Bawling babies face off in Japan's 'crying sumo'
Japan Today -- May 15
More than 100 Japanese babies faced off Sunday in a traditional "crying sumo" ring, an annual ceremony believed to bring infants good health.

In the sumo ring at the precinct of the Kamegaike Hachimangu shrine in Sagamihara west of Tokyo, two hulking wrestlers held up toddlers wearing tiny sumo belts and aprons to try to make them bawl.

Wrestlers sometimes shake the babies gently to encourage tears.

"My boy was crying from the very beginning and I felt a little bad," Tomoyo Watanabe, the mother of Zentaro, told AFP.

"But as I watched my baby crying, I was praying for him to grow up healthy and strong after this event."

The "crying sumo" is held at shrines and temples nationwide, to the delight of parents and onlookers.

"The cries of babies are believed to drive out demons and protect the infants from troubles," said priest Hiroyuki Negishi.

The ceremony is believed to date back more than 400 years.

News source: Japan Today
Jul 26
The Japanese government said Tuesday it will aim to lower the country's suicide rate, currently the worst among the Group of Seven advanced nations, by at least 30 pct by 2026 to levels equivalent to those in its G-7 peers. (Jiji)
Jul 26
This August, a mobile phone service provider will release a smartphone that only works during daytime hours in an effort to restrict elementary school students' screen time, the company said Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Jul 26
A 9-year-old boy died from heatstroke after becoming trapped in his mother's car for about one and a half hours on a sweltering day in Nara, officials from the local prefectural government said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Jul 26
Uber Technologies Inc. is at risk of losing out on another big chunk of the global market. (Japan Times)
Jul 26
Tuesday was eel-eating day, when many in Japan treat themselves to the grilled delicacy -this year likely to make a smaller dent on the wallet with prices down. (Japan Times)
Jul 26
Japan will limit the number of visits per player to casinos that will open in so-called integrated resorts in the country as a measure to counter gambling addiction, the government said Tuesday. (Jiji)
Jul 26
Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs will be relocated from Tokyo to the main building of the Kyoto Prefectural Police Headquarters in the western Japan city of Kyoto, it was decided Tuesday. (Jiji)
Jul 26
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday he was initially unaware that Kake Educational Institution, headed by a friend of his, was involved in a controversial university faculty plan, correcting his past explanations in parliament. (Jiji)
Jul 26
Police in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, have arrested a 20-year-old female college student on suspicion of attempting to kill her ex-boyfriend by hitting him in the head with a hammer and stabbing him in the back with a knife. (Japan Today)
Jul 26
The new National Stadium being built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be used exclusively for team ball sports like soccer and rugby after the games, sources told Kyodo News on Tuesday. (Japan Times)