Pokémon is going big for its 25th anniversary, partnering up with everyone and everything from Katy Perry to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. And Pokémon’s latest announcement has the Pocket Monsters working closely with one of Japan’s most iconic traditions: sumo wrestling.
Specifically, Pokémon has inked an agreement with the Japan Sumo Association. Pokémon will be involved with the Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka next month, followed by Tokyo’s tournament in January.
We’ve been given a few details on how exactly Pokémon will be involved in all this. For starters, there will be many Pokémon-themed banners, both with images from the video games as well as images of more than 200 different Pokémon.
There will also be Pokémon-themed clothing at the Tokyo tournament. The referees will have some sort of Pokémon outfits, and some of the sumo wrestlers will don kesho-mawashi with Pokémon. Kesho-mawashi are donned by top wrestlers prior to the actual fighting, and they look like this.
It does not appear that the wrestlers will be wearing Pokémon loincloths, though.
Pokémon will additionally be taking part in the Wanpaku Sumo National Tournaments this month and next month, which is for young sumo wrestlers. However, concrete details on this have not been forthcoming, except that Pikachu and Makuhita will be involved.
Tsunekazu Ishihara, Pokémon Company president, had this to say, “I am extremely happy and honored that we are able to work with the Japan Sumo Association in a number of ways. This year, Pokémon is celebrating its 25th anniversary, but in comparison to the long history and deep traditions of sumo, our story has barely begun.”
He further expressed a desire that fans of Pokémon from around the globe can learn more about sumo from this and also enjoy the Pokémon angle.
What do you think about mixing Pokémon and sumo? Does this get you more interested in sumo, the way Ishihara hopes?
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.