Thursday, November 21, 2013

Japanese Children Sumo Festival

The Sumo festival in the small town of Wadayama in Hyogo Prefecture may not have the most skilled sumo wrestlers or the heaviest for that matter but they make up for it with a lot of energy and for their grandmothers with cuteness. 

To celebrate the autumn harvest, the boys of the village gather at the local shrine to wrestle with each other in sumo fashion wearing the traditional sumo loincloth known as fundoshi. Officiating them is a referee dressed in stylish robes of the Heian Period (794-1192) known as a gyoji. 

The boys range in age from about 5 to 11 or 12. There is no ritual significance in the age of the contenders. It's just that most of the boys feel embarrassed to stand around in a loincloth once they start Junior High School. 

The purpose behind the sumo event other than to give their grandparents something to awe about is to bring good fortune to the community. This harkens back to sumo's origins before it became a professional sport. In ancient times sumo was performed outside at Shinto shrines or before the Emperor to honor the gods and pray for good harvests.

So these pint-sized sumo emissaries are actually performing a sacred ritual nearly 2000 years old. I'm not sure if the gravity of the situation weighs much on them so much as the fun of wrestling in the dirt with their friends and not being told off for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment


About Me

My photo
Tokyo, Japan
Vagabond traveler currently hold up in Tokyo. I've done a far bit of traveling and had a few interesting adventures along the way. This blog is a chronicle of adventures past and present and those yet to come. I’ve been to about 30 countries though some no bigger than a kitchen table. I’ve run with the bulls of Pamplona, hiked the Inca Trail, got mugged in Mexico City, floated down the Nile in an old boat, climbed the Great Pyramid of Egypt, got ripped at Oktoberfest, and rode the notorious Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Party Train.