Makuuchi or makunouchi, is the top division of the six divisions of professional sumo. Its size is fixed at 42 wrestlers, ordered into five ranks according to their ability as defined by their performance in previous tournaments; this is the only division, featured on NHK's standard live coverage of sumo tournaments. The lower divisions are shown on their satellite coverage, with only the makuuchi broadcast having bilingual English commentary. Makuuchi means "inside the curtain", a reference to the early period of professional sumo, when there was a curtained-off area reserved for the top ranked wrestlers, to sit before appearing for their bouts. Wrestlers are considered for promotion or demotion in rank before each grand tournament according to their performance in the one previous. A greater number of wins than losses results in a promotion, the reverse results in demotion. There are stricter criteria for promotion to the top two ranks, which are privileged when considered for demotion. At the top fixed positions of the division are the, "titleholder" or san'yaku ranks of yokozuna, ōzeki and komusubi.
There are 8–12 san'yaku wrestlers, with the remainder, called maegashira, ranked in numerical order from 1 downwards. San'yaku means "the three ranks" though it comprises four ranks; the discrepancy arose because the yokozuna was traditionally regarded as an ōzeki with a special license to wear a particular rope around his waist and perform a distinctive ring entry ceremony. In modern use san'yaku has a somewhat flexible definition; this is because the top two ranks of yokozuna and ōzeki have distinctive differences from the lower two ranks and from each other. Therefore, a reference to san'yaku can sometimes mean only the bottom three ranks, or in other cases only sekiwake and komusubi. There must be at least one sekiwake and komusubi on each side of the banzuke two total, but there may be more. Although there is a yokozuna there is no requirement for one, it has sometimes happened that no active yokozuna or no ōzeki were listed in the ranks. If there is more than one yokozuna but only one ōzeki, the lower rank will be filled out by designating one of the yokozuna as yokozuna-ōzeki.
There is no recorded instance of there being ōzeki in total. There are a number of responsibilities associated with the san ` yaku ranks. Any wrestler who reaches one of them is entitled to purchase one of the membership shares in the Japan Sumo Association, regardless of the total number of tournaments they have spent in the top makuuchi division, they may be called on to represent all sumo wrestlers on certain occasions. For example, when the president of the Sumo Association makes a formal speech on the opening and closing days of a tournament, he is flanked by all the san'yaku wrestlers in their mawashi, they may be called to assist in welcoming a VIP, such as the Emperor, to the arena. The san'yaku can be split into two groups: The senior yokozuna and ōzeki, junior sekiwake and komusubi; the former group have special promotion criteria and higher salaries, have additional perks such as a higher number of junior wrestlers to assist them, an entitlement to park in the Sumo Association compound and voting rights in the election for Association directors.
Senior yokozuna and ōzeki have added responsibilities. They are expected to represent wrestler views to the Association, assist in advertising events and meet event sponsors; the latter group and komusubi, have lesser responsibilities and are still eligible for one of the three special prizes, or sanshō that are awarded for exceptional performance at the end of each tournament. Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo; the name means "horizontal rope" and comes from the most visible symbol of their rank, the rope worn around the waist. The rope is similar to the shimenawa used to mark off sacred areas in Shinto, like the shimenawa it serves to purify and mark off its content; the rope, which may weigh up to 20 kilograms, is not used during the matches themselves, but is worn during the yokozuna's dohyo-iri ring entrance ceremony. As the sport's biggest stars, yokozuna are in many ways the public face of sumo and the way they conduct themselves is scrutinized, as it is seen as reflecting on the image of sumo as a whole.
