For the first time on video and DVD, follow the festive preparations for a Sumo Wrestling Tournament in Tokyo. Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan dating back over 1500 years. The huge but graceful wrestlers proceed with precision and great formality through the elaborate ceremonies and ornamentation. That doesn't stop crowds from going wild as the two huge wrestlers dressed only in loincloths battle each other. There is nothing crude about the fight; it proceeds in a series of infinitesimal moves made with as much power as the individual wrestler can summon. When one wrestler's foot is out of the ring, or any part of his body touches the ground, the other has won. A bout rarely lasts even a minute. Japanese schoolboys learn Sumo as their North American peers learn hockey and baseball. Only the few who decide to make Sumo a career compete for acceptance in one of the sumo stables in Tokyo where they are put on the special Sumo diet, a rich stew called chankonabe that bulks the wrestlers up for combat. A champion Sumo wrestler will often weigh in at 400 lbs or more. Weight, however, is rarely the deciding factor in a bout because the wrestlers are matched to pair up equally. It is the skill of the great wrestler that counts. The Story of Sumo introduces the pageantry and ritual preparations by wrestlers and supporting staff in the days prior to one of the six annual Grand Sumo Tournaments. The efforts of wrestlers, hairstylists, calligraphers and builders of the ring itself come together on opening day. This is a sport which is also an art. "The biggest thrill for me is to wear a chonmage hairstyle, put on my belt, my mawashi, go to practice and then compete in the regular tournament". Takanohana, 65th Yokozuna.
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