- Title: Top ranked sumo wrestlers stomp in the New Year
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (JANUARY 6, 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** JAPAN'S TOP RANKING SUMO WRESTLER, HAKUHO, WALKING THROUGH SHRINE GATES ACCOMPANIED BY TWO OTHER SUMO WRESTLERS HAKUHO WALKING TOWARDS MIDDLE OF SHRINE GROUND HAKUHO AND OTHER SUMO WRESTLERS LINED UP VARIOUS OF HAKUHO PERFORMING TRADITIONAL RITUAL HAKUHO STOMPING HAKUHO PLACING CLAPPING HAKUHO TURNING AROUND TO FACE SHRINE GATES AUDIENCE WATCHING KAKURYU STOMPING AUDIENCE WATCHING HARUMAFUJI STOMPING HARUMAFUJI LEAVING SHRINE GROUNDS CROWDS GATHERED IN SHRINE HAKUHO WALKING TOWARD REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN'S TOP RANKING MONGOLIAN-BORN SUMO WRESTLER, HAKUHO, SAYING: "I want to have more victories than loses, and reach my goal of 1047 wins this year, so I need 39 to 40 more wins. I'd like to show performances that will make sumo fans remember me as powerful warrior of this era." HAKUHO SPEAKING TO REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CEREMONY SPECTATOR, RITSUKO NISHIYAMA, SAYING: "As I've only seen sumo on television, and until now I'd only seen Sumo without a traditional topknot hairstyle. Even as a Japanese person it was truly amazing to see top ranked sumo wrestlers." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 16-YEAR OLD CEREMONY SPECTATOR, HARUKA KATSURAGAWA, SAYING: "Sumo wrestling is a Japanese sport so it's a little sad to see Japanese wrestlers lose to foreigners." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PRAYING AT SHRINE
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 09:46
- Keywords: Sumo New years Meiji Shrine Hakuho Harumafuji Kakuryu mongolians
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Sport,Sumo Wrestling
- Reuters ID: LVA0015XXZVQ1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Japan's top ranking sumo wrestlers welcomed in the New Year with a traditional foot-stomping performance at Tokyo's famed Meiji Shrine on Friday (January 6).
The annual ceremony commemorates the wrestlers' first ring-entering before the year's official tournament begins.
Hundreds of spectators cheered as Mongolian-born Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu, visited the Shinto shrine, each accompanied by two lower ranked sumo wrestlers from their place of training.
"I want to have more victories than loses, and reach my goal of 1047 wins this year, so I need 39 to 40 more wins. I'd like to show performances that will make sumo fans remember me as powerful warrior of this era," said 31-year old Hakuho, who is six foot 4 (1.93 m) and weighs 154 kilograms.
Hakuho is widely regarded as one of the greatest sumo wrestlers of all time, having broken the record for the most wins in top division matches in 2016.
Spectators expressed excitement over being in the presence of a sumo champions.
"As I've only watched sumo on television, and until now I'd only seen Sumo without a traditional topknot hairstyle. Even as a Japanese person it was truly amazing to see top ranked sumo wrestlers," said a Ritsuko Nishiyama, a 49-year old company worker.
Some Japanese expressed their dismay that foreign-born wrestlers were winning the top title of "Yokozuna," or grand champion sumo wrestler.
"Sumo wrestling is a Japanese sport so it's a little sad to see Japanese wrestlers lose to foreigners," said 16-year old Haruka Katsuragawa.
The last Japanese born sumo to hold the rank was Wakanohana in 1998.
The first tournament of the new year will commence on January 8, with all three sumo wrestlers competing at the highest level in the "maku-uchi" division.
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