Nearly 8,000 spectators attended the ceremonial Spring Festival sumo event held outdoors at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Monday.
The headliner was top-ranked yokozuna, Hakuho, the most successful sumo wrestler of all-time with a record 36 career tournament wins.
The Mongolian beat compatriot and fellow yokozuna, Kakuryu in his bout, one of almost 30 that took place between wrestlers.
The annual Honozumo at Yasukuni Shrine, seen as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism by many in Asia, started with a blessing of Shinto’s religious gods and wishing peace for all.
Traditional foot-stamping ceremonies took place before the bouts begun.
One fan felt this year’s event was more somber than usual after the biggest in a series of earthquakes to hit Japan struck near Kumamoto city early on Saturday.
“This time I hesitated to come and enjoy it after the earthquake disaster,” said Mieko Nakamura, who also attended as a spectator last year.
“Some of the wrestlers, however, are from Kumamoto so we decided to come and cheer them up.”
The next grand tournament, the Natsu Basho, will take place in Tokyo on May 5 and will feature all the sport’s top ranked wrestlers.
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