After showing you the work of Katana Swordsmith, Muneyasu, I bring you the second chapter of the Chronicles of Japan series. In this post, I invite you to enjoy a Sumo daily practice, called Keiko, that takes place prior to and during the major competitions.

Hard morning training at Sumo stable, Ryogoku, Tokyo

Hard morning training at Sumo stable, Ryogoku, Tokyo


After waking up early, and walking around Ryōgoku neighbourhood, I manage to enter in two of the sumo stables (Beya) where the trainings are hosted, named Kokonoe and Hakkaku. They begin around 5:00 am, for the lowest ranked wrestler (rikishi), and start with stretching exercises that are followed by actual practice bouts in a “dohyō”, the sumo ring.

The sumo tradition is very ancient, and this can be felt thanks to the many ritual elements that are still carefully carried out, such as the used of salt for purification, brought from the days this discipline was used in the Shinto religion.

When the ring is ready, wrestlers endure an exhausting training session – one of the hardest I have ever witnessed -, with tens of exercises that include repeated leg raises, practice arm thrusts and winner-stays-on matches that prove the presence of an outstanding strength and resistance.

The whole of this arduous program reveals, for the novice visitor, the need of a strength out of the ordinary, creating a spectacle worth witnessing at least once in your life.

Chronicles of Japan I: Sumo Keiko
(Read Chronicles of Japan: Muneyasu, Katana Swordsmith)
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