As of January 2017, a total of 72 sumo wrestlers have earned the rank of yokozuna. The birth of the rank of yokozuna is unclear, there are two competing legends. According to one, a 9th-century wrestler named Hajikami tied a shimenawa around his waist as a handicap and dared any to touch it, creating sumo as it is now known in the process. According to the other, legendary wrestler Akashi Shiganosuke tied the shimenawa around his waist in 1630 as a sign of respect when visiting the Emperor, was posthumously awarded the title for the first time. There is little supporting evidence for either theory—in fact, it is not certain that Akashi existed—but it is known that by November 1789, yokozuna starting from the fourth yokozuna Tanikaze Kajinosuke and the fifth yokozuna Onogawa Kisaburō were depicted in ukiyo-e prints as wearing the shimenawa; these two wrestlers were both awarded yokozuna licences by the prominent Yoshida family. Before the Meiji Era, the title yokozuna was conferred on ōzeki who performed sumo in front of the shōgun.
This privilege was more determined by a wrestler's patron having sufficient influence rather than purely on the ability and dignity of the wrestler. Thus there are a number of early wrestlers. In these early days yokozuna was not re
Sumo is a form of competitive full-contact wrestling where a rikishi attempts to force his opponent out of a circular ring or into touching the ground with any body part other than the soles of his feet. The sport originated in the only country where it is practiced professionally, it is considered a gendai budō, which refers to modern Japanese martial art, but the sport has a history spanning many centuries. Many ancient traditions have been preserved in sumo, today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt purification, from Shinto. Life as a wrestler is regimented, with rules regulated by the Japan Sumo Association. Most sumo wrestlers are required to live in communal sumo training stables, known in Japanese as heya, where all aspects of their daily lives—from meals to their manner of dress—are dictated by strict tradition. From 2008 to 2017, a number of high-profile controversies and scandals have rocked the sumo world, with an associated effect on its reputation and ticket sales.
These have affected the sport's ability to attract recruits. Despite this setback, sumo's popularity and general attendance has rebounded due to having multiple yokozuna for the first time in a number of years and other high-profile wrestlers such as Endō and Ichinojō grabbing the public's attention. In addition to its use as a trial of strength in combat, sumo has been associated with Shinto ritual; some shrines carry out forms of ritual dance where a human is said to wrestle with a kami, a Shinto divine spirit. It was an important ritual at the imperial court, where representatives of each province were ordered to attend the contest at the court and fight; the contestants were required to pay for their travel themselves. The contest was known as sumai no sechie, or "sumai party". Over the rest of recorded Japanese history, sumo's popularity changed according to the whims of rulers and the need for its use as a training tool in periods of civil strife; the form of wrestling combat changed into one where the main aim in victory was to throw one's opponent.
The concept of pushing one's opponent out of a defined area came some time later. A ring, defined as something other than the area given to the wrestlers by spectators, is believed to have come into being in the 16th century as a result of a tournament organized by the principal warlord in Japan, Oda Nobunaga. At this point, wrestlers would wear loose loincloths rather than the much stiffer mawashi wrestling belts of today. During the Edo period, wrestlers would wear a fringed decorative apron called a keshō-mawashi during the match, whereas today these are worn only during pretournament rituals. Most of the rest of the current forms within the sport developed in the early Edo period. Professional sumo roots trace back to the Edo period in Japan as a form of sporting entertainment; the original wrestlers were samurai rōnin, who needed to find an alternative form of income. Current professional sumo tournaments began in the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine in 1684, were held in the Ekō-in in the Edo period.
Western Japan had its own sumo venues and tournaments in this period, with the most prominent center being in Osaka. Osaka sumo continued to the end of the Taishō period in 1926, when it merged with Tokyo sumo to form one organization. For a short period after this, four tournaments were held a year, two tournaments in locations in western Japan such as Nagoya and Fukuoka, two in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. From 1933 onward, tournaments were held exclusively in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan, until the American occupation forces appropriated it and the tournaments moved to Meiji Shrine until the 1950s. An alternate location, the Kuramae Kokugikan near Ryōgoku, was built for sumo. In this period, the Sumo Association began expanding to venues in western Japan again, reaching a total of six tournaments a year by 1958, with half of them in Kuramae. In 1984, the Ryōgoku Kokugikan was rebuilt and sumo tournaments in Tokyo have been held there since; the winner of a sumo bout is either the first wrestler to force his opponent to step out of the ring, or the first wrestler to force his opponent to touch the ground with any part of his body other than the bottom of his feet.
