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‘Crying sumo contest’ said to ensure good health for babies

THE JAPAN NEWS
                                Babies cried loudly — a good thing — in a mini sumo ring in Mutsu, Japan, on May 5, Children’s Day.
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THE JAPAN NEWS

Babies cried loudly — a good thing — in a mini sumo ring in Mutsu, Japan, on May 5, Children’s Day.

MUTSU, Japan >> “Crying Sumo,” a traditional event to pray for babies to grow up healthy, was held at Tanabu Shrine in Mutsu, Aomori prefecture, on May 5, celebrated as Children’s Day.

A lineup of 33 children, ages 6 months to 2 years, took part in the event, launching their powerful, reverberating cries from inside the “sumo” ring.

The youngsters, adorned in kesho-mawashi (ornamental loincloth) aprons embroidered with their names, were placed and held in the ring by male parishioners. When the gyoji (referee) called out, “Hakkeyoi, nokotta!” the babies let loose with a barrage of hearty crying. Some of them began crying even before the bout began, while others just stared at the gyoji with bewildered looks on their faces.

One of the combatants, Kaede Komatsu, a 1-year-old from Mutsu, waited until the middle of the bout before belting out the bulk of her cries. Her mother, Miwa, 37, said, “Kaede doesn’t usually cry very much, but I’m glad she cried so loudly today. I hope she’ll grow up healthy.”

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