Sumo explained

Why does the name of the Kokugikan in Ryogoku not mention sumo?

The name 国技館 means “national sport stadium) does refer to sumo, because it was the national sport

Why is the dohyo not a perfect circle?

The points where the tawara straw edge of the ring are slightly outside the circle used to be to let the rain water drain out

Why do they sweep the sumo dohyo (ring) after every bout?

They can use the marks left during the bout to help judge who won

Why are sumo wrestlers fat?

Need a low centre of gravity

Why are sumo wrestlers half naked?

This was true in most wrestling before spandex was invented, so people couldn’t hold onto each others clothes. Not being able to conceal weapons might also have been a factor, along perhaps with nakedness signifying purity as part of the religious role of sumo

Why does the gyouji(行司- sumo referee) carry a gumbai (軍配 special fan)?

It was held by warlords during the sengokujidai (戦国時代- civil war period),and so signifies being in charge

Why do the rikishi throw salt?

It purifies the ring. Salt is used for the same purpose at funerals (you wash with it to take away the contamination of death) and the little piles of salt outside doorways.

Why are there so many successful Mongolian sumo wrestlers?

A historic link to Japan, economic need and a tradition of Mongolian wrestling that gives them an advantage over the Japanese rikishi who never study another style.

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