Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sumo at Grand Front

グランドフラントの相撲場所 2018

On Sunday, March 3rd, in advance of the opening of the March Sumo Basho (tournament) in Osaka there was a special demonstration of sumo that was held free of charge for the public in the open space in front of Osaka Grand Front's north building.
There are a number of special sumo related events in Osaka, most notably the Shinto rituals held at Sumiyoshi shrine which featured the famous Yokozuna (top rank), Hakuho; as seen below in Instagram post by "Sumiyoshitaisha_spirit"

A huge crowd was gathered at Grand Front.
Looking down at a steep angle made it difficult for those not in the front rows of the upper floors.
The ceremonies lasted from 1pm - 4pm.

A demonstration of how a special stylist prepares the wrestlers topknots.

The first rikishi (力士, sumo wrestlers) to take to the ring performed "shokkiri" as form of sumo comedy that involves a number of slapstick antics.

Kesho-mawashi; special ceremonial aprons worn by higher ranking rikishi.
Note the baby that is being carried into the ring.
Some shrines have a special ceremont, nakizumo (crying sumo) in which babies are held by rikishi until they cry in hopes that they will grow up to be strong (like the sumo wrestlers).

Kids wear a mawashi (sumo belt/loincloth) over their clothes for a popular test of strength against the strong-men.

Two against one.

This girl seemed upset. Maybe because her win did not come as easily as she had hoped.

The sumo wrestlers toy with the kids and eventually feign being pushed to the edge where the kids can "push" them out.

Kids used "tackle." It is not very effective. 

Taking a lap around the dohyo and giving high fvies while the kids try to push him.

Picking up two boys by their mawashi.

The rikishi put on a fun show for the audience and kids, involving a lot of near 

Charging in while a rikishi plays cameraman.

There were two or three older elementary school students who started by taking serious looking stances.
They seem to have had some sumo training.

The rikishi did not let those kids win, but gave them a sporting chance before beating them.

Some of the kids put on a good show.
The first sumo student [not this photo] was simply bulldozed out of the ring but I was impressed that he was able to stay on his feet, keep his form and make a focused effort.

A "Gyoji", sumo referee.

The shubatsu, a Shinto purification ritual (hara-e) in which, salt is sprinkled on the sumo ring (dohyo).

Getting into position.

Note the rikishi in the background. Even outside of training they only wear traditional Japanese clothing.

A ceremony involving a Japanese bow.

There ceremony involves a display of dexterity, agility and grace.
Note the individualized apron he wears, the kesho-mawashi.
It seems that this man is from Kyushu.

The ceremony is called the "yumi-tori-shiki" and cleanses a ring of evil spirits before a tournament.