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Amazing Facts to Know About Sumo Wrestling


Sumo Wrestling in Ryogoku | Image Courtesy of Aussie Assault / Flickr

Everyone thinks they know what Sumo Wrestling is all about. Two big guys slamming against each other and the first to exit the ring or touch the ground other than his feet loses. Sumo wrestlers, known as rikishi, only wear a loincloth called a mawashi. And while they weigh as much as 150 kilograms, weight gain is actually an essential part of their training.


Some might have thought of the sport as a comical event, basing it on what they wear and the mechanics of the game. Others, however, look down on the sport. However, it might only be the case because they probably don’t know the facts stated below:


Sumo Wrestlers Squareoff | Image Courtesy of davidgsteadman / Flickr

Sumo Wrestling is Serious Business


While foreigners think that it’s nothing serious, it sure definitely is. Japan’s national sport originated more than 1,500 years ago and has religious origins. During the ancient times, it was a way to entertain the Shinto deities. Until today, the ring-entering ceremonies is part of a purification ritual.



Sumo Wrestlers in Action | Image Courtesy of Cesar Martins / Flickr

Some Sumo Wrestlers Used to Be Skinny


While these athletes have become larger over time, they weren’t really as fat as before. In fact, some of them used to be skinny. Unlike boxing, there are no weight divisions so Sumo Wrestlers want to get as big as they can to take advantage of their weight inside the ring. It was only in the 20th century when wrestlers decided to ditch the muscular image and put more weight on their bodies.



Sumo Wrestlers Inside the Ring | Image Courtesy of Cesar Martins / Flickr

A Sumo Wrestler’s Life is Hard


Most Sumo Wrestlers don’t really enjoy a life outside of their training schedule. That’s because they’re one of the most disciplined athletes in the world. They have a stable called sumobeya where they live, train, eat and sleep in their entire career. They can only move out once they decide to get married. Each stable has about 15 wrestlers and follows a strict hierarchy.



Sumo Wrestler Holding Up His Hair | Image Courtesy of tjabeljan / Flickr

Sumo Wrestlers Need to Behave In Certain Ways


In addition to living difficult lives, they’re also expected to behave in certain ways. For instance, they’re not allowed to drive their own cars and can’t choose their own clothes. Once they become part of a stable, they need to grow their hair long to be able to follow the Samurai hairstyles. They need to wear their traditional clothes and hairstyles at all times even when out in the public.



Sumo Wrestling Grand Tournament | Image Courtesy of James Willamor / Flickr

There Are No Women Sumo Wrestlers & Foreigners Are Limited to Join


Unfortunately, the Sumo Association does not allow women to become professional Sumo Wrestlers nor allowed to enter the sumo ring. It has been considered as a violation of the purity of the ring. While male foreigners are welcome to join, there has been a limit of 1 foreigner per stable. Before they become Sumo Wrestlers, there are unspoken rules that they should be well-versed in the Japanese language and culture.

If you’re planning to go on a Tokyo Tour, don’t miss your chances of catching a Sumo Tournament or Sumo Match in the world’s Sumo Center — Ryogoku District. Here, you’ll find numerous sumo stables and the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium, where you can witness 3 Sumo Tournaments annually.


With so many things to do in Tokyo, it’s best to plan your itinerary in advance. Have a list of things to do for your Day Tour in Tokyo. Additionally, list down your must-visit places if you have time for a Night Tour in Tokyo. And to make sure you get the most out of your trip in Japan’s vibrant city, don’t forget to join free walking tours in Tokyo — you’ll get the most interesting tips and secrets as told by a local!


Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!


Ronica is a writer who loves books and photography. She likes to discover new dishes, explore places she's never been to, and try exciting activities. She hopes to satisfy her curiosity by traveling the world.


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Tokyo is one of the most intriguing cities in world and our walking tours will show you why. You will learn about the Old and New Tokyo, the food, religion, history and culture.

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