I’ve never given much thought to sumo “uniforms,” because the combatants basically just wear diapers. Okay, so there are different colors (including you know what), along with the occasional bit of flag-based imagery, but still — come on.
Or at least that’s what I thought. But as with virtually all things Far Eastern, this one has come under the gaze of reader Jeremy Brahm, who recently sent along the following primer about the special ceremonial belts — which look more like skirts or aprons — that some sumo wrestlers wear:
I bet you didn’t know that wrestlers actually have two belts that they wear each day for the highest level (or “Makunouchi” in Japanese). These wrestlers wear these belts in addition to their regular wrestling belts at ceremonies and before starting the day’s bouts. Take these guys, for example — actually, the guy in the middle is the yokozuna, which you can tell because of the big white belt with “lightning bolts” that he’s wearing (here’s another example).
Some of these ceremonial belts have very bad sponsor creep. Here’s Japanese wrestler Chiyotaikai wearing the Coca-Cola logo, and here’s the Bulgarian wrestler Kotoohshu — that’s basic basically an advertisement for a Bulgarian yogurt. (He’s also worn the Japan-Bulgaria Friendship Association logo and the Bulgarian flag with a horse.) Somewhere there’s a picture of Japanese wrestler Takatoriki with a Pepsi ad on it, but that was about 10 years ago, so it’s hard finding something like that on the web.
Here are some other interesting belts, as worn by the Georgian wrestler Kokkai; the Estonian wrestler Baruto; the Russian wrestlers Roho and Hakurozan; the Mongolian wrestler Kyokushuuan; the naturalized Japanized citizen Konishiki (who can be seen wearing a Yomiuri Giants jersey and throwing out the first pitch here); the Japanese wrestlers Kasugaoh and Shunketsu [who appears to be wearing an anime design]; and the American wrestler Sentoryu.
I would almost say this next picture, of the Japanese wrestler Tamarikido, is like wearing a college sweatshirt.
Then there’s this kind of sumo outfit, but that’s a separate category.
Wart(burg)s and All: Got an interesting note yesterday from reader Jesse Gavin, as follows:
I’m a recent graduate of Wartburg College, a Division III school in Iowa. While in school, I spent a lot of time working for the student TV and radio stations, usually covering Wartburg’s athletic teams. Therefore, I cringed a little bit when I found out that the football team would be wearing new Nike home uniforms this season.
However, it didn’t occur to me until later that the new home unis might cause a conflict with the road uniforms, made by Adidas, that had been unveiled last season. So what happened when Wartburg went on the road for the first time this season last Saturday? The road uniforms were now adorned with an IIAC [Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference] patch on the exact same spot where the Adidas logo had been visible last season. A source within the program tells me that sewing the patch onto all the away jerseys was less expensive than buying new ones.
Hmmm, Nike takes over home jerseys, Adidas logo mysteriously disappears from old jerseys. Coincidence, I’m sure.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Marhsall will mark the 35th anniversary of the school’s landmark victory over Xavier with “1971 Young Thundering Herd” helmet decals this Saturday (with thanks to Craig Bates). … Georgia Tech’s 1970 throwbacks looked my-t-fine last night. Too bad they didn’t wear period-appropriate socks, though. … Latest high school team to go with the Nikefied sleeve treatment: Ontario High, in Mansfield, Ohio. “The’ve also got some pant stripes thrown in there,” says Mansfield alum Clint Whittington, who provided the pics. “I’m not sure they look so good together, not that many things would look good with that yellow sleeve.”