A number of other less common rules can be used to determine the winner. For example, a wrestler using an illegal technique automatically loses, as does one whose mawashi comes undone. A wrestler failing to show up for his bout automatically loses. Bouts consist of a single round and last only a few seconds, as one wrestler is ousted from the circle or thrown to the ground. However, they can last for several minutes; each match is preceded by an elaborate ceremonial ritual. Traditionally, sumo wrestlers are renowned for their great girth and body mass, a winning factor in sumo. No weight divisions are used in professional sumo. However, with superior technique, smaller wrestlers can defeat much larger opponents; the average weight of top division wrestlers has continued to increase, from 125 kilograms in 1969 to over 150 kilograms by 1991, was a record 166 kilograms as of January 2019. In some situations a review of the gyōji's decision may be needed; the judges outside the ring, who sit at eye level may convene a conference in the middle of the ring, called a "mono-ii".
This is done if the judges decide that the decision over who won the bout needs to be rev
A mikoshi is a divine palanquin. Shinto followers believe that it serves as the vehicle to transport a deity in Japan while moving between main shrine and temporary shrine during a festival or when moving to a new shrine; the mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. The Japanese honorific prefix o- is added, making omikoshi. Typical shapes are rectangles and octagons; the body, which stands on two or four poles, is lavishly decorated, the roof might hold a carving of a phoenix. During a matsuri involving a mikoshi, people bear the mikoshi on their shoulders by means of two, four poles, they bring the mikoshi from the shrine, carry it around the neighborhoods that worship at the shrine, in many cases leave it in a designated area, resting on blocks called uma, for a time before returning it to the shrine. Some shrines have the custom of dipping the mikoshi in the water of a nearby river or ocean. At some festivals, the people who bear the mikoshi wave it wildly from side to side to "amuse" the deity inside.
The most common method of shouldering in Japan is hira-katsugi "flat carry". Bearers may or may not toss and shake the mikoshi. Other methods include: Edomae "Edo style" is one famous way of shouldering observable at the Asakusa Sanja Festival; the shout is "say ya, soi ya, sorya... etc". The mikoshi is swayed up and down and a little to the right and left. "Dokkoi | ドッコイ " is seen in Shonan in Kanagawa Prefecture. This shouldering style uses two poles; the mikoshi is moved up and down rhythmically, more than in the "Edomae style". One shout is "dokkoi dokkoi dokkoi sorya" and there is a song called a "Jink | lively song." Another one is "Odawara style | 小田原担ぎ". This is a peculiar way of shouldering in which multiple mikoshis run; the shout is "oisah. The bearers do not sway the mikoshi. In this "united" style, the mikoshi uses the full width of the road, moving from side to side and turning corners at full speed. Honden Sokyo Ono, William P. Woodward, Shinto - The Kami Way, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Tokyo 1992, ISBN 4-8053-0189-9 Basic Terms of Shinto, Kokugakuin University, Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Tokyo 1985 Mikoshi Photos of Shinto shrine Mikoshi Festival Shin'yo, in the Encyclopedia of Shinto by the Kokugakuin University
Sessha and massha called eda-miya are small or miniature shrines entrusted to the care of a larger shrine due to some deep connection with the enshrined kami. The two terms used to have different meanings, but are today synonyms. Setsumatsusha can lie either inside or outside the main shrine's premises. Setsumatsusha are 1x1 ken in size, they can however be as small as beehives or large and have 1x2, 1x3 or in one case, 1x7 bays. The practice of building sessha and massha shrines within a jinja predates written history; the earliest setsumatsusha had some strong connection to the history of the area or the family of the enshrined kami. During the Heian period, Ise Shrine used to make a distinction between the two types based on whether a shrine belonged to the Engishiki Jinmyōchō list or to the Enryaku gishikichō list. From the Japanese Middle Ages onwards, at other shrines popular kami like Hachiman, Inari or Gozu Tennō were enshrined in setsumatsusha, but no clear distinction between the two terms was made.
