Sumo wrestling to make its way to Tokyo Olympics

Sumo wrestling coming -- sort of -- to the Tokyo Olympics

The 2020 Olympics will happen in Japan and it might be time that tradition makes its way into the festivities.

One of the best the traditional Japanese sport should enter the fray due to the popularity the sport has amassed across more nations.

Sumo Wrestling grand champion Hakuho is a “yokozuna," which is the highest honor given to a Sumo Wrestler. Hakuho is Mongolian and a dominating competitor in the sport.

He even dropped hints as to why he dominates like he does.

Sumo tradition spreading across

Hakuho's late father Monkhbat won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics. Monkbat also competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

“I would like to watch Olympic wrestling matches because 56 years ago my father was a representative of my country in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in wrestling and took seventh,” Hakuho said, speaking in Japanese. “Four years later in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, he took a silver medal," Hakuho said.

Hakukho isn't the only Mongolian to become a Yokozuna. Fellow countryman Kakuryu, also holds the highest rank. 

Kakuryu spoke at the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena in east Tokyo to promote a sumo tournament n Aug. 12-13. The event will be held at the spiritual home of the sumo just a few days after this year's Tokyo Olympics end on Aug. 9.

Grand Sumo

The event will be called "Grand Sumo," a tournament to expose the Olympic guests in town to the traditional Japanese sport. 

Officials are promising commentary in English to explain to newcomers what's going on. They're also saying the wrestlers will mingle with fans - unheard of contact.

Kakuryu also addressed reporters briefly in English, another rarity in the cloistered and traditional Japanese sport.

“We are really looking forward to receiving people from all over the world,he said.

History of Sumo

Sumo's roots date back to the 8th century. The Shinto would use it as a ritual for good harvest.
Samurais used it for martial arts training during the Edo period from 1603 to 1868. It was also in this period where stylized rules were introduced. The pre-match rituals we see today such as art of entering the ring, the use of loin cloths, topknots and kimonos, as well as fighting regulations were all made a customary standard.
Sumo wrestlers are considered living performers of a cultural tradition. They are regarded to a high standard so they must be a good role model. A lot more is expected once a sumo reaches yokozuna.
Women are not allowed to become sumo wrestlers as the Shinto tradition considers them unclean and are not allowed to enter the ring.

The Shinto considers the elevated dirt ring, or “dohyo" sacred. The rituals we see such as the pouring of rice, sake and other offerings into a little hole in the center of the ring are done by the Shinto priests to pacify the gods.

Does Sumo deserve to be in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Will it be an Olympic sport in the future? How will its traditions affect its inclusion in the Olympics? Let's talk about it all in the comments below.

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