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Sumo Wrestling: Salaries Bonuses Culture and Lifestyle

Sumo Wrestling Salaries and

Performance Bonuses: An Inside Look

Sumo wrestling is a traditional Japanese sport that has gained an international following in the recent years. This martial art involves two wrestlers grappling until one is forced out of the ring or touches the ground with any part of their body, except the soles of their feet.

It may appear to be a straightforward contest at first glance, but many aspects of sumo wrestling are complex and intriguing, including the wrestlers’ salaries and performance bonuses. In this article, we will delve into the world of sumo salaries and bonuses, exploring both monthly salaries and tournament earnings, as well as the ins-and-outs of performance-based rewards like mochikykin and tournament envelopes.

Monthly Salaries

The sumo wrestling world is divided into different ranks that reward both experience and talent. Yokozuna (the highest rank), ozeki, sekiwake, komusubi, maegashira, hiramaku, and juryo are the official ranks of sumo wrestling.

The higher a wrestler’s rank, the more monthly salary they are entitled to. Yokozuna, the top-ranked wrestlers, receive the highest salaries.

Although their monthly salary may fluctuate depending on various factors, the average monthly salary of a Yokozuna wrestler is around 28 million ($256,000). Ozeki wrestlers, the second-highest rank after Yokozuna, receive an average of 12 million ($110,000) per month.

Sekiwake, the third-highest rank, receive about 8 million ($73,000) per month, while komusubi and maegashira wrestlers, the fourth and fifth ranks respectively, take home around 6 million ($55,000) and 4.1 million ($38,000) per month. The lower-ranked hiramaku and juryo wrestlers receive around 1.7 million ($16,000) and 0.6 million ($5,500) per month.

Tournament Earnings

Aside from the monthly salaries, sumo wrestlers also earn money through tournament earnings. Tournament earnings include championship prizes, as well as bonuses for scoring high and achieving other commendations.

Championship prizes, or yusho, are awarded to the wrestler with the highest number of wins (usually 15 wins out of 15 games) in a tournament. The prize money depends on the tournament, but it can range from 10 million ($92,000) to 30 million ($277,000) or more.

Additionally, wrestlers receive bonuses for scoring high, such as the Gino-sho award for technique or the Kanto-sho award for fighting spirit. These bonuses range from 2 million ($18,000) to 20,000 ($184) depending on the award.

Performance Bonuses

Performance bonuses have always been an ingrained element of the sumo wrestling tradition. They are one of the most important ways that wrestlers can earn additional money through their performance.

One of the performance bonuses is called mochikykin. Sumo wrestlers accumulate this bonus throughout their careers, and it increases with the number of tournaments they have participated in.

The older and more experienced wrestlers get, the higher their mochikykin will be. The average mochikykin for a yokozuna wrestler is 94 million ($864,000), while for an ozeki wrestler, it’s around 33 million ($303,000).

The five other ranks receive lower mochikykin bonuses between 8 million ($73,000) and 23 million ($211,000).

Another performance bonus is called kenshokin.

It is a prize money given to the wrestlers by the audience. The prize money ranges from 1000 ($9) to 55,000 ($504), depending on the day of the tournament and the size of the crowd.

However, wrestlers have to pay taxes on the kenshokin money.


Sumo wrestling is not only a fascinating martial art but also a highly lucrative business in Japan. Its unique ranking system, monthly salaries, and bonuses make it a highly sought after sport.

While earning a Yokozuna rank and earning millions of yen per month is not an easy task, those who do succeed can reap the rewards that come with it for the rest of their lives. Whether you are a fan of sumo wrestling or not, these insights into the world of sumo salaries and performance bonuses are sure to be an intriguing topic of conversation.

Sumo Wrestling Culture in Japan: Combining Pop and Traditional Culture

The intricate and unique culture surrounding sumo wrestling plays a significant role in Japan’s national identity. For many Japanese people, Sumo is more than just a sport; it’s a national phenomenon that resonates with their traditional culture and deep-seated values.

In this article, we will explore the pop and traditional culture influences present in sumo wrestling, as well as the professional wrestler lifestyle in Japan, highlighting the monthly salaries, performance-based earnings, rank, and variations of earnings.

