Sumo wrestling is a sport that unknown to many outside of Japan, actually requires enormous skill, dedication, and professionalism. A lot has been said about sumo wrestlers (rikishi) throughout the years, yet despite the its growing popularity worldwide, it is still unfortunately used like a punch line in many western countries due to how seemingly ridiculous sumo wrestlers look like to the uninitiated.
There is much more to Japan’s national sport that meets the eye, however, and we feel that people need to be educated a bit about what Sumo is all about. Not only is it a beautiful sport by itself, but all the traditions and customs associated with it make it more interesting than you could imagine. Here are ten of the most interesting facts about Sumo wrestling that you probably had no knowledge of.
9The horrifying side of sumo wrestling
Hazing in the sporting world is not new. Different sports have been locked by scandals ranging from sexual scandals to mysterious deaths of sports men, and sumo wrestling is no exception. There have been tales of young rakishis being forced to do some outrageous and downright horrifying acts. For instance, some lower rakishis have complained of being forced to wipe the butts of their upper ranking counterparts. In 2007, a young rakish, Takishi Saito, was allegedly beaten to death by other rakishis on the behest of the stable master Junichi Yamamoto.