Have you ever seen live sumo? The Grand Sumo Tournament

The 40th Grand Sumo Tournament

In Coto Japanese Academy every February we have an appointment with Sumo. Come with us and discover the picture of an incredible Grand Sumo Tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, near the sumida river! We went just as viewers, of course!

During the event, we enjoyed the exciting fights between the most powerful rikishii (sumo wrestlers). 80 people joined this event and completed a small quiz about sumo where they had to guess who was going to be the champion of the tournament! We had three winners who guessed the finalist, congratulations! We discovered the traditions and rituals that the wrestlers follow before starting the battle and felt the unique traditional Japanese atmosphere inside the Kogukikan.

A Grand Sumo Tournament is not all about huge wrestlers competing against each others… But also the time when little ones can defy the mighty warrior. Aged 10 to 6 years old, a dozen of kids from the international school of Tokyo are chosen every year to bravely fight against a mighty sumo wrestler! Every year those challengers win despite the age… and the size difference! Sugoi!

A Grand Sumo Tournament is also the time of some comedy. We laughed so hard with what is called “comic sumo”, a parody performed by two sumo wrestlers, where they showed us a peculiar way of fighting each other. We are still not very sure about who was the winner of this comic match!


The sumo wrestlers were 38 and, while the majority of them came from Japan, we could also see some fighters from Russia, Georgia or Mongolia. Finally, the winner and indisputable champion of the match was the Yokozuna Hakuhou from Mongolia. Yokozuna (横綱) is the highest rank that can be given to a sumo wrestler. Through the history there have been only 71 Yokozuna, and the one that won this Sunday was the number 69.

If you lost this opportunity, do not worry! You will have your another opportunity next May when the official competition will begin!
Sumo Quiz (Please find the answers below)

  1. Hakuhou has the record for the most wins. How many times has he won (the championship)?
    a: 35 times
    b: 34 times
    c: 33 times
  2. Currently, how many non-Japanese wrestlers are active?
    a: 39 people
    b: 28 people
    c: 21 people
  3. Where in Japan is the the Grand Sumo Tournament not performed?
    a: Fukuoka
    b: Kyoto
    c: Nagoya
  4. What is the nationality of the first non-Japanese “Yokozuna”?
    a: Bulgaria
    b: Mongolia
    c: America
  5. How long is the “MAWASHI”?
    a: 1-3m
    b: 2-4m
    c: 5-9m
  6. Who do you think will come in first place in today’s Grand Sumo Tournament?

Here you can see more pictures from the event:
Answers: 1-c, 2-c, 3-b, 4-c, 5-c, 6-Hakuhou

Coto Japanese Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo, we offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learner. Coto Japanese Academy prides itself on its community atmosphere and fun lessons that focus on creation of opportunities to speak and learn Japanese. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo – please visit our contact page here.


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