Fukagawa Hachimangu and Sumo Wrestling

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Fukagawa Hachimangu and Sumo Wrestling

Fukagawa Hachimangu is famous for being the origin of a longlasting sumo wrestling tradition.

Sumo wrestling had already begun during the Edo period in areas such as Kyo (Kyoto) and Osaka, but had been banned for corrupting public morals. In 1684, though, the bakufu government permitted sumo competitions to be held in spring and autumn for fundraising temples and shrines. These competitions took place in the precincts of Fukagawa Hachimangu for nearly 100 years, and became the foundation of today’s sumo tradition where competitions are held in certain places during a certain time. The ranking of sumo (yokozuna, ozeki etc.) also began while sumo tournaments were held in Fukagawa Hachimangu.

↑A yokozuna in the center of a sumo ceremony taking place at Fukagawa Hachimangu

In 1900, to commemorate past yokozunas (Highest rank of sumo wrestlers), the “Yokozuna Sumo Wrestler Monument” (横綱力士碑)was built within shrine grounds. The names of the 1st to 67th yokozuna are engraved upon this stone monument, which is 3.5m tall, 3m wide, and weighing nearly 20 tons. The building of this monument was supported by numerous past prime ministers, such as Japanese Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito (1st PM), Aritomo Yamagata (3rd and 9th PM), and Shigenobu Okuma (8th and 17th PM, as well as the founder of Waseda University).

↑Yokozuna Sumo Wrestler Monument

An Ozeki Monument also exists (Ozeki: the second highest sumo wrestler ranking).

↑Ozeki Sumo Wrestler Monument

Sumo culture and Fukagawa Hachimangu is significant in representing how Fukagawa is the heart of a strong traditional Japanese culture, similar to geisha.

Sources

http://www.wanogakkou.com/culture/020000/020501_sumo02.html

http://www.tomiokahachimangu.or.jp/htmls/sumou.html

https://www.kdh.or.jp/pdf/safe/document/by_es/h2801.02_okyakusama.pdf

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