Preparing The Rope

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Tagonoura Beya Building Kisenosato’s Tsuna (綱)

Even before the official ceremony to elevate Kisenosato to sumo’s highest rank, the rikishi at Tagonoura beya have been working to prepare Kisenosato’s rope. The heavy rope belt, or “tuna”, is the mark of a Yokozuna, which literally translates to “Horizontal Rope”

Part of adorning a Yokozuna requires building a tsuna from hemp fibers, and each tsuna is built by hand, from scratch, by the stable. In the photo above (and video below), we can see Kisenosato’s stable mates preparing the hemp that will be woven into the tsuna he uses for his ceremonial first dohyo-iri.

The rope itself will weigh between 25-40 pounds, and will be tied with a distinctive knot, that is symbolic of the Unryu style (photo of the style here). The belt will then be adorned with 5 “lightning bolts” known as shide, which are similar to the symbols used in Shinto to mark sacred areas. In Shinto spirituality, it is believed that divine spirits are drawn to the tsuna, and empower the wearer.

We will first see Kisenosato and his Unryu style tsuna Friday as he preforms his dohyo-iri at the Meiji shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo.

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