Behind the sport of sumo is the religion of Shinto. Shinto is a japanese traditional religion Shinto “the way of the gods” is the indigenous religion of Japan which has existed long before Buddhism was introduced approx. 550 ad promoted by the use of the chinese writing system. Shinto gods called Kami take the forms and are believed to control the elements such as wind rain snow and nature as well as health and fertility. The way many worship the Kami the Shinto gods is to visit the Shrines of the Shinto these shrines are visited during traditional events such as New Year, Setsubun as for birthdays weddings and baby blessings. Sumo itself is a ritual performance to entertain the Kami the Shinto gods. Sumo itself is not held at shrines it is held however in Sumo stadiums. Professional Sumo wrestling is an accent sport dating back about 1600 years. A legend says when the kami Take Minazuchi the god won a sumo match in one of the Japanese islands with a rival tribal leader. Sumo matches became a rituals a dedication to the kami with sacred dancing and prayer as sumo wrestling was originally a form of fighting, boxing combined with kickboxing and wrestling with little rules fighting only of the rule of the Imperial Courts from about 710 – 1185. Public matches ceased when westling was banned in public under the Shogun’s rule as instead the way of the samurai as well as other martial arts and millitary combat styles were encouraged under shogun rule. The original sumo wrestling was a brutal sport which would attract many spectators. Sumo wrestling nowdays is full of ceremonies and has become Japans national sport. The first man to awarded as the Yokozuna was Akashi Shiganosuke in 1632.
Shinto: A Japanese religion
Kami: Shinto Gods
Take Minazuchi A Japanese god
Akashi Shiganosuke: The first grand champion.