Pearl Of The Day: How Are Sagari Stiffened?

Sagari are the cords hanging down from the wrestler’s mawashi.


In the past, wrestlers used to fight in their kesho-mawashi, but the heavy ornamental apron hampered them, and it is also very hard to clean. So the kesho-mawashi became a purely ceremonial item, and for fighting purposes, it was simplified into the sagari cords.

Sagari are separate from the mawashi itself, hanging from a sash that is tucked into the mawashi. This is in order to prevent broken fingers should they get caught in the cords.

Low-ranking wrestlers have loose sagari. Sekitori use stiffened sagari, as straight and stiff as pencils, which match the color of the mawashi. So how is that achieved?

It is usually the duty of the Sekitori’s tsukebito to stiffen the sagari. And the pearl of the day is Itadaki of Isenoumi Heya showing us how he stiffens Nishikigi’s sagari:

Glue is applied to each of the silk tufts, making sure (using one’s nails) that it is absorbed by every strand. The excess is removed – and the width adjusted – using a piece of cloth. The end is nicely flared, and the whole cord is stretched on the board to dry.

9 thoughts on “Pearl Of The Day: How Are Sagari Stiffened?

  1. Ah so that’s why it doesn’t stab though the rikishi when one falls. I always wondered…. Thanks!

  2. This was a great read! Are you planning on making it a weekly post? I think would be really cool if we had a weekly publishing schedule so readers could come by the site each day for their favourite series of articles!

    • Well, it’s more of a “look what I found on twitter!” kind of thing. That’s why I called it “pearl of the day”. So I can’t really commit to any regular schedule. I was thinking of doing a kind of daily newsreel from the jungyo (any interesting news found on Japanese media or twitter, e.g. today Kisenosato had a 17-bout sanban with Asanoyama, won 15 and lost 2), but not sure how that will fly.

        • What, “Pearl of the day” or “Daily Newsreel”? If the latter, I’m not sure I’ll be able to pick items every day (both work-wise, and being dependent on Japanese news sources), and it’s probably going to be very Kisenosato-centered, because Japanese news sources.

          • I was thinking the Daily Newsreel because I figure the pearls would be hard to come by, as you said. But yeah, time and “Kisenosato domination” factors do make it challenging to get news. I wish my Japanese was up to snuff, especially on Twitter.

      • I like that daily news real idea too, even if most of it is about Kisenosato. I feel like fans are very eager to hear anything about his rehabilitation. Plus that update about him training with Asanoyama is the kind of news that really gets me excited for the upcoming basho, and info I don’t normally come across because I don’t brows twitter much. Kise must see something in the young man.

  3. Thanks guys, this page just gets better. Love the new topics these news snippets are a real gem to behind the scenes. Please keep jp the good work


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