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Old Mar 3, 2006, 2:48 PM   #1
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This is part of the "pre-game" ceremony of a Sumo match.

I took this with an A70and a2X extension lens. Lighting inside the Sumo stadium was not kind, but I'm pretty happy with the shot, considering the conditions.
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Old Mar 3, 2006, 9:10 PM   #2
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Daibutsu,

The photo is superb under the conditions. The circle is certainly drawn here for us to see.

"The earliest written mention of sumo is found in the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters), a book from the year 712, which is the oldest extant example of Japanese writing. The Kojiki relates a legend about how possession of the Japanese islands was determined by a sumo match. According to the book, about 2,500 years ago, the gods Takemikazuchi and Takeminakata grappled on the shores of Izumo along the Japan Sea coast in what is now Shimane-ken, until the latter finally lost. Thus control of the archipelago was ceded to the Japanese people led by Takemikazuchi, who is said to have established the imperial family from which the present emperor traces his ancestry."

However for lowly mortals:

"Sumo in its early days tended to be violent with no holds barred--often a veritable fight to the finish. The Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), from 720, records the first bout between lowly mortals as taking place in 23 BC. Emperor Suinin (r. 29BC - AD70) is said to have made a special request to Nomi no Sukune, a potter from Izumo, to fight Taima no Kehaya, a bully and braggart from what is now Nara-ken. The two grappled for quite a while until Sukune finally rendered some devastating kicks to Kehaya's stomach and solar plexus. Kehaya was mortally wounded, and Sukune, the victor, has been immortalized ever since as the 'father of sumo.' "

and

The first documented evidence of a ring demarcated by rice straw bales placed on the ground in a circular pattern can be found in the Empo era (1673-81). In the early 18th century, the bales came to be half buried in the ground circling the ring, similar to the way they are at present.

Copyright 1996, Ken Coller

Nice photo of one of the oldest circle traditions in the world.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 11:18 AM   #3
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Thanks, Selvin.

Great information. I've become a big fan of the sport over the past few years and enjoy reading about its history. It'sone of the few sporting eventsthat my wife enjoyed attending with me. Unfortunately, now that we're back in the US real sumo matches are only available via webcasts at3 or4 in the morning. Why does Japan have to be so far away?
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