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In sumo, a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring (dohyō) 4.55 metres in diameter. Also, the rikishi try to use their skill to force an opponent to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet.
Sumo tournaments (basho) take place in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. There are a total of 6 major professional tournaments (known as honbasho) per year, in January, March, May, July, September and November.
A tournament normally lasts for 15 days and features matches from different divisions. The top 5 ranks are known as the "Top division", also called the Makuuchi (幕内) or Makunouchi (幕の内). It is fixed in size and always contains 42 rikishi.
Those who have earned the highest rank are grand champions (yokuzuna).
- Akashi, 16th century
- Maruyama, (1712-1749)
- Tanikaze (Kajinosuke, 1750-1795)
- Onagawa (1758-1805)
- Ao no Matsu (1791-1851)
- Chiyonofuji Mitsugu (b. 1955)
- Takanosato (b. 1952)
- Futahaguro Koji (b. 1963)
- Hokuto-umi, (b. 1963)
- Onokuni (b. 1962)
- Asahifuji (b. 1960)
- Akebono (b. 1970)
For a full list of those rikishi who have held the title of Yokozuna, see List of yokozuna.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Sumo" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 914.
- Nussbaum, "Sumotori" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 914-915.
- Nussbaum, "Yokozuna (Sumo Grand Champions)" at p. 915; retrieved 2012-2-27.
- Nussbaum, "Chiyonofugi" at p. 117; retrieved 2012-2-27.
- Sumo Reference, Konishiki Yasokichi; retrieved 2012-2-27.
- Japan Sumo Association, "Akebono"; retrieved 2012-2-27.