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Sumo has a number of connections to the Japanese religion Shinto.

Before entering the ring (dohyo in Japanese), the grand champion (yokozuna) does a ring entering ceremony called a dohyo iri. In the dohyo iri the Yokozuna stomps his feet and claps. This is meant to bless the ring and scare away any evil spirits.

Before entering the ring Sumo wrestlers spread salt. Salt is a sign of purity in the Shinto religion. They also rinse their mouths with water (chikara mizu). The water is likewise meant to purify. The sumo wrestlers hold out a ladle of water from which the subsequent wrestler drinks.

Around the waist of the yokozuna he wears a 'tsuna' The tsuna is a type of rope like the ones you can see outside the entrance to Shinto shrines (jinja).

I'm sure there are a lot more religious or quasi-religious associations. Modern Sumo has many of the trappings of religion but, wrestlers aren't necessarily believers in the Shinto religion. Indeed, the current top man in o-Sumo is not even Japanese. I think a lot of the religious significance of Sumo derives from the fact that it was traditionally done in the precincts of jinja.

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∙ 14y ago
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∙ 15y ago

It is a traditional sport so is important as a cultural symbol and it is good commercially as large crowds will go to watch matches live or on television.

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∙ 13y ago

Two big guys in a circle try to push one another out or make the other topple over using a variety of grappling and throwing techniques.

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∙ 10y ago

It was a competition and sport for entertainment.

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∙ 11y ago

Judo and Karate acts as the ambassador of Japan in outer world. Whenever you hear of Karate, you will get the picture of japan's map in your mind.

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∙ 13y ago

For fun..because its a game in japan.

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Q: What is the religious significance of sumo wrestling?
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