In sumo, two people who are wearing nothing but a mawashi (loincloth), face each other on a dohyo (circular ring) and push, grapple, and try to throw each other. The one who forces his opponent to the ground or pushes him out of the ring is the winner.
Sumo began many centuries ago and developed into its present form in the Edo period (1603-1868). Rikishi (wrestlers) wear their hair in a topknot, which was a normal hairstyle in the Edo period. The referee, meanwhile, wears the same kind of clothes as a samurai of 600 years ago. Many aspects of Japan’s traditional culture can be seen in sumo. For example, the wrestlers throw salt into the ring to purify it before they begin their match, as the dohyo is considered a sacred place. Sumo has a long history, and it has been called Japan’s national sport. Although many professional sports are played in Japan, such as baseball and soccer, sumo is the nation’s oldest professional sport.