Imperial Couple, Princess Aiko Watch Grand Sumo Tournament

Society Sports

Tokyo, Jan. 25 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, and their daughter, Princess Aiko, enjoyed watching matches on Day 14 of the 15-day New Year grand sumo tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall on Saturday.

This was the first time for Emperor Naruhito to watch a grand sumo tournament live at an arena since he ascended the throne on May 1, 2019, when the country's new era, Reiwa, started. Princess Aiko, 18, saw grand sumo matches for the first time since the autumn tournament in 2007, when she was five years old.

Seated in the VIP box on the second floor of the sumo arena, the Imperial couple and the princess watched nine second-half bouts for the makuuchi top division of professional sumo. While talking with smiles on their faces, they gave applause to wrestlers in each bout.

Hakkaku, head of the Japan Sumo Association and former yokozuna grand sumo champion Hokutoumi, who attended the family, said that Emperor Naruhito knows wrestler names very well and asked questions about how large the sumo ring is and body parts susceptible to injury. Princess Aiko asked Hakkaku about the height of the ring.

Emperor Naruhito seemed to have been impressed by the performances of wrestlers, saying, "There were many good bouts today," according to the chief of the association.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press