Sumo facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Sumo wrestling (相撲)
Asashoryu fight Jan08.JPG
A sumo match (tori-kumi) between yokozuna Asashōryū (left) and komusubi Kotoshōgiku in January 2008.
Focus Grappling
Hardness Full contact
Country of origin Japan
Olympic sport No, but IOC recognized

Sumo (相撲 sumō) is a Japanese full-contact sport.

In sumo, a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring (dohyō) 4.55 metres in diameter. Also, the rikishi try to use their skill to force an opponent to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet.

Sumo tournaments take place in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.


Sumo wrestlers (sumotori) are ranked into a hierarchy based on win-loss statistics in competitive tournaments.

Grand champions

Those who have earned the highest rank are grand champions (yokuzuna).

  • Akashi, 16th century
  • Maruyama, (1712-1749)
  • Tanikaze (Kajinosuke, 1750-1795)
  • Onagawa (1758-1805)
  • Ao no Matsu (1791-1851)
  • Chiyonofuji Mitsugu (b. 1955)
  • Takanosato (b. 1952)
  • Futahaguro Koji (b. 1963)
  • Hokuto-umi, (b. 1963)
  • Onokuni (b. 1962)
  • Asahifuji (b. 1960)
  • Akebono (b. 1970)

Foreign-born competitors

Sumo has changed in modern times. Foreign-born wrestlers are part of the sport. For example, Konishiki and Akebono are Hawaiian-born athletes who earned places for themselves.

In 2008, Kotooshu from Bulgaria won a championship. In that same year, two top wrestlers, Asashoryu and Hakuho, were Mongolian. Hakuho won the Nagoya tournament with no losses, 15-0.

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Sumo Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.