If catching a sumo tournament is still on your bucket list during your stay on Okinawa, now’s your chance.
Come Dec. 15-16, Oozumou Okinawa Basho (the Grand Sumo Tournament Okinawa) will take place at the Okinawa Convention Center near MCAS Futenma and Camp Foster.
Many wrestlers including three Yokozuna, the highest ranked, are scheduled to duel on the 2018 Winter Tour. Although the event may not count as a “Grand Slam tournament” in sumo, it is designed to provide various programs that range from competition to entertainment.
One of the biggest features will be a knockout tournament that takes place over the two days for a $20,000 prize. Unlike regular tournaments, which apply a system similar to round-robin, these single-elimination bouts are expected to bring added excitement due to the unique to do-or-die showdowns.
The tournament also comes with ceremonies such as Sumo Jinku, a folksong dedicated to sumo wrestling, Yokozuna Dohyou Iri, which is a Yokozuna’s entrance to the dohyō (sumo ring), and Yumitorishiki, a victory dance with a bow, to make this just as much a competition as a cultural presentation.
Plus, a “Shokkiri” bout is scheduled to show the entertaining side of the Japanese marital art. In this exhibition match, rules are relaxed to allow wrestlers to play dirty like heels in professional wrestling. The comical act, along with “Chibikko sumo,” where kids challenge the giant wrestlers, are popular among fans.
The event starts at 9 a.m. both days, and people can come and see early training sessions prior to the tournament. Tickets can be purchased by calling MCCS Okinawa at 646-3502 or going into an office.
Another behind-the-scenes feature of this event covers the dietary habits of sumo wrestlers. Vendors will serve up chankonabe (sumo stew), so spectators can try the main meal of the wrestlers. Another neat feature of this event is the accessibility to wrestlers. If this were in a regular tournament, it would be difficult to talk to wrestlers. But in this fan-friendly event, people can have the change chat or take photos with the giant athletes.
Packed with so much fun and excitement, the Grand Sumo Tournament Okinawa is expected to dazzle both the first-time audience and the seasoned fans.
Grand Sumo Tournament
DATE: Dec. 15 – 16
TIME: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
LOCATION: Okinawa Convention Center
ADDRESS: 4-3-1 Mashiki, Ginowan City, (Near MCAS Futenma and Camp Foster)
GPS COORDINATES: N 26.2804 E 127.732977
OPEN LOCATION CODE (OLC): 7QR97PJM+55
• Tickets are currently available through MCCS Okinawa at 646-3502 and Kadena ITT at 966-7333.