Now, that's one way to win the bout

A sumo wrestler forcing his opponent out of the ring during a show fight at the Spring Festival sumo tournament yesterday.

Sumo fans as well as tourists flocked to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where the annual event was held.

They were treated to exhibition bouts, foot-stamping ceremonies, traditional chanting and even a comedy routine explaining the dos and don'ts of sumo wrestling.

The history of sumo, Japan's national sport, can be traced back more than 1,500 years. It has its roots in a ritual conducted at Shinto shrines to pray for abundant harvests.

Negative publicity has surrounded the sport of late, with incidents ranging from assault and bullying to accusations of sexism.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2018, with the headline 'Now, that's one way to win the bout'. Print Edition | Subscribe