The national sport of Japan is Sumo. The ancient history of Japan book "NIHON SHOKI" had a short article saying they already had Sumo in 23 BC. Originally Sumo is related to the Shinto religion, some shrines have local sumo tournaments in their festival. The word is not only used in wrestling, but we also call some one-on-one matches "sumo". For example we call arm wrestling "Ude (arm) Sumo", little boys are crazy for the "Mushi King" game, we call such a beetle match "Mushi sumo" originally.
Although Sumo is strongly related to Japanese history and culture, it seems to be the most globalised among Japanese professional sports. Football (soccer) and baseball are the most popular sports in Japan, but they have a limit for foreign players, but Sumo does not have it. The current Yokozuna (the highest rank) is Asashoryu only, who is from Mongolia. (Yokozuna and Ozeki (the second highest rank) are decided by qualifications by committee. They must have enough power (result), skill and dignity/grace "hinkaku" to be qualified for promotion. So promotion is not so easy, and there are only 67 Yokozuna in Sumo history.)
Asashoryu is very strong, we think he will set a new "win record" in sumo history. A foreign wrestler Akebono (he is now a K-1 wrestler) and Musashimaru (he looks like the Japanese historical hero Saigo san) could get to be Yokozuna. Konishiki is well know as a Guinness record holder and he is a Hawaiian musician, piko used him as an image character. They all came from Hawaii. A current wrestler, Kokkai came from Georgia, Balto who is from Estonia is hot because of his blond hair and sweet face, and more wrestlers are in lower rank. In this autumn season tournament (15 days), Asashoryu (Mongolia) and Kotooshu (Bulgaria) are competing to be winner. I heard the Bulgarian people are worked up. Tomorrow, Sunday is the last day, I will check it out.
Anyway we don't have a Japanese Yokozuna now, the last one was Takanohana. Like an article said, he was a beautiful guy, and actually his ex girlfriend was Rie Miyazawa, and his wife is FUJI TV announcer Keiko Kono. But recently he and his brother ex-Yokozuna Wakanohana are well known for their ugly family business. Here is the story.