Monday, July 16, 2012

Sumo And Ancient Shinto Traditions

I watched a film called "Sumo Do, Sumo Don't" tonight, and it made me ponder about this topic. It is an excellent film from 1992, having the original title シコふんじゃった。and it was chosen the best Japanese film of that year. The film starts with a quote from Jean Cocteau - his impressions on sumo wrestlers after watching them in Japan: "The players are pink giants, as unique as the frescoes from a famous cathedral. They come together in equilibrium, their legs intertwined, their fingers grasping each other's sash, legs rooted to the earth."

Sumou 相撲 is played in a ring called dohyou, and the wrestlers wear a sash called mawashi around their loins. Sumo includes many ritual elements, like the purification with salt.

Professional sumo tournaments have been held in the Ryougoku Kokugikan since 1909.
I once passed by there, on the way to Edo Tokyo Museum. This is the subway station.

Just outside the station:

The wrestlers, rikishi, were getting dressed outside. Out of respect, I am skipping those photos.

There are ukiyo-e depicting sumo wrestlers just at the entrance, on both sides.

The entrance fee can reach 14,300 yen. That is about 148 euro/person.

The same subway station:

One of the many things I appreciate about Japan is the interest in the inner grace more than the outside splendour.
Preserving traditions is something to strive for. They are incommensurable treasure.

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