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Why Sumo Wrestlers Make Babies Cry

April 30, 2024 09:59 IST

Nakizumo is an annual contest to make babies cry at the Sensoji temple in Tokyo.

Two amateur sumo wrestlers hold a baby each and a referee makes faces and loud noises to make them cry.

The winner is determined based on the loudest baby.

This 400-year-old ritual is believed to aid the healthy growth of children and ward off evil spirits.

The parents pay 15,000 Japanese yen -- about Rs 8,000 -- to enter their child in the Nakizumo competition.


IMAGE: Amateur sumo wrestlers hold babies during the Nakizumo contest. The referee is seen making faces to make the babies cry. All photographs: Issei Kato/Reuters


IMAGE: Babies cry while being held up by the wrestlers.


IMAGE: Ring assistants wear masks to scare babies, here and below.




IMAGE: The babies and their parents take part in a ring-entering ceremony.


Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/