Perhaps most interestingly, the gyoji also carries a sword, or tantoof about six to twelve inches in length. This is part and parcel of sumo culture and something that young wrestlers know to expect, but it can sometimes go too far — resulting in injury and very rare cases even in death. Sumo is a religious ritual Compared with most sports in the world today, sumo originated a heck of a long time ago. Sumo may seem comical to you and me, but it is actually a very serious business — there is an awful lot more to sumo wrestling than most outsiders ever realise. Everyone thinks they know what sumo wrestling is. Well, yes and no. Like the wrestlers, they enter the world of sumo at a young age about sixteen and remain in their profession until they retire.
The traditional clothing they wear in the ring is strictly graded according to rank, and as they progress up the ranks they earn honorific names by which they become known.
Plenty of Fish
This rather poetic epithet echoes the words of 14thth century playwright Zeami Motokiyo, and is meant to convey the excitement of the decisive bouts and the celebration of the victor — who receives all kinds of elaborate prizes for his success. Life is hardest for the lower ranked wrestlers, who are expected to get up earliest and cook, clean, serve food and generally wait on the higher ranked wrestlers. The canopy that hangs over the ring is modelled after the roof of a Shinto shrine, indicating that the ring itself is a holy place. Contact us to find out more. Not only must they wear traditional dress, but the specifics of that dress is also closely controlled. These foreign wrestlers are expected to speak Japanese, and must be well-versed in Japanese culture — meaning that foreign sumo face all the same challenges that Japanese sumo do, but with the added anxiety of having to learn to live and breathe like a Japanese.