News, Photos, Things to Do in Fukuoka

Sumo Behind the Scenes

November is always Sumo season in Fukuoka as the Grand  Sumo Tournament goes to town for the Kyushu Basho.  Sumo tickets are expensive and hard to come by, but to get a front seat and intimate view of the wrestlers, you don’t really have to pay a single yen.  As the the tournament begins, many shrines around Fukuoka play hosts to Sumo Beya’s  (Sumo Stables) and provide lodging and practice arenas for them within the compound.  The public are allowed  to view the training sessions. We were lucky enough to have the shrine that hosts the current grand champion Mongolian Asashoryu right in the neighborhood.  Asawa and I woke up early, had a light breakfast but everything else we would see that day would be heavy.

Sumo Practice

Sumo Wrestlers prepare to spar during a training session as young kids look on.

Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestlers collide.

Sumo Wrestling

Due to their size, it is easy to forget that these wrestlers are actually very quick and agile.

Yokozuna Asashoryu

There are two grand chapions in Sumo, and right now both happen to be Mongolian.  In this photo, one of them, Asashoryu provides tips to the other sumo as he waits for his turn to practice.

Sumo WrestllingTheir practices are intense and very physical.  Perhaps more so during this day because the championships begin the day after.

Sumo Sparring

Stable Cleanin'

Sumos fix the soil right before Asashoryu begins his training.

Asashoryu Practice

Yokozuna Asashoryu practices some techniques with another sumo.

Asashoryu Power

Asashoryu reminds everyone why he is the best of the best.

Hard Life

Sumos do push-ups at the end of their training.  One push-up for them is probably equal to a hundred regular ones!

Sumo Flex

I have probably never seen anything as surprising as this my whole life.  I had no idea Sumos were this flexible.

Sumo Warm Down

Sumos do some warm down excercises after their sparring session.

Big Shoes to Fill

Put yourself in their shoes.  Sumo footwear left outside the training area.

Asashoryu and the Media

Asashoryu answers questions from the media after training.  He didn’t allow them to enter the training area, and when he saw a few of them peaking, he threw a small roll of tape towards them.  I must say, his aim is very good, as it avoided spectators and headed right for the peeping reporter.

Asashoryu Autograph

Asashoryu is the bad boy of Sumo wrestling so he gets more share of the media than the sport already has in Japan.

Asashoryu Autograph

But he was kind enough to sign autographs.

Breakfast of Champions

This Sumo is literally cooking the breakfast of champions.

Sumo Stylin

A Tokoyama styles thee hair of a Sumo wrestler in Fukuoka.  Tokoyamas, just like the Somo wrestlers they service are also ranked according to their experience and ability and are high respected by the wrestlers themselves.

Young Sumo

A young Sumo has his hair styled.

Fukuoka Sumo

For their sheer size we forget that these men are athletes as well, who train as hard as other professional athletes.  Because their sport is also tied with Shintoism, much more is involved in the sport  than personal physical prowess.  These men take their sport seriously, and give up a lifetime just to be able to play the sport.   It is hard not to respect then.  We left the shrine only with an admiration of their dedication, and number of eggs consumed in one breakfast session.

Find out where the nearest Sumo Beya is to your place and pay them a visit!  This link provides all the information, but unfortunately it is in Japanese.   However,  it is quite easy to navigate.  Just click on your neighborhood in the map and it will show the Sumo Beya’s location in that area via google maps.


19 Comments on “Sumo Behind the Scenes

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  2. I found this totally fascinating. I had no idea these sumo wrestlers were so flexible. For such huge men, that is most amazing to me. Thanks for this excellent "documentary" and photos!

  3. Great post thank you! Do you know if there is beya close to Hakozaki or Tenjin that I can visit the first week of September? Thanks in advanced!

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