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Travel News Nakizumō Festival resumed


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
This year, the Nakizumō (泣き相撲), Japan's 'crying baby sumo ' festival, was resumed for the first time since the pandemic.


The festival has a over 400-year-old tradition and is held in many locations across Japan. In the Shintō festival, shrine staff wearing demon masks try to make competing babies cry, with the first to bawl declared the winner, based on the folk belief that the loud cry of an innocent baby has the power to ward off demons or evil spirits.

Sumo wrestlers employ a variety of techniques to encourage crying, including bouncing the baby in their arms, making loud noises and funny or scary facial expressions, and chanting "Naki! Naki! Naki!" ("Cry! Cry! Cry!" in English). In some versions of the festival, when neither baby has cried for a number of minutes, referees or judges donning traditional Japanese masks approach the babies and attempt to scare them. At the end of each match, some families and spectators yell out the phrase banzai raku meaning "live long".

The most famous Nakizumō takes place at Sensoji in Asakusa.

Japan's 'crying baby sumo' festival returns for first time since pandemic

Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival - Wikipedia
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