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Monday, 13th January 2014
In Events In Japan,

Sumo elite stomp in the New Year

The cold and rainy weather that took over Tokyo last week was not enough to put off Japan's most elite sumo wrestlers last week (January 8th ) as they undertook their traditional foot stomping contest to welcome in the New Year.

On Wednesday, Yokozuna-ranked warriors Hakuho and Harumafuji led annual rites at the capital city's famously beautiful Meiji Shrine, with crowds of 2,800 turning out to observe the ancient tradition.

It is estimated that more than 3.2 million people have so far flocked to the place of worship in 2014 in order to carry out prayers and wish for good fortune over the coming 12 months.

The tradition performed last week is known as dohyo-iri and is carried out by sumo wrestlers at the start of each day in a top-division tournament.

It is carried out periodically not just at the Meiji Shrine, but at other high-profile temples across the country to emphasise the links between the sport and the Shinto religion.

Written by Mark Smith