Speaking of Japanese traditional culture, what are the things that come across your mind?
For me, I had a deep impression by SUMO (Japanese style of wrestling), mainly due to their symbolic outstanding size & the unique outfit.
(Well, they are actually half naked hanging with just a piece of loincloth)
However, did you know that…
Sumo is Japan’s oldest national sport besides baseball and soccer and it has a long history compared to the latter.
Sumo began many centuries ago as one of the religious services of Shintoism (a performance to entertain the Shinto deities) .
It is said that a Sumo wrestler is a healthy man who uses all of their power to show their appreciation and pays respect to the gods with Sumo matches. That is why Sumo tournaments are often held as one of the ceremonies of the festivals.
Despite the modernization & changes in values over the years, there are many rituals which have been well preserved by the Japanese.
For instance, spreading salt into the ring before the match begins.
WHY spread SALT?
In the ancient times, Sumo fighting was used as fortune-telling for the harvest of that year. Hence, spreading salts means purifying the venue before fortune-telling.
However, not all sumo wrestlers can spread salt. Most of the time, only the upper ranking wrestlers have the right to spread salts and if there is enough time for it, they give the chance to the lower wrestlers as well.
The ideal weight for Sumo wrestlers are 400-600 pounds. You must be curious how Sumo wrestlers spend many hours per day training, yet still manage to carry such excessive weight?
Well, their diet and lifestyle explain everything.
Sumo wrestlers only eat two meals per day.
YES!!! Two meals a day with such exaggerated results!!!
The reason behind this is pretty simple.
Eating is an essential part of a Sumo wrestler`s training. They usually skip breakfast and train for 2 to 3 hours before lunch. Skipping breakfast triggers overeating later in the day (they eat 10 times what a normal male eats) and slows down the metabolism rate. Hence, your brain will give out signals to your body to perform fat storage mode in order to conserve energy for daily activities.
To get a better result in weight gaining, they will take a nap for as long as 4 hours after lunch in order to slow down their metabolism.
Therefore, to my dear readers, if you do not wish to have the same size as a Sumo wrestler, please do not skip any meals and avoid having late meals in the evening! LOL
Besides the body size, the unique appearance of the Sumo wrestlers, specifically their top knot hairstyle “chonmage” has strict regulations as well.
One can not be qualified to be a sumo wrestler if you are bald or have thin hair.
Sadly to say that, there are some wrestlers who were forced to retire after they became bald due to ageing. Nonetheless, it is imperative for dying one’s blonde hair to black.
Sumo wrestlers used to be all Japanese but in recent years there have been more foreign wrestlers from Mongolia, China, Russia, Europe, etc.
These days the top 3 sumo wrestlers are Mongolians.
Many do not notice this fact because their faces are similar to Japanese.
On the other hand, there is an interesting fact about Sumo wrestlers that a Sumo wrestler is not allowed to transfer their team once they have joined. Of course, it is common for football or baseball players to transfer teams but in the Sumo community, it never happens. The relationship between the master and pupils is everlasting. Once you have decided on a master, you are not allowed to change it.
Dear readers, after reading all the fascinating facts about Sumo wrestlers, are you looking forward to observing the Sumo training/ tournament during your trip in Japan?
Well, we have good news for you!!!
H.I.S Tokyo Information Center is pleased to share with you this optional tour of Sumo wrestlers morning training tour or you may even get to try the staple food of sumo wrestlers, Chanko-nabe (a hot pot dish that contains varieties of vegetables, seafood and meat) with Sumo Wrestler Demonstration.
Let’s enjoy Sumo world by all means!!!
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