Pop and Traditional Culture Influences

Sumo wrestling has long been an influential part of Japanese culture, providing a significant source of entertainment and national pride. From the early 1900s, sumo wrestling gained the attention of many pop culture movements in Japan, including theater, literature, and film.

Legendary actors such as Tsumasaburo Bando, Isuzu Yamada, and Kinnosuke Nakamura performed in many movies and plays with sumo wrestling as the backdrop, romanticizing the sport and making it an integral part of their respective genres. While sumo wrestling is associated with traditional Japanese culture, it’s also firmly rooted in modern pop culture.

In fact, many wrestlers have become celebrities, appearing on television shows, commercials, and even music videos. Sumo wrestlers are often seen as role models, representing the traditional values of Japan, such as discipline, respect, and perseverance.

Professional Wrestler Lifestyle

Sumo wrestling is not just a sport; its a lifestyle. Sumo wrestlers live in communal training stables called heya, which are run by a stable master.

Wrestlers wake up early to train, eat traditional Japanese foods, and sleep early to maintain their athletic ability. Professional sumo wrestlers in Japan follow a strict regime, designed to help them perform at their best.

Sumo wrestling involves seven different ranks based on performance and experience: Yokozuna, Ozeki, Sekiwake, Komusubi, Maegashira, Hiramaku, and Juryo, as previously mentioned. The monthly salary for a Yokozuna, the highest-ranking wrestler, is around 28 million ($256,000), while the lowest-ranking wrestler in the division, Juryo, takes home around 0.6 million ($5,500).

Performance-based earnings are also a vital part of the sumo wrestler’s monthly income. The bonuses presented as rewards for excellent performance include championship prize money, kenshokin, which are presented to wrestlers by the audience, and mochikykin, accumulated by wrestlers over time.

For Yokozuna wrestlers, the average accumulated mochikykin is 94 million ($864,000), while for Ozeki wrestlers, it’s around 33 million ($303,000). Overall, the variation of earnings differs among the seven different ranks.

Sumo wrestlers also follow strict guidelines regarding their conduct in public and private life, which further reflects the traditional values of Japanese culture. They are expected to avoid vices such as drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating in public (except during the one-month long “Fuyu Basho” or winter tournament when wrestlers are allowed to eat in public).

This is part of the wrestler’s training to help them focus on their performance and maintain their athletic abilities.


In conclusion, sumo wrestling is a sport, a culture, and a lifestyle that embodies traditional Japanese values and pop culture influences. The combination of meticulous training, communal lifestyle, and the prominence of sumo wrestlers in the entertainment industry has made Sumo an inimitable force in Japan’s pop culture scene.

The strict guidelines for public and private conduct underline the deep-seated cultural values held by sumo wrestlers. Ultimately, Sumo is a fascinating and complex world worth exploring to understand the culture of Japan.

Sumo wrestling is not just a sport, but a culture and a lifestyle that reflects traditional Japanese values and modern-day influences. Sumo wrestlers live communally in training stables, follow strict regimes, and are expected to adhere to professional and public conduct guidelines.

The seven ranks of sumo wrestlers earn monthly salaries that vary based on rank, and have performance-based earnings including championship prize money, kenshokin, and mochikykin. Sumo wrestling is a fascinating and complex world worth exploring for a deeper understanding of Japanese culture.


1. What is the Yokozuna rank in sumo wrestling and what is their monthly salary?

Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo wrestling, and their average monthly salary is around 28 million ($256,000). 2.

What is mochikykin, and how is it accumulated?

Mochikykin is a performance-based bonus that accumulates during a sumo wrestler’s career and increases with the number of tournaments they participate in.

3. How do sumo wrestlers maintain their physical abilities?

Sumo wrestlers maintain their physical abilities by living in communal training stables called heya, following a strict training regime, and adhering to guidelines to avoid vices such as alcohol and smoking. 4.

How has Sumo wrestling influenced pop culture in Japan?

Pop culture in Japan such as movies, plays, and musicals have often featured sumo wrestling, making it an integral part of their respective genres.

Sumo wrestlers have also become celebrities, appearing in television shows, commercials, and music videos. 5.

What traditional values are embodied in Sumo wrestling?

Sumo wrestling embodies traditional Japanese values, discipline, respect, and perseverance, that sumo wrestlers are expected to uphold both in public and private life.

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