The Grand Sumo: The Beauty of Tradition
"This finely crafted documentary video accurately
introduces Japanese sumo wrestling in all of its pageantry.
Although the almost 2000-year-old sumo is Japan's national
sport, its popularity ebbs and flows locally. Yet interest
outside Japan appears to be increasing, as the number of
foreigners who succeed in the sport rises. This excellent,
evenly paced production introduces the accoutrements and
rituals associated with the sport in clear, concise English
narration. The viewer gains insight into the training and
strategy of the wrestlers, but the focus here is on the traditions
and ceremony that give sumo its rich cultural significance.
As instructive as it is entertaining, the video is highly
recommended for libraries seeking an introduction to an often
overlooked aspect of Japanese culture."
© 2003 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Library Journal.
the first time on video and DVD,
follow the festive preparations for
a Sumo Wrestling Tournament in Tokyo.
Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan dating back over
1500 years. The huge but graceful wrestlers proceed with precision
and great formality through the elaborate ceremonies and ornamentation.
That doesn't stop crowds from going wild as the two huge wrestlers
dressed only in loincloths battle each other. There is nothing crude
about the fight; it proceeds in a series of infinitesimal moves
made with as much power as the individual wrestler can summon. When
one wrestler's foot is out of the ring, or any part of his body
touches the ground, the other has won. A bout rarely lasts even
Japanese schoolboys learn Sumo as their North American peers learn
hockey and baseball. Only the few who decide to make Sumo a career
compete for acceptance in one of the sumo stables in Tokyo where
they are put on the special Sumo diet, a rich stew called chankonabe
that bulks the wrestlers up for combat. A champion Sumo wrestler
will often weigh in at 400 lbs or more. Weight, however, is rarely
the deciding factor in a bout because the wrestlers are matched
to pair up equally. It is the skill of the great wrestler that counts.
The Story of Sumo introduces the pageantry
and ritual preparations by wrestlers and supporting staff in the
days prior to one of the six annual Grand Sumo
Tournaments. The efforts of wrestlers, hairstylists, calligraphers
and builders of the ring itself come together on opening day. This
is a sport which is also an art.
"The biggest thrill for me is to wear a chonmage hairstyle,
put on my belt, my mawashi, go to practice and then compete in the
regular tournament". Takanohana,
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