Sumo Championships Set To Stomp in Japantown

The 5th Annual Sumo Champions Exhibition is a big deal, and brings the heavy hitters of Sumo to San Francisco this weekend.

Image: Japan Center SF

SF Weekly has a long-running obsession with very large men wearing very little clothing, but we’ve never seen any beefcake in the 600-pound category. That changes this weekend, when the 5th Annual Sumo Champions Exhibition returns to Japantown, featuring Yamamotoyama “Yama” Ryūta — who weighs in at 600 pounds, and is believed to be the largest Japanese man in history.

The Sumo Champions Exhibition runs Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 16-17) at the Japantown Peace Plaza, though these matches will be anything but peaceful. While taiko drums pound away and the crowd goes bananas, men who weigh in excess of 300 pounds will do battle royale in the ancient Japanese martial art of sumo.  

Two-time World Sumo Champion Yama is not the only title holder on the bill. Four-time World Sumo Champion Byamba is also scheduled to compete, as is two-time U.S. Sumo Champion Roy Sims. (He’s the white guy.)

There is more strategy to Sumo than you might think, as evidenced by the video below from the inaugural 2012 event. Sweeping the leg and slapping with an open hand are legal moves, butt slaps and groin grabs are not legal moves.

The 2017 Sumo Champions Exhibition is scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday, but there are no matches on Saturday. Saturday’s 5 p.m. event is just a meet and greet with the wrestlers, but on Sunday the matches begin at Noon and run all day. Admission is free.

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