Sumo

The history of sumo goes to ancient times Japan.

There is a legend that in mythical times the gods wrestled with each other. Sumo was not just a sport, but was an event used to tell whether crops would be good or not by seeking the divine intention of the gods. From about the sixth century it developed into a spectator sport.

In modern sumo, the wrestlers, two at a time, pit their skills against each other in the round sumo ring which is 4.55 meters in diameter (or fifteen shaku ―14.9 feet ―using the old Japanese unit of measurement). The wrestlers are bare-handed in their bouts and wear only a loincloth, called a mawashi.

Before the bout commences, the wrestlers perform a series of ceremonial warm-up exercises and rituals. They stamp their feet, wash their mouths out with water and dry themselves with paper, and toss salt onto the ring, a ritual purification symbol. The referee (gyoji) indicates when the wrestlers get ready, whereupon they position themselves opposite each other, then bend forward and touch their fists on the ground to ready themselves for their charge. When both are ready they charge and start pushing, thrusting and grappling. The first one who touches the ground with any part of his body except the soles of his feet, or who is pushed out of the ring, is the loser.

There is just one professional sumo organization, which holds six tournaments (called ozumo) a year, three in Tokyo, and one each in Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka, Each tournament lasts fifteen days. The individual sumo wrestlers are moved up or down in rank according to how many victories they obtain in each of these tourneys.

Top of the ranks are the yoozuna, or grand champions: in the past three hundred years less than sixty have reached this grade. The winner of a tournament receives the Emperor’s Cup, the top award, plus a number of prizes from various organizations. One prize is contributed by an American airline company, and the company representative is very popular as he reads out the winner’s citation in the dialect of the area where the tournament has taken place.

Sumo, as the national sport, is highly popular, and is enjoyed by people all over the country through television and radio broadcasts.

In addition to the professional sumo, the sport is also practiced in universities, and many children, too, play at sumo.

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相撲

日本の相撲の歴史は、古代にまでさかのぼることができる。神話時代に神様同士が闘ったという伝説がある。農業生活の吉兆を占い、神の心を伺う行事として行われてきた。6世紀ごろからは見るスポーツとしても発展してきた。

現在の相撲は、直径4.55m.(日本の古い尺といえ単位で15尺、14.9フィート)の円形の土俵の中で力士2人が技を競う。力士は、素手で腰に「まわし」を締めただけの裸体で登場する。

2 人は古式にのっとり、競技に入る前に左右の足を交互に上げ下げして準備運動をし(四股をふむ)、水で口をそそぎ(力水)、紙で体をぬぐい、清めの塩を土俵 にまく。2人は行司という審判の指図にしたがって、向かい合って相手の動作に合わせながら体を前かがみに低くし、両手をついて立ち上がる身構えをし、呼吸 を整える。2人は呼吸の合ったところで同時に立会い、押し合い、突き合い、組み合って闘う。土俵の中で足の裏以外の部分が土につくか、体の一部が土俵の外 に出た方が負けになる。

プロの相撲団体が一つあり、年に6回、1回15日間の興業(「大相撲」と呼ばれる。)を東京で3回、大阪・名古屋・福岡で各1回行なっている。各回ごとに勝率によって各力士の地位の入れ替えが行なわれる。

力士の最高位は横綱で、過去300年間に五十数人しかこの地位に上がっていない。優勝すると天皇杯を賜るほか、いろいろの団体から賞をもらう。アメリカの航空会社からの賞もあり、その興行場所の方言で表彰状を読み上げるので人気がある。

相撲は国技として人気があり、テレビ中継やラジオ放送によって全国民が楽しんでいる。

プロの相撲のほか、学生相撲もあり、また少年たちは、相撲で遊ぶことも多い。

引用:cafe21
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