Although commonly referred to as Japan’s national sport, sumo’s popularity among the general public has greatly ebbed and flowed over the decades and centuries.

Currently, the sport is enjoying a boom period, with the upcoming spring tournament in Osaka already sold out. In fact, premium seats for the meet were practically impossible to come by mere hours after tickets went on sale.

Hardly a day goes by without rikishi appearing on some variety show or documentary, while internationally, the number of television and newspaper features on sumo has increased sharply over the past few years.