Reuters

Sumo - Japan's ancient sport threatened in 'age of convenience'

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Mongolian-born grand sumo champion Yokozuna Asashoryu, wearing a ceremonial belly band, performs a ring-entering ritual at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo in this January 6, 2010 file photograph. With a history spanning centuries, sumo once graced the Imperial courts of Japan and wrestlers were held in the highest regard. Sponsors lavished gifts on the hulking giants and to join the ranks of the sumo was considered a worthy occupation. Those...more

Mongolian-born grand sumo champion Yokozuna Asashoryu, wearing a ceremonial belly band, performs a ring-entering ritual at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo in this January 6, 2010 file photograph. With a history spanning centuries, sumo once graced the Imperial courts of Japan and wrestlers were held in the highest regard. Sponsors lavished gifts on the hulking giants and to join the ranks of the sumo was considered a worthy occupation. Those days are long gone, however. Tarnished by scandals involving drug use, bout-fixing, violence and alleged links to Japanese organised crime, sumo struggles to fill stadiums and attract new fans. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files
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Mongolian-born grand sumo champion Yokozuna Asashoryu (2nd R) and other sumo wrestlers leave after performing the traditional New Year's rite at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, in this January 6, 2010 file photograph. With a history spanning centuries, sumo once graced the Imperial courts of Japan and wrestlers were held in the highest regard. Sponsors lavished gifts on the hulking giants and to join the ranks of the sumo was considered a...more

Mongolian-born grand sumo champion Yokozuna Asashoryu (2nd R) and other sumo wrestlers leave after performing the traditional New Year's rite at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, in this January 6, 2010 file photograph. With a history spanning centuries, sumo once graced the Imperial courts of Japan and wrestlers were held in the highest regard. Sponsors lavished gifts on the hulking giants and to join the ranks of the sumo was considered a worthy occupation. Those days are long gone, however. Tarnished by scandals involving drug use, bout-fixing, violence and alleged links to Japanese organised crime, sumo struggles to fill stadiums and attract new fans. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files
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