SIX THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SUMO WRESTLING
The origins of sumo were religious with ritualistic matches performed in shrines and dedicated to the gods in the hope of bountiful harvests.
In preparation for the bout, wrestlers clap their hands to request the gods’ attention and throw salt on to the ring to rid the ground of evil spirits
Considered as a sacred space, entering the ring ( dohyo) is regarded as an act of Shinto purification and spectators are not permitted to come near the area.
Each sumo wrestler ( rikishi) belongs to a “stable” where they live disciplined lives of intensive training and eating.
Sponsors pay 60,000 yen (£400) to display their banner in the ring (half the money goes to the sporting association, half into an envelope which the winner collects at the end of the bout).
The bout is lost if any part of a sumo wrestler’s body except the soles of his feet touch the ground or he is pushed out of the ring.