Female sumo wrestlers wearing "mawashi" belts over their underwear once competed in tournaments throughout Japan, Taiwan and Hawaii, a popular entertainment until it disappeared in the 1960s.

But women's sumo is attracting attention again.

A biography of a former ozeki, the top rank for women wresters, was published last year. In addition, novelist Akira Hayasaka plans to stage a play on female sumo wrestlers, and a university in Yamagata Prefecture, where women's sumo originated, is promoting studies on its roots.