With tournament action just a few days away, the Sumo Kyokai crew in Nagoya have completed construction of the venue’s dohyo. The traditional sumo combat platform is built or re-built by hand before each tournament, and is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
The dohyo will be consecrated in a ceremony early on Saturday, with the leading men of the Kyokai and local dignitaries in attendance.
At the Kokugikan, teams of men are busy constructing the dohyo for the Natsu basho, set to begin this coming Sunday. Prior to each tournament, the raised platform is constructed from scratch, or reconstructed from the remains of the previous dohyo. At the Kokugikan, the dohyo is on a mobile platform that can be lowered into the floor for safe-keeping or to allow the venue to be used for events other than Sumo.
Construction will continue for the next several days, and conclude with a ceremony to consecrate the dohyo on Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning (just a few hours from now), the dohyo in Osaka’s EDION arena will be consecrated with ritual sacrifices to pray for a safe tournament. The ceremony is open to the public, and is expected to be well attended. The referees will don ceremonial Shinto garb for the ritual, in which the sacrificial items are placed in a small square space in the exact center of the fighting platform.
The Haru dohyo has taken its final shape in Osaka’s EDION arena, and will be ready for Sunday’s first day of competition. Given the new guidelines on construction, this dohyo is made from the exact same kind of clay as the Hatsu dohyo was in Tokyo. This was done to decrease the variability in surface, traction and stability that had been endemic to the various tournament locations.
Today’s activity included cutting steps and notches for the buckets in two of the corners. Only a few short days before Haru begins!
With the start of the much anticipated 2018 Hatsu basho just days away, the Kokugikan crew is busy constructing the dohyo that will be the focus for the January tournament. Re-built each time a tournament is about to start, the dohyo is a masterpiece of hand crafted earth, packed firm with simple wooden tools and laid out according to long standing tradition.
Early Saturday, Tokyo time, the dohyo will be consecrated in a solemn ceremony, and this event is typically open to the public. For sumo fans, it is a fascinating spectacle, and features attendance by many of the top men of the sport.
Early afternoon (Japan time), the dohyo for the upcoming Kyushu basho was consecrated in a solemn ceremony attended by officials of the Sumo Kyokai and upper ranked rikishi.
With the ritual completed, everything is ready for tomorrow’s first bouts in what promises to be an exciting end to the 2017 sumo calendar. As always, Tachiai will be covering the tournament, and bringing you news and updates as they happen.
In a traditional ceremony this afternoon in the Ryogoku Kokugikan, the dohyo built for the Aki basho was blessed and made ready for the upcoming two weeks of sumo competition. The traditional sacrifices were enshrined within the dohyo, and prayers were offered.
Following the consecration of the dohyo, the winner of the prior 2 tournaments is presented along with their yusho photos outside the Kokugikan. But as the past 2 tournaments were won by Hakuho (who is kyujo), the presentation was attended by the Miyagino Oyakata.
Tachiai’s basho coverage starts now! With the usual yusho contenders out with injuries, the chances of a dark horse winner are better than any time in the last few years. Two weeks of excitement coming up.
Construction of the Kokugikan’s dohyo for the Aki basho is complete, and is ready to be consecrated prior to Sunday’s first matches. In a solemn ceremony on Saturday, the dohyo will be blessed by shinto priests. Members of the public are welcome to attend the ceremony, which will be attended by the leading men of sumo and of the NSK. Immediately following the ceremony, the yusho portraits for both the Natsu and Nagoya basho (Hakuho) will be on display in front of the Kokugikan, prior to their being hung inside the stadium.
Reports from reader nicolaah (who is attending the basho), and twitter indicate that the dohyo built in the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium was damaged in a bout on Tuesday. As the photograph above shows, the edge and one of the steps appears to have crumbled and broken away.
Fans have noted that the dohyo has been in tough shape since the first week, and that it is aging quickly. The environmental conditions in Nagoya are tough on a rammed earth / clay structure such as the dohyo. The relentless heat and high humidity make it difficult to keep the structure from crumbling unless it is heavily watered, but over watering causes the surface to become increasingly slick. This slippery Nagoya dohyo is a common fixture in sumo, and has taken its toll on rikishi over the years. Last year, Yokozuna Hakuho damaged a big toe while maneuvering on the slick Nagoya dohyo, and required surgery and almost a year to completely recover.
While the Nagoya venue is air conditioned, first hand reports note that the cooling air does not tend to reach all the way to the dohyo, and with the intense lights within the canopy raising temperatures at least 6°C, the fighting platform dries quickly.
Reports from the Nippon Sumo Kyokai’s twitter account that the construction of the dohyo in Nagoya has begun. Each dohyo is hand-built from specific soils compressed and rammed into shape. On Saturday afternoon, it will be consecrated is a solemn ceremony that sanctifies the platform and infuses it with prayers for prosperity and safety.
In a solemn ceremony today in Osaka’s Edion Arena, the dohyo for the 2017 Haru Basho was consecrated, making it ready for battle. The proceedings were punctuated by a moment of silence in memory of those killed or impacted by the great 2011 Tohoku earthquake, which led to the Fukushima melt down
In front of sumo dignitaries, leading rikishi and a large gathering of fans, the sacrificial offers were incorporated into the clay platform that will be focus of hundreds of bouts daily for the next two weeks.
Today via twitter, we get images of the crew in Osaka beginning to task of building the clay platform that will, within a few days, become the dohyo for the 2017 Haru basho.
Building a dohyo is labor intensive, back-breaking work. As you can imagine, it is crafted by hand each and every time, by people who take this sort of thing quite seriously. Each of the straw bales are bundled by hand, and the entire platform is shaped and compacted using hand tools.
Via a tweet from the Sumo Kyokai, we bring you news of some of the final preparations for the upcoming November tournament. As always Tachiai will provide close coverage of all the action for english speaking sumo fans.
Coverage starts tomorrow November 13th. As always NHK world will be providing highlights, with more robust video coverage available on YouTube via these favorites: