Princess Diana Eager to Watch Sumō Matches on 1986 Visit (News)


Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—When Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Japan in May 1986, a trip to watch professional sumō matches was included in their itinerary following a strong request from the princess, declassified diplomatic documents showed Wednesday.

During their stay in Japan, the royal couple visited the Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumō hall in Tokyo on May 11, 1986, the opening day of the summer grand tournament and watched four matches, including the final bout of the day.

The prince and princess later met with sumō wrestlers Ōnokuni, who held the sport's second-highest rank of ōzeki at the time, and Konishiki, in the third rank of sekiwake, two of the largest wrestlers. Ōnokuni was later promoted to the top rank of yokozuna, while Konishiki became ōzeki.

When Princess Diana visited Canada before her trip to Japan, she told the Japanese consul-general in Vancouver that her earnest wish to watch sumō was about to be fulfilled, adding that she was looking forward to seeing the traditional sport in Japan, according to the documents.

Confessing that she still had difficulty using chopsticks, she joked that she was thinking of visiting Japan with a knife and a fork in her handbag, the documents showed.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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