Sumo wrestling -- and in the annual championship in Tokyo for the Emperor's Cup, many of Japan's leading exponents of the sport battled for two weeks for the trophy.
MV: Japanese wrestling official introducing competitors, in Tokyo
CU: Yokozuna Wakanohana prepares for fight
CU: Yokozuna Kitanoumi prepares for fight
LV: wrestlers bow and perform pre-fightritual and PAN TO Wakanohana returning to corner. (2 shots)
LV: wrestlers begin wrestling bout and hold each other. (2 shots)
MV: wrestling bout in progress (2 shots)
MV: wrestling in progress and Kitanoumi lifts Wakanohana (at 53 16.2 1.25) out of ring
CU: Wakanohana bows to opponent
MV: Kitanoumi squatting and official presenting him with award for winning bout and leaves ring
SPORT: SUMO WRESTLING
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Background: Sumo wrestling -- and in the annual championship in Tokyo for the Emperor's Cup, many of Japan's leading exponents of the sport battled for two weeks for the trophy. By the final day of the Sumo Summer Tournament, Sunday (20 May), Grand-Champion or Yokozuna, Wakanohana was assured of success whatever the outcome of his final bout against Yokozuna Kitanoumi.
SYNOPSIS: The rituals attached to Sumo wrestling are almost as important as the sport itself. The match official performed the introduction ceremony before a packed audience in Kuramae Kokugikan Sumo stadium. The title Yokozuna is awarded by Japan's Sumo Association and Indicates the proficiency of the wrestler. Yokozuna Wakanohana had an unblemished fourteen-win record in the championship and his opponent Kitanoumi could only hope to improve his own score. The ritual before the match is called the dohyo-iri ceremony and reflects the ancient origins of Japan's national sport which date back more than a twelve hundred years.
Once the ceremonies are over the true difference between Sumo fighting and conventional wrestling becomes instantly apparent. Each bout is in fact a religious rite and after the initial impact of the wrestlers crashing into each other's arms, there is little movement in the ring. The major qualifications for a wrestler is strength. The aim is to throw the other wrestler out of the ring. A major difficulty is being able to grip the ceremonial sash firmly enough to lift the opponent's gigantic form off the ground.
In the end despite Wakanohana's proven skill in the tournament, Kitanoumi was able to muscle the champion out of the ring. Wakanohana was later presented with the prized Emperor's Cup and Kitanoumi had to be content with joint second place in the championship although he had won the final match. It was Wakanohana's third title win and his second in the past four tournaments. During his career Kitanoumi has won sixteen championships.