The Sadogatake Beya Sumo Stable


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(Click on the photograph for a wider angle)

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Seeking permission to visit a sumo stable to watch the wrestlers in training is a difficult process in Japan and visits are discouraged by the sumo stables. When you are finally permitted to view the morning training (Asa Geiko), there are further constraints: you must not talk; you must sit on the floor with your legs tucked under you; you must not move in this position; you must never enter the training ground; you must never address the ranked sumo wrestlers; you must not show that you are “relaxed” in your demeanour; you must not make any noise, and that includes your mobile phone (must be shut off) and your camera (the “beep” sound must be turned off).

These photographs were all I could do to capture these sumo wrestlers in training.

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also see: Nipponia: Sumo

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The coach on the right incessantly criticised the wrestlers and from my meager japanese, he spoke to them in humiliating terms. Wrestlers had to ask his permission if they could wipe the sand off their bodies.

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The three Sekitori (from left to right, in white): Kotomitsuki, Kotooshu and Kotoshogiku

(click on the photograph for a wider angle)

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The Sadogatake Beya is one of 56 sumo stables registered with the Japan Sumo Association. It was founded in 1955 by Komusubi Kotonishiki. The stable has 20 wrestlers, including 3 Sekitoris (professional wrestlers). The stable is run by 16 staff members.

The names of all the wrestlers belonging to the Sadogatake Beya include the japanese character koto (zither in japanese). The three Sekitoris are: Kotooshu (with the rank of Ozeki), Kotomitsuki (with the rank of Sekiwake), and Kotoshogiku (with the rank of Sekiwake).

Kotooshu is Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov, a 23 year-old wrestler from Bulgaria. Oshu in his name, is the japanese word for Europe. Kotooshu is the first European with the rank of Ozeki. He became famous after he beat Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Asashoryu.

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