Well, I didn’t know I did until I saw a whole lot of them at the sumo tournament! Flat butts, lumpy butts, and even hairy butts--I was happy to see such ‘butt confidence’ on display. Apparently a lot of other people like these big butts too, because most tournament days sell out. The tournament takes place over 15 consecutive days, with each wrestler only having one match each day. It was sold out the day I attended and I was surprised to see that the facility was so big! A few people mentioned that the popularity of sumo has really grown over the past few years and now tickets are harder to get and more expensive (so I’ve been told).
Sumo has been around for over 1500 years! Its origins are religious, so naturally there are lots of aspects of the sport that are ceremonial and ritual. Which means to a foreigner like myself, lots of things seem weird and unnecessary. Why do they wear those thongs? What’s up with the hairdo? Why are they throwing salt everywhere? Why do they keep doing that weird thing where they lift their legs? What in the hell is that ref wearing? Do you think they’re ever self conscious about their butts? I had lot of questions, and there was a reason behind everything.
Japan is a culture rich in history and a strong belief in tradition. Many aspects of sumo are just like they were a thousand years ago and everything in it has meaning. I won’t go into too much detail on any of it, but I will mention a few of things that I learned. (I figure if you’re really interested, you can Google it because god knows I am NOT the person to get educational information from—I’m more of a Cliffs Notes version.)
So here are some of the highlights I took away…
- That “thong” is called the mawashi and is made of heavy silk approximately 10 yards long and 2 feet wide! The mawashi is an important piece of “equipment” because many maneuvers are achieved by gripping the opponent’s mawashi.
- Their hairstyle is dependent upon the rank of the wrestler.
- The salt helps moisten the wrestler’s hands and disinfect any scrapes. Then it is thrown across the ring to purify it.
- The ritual where they raise one leg high and to the side then loudly stomp it down, symbolically is driving evil spirits out of the ring.
- The referees are called, Gyoji and their kimonos are in the style of samurai and their hats resemble those of Shinto priests. The type of shoes and color of their outfits are dependant upon their rank.
- And as for their level of butt confidence…. I’m guessing they’re feeling pretty good about showing off their butts. I mean it’s not like the outfit is a surprise to them, they’ve been wearing the same thing for 1500 years!