Japan’s national sport, Sumo wrestling.

For those who has not put much though in Japanese culture, Sumo wrestling can seem quite odd, like many other things in Japan. But this very old national sport is so much more than just fat guys fighting against each other.

The Sumo wrestling is not only about the fight but also about the very important and spiritual rituals before and after the fight.

We didn’t plan in advance to see a sumo wrestling tournament in Osaka but by chance we found out that a tournament was going on. Another luck was that we found tickets for the tournament!

 The rituals

This is just a brief explanations because the rituals are so complex that it would take a lot of research and time for me.

So, before they fight each other, they start first with a series of purification rituals.

The wrestlers stomp their feet, raise their legs as high as possible one after another and clap their hands to drive evil spirit out of the ring.

Sumo wrestling Osaka

Sumo wrestling Osaka

Then they rinse their mouth with the chikara-mizu ( strenght-water) and wipe the mouth afterwards with the chikara-gami.

The fighters squad down in front of each other and spread their arms horizontal to show that they don’t have any weapon on them.

Sumo wrestling Osaka

And then they throw salt around them to purify the ring where they fight each other.


And a few steps more before the action actually begin.

Sumo wrestler Osaka

 The rules of the fight

The rules of the fight is quite simple.

You win the fight by either forcing your opponent to step out of the ring


Forcing him to touch the ground with any part of his body other than the bottom of his feet.

It was fun to see it the first few times but it got quite boring quite fast because 90% of the time is actually about the rituals. The fight itself only last a few second.

If you are lucky the fight can last up to one minute!

And then you have to go through more rituals after the match! And it goes on and on.

In spite of long waiting for some action to happen we were happy to be able to witness sumo wrestling in real life.

Some facts about the sumo wrestlers

Japanese Sumo Wrestlers eat 20,000 calories a day.

You don’t have to be Japanese to be a sumo wrestler, however they must speak japanese.

The average age for a sumo wrestling viewer is 50.

The wrestler must live a traditional lifestyle.

If the audience aren’t happy with the match, they will throw cushions into the ring.


Pavel Bojar is a Czec and also the skinniest sumo wrestler.

Sumo wrestling OsakaTiny me!

Have you ever seen a real sumo fight? Did you like it?



Family Earth Trek


  1. Before, I was tempted to laugh a sumo wrestler’s man boob. But I quickly learned that those wobbly abs and thunder thighs conceal an incredible discipline. Training and discipline of which you or I can hardly imagine.

  2. This is so cool the recognition you are bringing to the sumo fighters. I know we don’t see too much of it in the states but they are definitely athletes who do amazing things.

  3. 20K calories is A LOT! Holy moly! My dad is Japanese- this could explain how he eats so much– but he is so skinny!
    I LOVE that you give the history and spiritual aspect of it- I think most people don’t know that!

  4. Although the Sumo isn´t my favorite kind of sport, it was an interesting read. One always has to learn something new,

  5. Would love to take my kids to see this. My 6yo is fascinated by all Japanese stuff (well… Ninjas… and beyond!). I also want to see the Swiss wrestling – Schwingen – at some point! Great photos.

    • Ohh he would love to go to Japan! Especially also to the Manga festivals! Yeah Schwingen is kind of weird to!?

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