Yokozuna perform New Year ring-entering ceremony
NHK -- Jan 10
Three yokozuna, or grand champion sumo wrestlers, have taken part in a ring-entering ceremony at a Shinto shrine in Tokyo to pray for safety and success at the sport's New Year tournament.

About 2,800 people went to Meiji Shrine to watch the annual event on Tuesday.

Hakuho, Kisenosato and Kakuryu performed related rituals in traditional style.

Hakuho later said he's bracing himself at the start of 2018. He added that he's training hard to set a new record of 41 tournament wins.

Kisenosato said he's focused on preparing well for the tournament. He was promoted to the top rank last year, but later withdrew from 4 tournaments in a row.

Kakuryu also pulled out of 4 straight tournaments last year. He said he wants to make his fans happy this year.

The sport's top referee, who usually leads yokozuna at the ceremony, did not appear, as he's now at the center of a sexual harassment scandal.

Yokozuna Harumafuji retired in November to take responsibility for an assault scandal involving a junior wrestler.

The New Year tournament opens at Tokyo's Kokugikan arena on Sunday.

大相撲初場所(14日初日・両国国技館)を前に9日、東京・明治神宮で新春恒例の奉納土俵入りが行われ、白鵬関、稀勢の里関、鶴竜関の3横綱がそろい踏みした。元横綱日馬富士関の暴行事件が影を落とす中、観客は昨年より1400人少ない約2800人にとどまり、若手行司へのセクハラ行為が発覚した立行司の式守伊之助は欠席した。
News sources: NHK, Kyodo
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