Sumo

Sumo 101: Special prizes

by John Gunning

Contributing Writer

The Emperor’s Cup isn’t the only prize awarded on the final day of a sumo tournament.

The new champion receives an array of trophies and gifts from various organizations and locales around Japan as well as prizes from several foreign governments.

Two to four men normally get to share some of the glory on senshuraku (Day 15 of a tournament) by being awarded a sansho.

Literally meaning “three prizes,” sansho is the collective name for the Fighting Spirit, Outstanding Performance, and Technique Prizes.

Each one comes with a trophy and plaque, both of which the wrestler keeps, and an award of ¥2 million.

The trophy has a figure of a rikishi standing on a pink marble base beneath a supported stage where the JSA logo is surrounded by four eagles in flight.

The plaque has a naked figure in silver on one knee holding a kabuto (traditional warrior’s helmet)

The Gino-Sho (Technique Prize), as its name implies, goes to the rikishi who has displayed the most skillful winning techniques.

The Shukun-Sho (Outstanding Performance Prize) is awarded either to a rikishi who has defeated the tournament winner, or someone who has put in a performance much better than would be expected at his rank or level.

The Kanto-Sho (Fighting Spirit Prize) is often given to debutants in the top division who manage double-digit wins.

There is no requirement for any or all of the prizes to be awarded and occasionally one or more are withheld.

A wrestler can win more than one in the same tournament. Taking all three in a single basho is rare.

Ozeki and yokozuna are not eligible for special prizes.

Aminishiki, with 12 career sansho, is the active wrestler with the most prizes, while Akinoshima (the current Takadagawa Stablemaster) holds the record with 19.