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The Unbelievable World of Sumo

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There are few images that evoke Japan more than that of sweaty, obese men wearing a thong…  Sumo, or “vinegared rice” in English is the national sport of Japan, though it's popularity, steeped in tradition, isn't quite what is use to be, it's still an amazing sport. Here are some things you probably didn't know about Sumo.



Sumo began in the days of the Samurai. During battles, it was common for the huskier samurai to burst out of their armor, leaving them naked, save for the traditional silk diaper worn underneath. Publically embarrassed, they would play it off by dropping their swords, covering their breasts and continuing their battle to the death wearing nothing but their diapers, and slapping one another unconscious.



The "diaper" that they wear is called a fundoshi. It is made from only the strongest of silk and a strong layer of Kevlar (also made from silk).  To the sumo, it is a blessed garment and to be treated with the utmost respect.



The game can be played indoors or outside. Two wrestlers meet in the center of a circular ring, called as dohyo. The wrestlers in Sumo are called as rikishis.



NO women are allowed in the dohyo. No exception has ever been made, not even for a female government minister who wanted to present the tournament prizes. Sorry ladies.



The game comes to an end when one of the wrestlers forces the other wrestler to touch the ground by any part of the body, other than the feet that is.



In sumo tournaments, fans react to a loss by throwing their seat cushions into the ring. They do this all the time to show that they are not pleased with whatever just happened. It's a strange tradition that has been around forever. They are even trying to develop seat cushions that are harder to throw, to prevent fans and wrestlers from getting pelted with flying cushions.



Sumo wrestlers are actually banned from driving. It's not because they are too fat to drive, it's a rule based in years of tradition.



Sumo wrestlers are huge sex symbols in Japan. They are like Rock Stars! Ladies love the Sumo wrestlers, they flock to see them and get autographs and take pictures with their Sumo favorites. It's not uncommon to see a Sumo wrestler out in public with a lovely lady on each arm.



Before the sumo can adorn their smooth, silky thongs in front of throngs of fans, they must first enter a “stable” for training. As the Japanese regularly eat horses, this leaves ample room in the country’s stables for the sumo to train, feed, and be brushed and cared for.



Here you can see Japanese milkmaids bless the sign of a sumo stable in Kobe, Japan.

Now, most Sumo don’t start out fat, or even “severely obese,” most come into a stable malnourished from eating nothing but white rice and seaweed. This lack of girth is quickly remedied once they begin a daily regiment of “chanko” soup, which is similar to the “chum” fed to sharks.



Despite its many problems with corruption, obesity, and diaper-rash… Sumo is a pretty amazing sport.


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