From the Meiji period to the Second World War, a shrine dedicated to family members of a kami, to the violent side of a kami, or the kami of the region where the main shrine was, were to be considered sessha with a higher rank than the rest, which were called massha. When the shakaku shrine ranking system was abolished in 1946 the distinction disappeared, but both terms remained in use out of habit. Being true shrines, setsumatsusha have most features other types of shrines have, including doors and stairs. However, the Misedana-zukuri is a style used only in sessha and massha, it owes its name to the fact that, unlike other shrine styles, it doesn't feature a stairway at its entrance, the veranda is flat. Miniature stairways can however be present, they can be either tsumairi, have the entrance under the gable, or, more hirairi, that is, have the entrance on the side parallel to the roof's ridge. Apart from the lack of a staircase, such shrines belong to the nagare-zukuri or kasuga-zukuri styles
The karahafu is a type of gable with a style peculiar to Japan. The characteristic shape is the undulating curve at the top; this gable is common in traditional architecture, including Japanese castles, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines. Roofing materials such as tile and bark may be used as coverings; the face beneath the gable may be flush with the wall below. Although kara can be translated as meaning "China" or "Tang", this type of roof with undulating bargeboards is an invention of Japanese carpenters in the late Heian period, it was named thus because the word kara could mean "noble" or "elegant", was added to names of objects considered grand or intricate regardless of origin. The karahafu developed during the Heian period and is shown in picture scrolls to decorate gates and palanquins; the first known depiction of a karahafu appears on a miniature shrine in Shōryoin shrine at Hōryū-ji in Nara. The karahafu and its building style became popular during the Kamakura and Muromachi period, when Japan witnessed a new wave of influences from the Asian continent.
During the Kamakura period, Zen Buddhism spread to Japan and the karahafu was employed in many Zen temples. The karahafu was used only in temples and aristocratic gateways, but starting from the beginning of the Azuchi–Momoyama period, it became an important architectural element in the construction of a daimyō's mansions and castles; the daimyō's gateway with a karahafu roof was reserved for the shōgun during his onari visits to the retainer, or for the reception of the emperor at shogunate establishments. A structure associated with these social connections imparted special meaning. Gates with a karahafu roof, the karamon, became a means to proclaim the prestige of a building and functioned as a symbol of both religious and secular architecture. In the Tokugawa shogunate, the karamon gates were a powerful symbol of authority reflected in architecture. Karamon Japanese architecture Japanese castle
Japanese festivals are traditional festive occasions. Some festivals have their roots in Chinese festivals centuries ago, but have undergone great changes as they mixed with local customs; some are so different that they do not remotely resemble the original festival despite sharing the same name and date. There are various local festivals that are unknown outside a given prefecture. Unlike most people in East Asia, Japanese people do not celebrate Lunar New Year. In Yokohama Chinatown, Japan's biggest Chinatown, tourists from all over Japan come to enjoy the festival. Similar for Nagasaki's Lantern Festival, based in Nagasaki Chinatown. See: Japanese New Year. Festivals are based around one event, with food stalls and carnival games to keep people entertained; some are based around temples or shrines, others hanabi, still others around contests where the participants sport loin cloths. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a holiday. In Japan, festivals are sponsored by a local shrine or temple, though they can be secular.
There are no specific matsuri days for all of Japan. Every locale has at least one matsuri in late summer/early autumn related to the rice harvest. Notable matsuri feature processions which may include elaborate floats. Preparation for these processions is organized at the level of neighborhoods, or machi. Prior to these, the local kami may be paraded through the streets. One can always find in the vicinity of a matsuri booths selling souvenirs and food such as takoyaki, games, such as Goldfish scooping. Karaoke contests, sumo matches, other forms of entertainment are organized in conjunction with matsuri. If the festival is next to a lake, renting a boat is an attraction. Favorite elements of the most popular matsuri, such as the Nada no Kenka Matsuri of Himeji or the Neputa Matsuri of Hirosaki, are broadcast on television for the entire nation to enjoy. Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the largest festivals of the year in Sapporo, held in February for one week, it began in 1950. The event is now large and commercialized.
