What You Need to Know About the Sumo Culture in Japan

Wesley Conroy

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Sumo is the national sport of Japan that originated from an old Shinto ritual intended to amuse the gods. In this sport, the two wrestlers are called ‘rikishi’. These wrestlers attempt to push, grip, and throw their opponent wearing nothing but a loincloth or mawashi. The winner is the one who knocks his opponent out of the ring or to the ground.

Japan’s oldest Sport

Sumo grew into its current form from a centuries-old sport. During the Edo period, it was common for sumo wrestlers to wear their hair in a topknot. The referee, on the other hand, is dressed like a samurai. To this day, sumo remains in many parts of Japanese culture. To purify the ‘dohyo’ (the space where wrestlers compete), they toss salt into the ring before they begin their match.

Foreign Sumo Wrestlers

The number of international wrestlers has steadily increased each year. This includes Baruto Kaito from Estonia, one of the most popular foreign wrestlers. He started his sumo wrestling career in 2004 and has since boasted an ozeki rank and a top division championship under his belt. He also boasts seven special prizes making him one of the top successful sumo wrestlers.

Thanks to his success, popular betting site Bitcasino and Baruto have now teamed up to promote online gaming in Estonia and even bring a new face to Bitcasino’s amazing services.

Starting a Sumo Bout

Sumo fights take place in a mud ring with a dirt floor. A circular ring of 4.55 metres (15 feet) in diameter sits atop a square platform. The bouts then take place inside the ring. Wrestlers climb into the ring after their ‘shiko-na’ (formal wrestling names) are called. After the ‘shiko-na’ wrestlers then do the ‘shiko’. Shiko is the term wherein wrestlers lift and stamp their feet on the ground violently, with their hands on their knees.

Shikiri is then executed by lowering the waist, bending their knees to the side, and opening their hips wide. It is when they take their mark facing their opponent in a posture that will allow them to move forward at any moment. The match begins when both wrestlers place their hands on the ground and match their opponent’s breath. Once they have matched breaths, the fight commences.

If there is a standoff between the wrestlers, the referee will yell, ‘Nokotta!’ (Remaining!) and ‘Hakkiyoi!’ (Come on!).

How is the Winner Determined?

Whenever one of the wrestlers gets pushed out of the ring or makes contact with the ground with any part of his body other than his feet, the referee raises the fan he is holding. One of the classic winning techniques is a kimarite wherein a wrestler carries his opponent out of the ring using his ‘mawashi’. Meanwhile, the act of wrestling your opponent to the ground or shoving your opponent onto the mat is known as ‘abisetaoshi.’

Rather than engaging in grappling, ‘oshidashi’ takes place which means that a wrestler shoves their opponent out of the ring by pushing him underneath his arms or across his chest. Wrestlers use the ‘oshitaoshi’ technique to knock their opponents to the ground, whether inside or outside of the ring. Another move wrestlers often use is the ‘tsukiotoshi’. This refers to a wrestling technique wherein a wrestler uses one arm to grip his opponent’s armpit or side and bring him to the ground at an angle.

Many fans from across the world can now expect sumo wrestling to be more popular since Bitcasino and Baruto have now teamed up. With this, expect games that are inspired by sumo wrestling. Place your bets and have a great time.