Ekō-in - Sumo


The temple was known as a sumo wrestling venue during the Edo and Meiji periods. The kanjin-zumō, a charity fund raising event permitted by the Tokugawa shogunate and the origin of the current professional sumo, was first held in the temple in September 1768. The temple was the site of all tournaments from October 1833 to 1909. These 76 years are known as the period of "Ekō-in sumō".

In 1909, the tournaments were moved into the original Ryōgoku Kokugikan, a modern arena in the temple precincts that had a capacity of 13,000 spectators and that was nicknamed as the Great Iron Umbrella. This contributed to the popularity of the sport by making it possible to hold sumo tournaments regardless of the weather. Also in the precincts is a monument called the Chikarazuka (力塚?, Power mound), built in 1937 by the Sumo Association as a memorial to past wrestlers. Today it has become a place where apprentice wrestlers come to pray for power.

After World War II, sumo tournaments moved to various venues in Tokyo and then to the Kuramae Kokugikan arena in Taitō, Tokyo before returning to the Ryōgoku district in 1985. The current Ryōgoku Kokugikan arena is located only about 400 meters from the temple.

  • Chikarazuka in the temple precincts.

  • An ukiyo-e print by Utagawa Hiroshige, showing the Ekō-in's tower for the drum roll signifying the start of a sumo tournament, from 100 Famous Views of Edo.

Read more about this topic:  Ekō-in

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