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  • Writer's pictureMatt Levin

T-Shirt O the Day #5 - Sumo Wrestling

I got this one in Tokyo last year during my incredible trip to Japan. I didn't have time to see a Sumo match, but it's always fascinated me, and I'll be sure to go next time. I wonder if the matches are still going on today? It's about as far away from social distancing as you can get! Both with the 1000's of spectators that attend, as well as the full contact nature of the sport.

There's a similar theatricality to the proceedings as in Mexico's Lucha Libre, and American pro wrestling, which we know is 100% real, right? But Sumo is steeped in ancient traditions that go back nearly 2000 years. It's a much more serious and spiritual affair. Sumo was born out of the Shinto religion and some of the rituals still exist today, including Shubatsu; a purification ritual in which salt is sprinkled on priests or worshippers, or on the ground to purify it. Before Sumo matches, the Rikishi(wrestlers) prinkle salt around the ring to purify it. The clothing is also very important, with the highest ranking Rikishi getting to wear Keshō-mawashi, hand-made silk robes that can cost upwards of ¥1 million!

Lastly I filmed an episode of my show while in Japan. No Sumo unfortunately, but I included the the teaser I put together below. It has some of the magical sights and sounds of the land of the rising sun.

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