Explaining Sumo in English | Reasons for its Popularity and Special Experience for Foreigners

Motenas Representative
Motenas Representative

Sumo is the national sport of Japan.

Sumo is a sport that has developed in Japan since ancient times.

Such sumo is a very popular Japanese culture among foreigners.

The large-bodied rikishi, the special “mage” called “oiginko” and the mawashi (sash), and the majestic appearance of the sacred sumo ring.

From a foreigner’s point of view, in addition to being interesting as a martial art, it is probably full of exotic charm.

However, to enjoy the traditional world of sumo even more, it is good to have a little previous knowledge.

In this article, we will introduce the appeal of sumo from a foreigner’s point of view, the sumo experience, and some useful phrases and words that can be used to easily explain sumo in English!

Why is sumo so popular among foreigners?

Simple rules and an exotic view of the world,

In recent years, the number of martial arts fans around the world who are captivated by the heated fights in which large bodies collide with each other has skyrocketed.

Many foreign tourists can be seen among the spectators of sumo tournaments.

Many people say, “If I go to Japan, I want to watch sumo wrestling without fail! There are quite a few people who say, “If I go to Japan, I want to be sure to see a sumo match!

So, what exactly is it that makes it attractive to foreigners?

Sumo Worldview

The popularity of sumo matches among foreigners has grown in recent years, with many foreign tourists visiting the Ryogoku Kokugikan and the Edo Museum.

After all, one of the attractions of sumo is its unique worldview, which has continued since the ancient times of sumo, which can be considered as one of the most fascinating aspects of sumo.

Sumo has continued to carry on the traditions of the Edo period and continues to shine today, while preserving its traditional form.

In addition, we must not forget the attractiveness of the rikishi.

These rikishi are not a stage direction or a fairy tale, but a reality in which they continue to improve themselves through rigorous training day in and day out.

The rating of the rikishi is determined by a single shot on the ring, and the rating of the rikishi who continue to climb as far as they can with their strength and skill.

It is a world of power that is compelling because of its simplicity and sophistication.

And originally, sumo was dedicated to the gods as a Shinto ritual.

The austere atmosphere is one of the reasons why foreigners are attracted to this place.

Activities of Foreign Rikishi

In recent years, sumo wrestlers from other countries have been active in the Japanese sumo world.

The success of these foreign wrestlers has triggered a surge in popularity and fans of sumo overseas.

The number of foreign rikishi in the makunouchi ranks today is surprisingly large compared to that of the Showa period, and the countries of origin of the rikishi in the makunouchi ranks are becoming more and more varied.

They come from Mongolia, the U.S., Europe, Russia, Egypt, Brazil, China, Korea…they come from all over the world to train across the sea to become Japanese rikishi, mastering all aspects of body, mind and technique.

When a foreign rikishi performs well and is promoted to a higher rank and becomes a topic of conversation, he inevitably attracts attention from his home country, which rises to the top.

Mongolia, for example.

In Mongolia, four out of six television stations currently broadcast live sumo, thanks to the great success of Mongolian wrestlers, and sumo is enjoyed as a national martial art.

And now, with the spread of Internet channels and live hygienic broadcasts, it is possible to watch sumo matches anywhere in the world.

Foreign tourists also share their enjoyable travel experiences on SNS and video-sharing websites as a record of their travels in Japan.

Among them, an increasing number of people have posted that they enjoyed the Sumo experience and morning practice tour! The number of people posting “I enjoyed the Sumo experience and the morning practice tour” is increasing.

Of course, there are some foreigners who do not know anything about sumo, but nowadays, with this background, the number of people who want to watch sumo when they visit Japan someday is rapidly increasing.

The various opportunities will lead to the spread of new foreign sumo fans who will be fascinated by the fun of sumo.

Ryogoku Kokugikan and Sumo stable

Ryogoku Kokugikan always ranks high on the list of must-visit places for foreign tourists in Tokyo.

The popularity of the event is such that pamphlets sold at the venue are available in both Japanese and English.

And at the Sumo ticket booth, a “Will Call” machine has been installed to receive and issue tickets reserved from overseas.

The number of tickets issued from this Will Call is over 3,000 for each location, indicating the popularity of this service from abroad.

Such is the popularity of sumo that the Sumo Association has begun allowing visitors to tour sumo stables in consideration of tourists from overseas.

This openness to the world will further expand sumo as a Japanese icon.

What is the Sumo Experience?

If you are interested in learning more about the basics of sumo, its history, and other explanations, please refer to this article.

Reference article: [Popular Sumo Experience! How to tell foreigners about sumo? Hospitality and how to explain

The Sumo Experience is a chance to experience a little bit of the world of sumo wrestlers, a world that seems a little far away.

This is called.

For those of us who live in Japan, the world of sumo wrestlers and the sumo experience is extraordinary.

You will want to know what on earth they are going to do.

Here, we will introduce each of these sumo experiences one by one!

Meet real former sumo wrestlers

To become a rikishi, one must undergo rigorous training and acquire the proper etiquette.

The life of a rikishi is different from ours in that it involves training and a strict code of conduct, and only those who have achieved this are considered to be rikishi.

You will meet these trained former sumo wrestlers in person, and they will tell you about the world of sumo in an easy-to-understand manner from the perspective of those who have experienced it.

Of course, there will be a question-and-answer session, and any questions you may have will be answered in a friendly manner, so you can learn more and more about the world of sumo.

game played in real earnest three times a day

In the Sumo Experience, visitors can watch former sumo wrestlers compete in three serious matches up close and personal.