About a dozen large sculptures are built for the festival along with around 100 smaller snow and ice sculptures. Several concerts and other events are held. Lake Shikotsu is the northernmost ice-free lake, 363 meters deep; this festival features a moss-covered cave, which has evergreen draped on the inside and is covered in ice. This festival is held from late January to mid February; this festival features ice sculptures and large. At night the sculptures are illuminated by different colored lights. There is a fireworks show during the festival as well. Admission is free. Amasake is available for purchase to enjoy; this lake festival is held in the beginning of February. Held in the town of Yasumiya, this festival is on the south side of Lake Towada; this festival is open all day, but at 5 pm one can enjoy activities such as going through a snow maze, exploring a Japanese igloo, eat foods from Aomori and Akita prefectures. There is events held on an ice stage; this festival is held annually and features colorful lantern floats called nebuta which are pulled through the streets of Central Aomori.
This festival is held from about August 2–7 every year. This event attracts millions of visitors. During this festival, 20 large nebuta floats are paraded through the streets near Aomori JR rail station; these floats are constructed of wooden bases and metal frames. Japanese papers, called washi, are painted onto the frames; these amazing floats are finished off with the historical figures or kabuki being painted on the paper. These floats can take up to a year to complete. There is a dance portion of this festival. There are haneto dancers and they wear special costumes for this dance. Everyone is welcome to purchase their own haneto costume; this event is held every year. Thousands of artists from all over Tohoku and further regions come to Nango to perform; this is the largest open-air jazz concert held in Tohoku region. This festival began in a small venue indoors. There was such a large response from the fans. One must purchase tickets for this event; this summer jazz festival doesn't cost anything but potential members of the public still need to receive a ticket to enter the event.
Japan celebrates the entire season of the cherry blossoms. There are festivals in nearly every region of Japan, some locations, food is available or a park may be decorated with lanterns; some locations of cherry blossom festivals include: Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival in Okinawa. This festival takes place from late January – mid February Matsuyama Shiroyama Koen Cherry Blossom Festival in Matsuyama-city, Ehime; this festival takes place early April. Matsue Jozan Koen Festival in Matsue-city, Shimane; this festival has a feature of illuminating the cherry blossom trees at night. This festival takes place late March-early April. Tsuyama Kakuzan Koen Cherry Blossom Festival in Tsuyama-cit
A kannushi called shinshoku, is the person responsible for the maintenance of a Shinto shrine as well as for leading worship of a given kami. The characters for kannushi are sometimes read jinshu with the same meaning; the kannushi were intermediaries between kami and could transmit their will to common humans. A kannushi was a man capable of miracles or a holy man who, because of his practice of purificatory rites, was able to work as a medium for a kami; the term evolved to being synonymous with shinshoku, that is, a man who works at a shrine and holds religious ceremonies there. In ancient times, because of the overlap of political and religious power within a clan, it was the head of the clan who led the clansmen during religious functions, or else it could be another official; the role evolved into a separate and more specialized form. The term appears in both the Nihon Shoki. In them Empress Jingū and Emperor Sujin became kannushi. Within the same shrine, for example at Ise Jingū or Ōmiwa Shrine, there can be different types of kannushi at the same time called for example Ō-kannushi, Sō-kannushi, or Gon-kannushi.
Kannushi can marry and their children inherit their position. Although this hereditary status is no longer granted, it continues in practice; the clothes they wear, for example the jōe, the eboshi and the kariginu, do not have any special religious significance, but are official garments used in the past by the Imperial court. This detail reveals the figure of the Emperor. Other implements used by kannushi include a baton called shaku and a wand decorated with white paper streamers called ōnusa. Kannushi are assisted in their religious or clerical work by women called miko. To become a kannushi, a novice must study at a university approved by the Association of Shinto Shrines Tokyo's Kokugakuin University or Ise's Kogakkan University, or pass an exam that will certify his qualification. Women can become kannushi and widows can succeed their husbands in their job. Miko, female equivalent Norito Kannushi, Encyclopedia of Shinto