Traditionally seen as an exclusively Japanese sport, sumo is becoming more and more popular internationally. North Americans have a league of their own and the two best wrestlers in the world aren’t even Japanese; they’re Mongolian. Step behind the scenes and discover why sumo embodies the ideal Japanese man, why it’s considered to be the essence of Japanese tradition, and why it has gained so many fans around the world.
Sumo is actually more like a lifestyle that requires dedication and discipline. It’s the national sport of Japan and it’s firmly rooted in the national religion; Shinto. Legend holds that the nation of Japan was born from a sumo match between two gods. That’s why the highest level of wrestling is called Yokozuma and those who hold this title are treated like gods.
However, apparently sumo is not just another sport, but a constant battle for one’s life. The average sumo match lasts less than ten seconds but almost anything goes. Wrestlers aren’t allowed to pull hair, hit with a fist, or choke their opponent, though. Only the highest ranking wrestlers are allowed to wear white. The rest wear black and fight for a chance to wrestle against the Yokozuma and to obtain the higher ranks.