Grand Sumo Marked a Solid Surplus of 640 million Yen Last Year
Grand Sumo or professional sumo-wrestling is Japan's national sport dating back to the 17th century in the Yedo Period. It grew international as a husky Hawaiian in the person of Saleva'a Fuauli Atisano'e landed in 1982 to challenge the sport. The Hawaiian boy, later stage-named himself Konishiki and rose to the high rank of Ozeki, or champion, was to a chain of would-be non-Japanese rikishis after him, what Nomo in the MLB was to so many Japanese ballplayers flocking to challenge baseball in the US after him.
Today, Grand Sumo is loaded with Mongolians, Europeans, and Chinese - Hakuho, a Mongolian, has dominated the ring as an invincible yokozuna or grand champion for quite some time. The sport is entering a fresh phase as the first Japanese yokozuna has emerged in the person of Kisenosato to boost its national popularity. In fact, Kisenosato made the front page last tournament by coming from behind to sweep the victory cup in a dramatic fashion.
All these events have obviously helped the Japan Sumo Association to register a sizeable surplus of 640 million yen last year. Its board of councillors met March 31 to close the books. The ticket sales last year aggregated 610 million yen or an increase of 180 million as compared with the previous year.
Data show that 88 or 90 days of the regular tournaments were full-housed with the total 750 thousand spectators. The wrestlers joined in more local sumo tours last year and the sales of sumo-related goods rose substantially.
The association has gone into the black for two consecutive years, the rate of surplus marking 2.6 times over the previous year. It looks like Sumo now enjoys a solid public support.
Chief Director Hakkaku of the Japan Sumo Association comments:
"Well, I say good show for all the rikishis and people in the administration. But then, now is the time to fasten the mawashi or belt." (Nathan Shiga)