Indonesia will this weekend become the first country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to host a sumo wrestling tournament.
The two-day event, to be held from August 24-25 at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, will feature 40 of the world's best sumo wrestlers.
“We are very happy to host the sumo tournament," event promoter Takuji Yoshida said at a press conference on Wednesday. "Sumo originated in Japan, and it has been a part of the country’s culture for 1,500 years. I hope the wrestlers will experience Indonesian culture as well.”
Sumo is a traditional form of Japanese wresting in which competitors try to force one another out of a ring. The wrestlers are famous for their large size, costumes and the ritual-bound communal training regimen that takes up much of their lives.
The tournament will mark the 40th anniversary of Japanese-Asean cooperation and the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan.
Some participants come from nations other than Japan, such as Mongolian-born wrestler Yokozuna Asashoryu and Baruto Kaito of Estonia, who may be the heaviest athlete in the history of the sport at 193 kilograms. They will compete in a knockout-format match.
“They are ready to entertain Indonesian spectators,” Yoshida said. “We want to help make sumo more popular in Indonesia in the future.”
Tickets are available for Rp. 220,000 - Rp. 3 million ($22 - $30) on the event's website, bursakarcis.com.