- Sep 7, 2012
- Reaction score
Chef Tagonishiki prepares lunch at Takasago-beya.Paolo Patrizi
The stables where sumo wrestlers practice their sport in Japan are places where tradition reigns and only glimpses of the modern world creep in.
"You have to see the stables more like a monastery than a gym," said photographer Paolo Patrizi.
Patrizi, who has lived in Japan for the past eight years, was granted access to three different stables for about a month when he became interested in the sport five years ago. His series, "Gentle Giants," shows the sumos at work and during their downtime.
"I wanted to cover as much as I could of how they live. They spend most of their lives there. They don't go out much," Patrizi said.
Sumos get the top knot at the end of morning practice. With their 17[SUP]th[/SUP]-century samurai-style hairdos, wrestlers are expected to show samurai-style stoicism.Paolo Patrizi
Wrestlers wash themselves with a hose outside Musashigawa-beya.Paolo Patrizi
A wrestler drinks outside Musashigawa-beya.Paolo Patrizi
The wrestlers live, eat, and practice together at the stables. Exercises start around 6 a.m. with the juniors. A wrestler challenges an opponent, and he stays in the ring until someone beats him. At 8 a.m., Patrizi said, the more senior wrestlers come in and things get interesting.
"Some of the tough guys pick on the younger ones, and they trash them. There's some serious beating going on. There's a lot of bullying going on, but these guys keep quiet. They can't complain," he said.
Training is grueling. When the sumos do go out, Patrizi said, it's most often on a Sunday, their day off. He says they sometimes rent videos or play video games.
Waiting on Asashoryu. The Yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo, is always the first to be served at Takasago-beya.Paolo Patrizi
Rest is here