What is the world of the sumo wrestler like?
The winner in sumo is decided when the opponent is forced out of the ring (dohyo) or when any part of his bodv touches the ground.
In order to become a sumo wrestler, one has to belong to one of the approximately 50 sumo stables.
The stables take care of every aspect of the newcomers' lives including food, clothing, and housing, while training them to be strong wrestlers.
It is a man’s world except for the family of the stable master.
Wrestlers are ranked according to their ability.
The lowest rank is called jonokuchi, which is the starting point.
There are nine other ranks such as jonidan, sandanme. mmakushita, juryo, maegashira, koimusubi、sekiwake and ozeki.
In the top rank are the yokozuna, or grand champions.
Wrestlers above the rank of juryo, are called sekitori and receive monthly salaries from the Japan Sumo Association.
What the other wrestlers get is a small incentive depending on their record in tournaments.
The doors to the sumo world have also been open to non-Japanese.
The first wrestler from abroad made his debut in 1934, and seven others would follow him by the start of World War II.
As of the fourth tournament of 2004, there were 61 non-Japanese wrestlers from 11 countries, including the United States, Mongolia, Russia, Brazil, and various European countries.
So far, three wrestlers from abroad have reached the rank of grand champion.
Akebono: Hawaii. 64th Champion, 1993
Musashimaru: Hawaii, 67th Champion, 1999
Asashoryu: Mongolia, 68ih Champion, 2003