The greatest Sumo wrestlers in Japan, and therefore the world, meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall for The September Basho, one of the year’s six Grand Tournaments. Crowds cheer as meaty men fight for victory using throws, trips and tricks.
Sumo is one of Japan’s most popular sports, steeped in legend, history and ceremony. To the outsider it can seem like a mere battle of strength and power, but it should be remembered that this is a sport with over 70 different manoeuvres and forms. Only when these are mastered will the wrestler stand a chance of becoming a Yokuzuna (grand champion).
As a spectacle Sumo is amazing. The men are giants, and in front of a packed house, they attempt to eject each other from the four-and-a-half metre circle or throw each other to the hard clay floor. The backdrop to the action provides constant reminders of the history and reverence of the occasion, from the Gyoji‘s (referee’s) fan – a sign of authority – to the symbolic salt scattering before each contest.