Trump Officiates Sumo Tournament in Japan
Sumo is the World’s Oldest Organized Sport
By Timothy Nerozzi
May 27, 2019
By Tim Nerozzi
President Trump honored a Japanese sumo champion with the first-ever “United States President’s Cup” today in the conclusion of the Grand Sumo Summer Tournament in Tokyo.
Asanoyama, a 25-year old wrestler, received the cup in the middle of the wrestling ring after being announced as the tournament’s victor.
“In honor of your outstanding achievement, as sumo grand champion, I hereby award you the United States’ President’s Cup, May 26, Reiwa 1,” Trump said, speaking to Asanoyama who goes by only one name as is common for many Sumo wrestlers.
“Reiwa 1” refers to the Japanese calendar, which counts years based on the reign of each successive emperor.
The new award is an American version of the traditional trophy for sumo champions – the esteemed “Emperor’s Cup,” which is given the winner of every Major Grand Sumo tournament held throughout the year.
The President’s Cup is a large, metallic trophy topped with an American Bald Eagle. The cup has a handle on either side and a shape similar to the design of the Emperor’s Cup.
The president sat close to, but behind, the ringside area for the tournament along with first lady Melania and Abe’s wife, Akie. Ringside seats are notoriously dangerous for spectators, as wrestlers are often pushed or thrown out of the ring violently, often landing on audience members.
“Tonight in Tokyo, Japan at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan Stadium, it was my great honor to present the first-ever U.S. President’s Cup to Sumo Grand Champion Asanoyama. Congratulations! A great time had by all,” said Trump on his official Twitter account after the event.
Sumo is the world’s oldest organized sport and the official sport of Japan.
The most popular sport in Japan has long been baseball which was introduced by Christian missionaries in the 19 Century. However, since hosting the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer has grown in popularity in Japan with some polls showing it is Japan’s most popular sport.
Unlike soccer or baseball, Sumo wrestling is originally Japanese. The wrestling is thought to please the gods, and spiritual practices such as throwing salt to purify the ring are routinely performed by the wrestlers.
Today was day two of a four-day visit to Japan. Trump and Melania are the first foreign diplomatic guests to the country since the new Reiwa era began.
“Reiwa” can be translated as “Order and Peace” or “Orderly Harmony,” a message that Abe has repeatedly worked into public statements since.
Earlier in the day, Trump played golf with Abe – a pastime they both indulge in frequently. Abe sent out a selfie of the two men mid-game, saying that the new era of peace would continue with the US-Japanese alliance unshaken.
To honor this historic visit the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest building in Japan was illuminated red, white, and blue to welcome the American president and first lady.
Photo Credit: A Photo Posted By Trump’s Twitter Account