Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan, enjoying a special legal status and support from the government. Every two months, a 15-day tournament is held, three in Tokyo and one each in Nagoya, Osaka and Kyushu. Wrestlers fight one bout each day, and the one with the best record of wins-to-losses at the end of the tournament is declared the winner. There are six ranks for the wrestlers to climb up through, with the top being yokozuna, or Grand Champion, and for a wrestler to attain this rank, he's supposed to not only be the strongest but have the proper kokoro (heart, soul) that embodies the spirit of sumo wrestling. (I can hear Yoda's voice: "...The deepest commitment, the most serious mind.") When top-ranked Mongolian wrestler Asashoryu sealed his victory at the sumo championship last week, he pumped his arms in the air in exultation, but this breech of proper sumo etiquette has landed the wrestler and his stablemaster in hot water, earning them both a stern warning from the Japan Sumo Association.
What do you think? Is it fair to ask a non-Japanese wrestler to hide his happiness and emotions that much in the name of being a good sportsman?
Japan's top-ranked sumo wrestler takes a victory lap