Calling next sumo fighters
Solving some dispute
Part of the ceremony before fight
Amuuru Mitsuhiro
Notice the change of referee attire?
Makuuchi Division
Makuuchi Division
Cleaning up the ring
Amuuru Mitsuhiro
Going back after the match
Sumo fighters are well respect

Sumo – Coming events cast their shadows before them, as soon as the Gyōji commences, the imminent duel reaches the flash point – this is not a battle of vitality but rather a battle of not making mistakes. Most matches will end in just a few minutes.

It had been 20 years since I last watched sumo wrestling.

I watched that on TV at a home stay in Aomori, Japan.

As might be expected, I had heard of sumo by that time,

but basically, I had never watched a real one.

And for this reason, I was well pleased even I was merely watching it on the TV.


To experience the genuine excitement of sumo wrestling,

I decided to go to watch the live sumo wrestling Tokyo match.


To get to the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium, one can get off at the Ryogoku Station.

There is a sign showing the direction of the stadium outside the station.

Yes – there is literally only one sign and one direction.

I followed the sign, and after walking for 15 minutes,

I felt that I went astray.

Consequently I went to the museum nearby and asked the way.

As luck would have it, the staff there were so affectionate that they took me there, as they saw me staring blankly about.


It’s noticeable that the affable people in Tokyo treated tourists very nicely.

At least that’s what I saw.


I got to retrieve my ticket which I booked online before I entered the stadium.

There weren’t any hiccups with the help of the pretty staff with her fluent English.

As I went in to look for my seats,

that pretty staff ran to me, sobbing for breath, and said that I had bought 4 tickets.

I told her that’s right, but in fact, I was alone.


I am not a billionaire,

but as I studied the seat arrangements,

I figured out that in order to have the best shots,

I needed to sit on the first floor, even it was a four-person room, which was a bit far away from the ring.

I could not book the front row when I bought the tickets,

so I had to take the 4-person room.


The 4-person room is fundamentally 4 seats surrounded by railings.

You can drink and eat inside.

I bought a bento as well.

I got a little bit disappointed as it was not warm, though.

It was 11 when I got there.

The junior wrestlers were having their duels.

Heavy class, the Makuuchi Division to be precise, would not start until it’s 2 o’clock.

So, there weren’t many spectators there at 11,

and I believed most of them were families of the participants who came to show supports for their most beloved ones.

Maybe that was good for me that I could go near the ring and take pictures.

They would not care about that as long as I was not making troubles.


So there are always conjectures that the sumo wrestlers are clumsy warriors.

Guess your jaws will be on the ground when you see them actually move,

they are very agile.

As soon as the judge started the match,

the wrestlers stampeded to their foes,

and what’s next is an exhilarating fracas with amazing strategies between the wrestlers within a meagre space.



Most wrestlers would first use their palms to push their foes’ faces or bodies,

they tried hard to push the foes out of the ring with their elephantine builds;



So when the two wrestlers successfully blocked each other’s pushes,

they would be like having turf war for a few seconds,

with their faces stick tight to each others’,

both of them were marking time for mistakes made by the opponent,

and hoped the rival would be the first to fall.



So after they moved apart,

there’s always one who initiates another wave of attacks.

That’s the moment someone would fall outside the ring and the winner would then be determined.



This might refer to two situations.

One of which means a wrestler skilfully countered his enemy’s attack and throw him out of the ring.

The foe might topple over or even fall out of the stage,

in the unlucky latter case they might even fall on top of some wretched one.

Another one means, within the first few seconds of a match,

a wrestler might lose his balance and fall inadvertently on the floor,

they would lose the match if their palms touched the ground.

This is the most awkward moment for a wrestler.


Push, block, crash, and fall –

All these were amalgamated into a fascinating art with astounding strengths and ancient wits.


I noticed that no matter the wrestlers won or lost,

they would give a deep bow towards the ring after they walked down the stage.

It’s nice to see such well-bred behaviours.


So the Makuuchi Division marked the culmination of the sumo matches.


In this division,

they had even much more intricate rituals before the real start,

and they needed much longer time to determine a winner, too.


They showed much more proficiencies,

and the matches were hence more intensified.

They often fought for a time to have one side got the upper hand of the fighting.

The clashes were profound.

I believed I might be minced if I were put on the stage.


The acclamations from the audiences,

the fierce fightings on the stage,

the applauses of the influenced crowd…

That impression in the real live scene…

It’s totally worth it!


I didn’t stay for long as I was not used to sitting with my legs crossed.

I tried hard to wait for Amuuru Mitsuhiro’s match.

He’s a Russian white man,

the facial features of a white man made him stand out from the wrestlers.

Anyway, I left after watching him losing the match.


I nodded to the four belles who were sitting next to my seats so that they could use my seats.

At the moment when they tried to say something,

my darn phone rang.

So, JL was at Kamakura, which was not far from me.



There are 6 seasons of sumo matches every year.

They were held in different places every season and it will last for a month every season.

The individual seats are basically all situated on the second floor,

you won’t see it unless you are with your binoculars.

The seats on the first floor are mostly 4-person rooms, but the spaces are cramped.

The tickets are not cheap too but they are selling well.

Before you go, you should first check the timetables online and buy the tickets there.



Victor Tai | Freedom is a Right

  • CameraCanon EOS 3
    Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM II
    ILFORD 400
    FujiColor Superia X-TRA 400
    Huawei P9
  • LocationKokugikan Sumo Stadium
  • Other Language繁體中文

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