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Sumo coming to Okinawa this December

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-09-10

For three days in December, the island of Okinawa might be a bit heavier than usual. With approximately 330 sumo wrestlers expected to gather at the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City for "The Sumo Winter Tour in Okinawa" there’s little wonder people might feel water levels have risen some.

After a four-year absence, sumo will return to the island from December 10-12 and include two of the sport’s heavyweights, Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Akebono and Musashimaru. Two of Japan’s most famous sumo brothers, Wakanohana and Takanohana are also expected to appear on the dohyo, or sumo ring.

Different from regular tournaments as seen on TV, the tour will unveil many previously unknown aspects of Japan’s most traditional of sports. Special attractions to be performed to help audiences better understand the sport during the three-day performance, including the “Mage-yui,” or topknot ceremony conducted by the wrestlers, and “Shokkiri,” a performance of 48 techniques unique to the sport.

"We recommend visitors to see the open-door morning training. It might help to find something fresh about sumo,” said Shibatayama Oyakata. “You will be able to feel the great zeal of each wrestler for only ten to fifteen seconds on dohyo by witnessing the dynamic sweat-flying training.”

Ticket prices start at ¥14,000 for a front row seat, ¥44,000 for box seats on the first floor for four people, and ¥7,500 for a seat on the second floor for, and other seats for ¥6,000 and ¥4,000.

Tickets will be on sale from September 12 at Ryubou and Mitsukoshi department stores and also Lawson convenience stores. Reservations can also be made by phone in English to the Ozumo Office at 860-0889.

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