When we found out we were coming to Japan for nine months, we started looking for things to see and do during our stay. One of the first things on my list was the Nakizumo event. It occurs every Spring at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. It involves sumo wrestlers and babies. What’s not to like?
Parents bring their babies who were born in the previous year, get them blessed by the Shinto priests, then two at a time hand over their babies to two junior-level sumo wrestlers up on a stage. The object is to make the babies cry. It’s based on a Japanese belief that crying babies grow fastest.
The sumos do nothing but cradle the babies (it’s so cute) and hold them in the air, and the referee yells ‘naki, naki, naki’ (which means ‘cry’). The first baby to cry, or the one who cries the loudest is the winner. If the babies don’t cry, other guys sitting on the sidelines don a devil mask and try to assist.
It is good luck for babies to participate and the event is held yearly. Usually the event is held on the 4th Sunday of April but we went down there only to find out it was not happening that day. I was so sad. It took me lots of searching to finally find the correct info which was that it was scheduled for Friday, April 29, at 12:30pm. So thanks to the FaceBook website for Cultural Excursions in Japan who provided this link from the Taito Ward site (the area where Asakusa is located) with the correct date and time: http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/event/kanko/naki-zumou.html
The event is located behind the shrine.
Babies and sumo wrestlers are definitely on my list of favorite things. It was definitely worth the visit and am so glad we finally got to see it!