Some of the biggest names in sumo wrestling took centre stage at the Yasukuni Shrine grounds in Tokyo yesterday.
They had gathered for the Honozumo, a ceremonial sumo tournament that is held every year at the controversial war shrine to mark the beginning of a new season of bouts, to pray for good fortune and to honour the shrine itself.
More than 6,000 spectators enjoyed this one-day event celebrating all things sumo. It is such a family event that the wrestlers often take their children to the ring before the matches begin.
Sumo wrestling, Japan's national sport, goes back over 1,500 years with its roots in a religious ritual conducted in Shinto shrines to pray for abundant harvests, reported Reuters.
It involves two wrestlers going head-to-head in a ring as they try to force their opponents to the ground or out of the ring.
The sport was closed to outsiders for a long time.
But, in the past few decades, a number of foreigners have begun to compete in the top two divisions. In fact, among the four current yokozuna or grand champions, three are from Mongolia.