Sumo  is Japan's national sport.

It is a contest between 2 wrestlers who fight in a raised ring. There are many ways to win. One of the most common ways is to lift or push your opponent out of the ring. Another common way is to push your opponenet to the ground inside the ring. Basically, if you step out of the ring or either hand touches the surface of the area within the ring, you lose.

Sumo is so fascinating because of the heirarchy of the wrestlers. At the very top are the Yokozuna. These guys have fantastic winning records and the sumo council will deliberate whether or not they can get Yokozuna status. There are usually only 3 or 4 Yokozuna at any time. Next in the pecking order are the Ozeki. They also have great records. To be considered for Yokozuna status, an Ozeki really needs to win a few of the big tournaments (Basho) that are held througout the year.

The top 5 Sumo ranks are listed below.

  1. Yokozuna
  2. Ozeki
  3. Sekiwake
  4. Komusubi
  5. Maegashira

Recently there has been an influx of foreign wrestlers in professional Japanese sumo. In particular, Mongolian wrestlers are making a name for themselves on the circuit. A crowd favourite, who rose to the rank of Yokozuna, is Asashoryu. He is not the biggest wrestler but in his prime he had the biggest heart and will to win.

Sumo is a great spectacle, not just because of the fighting in the ring, but because of all the traditions and customs that make up any of the major Bashos during the year. Any visitor to Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka should see if Sumo is in town.


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