The momentum of the big-bodied rikishi as they challenge their opponents with all their might is very realistic and makes the spectating experience more intense.

In the Sumo Experience, you will share the sumo ring with sumo wrestlers, so you can feel the tense atmosphere of the match, which is different from watching a sumo match.

In addition to being a martial art, the attraction of sumo is the size of the wrestlers and the sensation of experiencing the atmosphere of the place, and the serious competition up close is a true sumo experience.

You will never get a closer taste of sumo than this.

Sacred ring

Usually, you can never enter the ring.

Women are now strictly prohibited from entering the sumo ring at the Kokugikan, but women are allowed to enter the ring for a special experience.

One of the main attractions of the Sumo Experience is the opportunity to wrestle former sumo wrestlers in the ring!

Only those who have experienced the power of rikishi and the size of the rikishi can really understand the power of rikishi and how big they are.

The elation of challenging a big wrestler with your own body is an experience you can only have in Japan.


Speaking of sumo, there is chanko-nabe.

During the Sumo Experience, you will have the opportunity to have the wrestlers prepare and share this special dish that has cultivated their large bodies.

The commentary was enjoyable, and the games were heated and serious.

And a real chanko-nabe after you have actually had a bout with a rikishi.

What is important for the taste of a dish is the situation and atmosphere in which it is eaten.

You won’t find the taste of chanko-nabe after a sumo experience anywhere else.

At the end of the tour, there will be a photo session with the big-bodied wrestlers, and the memories of the trip will be glamorous.

What kind of experience do you have?

In addition to the Sumo Experience, there are other programs that allow visitors to experience the fascination of sumo.

For example, we want people to enjoy sumo as a form of entertainment.

This way, parties and groups of foreign guests can enjoy sumo as an experience.

Big sumo wrestlers clad in traditional Japanese culture compete seriously at the party venue.

The event will then be enlivened by a variety of performances, including explanations of sumo by rikishi, question-and-answer sessions, and actual matches with the rikishi.

For groups, the sense of unity that is created when a group of people challenge a rikishi can be very exciting.

Many people are unable to attend sumo matches during their visit to Japan due to work or other commitments, so these special entertainment experiences will enhance their trip.

It is natural for foreign customers to seek Japaneseness in a country called Japan.

And if you can enjoy that Japanese-ness in various ways, we will be happy.

Another recommended part of the Sumo experience is team building through sumo.

Sumo is a Shinto ritual that has been handed down in Japan since ancient times, and each gesture has its own meaning.

By behaving with awareness of each movement, we can also question our own inner self.

Stamping on four legs and feet also strengthens the legs and hips, and helps to balance the torso, which has become weak due to desk work and other factors.

The simple rules of sumo dispel various mixtures and create a situation where you face your opponent with your whole body.

In light of these factors, I believe that incorporating sumo wrestling into team building is a great way to experience inner and outer awareness with your peers.

If you are looking for a team-building activity that you can do only in Japan, I recommend Sumo team building.

Basic English for Sumo

English Words about Sumo

rikishi : wrestler

dohyo : ring a circular ring

yokozuna : Yokozuna grand champions

mawashi : scarf loincloth

shikiri-sen : Starting lines

shimpan : Judges judges

mizuiri : water break

dohyou-iri : Ring-entering the ring-entering ceremonies

sumo kyo-kai : Japan Sumo Association

sumo beya : Sumo stable training stable

banzuke : Ranking hierarchy

English Example Sentences for Sumo

– Sumo is a Japanese style of wrestling and Japan’s national sport.

Sumo is a Japanese-style martial art and the national sport of Japan.

– In sumo, two people who are wearing only a loincloth fight each other in a circular ring.

In sumo, two wrestlers, wearing only their mawashi, fight on the sumo ring.

– If one of them exits the ring or touches the ground with any part of his body besides the soles of his feet loses : these are the simple rules of Sumo.

The rules of sumo are simple: if any part of the body touches the ring or the ground, the fighter loses.

– All sumo wrestlers are classified in a ranking hierarchy, depending on the wrestlers’ performance.

All rikishi are classified according to their ranks, which are determined by the results of their matches.

– As there’s no regulation regarding the wrestlers body shape and weight in Sumo, one small wrestler can win against another As there no regulation regarding the wrestlers body shape and weight in Sumo, one small wrestler can win against another

In sumo, there is no division of ranks according to body size, so a smaller wrestler can beat a larger one.


This Japanese martial art, which has been practiced in 2025 since the time of the Kojiki, is an extraordinary and evocative image of Japan.

People who travel to foreign countries are eager to experience the culture of the country they are visiting through all five senses.

When you visit Japan, you want to touch Japan! I am sure that many people feel that they want to touch Japan when they visit this country.

The interesting thing about sumo is that it is Japan’s national sport and a traditional art form with a long history.

There is no other sport where you can experience so much of Japan’s history as a martial arts spectator.

The ethereal beauty in traditional culture, the beauty of clear and obvious power, and the austere atmosphere of the venue.

I believe that this emotion transcends race and national borders without logic, and strikes a chord within us all.

Sumo is also one of the sites of internationalization seen in Japan, demonstrating the power of Japanese culture to naturally move outward and outward in its own way.

Reference URL: https://sumo.or.jp/IrohaKnowledge/sumo_history/