Hokkaido Sumo Kingdom

The History of Sumo

The origin of sumo that is a part of traditional Japanese culture, dates back to the Kofun period (250-600 CE).
Large-scale graves were frequently constructed in the Kofun period. Many "sumo dolls" depicting wrestlers performing sumo made from clay were discovered among a large amount of earthenware (clay figures) found on display in the area. Because of this, it is believed that an early form of sumo wrestling existed at this time.
Additionally, Japan's oldest literary works, Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters (compiled 712), and Nihon-shoki, the oldest chronicles of Japan (compiled 720), describe a competition of strength between two large men before the Emperor, this original form was a competition for the Emperor to spectate.
In the Nara period (710-794), there is record of sumo wrestling taking place as one of the ceremonies of a festival to predict the harvest of farm products every year. This became an Imperial Court event later and continued for 300 years. It was taken in as a form of battle training from the Kamakura period into the Age of Civil Wars (1185-1600) when the samurai gained power. It is said that Nobunaga Oda, who was a representative figure of the Age of Civil Wars, favored it and actively promoted it.
Entering the Edo period (1600-1867), sumo wrestling as an occupation appeared, sumo bouts were performed regularly with audiences paying admission, and many people lined up to see it for entertainment along with kabuki. This is currently the foundation for the Grand Sumo Tournament (Sumo performance hosted by Japan Sumo
Wrestling Association), the provincial tour of the regular sumo tournament is carried out six times a year at various locations including Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka, with many domestic and international fans gathering.



Sumo Terminology

The sumo referee who enters the sumo ring with the sumo wrestlers, judges the match and declares the winner and loser.

A training method for strengthening the legs. The left and right foot are raised high many times. It is performed as a warm-up in the sumo ring.

The word to describe a wrestler with a meaty body, and round figure. The word comes from the fish, anko (anglerfish).

A round wooden fan used by the sumo referee to signal the winner of the match. Originally, it was a tool used by military commanders to direct their soldiers during the Age of Civil Wars.

One of the expressions shouted by the sumo referee from the sumo ring. It is said to be derived from an expression meaning "compete quickly".

The bow-twirling ceremony performed at the end of each honbasho day by the winner, but in recent years it is performed by a designated sumo wrestler.

A document listing the rankings of the sumo wrestlers. It is divided from the top into makuuchi, juryo, makushita, sandanme, jonidan, and jonokuchi.

The lowest ranking. Derived from "This is only the begining", this is also used as an expression with this meaning.

Sumo Terminology

Sumo Terminology

Competition-Style of Rikishi

Sumo wrestlers are called "rikishi".
Sumo wrestlers compete wearing only a silk 600cm long by 70cm wide "mawashi" worn wrapped around the waist.
Besides sumo wrestling, martial arts being performed nearly naked is not usually seen.
The nude aspect is for purity based on religious tradition, as the competition is an offering to god.
Nudity before God shows that one does not possess a weapon at all, and is bound to fight with only one's body fairly.
In addition, thin cords called "sagari" are attached to the mawashi.
During the ceremonial entrance into the ring, the sumo wrestler wears an ornamental apron called a "kesho mawashi" embroided with silver and gold thread.
However the ornamental apron is a hinderance in competition, therefore the sagari are attached instead.
Furthermore there is a unique traditional Japanese topknot hairstyle called a "mage".
Hair grown long is folded forward to rest on the top of the head.
It was mainstream to see the "chonmage" topknot where the head is also shaved the area from forehead to the top of the head until the Edo period, however it became prevalent to not shave the this area from the Tokugawa period, modern day sumo wrestlers also do not shave this area.
You can watch a match of the Grand Sumo Tournament with more fascination when you have an understanding of the competition-style of the sumo wrestler.


Yokozuna, the Strongest Sumo Wrestler

In sumo wrestling, approximately 640 sumo wrestlers are divided into 2 groups east and west to compete.
They are divided into 6 groups by results into these groups from top to bottom, makuuchi, juryo, makushita, sandanme, jonidan, and jonokuchi. These are the rankings.
The top division, makuuchi, is divided into 5 further classes, with the top being "yokozuna".
A yokozuna may only retire to leave their position as they cannot be demoted.
Therefore, being observant of the ability to control one's strength, and making good decisions are demanded from yokozuna along with a constant effort to maintain physical strength and technique appropriate for the top position.
Being a sumo wrestler with a good balance of psychological, and physical strength, and technique.
This is the reason why a yokozuna is the strongest sumo wrestler.
All sumo wrestlers work hard day after day through severe training aiming to become a yokozuna.


