For sumo fans who may not have seen it yet, this was the ceremony held in Tokyo on Wednesday, where press and sumo dignitaries packed a small ballroom at the Imperial Hotel. With NSK officials Kasugano and Takadagawa given the honor of sharing the announcement of promotion with Kisenosato.
Note that stable master Tagonoura struggles during this ceremony, due to painful injuries that prevented him from perform his shimpan duties at the recently concluded Hatsu basho.
Now that Kisenosato has been officially promoted to Yokozuna, and his tsuna is being prepared, the next major event in the elevation of Japan’s first native Yokzonua in nearly 20 years is the highly anticipated ceremony at the Meiji Jingu Shrine. There will be a number of activities that will take place in the late morning, culminating with Kisenosato and his retainers performing their first public dohyo-iri, or ring entering ceremony.
Reports in the Japanese sumo press say that Kisenosato has been taking instruction in the distinctive Unryu style from retired Yokozuna Ōnokuni. While it is expected that Takayasu will serve as Kisenosato’s tachimochi (sword bearer), his tsuyuharai (dew sweeper) is rumored to be Shohozan.
With a good portion of Japan going Kisenosato crazy in celebration, the crowd at Meiji Jingu is likely to be massive, and any readers in Japan wishing to attend are advised to go hours ahead of time.
Tachiai will bring you full coverage of this historic event.
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.