Sumō (相撲 sumō ) is a competitive contact sport where rikishi (a sumō wrestler) attempts to force another wrestler out of dohyō (a circular ring) or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where ōzumō (大相撲) (professional sumō) is practiced.
The sport has a history spanning many centuries, and its tradition is very ancient. Even today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt purification, from the days sumō was used in the Shinto religion. Life as a rikishi is highly regimented, with rules laid down by the Sumō Association. Professional sumō wrestlers are required to live in communal "sumō training stables" known in Japanese as heya where all aspects of their daily lives—from meals to their manner of dress—are dictated by strict tradition. The dōjō system of puroresu is believed to have its roots in the heya system.
The rikishi are given shikona, similar to the stage name or ring name in professional wrestling.
Banzuke is the official listing of rank in ōzumō and is divided into 6 divisions (listed top to bottom):
- makuuchi or makunouchi
- yokozuna - the highest position in the banzuke, often referred to as the "grand champion"
- jūryō - the first division in which rikishi receive all the privileges and honors that come with being a member of ōzumō's elite, sekitori class.
Relationship with Puroresu
Main article: List of rikishi-turned pro-wrestlers
Throughout its history, puroresu has had significant number of competitors who had at least some experience in ōzumō. Especially between 1950s and 1960s, most of Japanese pro-wrestlers were former professional rikishi.
- Nihon Sumo Kyokai Official Grand Sumo Home Page
- The Sumo Forum
- Sumo Fan Magazine
- Sumo News and Analysis
- Mainichi Daily News: Sports Sumo News