For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ah so! Sumo Woes

Konishiki in Esquire
Originally uploaded by scribecalledsteff.
Japan's ancient sport of sumo wrestling has gone and gotten its panties in a bunch. So to speak.

It seems someone's got the crazy notion that the diapers--err, the mawashis--just don't look cool. Well, they're right, of course. But this same someone thinks it's the dorky diapers that's making the kids stay away from the sport.

It seems that sumo's participation level has been dropping consistently in the recent past. Kids just don't want to roll around in diapers anymore.

And the fall-out? Welp, some of the wrestlers are suggesting sumo pants. We're talking sleek little lycra short numbers.

But the big-wigs say no. Nihon Sumo Kyokai, the sport's governing body, says the silly little pants will be verboten in the sport's premiere doyo at the national stadium in Tokyo.

And rightfully bloody so. Society's getting more shallow every day. Tradition's one of the only things we've got. There's something to be said for heritage and history and culture. It's got soul. It's got all the things that give us a grounding in who we are and where our people have come from.

Call it what you want, a diaper, a mawashi, whatever. It's history.

And really... do we need more lycra? On these massive, morbidly obese men? I'm going with no.

Maybe I'm reaching here, but maybe kids just don't want to be sumo wrestlers--not in the way that history dictates. But if you want to cater to the kids who don't like the diapers, you'll have to start a whole new modern league. The reality is, people don't want to have to be constrained by tradition and propriety. Not all the time.

Here's my thinking: Sumo is cool. Keep it intact. Start a new sumo federation. Have it be completely modern and hip. Cater to the kids. Don't get too crazy. But the stars can do celebrity turns at traditional sumo, where they too will don the sacred mawashi. That way, you get the kids back into the sport, but you also up the hip factor of the traditional sport of sumo.

It's a win-win, and what's more, it means big money.

And we still get to see trippy photos of big bouncy men in diapers. Sumo ichiban!