We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Restrictive Is Life for a Sumo Wrestler?

Everyone who pays attention to professional sports knows that star athletes don't live like regular folks, from being escorted by entourages everywhere they go to being hailed as heroes by schoolchildren. But for sumo wrestlers, star treatment takes on a whole different meaning. Sumo wrestlers are widely beloved in Japan, but instead of living the high life, they are expected to follow a highly regimented existence as dictated by the powerful Japan Sumo Association. They typically live together in training facilities, where they are told how to dress and what to eat. And instead of pulling up to events in fancy cars, they aren't even allowed to drive. Having a driver is something of a status symbol, but it's also about safety: Sumo wrestlers are so big that they usually can't reach the steering wheel. In fact, the rule started after a sumo wrestler was involved in a serious car accident. If caught behind the wheel, a wrestler can be booted from competition.

Wrestling with sumo regulations:

  • Sumo wrestlers are expected to wear their hair in a topknot, as an homage to hairstyles from the Edo Period.
  • Sumo living facilities follow a hierarchy in which lower-ranked wrestlers cook and serve their higher-ranked brethren.
  • It wasn't until the 20th century that sumo wrestlers got as big as possible in order to gain an advantage in matches.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003138 — On May 05, 2020

A monastery by another name.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.