Dozens of screaming Japanese children faced off Saturday in a traditional “sumo cry” ritual believed to bring good health to children, which returned for the first time in four years after the pandemic.
Pairs of children wearing ceremonial sumo aprons were held by their parents and tackled each other in the sumo ring at Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple.
Staff wearing “Oni” demon masks tried to make the babies cry, and the first to scream was declared the winner by a sumo judge in an elaborate traditional uniform with a wooden fan used to signal victory.
“We can tell the state of health of a child by listening to the way it cries. Today he will be nervous and won’t cry as much, but I want to hear his healthy cry,” Hisae Watanabe, mother of an eight-month-old boy, told AFP.
The “sumo cry” is performed in shrines and temples across the nation to the delight of parents and onlookers.
Shigemi Fuji, president of the Asakusa Tourism Federation, which organized the event, said some people may think crying babies are terrible.
“But in Japan, we believe that babies who cry loudly grow up healthy. This
A type of event takes place in many parts of Japan,” he said.
A total of 64 babies took part in the ritual, according to the organizer.
The rules vary from region to region: in some places parents want their offspring to be the first to cry, in others the first to cry is a loser.