The 8 from Hokkaido

Since the beginning of the Grand Sumo Tournament has birthed 72 yokozunas.
Of these, eight sumo wrestlers are from Hokkaido.
Starting with Chiyonoyama who achieved promotion to yokozuna in 1951, Taiho of 32 wins, the sumo genius Kitanoumi, the national hero Chiyonofuji and others, particularly through the 60s and 80s, the successive production of yokozuna gave off an immortal brightness on the history of the Grand Sumo Tournament.
From this Hokkaido became known as a sumo kingdom.

●Ring Name ●Short Bio ●Hometown/year of promotion/number of victories
the 41st Chiyonoyama Height 190cm with a muscular body, called "Tekkotsu no Yagura" (the Steel-Framed Tower) Fukushima-cho/1951/6
the 43rd Yoshibayama The beautiful Shiranui style of the grand champion's ring-entering ceremony brings awe to his fans Atsuta-mura/1954/1
the 48th Taiho Half Russian and half Japanese this handsome wrestler is rare in the history of sumo wrestling Teshikaga-cho/1961/32
the 52nd Kitanofuji This beautifully voiced yokozuna was the first to win all matches as both Juryo and makuuchi Asahikawa-shi/1970/10
the 55th Kitanoumi Promoted to yokozuna at just 21 years old, unanimously considered a sumo genius Sobetsu-cho/1974/24
the 58th Chiyonofuji Great yokozuna with the nickname of "the wolf" Fukushima-cho/1981/31
the 61th Hokutoumi This is Hokutoumi Nobuyoshi, the existing chief director of the Japan Sumo Wrestling Association Hiroo-cho/1987/8
the 62nd Onokuni In the striking decisive match that stopped the 53 match winning streak of Chiyonofuji Memuro-cho/1987/2

Sumo & Chanko (cooking made by the sumo wrestler)

Sumo wrestlers eat a special meal "chanko" in order to build their bodies along with intense training.
Chanko is the generic name given to all the home cooking made by the sumo wrestler called the chanko-ban, whose duty it is to do the cooking at the sumo stable. One from among them chankonabe It is said to have started in the sumo stable of popular yokozuna, Hitachiyama in the latter half of the Meiji period.
Stewing various ingredients in the hot-pot increases the nutritional value of the meal, this cuisine has the merit of building solidarity between the sumo wrestlers surrounding the pot, spreading to other sumo stables, chanko-nabe was created with ingenuity.
It became known and spread as a representative of sumo cuisine, when offered as chanko-nabe to the general public at places like restaurants opened by retired sumo wrestlers in their hometowns.
The number of overseas tourists visiting Japan to try authentic chanko-nabe is increasing.
There are popular sumo restaurants in Hokkaido where you can try traditional chanko-nabe.


Let's Eat Chanko-Nabe in Hokkaido Sumo Kingdom, the Soup Bringing Pride to Japan!

The ingredients used in chanko-nabe include fresh seafood, meat, and vegetables. These are stewed for a long time in the pot, and eaten up with the highly nutritious soup stock.
As a powerful slow food with diet and health benefits, and it has attracted attention internationally as a valuable soup dish born from traditional Japanese culture.
Hokkaido, blessed by nature is abundant in fresh ingredients most suited to chanko-nabe.
The chanko-nabe of the sumo kingdom of Hokkaido is very unique.


Handed Down Directly from Yokozuna Kitanofuji! The Real Thing is Here. Keidaien, Kitanofuji Sumo Teahouse

Open for almost 50 years in Sapporo, sumo teahouse, Kitanofuji, Keidaien Passing on the flavor as a sumo cuisine restaurant directly handed down from the chanko sumo cook of the 52nd yokozuna, Kitanofuji, to the delight of many.
You can design your chanko-nabe freely from 4 varieties of ingredients and 3 varieties of soup.
Also, there are other popular dishes including wagyu beef as a main such as shabu-shabu and sukiyaki.
Enjoy the time limit of the 2 hour all you can eat on the other menu items.
Won't you try the genuine chanko-nabe in Sapporo?

Reservations & Inquiries


Restaurant Introduction

Chanko-nabe (sumo wrestler's stew) Keidaien
/ North Plaza B1, 2-2, Kita 1-jo Nishi 4-chome,
Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi TEL : +81-11-219-1711