What's the purpose of sumo wrestlers'oicho hairstyle?



日本の国技のスポーツのルール What are the rules of Japan's national sport?

Sumo is the national sport in Japan. It is a kind of martial art where two sumo wrestlers, or rikishi, fight in a ring, or dohyo. As you may already know, a wrestler loses the bout if he is forced out of the ring, or if any part of his body other than the soles of his feet touch the ground.


相撲取りの髪型には意味があり! There are some principal reasons for the sumo wrestlers' hairstyle

To be a sumo wrestler, you must be at least 173 centimeters tall and weigh 75 kilograms. It is said that some people who were not tall or heavy enough, hit their heads to get a lump or drink a lot of water before the measurement. There was one wrestler who even had surgery to put silicon on the top of his head before the measurement. You see many sumo wrestlers, however, who are taller than 180 cm and weigh over 100kg. They have their hair tied up in a certain style, called oicho. This is not just a matter of aesthetics, but protects the wrestlers' heads when they go head-to-head at the beginning of the match or if they fall out of the ring.


まわしはこんなに長くて重かった!? The sumo wrestlers' belt is long and heavy!?


The Japan Sumo Association holds six tournaments, or hon-basho, each year. Tokyo hosts hon-basho in January, May and September, Osaka plays host in March, Nagoya in July and Fukuoka in November. Sumo wrestlers wear a silk belt, or mawashi, which is 10 meters long and weighs four to five kilograms. They also attach fringes, or sagari, which have 17 to 21 strings to the belt. Let's take a look at the main techniques used in sumo.


代表的な技 Main techniques

  • 寄り切り forcing out
  • 押し出し pushing out
  • はたき込み slapping down
  • つり出し lifting out
  • 上手投げ an overarm throw
  • 下手投げ an underarm throw
  • はたき slapping
  • 外掛け tripping with an outside leg
  • 引き落とし pulling down



A rikishi's hairstyle, oicho, is not just aesthetic, but protects the wrestlers' heads when they go head-to-head at the beginning of the match or if they fall out of the ring.






カナダ・オーストラリアに留学ののち、ボストン大学コミュニケーション学部修士課程ジャーナリズム専攻、東北大学博士前期課程人間社会情報科学専攻修了。通信社の国際金融情報部、出版社にて国内・海外の取材記事や交渉ほかを担当。海外通販会社の役員を経て、諸媒体の翻訳・執筆・プロデュース などを手がける。 著書に『コトバのギフト~輝く女性の100名言』(講談社)、『スティーブ・ジョブズに学ぶ英語プレゼン』(日経BP社)ほか多数。仕事と趣味で旅した国は50カ国を超える。