I was able to attend the 14th and second to final day of the summer Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. I arrived early afternoon, when the last of the lower ranked wrestlers were still battling their way to move up in the world. I saw the Ring-entrance Ceremony of both the Juryo (intermediate) and Makuuchi (upper) divisions, and then the Yokuzuna (highest rank) Ring-entrance ceremony, too. On this day, all my favourite wrestlers won (always makes for a good day), and saw some great, and entertaining bouts.
There have been numerous controversies in sumo in the last few years, culminating in the latest illegal gambling issue. As a result, far fewer tickets have sold, and some ticket vendors have claimed that they will run at a loss by the end of the tournament. Also, some important sponsors have withdrawn their support, namely HB-101 that was the biggest financial contributor to the sport. Last year, the sumo association ceded, and allowed foreign advertisers to show their banners, consequently, McDonalds Japan is now a major sponsor, and is currently one of the very few supporters of sumo. Interestingly, when the banners were paraded, the crowded cheered and applauded, I never thought I’d see anyone do such a thing at the sight of a Golden M.