The sumo (相撲) is a sport of fight Japan board. The combat sumo is characterized by the gauge of the fighters as by the many traditional rites which surround the engagements. This sport remains very popular in Japan, even if the Baseball and the Football détrônent it, in particular in the young people.
The sumo was mentioned for the first time in 712 in the Kojiki (Account of Old Times), first book of Japanese writing. Kojiki reports the victory of Takemikazuchi against Takeminakata, two old gods at the time of a combat of Sumo. Thus the people carried out by Takemikazuchi obtained the possession of the Japanese islands and which was founded the imperial family from which current the Empereur is resulting.
Put besides this legend, it seems that the combat sumo appeared there is nearly 1500 years, in the form of ritual monks Shinto: Combat sumo as well as dances and theater were dedicated to the gods at the same time as of the prayers to obtain good harvests.
At the 8th century, the combat sumo are introduced into the ceremonies of the Imperial Court. Annual tournaments are organized, accompanied by music and dances in which take part the victorious combatants. The combat of the time, which mix Boxe and Lutte and which authorizes almost all the blows, remain very far away from the current combat sumo. However, under the influence of the Imperial Court, of the rules were gradually formulated, of the techniques were developed and sumo fights it became close to what it is currently.
From the Period Kamakura
The establishment of a military dictatorship with Kamakura in 1192 is followed from one long period of wars and instability. The combat sumo is quite naturally seen by the chiefs under the military angle and is used to increase the effectiveness with the combat of the soldiers.
The unification of Japan under the Shogunat Tokugawa in 1603, is followed from one period of peace and prosperity, marked by the development of an easy class of tradesmen. Professional groups of sumo are created to divert the middle-class class and the combat sumo takes its current form, as a national sport of Japan.
The professional sumo is a sport reserved to the men. The fighters of sumo, are called rikishi (力士) or sumotori (name used for the beginners). At the time of the engagements, they are vêtus only mawashi , a band of fabric tightened around the size and crotch, which constitutes the only solid catch authorized during the combat. This one made in the regular manner between 9 and 14 meters according to the corpulance rikishi . They are capped according to the style chon magus : the hair, smoothed with oil, is maintained by a chignon. A rikishi guard its long hair during all its active career; its departure with the retirement is marked by a ceremony ( danpatsu-shiki ) during which this chon magus is cut. The rikishis of higher divisions are capped in oïcho-magus (the chignon has a form a sheet of Gingko) when they are in tournament or of representation.
There is no category of weight for the rikishi and it can happen that one of the combatant has more of the double of the weight of the other (weights of sumo which can go from 70 to 280 kgs!). However, the sumos of best divisions on average weigh approximately 150 kgs, weight seeming most capable to ensure at the same time stability and flexibility.
The daily life of the rikishi is very regulated: Alarm clock at 5 o'clock in the morning, drive, lunch containing Chanko nabe , nap, evening meal containing chanko nabe. The drives follow a certain number of ritual ancestral and the fighters best classified are made be useful by the apprentices.
Before the confrontation, the fighters drive out the spirits by striking the ground with the feet, after having raised them very high: it is about the Shiko . As a sign of purification, they take a handle of salt and launch it on the dohyo , the zone of combat delimited by a circle 4,55 meters in diameter. There is also the ritual of " the water of force" that the rikishi drinks then recrache. They are the three ritual gestures most important before the beginning of the combat itself.
The combat begins with the signal from the gyoji (the referee) which presents the other then face of its range. After a phase of observation, the fighters must touch the ground with their two hands to accept the combat. Physical confrontation can then start (the beginning of the combat where the two fighters literally throw one on the other is called taichiai ), the two protagonists spring one towards the other, the goal being to eject the adversary out of the circle of combat or to make him touch the ground by another part of the body that the plant of the feet. The combatants can use the authorized catches among the 82. These " catches gagnantes" are called Kimarite .
There are 6 tournaments per annum: " Hatsu Basho" (Tokyo, second Sunday of January; hatsu means new, here New Year's Day), “Haru Basho” (Ōsaka, second Sunday of March, haru means spring), “Natsu Basho” (Tokyo, second Sunday of May, natsu means be), “Nagoya Basho” (Nagoya, second Sunday of July), “Aki Basho” (Tokyo, second Sunday of September, aki means autumn), “Kyushu Basho” (Fukuoka, second Sunday of November, Kyushu is one of the 4 principal islands of the archipelago). There is in addition to the regional tournaments which do not count in the classification of the fighters: the jungyo . The jungyo can take place abroad. France had the chance to accommodate one in 1995 in Bercy of them.
The classificationDuring the tournament, the objective of the rikishi is to obtain more victories than of defeats over a maximum number of 15 engagements:
If he arrives to 8 victories, he is indicated kachi-koshi and can then gain rows in the classification of the fighters.
If it loses more than 8 times in a tournament, it is declared make-koshi and can be displaced.
The table of classification is called banzuke . The banzuke takes again the classification of the same fighters but also gyoji and of the yobidashi , the people who déclament the name of the rikishi before each combat.
When a fighter excels with the very first row, the federation can indicate it Yokozuna (supreme Champion). It is generally necessary for that to gain two tournaments after and to be considered to be morally worthy of such a row (the Yokozunas are regarded as the rikishis closest to the gods, even sometimes like demigods). The Yokozuna - which opens the days of combat by a special ceremony - preserves its title at life and will not be able to regress in the classifications. Nevertheless, if its results become unworthy of a Yokozuna , the use will force to him to withdraw world of the sumo. Currently, there are two Yokozuna , both of Mongolian origin , named Asashôryû and Hakuhô.
The professional sumo gathers several hundreds of fighters. The rikishi best classified (70 the best) are called sekitori and are paid by the Japanese association of sumo (NSK). They are the only ones which makes 15 engagements by bashô , the others make only 7 of them. Each rikishi fight against fighters of his category of level. The trophy which the winner of each division gains calls Yûshô . Moreover of another price at the conclusion of a basho in the most prestigious category named the maku-uchi can be allotted (42 best fighters). They are the kin-boshi (gold star) with that among the 34 less better classified EC division (the will maegaeshira ) which will have succeeded in gaining a combat against (or them) the yokozuna titrates some and the sanshô . The Sanshô are three prices which reward a fighter who dissociated the different ones either by technical quality with which it gained its combat ( Gino-sho ), or by an outstanding performance throughout the basho ( Shukun-sho ), or still by its courage ( Kanto-sho ). All these prices including the yusho , in addition to the caused premium, grant an increase in the treatment of the rikishi until its retirement.
The tournaments are diffused through all Japan and are followed feverishly by most of the population although the discipline has been victim of the disaffection of the public for a few years.
The rows of the first division ( Makuuchi ) are the following, of highest at least high:
- Yokozuna (currently two: Asashoryu, Hakuho),
- Ôzeki (currently four: Chiyotaikai, Kaio, Kotooshu, and Kotomitsuki)
- Sekiwake (generally two),
- Komusubi (generally two),
- Maegashira (more than one about thirty).
Literature of the sumo
- Memories of a fighter of sumo , Kazuhiro Kirishima, autobiography, Philippe Picquier, 2001.
- List of the Japanese terms specific to the fight sumo
- Japanese Association of sumo
Photographs on Sumo
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