New Year Sumo
The New Year sumo tournament (Jan 9th
– 23rd at Tokyo’s
Ryogoku Kokugikan) sees yokozuna
Hakuho aiming for his 18th Emperor’s Cup, and after a
phenomenal 2010, odds are he will take the cup this tournament too.
In 2010 Hakuho won 86 out of 90 bouts (equaling his record set in
2009), became the first wrestler ever to win four consecutive
tournaments with perfect 15-0 records, and came just six wins shy
of matching yokozuna
legend Futabayama’s all-time consecutive wins streak of 69, a
record that has been in place since 1939.
is just the 69th yokozuna
in sumo history, with the first yokozuna
acknowledged to be Akashi Shiganosuke, who wrestled in the first
half of the 17th century. According to sumo folklore, he
became a star in the 1620s and his popularity led to sumo
organisers charging for admission to watch bouts for the first
current standard applied by the Yokozuna Deliberation Council in
determining whether a wrestler is fit to become a yokozuna is usually
consecutive tournament victories at the second rank of ozeki, although there have
been exceptions. In addition to recent performance in the ring or dohyo, also important is
something called hinkaku,
a word meaning dignity or grace, and basically the wrestler must be
a man of character worthy to hold such an exalted position. 68th
yokozuna Asashoryu, who
retired from sumo in February 2010, was questioned with regard to
this due to several incidents out of the ring, and was even
suspended for two tournaments in 2007. It was the first time in
sumo history a yokozuna
had been suspended from the sport.
Wrestlers lift their
legs high into the air before stamping them down on the ground,
symbolically driving evil from the dohyo.
Coming of Age Day
of Age Day, or Seijin no Hi,
is a public holiday in Japan held on the second Monday of January
to congratulate and encourage all those who have turned 20 years
old, or who will turn 20, during the current year (which runs from
April to March in Japan.) 20 is the age considered the beginning of
adulthood in Japan and legally they also become adults. It is the
minimum age for drinking, smoking and voting.
of Age ceremonies are often held on the public holiday or the Sunday
before at local government offices, and officials give speeches.
Many young women who have or are turning 20 wear furisode – a kimono with long sleeves
that drape down – and fluffy scarves, while many men wear suits or hakama – a dark traditional kimono for men. Women’s kimono are not easy to put
on alone and so women enlist the help of family or go to beauty
salons where they can have their hair and make-up done as well.
After the ceremony the
“new adults” go out with family and friends, taking pictures and
enjoying the special occasion.
Two young women in
furisode look forward to their futures.
“Les Frères in concert” (Japanese Jazz Piano
Foundation (Sydney) presents Les Frères in
concert, with the Japanese piano duo coming to play in Australia
for the first time in March. The group was formed by brothers
Moriya and Keito Saito in 2002, and the pair play on the same piano
simultaneously to produce music loved not only by classical music
lovers but also wider audiences.
Les Frères are scheduled to hold a concert
on March 12th as
part of their tour around Australia. Further
information can be found at the following link.
Ikebana Completion Ceremony
On Wednesday, December 15th 2010,
the completion ceremony for the 2nd semester of ikebana (flower arrangement)
lessons was held at the Consulate-General of Japan in Perth, which supported the ikebana course.
Students were presented with certificates in
recognition of their achievement in completing 15 lessons of ikebana over the 2nd
semester, under the attentive and experienced instruction of
Japanese ikebana teacher,
Mrs Akiko Chester. Mr Emmanuel Savundra, committee member of the
Australia Japan Society of Western Australia, and Consul-General Mr Sato
presented each student with a certificate of completion.
The ceremony followed the final ikebana lesson for the 2nd
semester course, which was conducted by the Australia-Japan
Society of WA. Students and their family and friends enjoyed seeing
each student’s beautiful ikebana
few examples of the ikebana arranged by the class.
NB - Japan
Brief is an original production of the Foreign Press Center, Japan, and does not represent the
views of the Government of Japan or that of any
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