In the sumo ring
Sumo wrestlers compete during the "Honozumo" ceremonial sumo tournament at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo April 3, 2015. Japanese sumo fans cheer for the sport's top fighters at an annual Honozumo ceremonial tournament, but many say they yearn for a...more
Sumo wrestlers pray before the start of the tournament. The shouts of "Harumafuji" and "Hakuho", the wrestlers names, rang through the outdoor arena as the two giants dressed in nothing but the traditional loincloth prepared for their clash, the...more
A sumo wrestler wears a mawashi loincloth during a warm-up bout. Despite their Japanese names, the two wrestlers who are household names in Japan were both born in Mongolia. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A sumo wrestler carries a baby before the tournament. Hakuho Sho became a legend in the sport earlier this year when he wrestled his way into his 33rd championship, the most in sumo's recorded history. His opponent on Friday, Harumafuji Kohei, is one...more
Sumo wrestlers perform a show fight. The number of foreign-born wrestlers, especially in the top classes, has risen in recent years as fewer Japanese are attracted to the sport and its harsh conditions, including tough training and being forced to...more
Children watch sumo wrestlers warm up. While Japanese fans say they admire the foreign-born fighters, many acquiring Japanese names and speaking the language, they would like to see an end to the domination. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Sumo wrestlers compete during the tournament. "There are too many Mongolians, the next expected grand champion sumo wrestler are first Terunofuji (Haruo), and Ichinojo (Takashi) - all the grand champions may be all Mongolian soon. I really hope...more
A sumo wrestler performs a ritual stomping movement before a bout. In recent years the sport has seen a streak of champions from Mongolia, Estonia and Bulgaria. The Japan Sumo Association currently lists 25 wrestlers from Mongolia in its list of...more
A supporter holds the Japanese and Mongolian national flags during the tournament. "It's great that it's international now. But I am Japanese so I want to see a Japanese grand champion sumo wrestler. We haven't had one for years," said 71-year-old...more
A sumo wrestler reacts after he was thrown out of the rink during a show fight. Sumo's history stretches back about 1,500 years with roots in a religious ritual conducted in Shinto shrines along with prayers for abundant harvests. The early sport was...more
Mongolian-born grand sumo champion Hakuho prepares for a fight. Professional sumo groups began to appear in the early 17th century. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Sumo wrestlers line up after praying before the start of the tournament. Popularly regarded as Japan's national sport, victory is achieved when one wrestler either pushes his opponent out of the ring (dohyo), or topples him. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Sumo wrestlers take part in a Shinto ritual before the start of the tournament. The sumo world is strictly hierarchical. Wrestlers belong to one of around 50 stables and salaries and status depend on their rank. Only those in the top five classes can...more
A sumo wrestler greets supporters before the start of the tournament. But the sport has also been hit by a series of scandals, including hazing and drug-abuse. Former yokozuna Asashoryu Akinori, the first Mongolian grand champion, quit in 2010...more
People watch the tournament at the Yasukuni Shrine. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A police officer contains supporters as they watch the arrival of sumo wrestlers. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Sumo wrestlers compete. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Sumo wrestlers watch fellow athletes compete during the warm-up bouts. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Egyptian-born sumo wrestler Osunaarashi Kintaro (R) competes with Yoshikaze Masatsugu. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A sumo wrestler enters the arena. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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