has a history spanning many centuries, and like most of Japan’s culturally significant pastimes, it is steeped in tradition, highly ritualised, and taken very, very seriously. The fifth Nihon Sumo Kyokai Grand Tournament of 2012 is held in Tokyo from September 9-23, with local fans and visitors alike flocking to the Ryogoku Kokugikan (also known as the Ryogoku Sumo Hall) in Tokyo’s north-western ward of Sumida to enjoy the uniquely fascinating and colourful spectacle.
A typical tournament day begins with first-time competitors taking to the ring, followed by ring-entering ceremonies and matches for each of the subsequent and ascending classes of competition, culminating in the thrilling premier Makuuchi division bouts. With no less than 82 possible kimarite or winning techniques, there’s literally never a dull moment, plus plenty of foot-stamping, salt-tossing and grappling as the gigantic competitors, who are among some of the strongest athletes in the world, attempt to force their opponent to the ground or out of the ring altogether. Tickets for all areas of the arena can be purchased online and the website also lists full details of all the competitors, their form, and vital statistics, but do be aware, front row seats really can result in injuries from falling wrestlers, so be prepared to jump!