The question, "Is Japanese sumo a sport or just a cultural tradition?" has become a topic of the day.
Ever since the fixed-fights of some sumo wrestlers came to light due to e-mails left on their cell phones, I have been thinking about what cultural traditions are.
Tradition can be contrasted with modernity. I wonder how these two can coexist in harmony in a world, where society progresses from being traditional to being modern. I wonder whether tradition can be changed or if is it supposed to be invariable?
Asashoryu, who used to be a sumo grand champion of "sumo", became the target of criticism due to his unusual behavior while holding the highest rank of champion. When he won a big match, he struck a victory pose filled with joy, which he needn't have. Once when he left a tournament, he wore a shirt and pants instead of a kimono, which was against the rules. He became a focus of criticism easily because he didn't always follow the traditional rules.
When I have seen young sumo wrestlers acheive a great victory, I have felt sorry for them, for not being able to show their joy. I know that it's a tradition in the field, but I also enjoy seeing them express their happiness. People in Japan have been changing, like showing their feelings more than before. It seems sumo wrestlers are no exception.
Japanese society has changed a lot. I wonder how we can adapt our traditions to the times...