As each new season gets underway a certain number of Japan's famous Sumo wrestlers achieve promotion to the senior division.
SV Japanese Sumo wrestler Nagaoka arriving for training
SV Crowd watching
SV Nagaoka training with Hawaiian wrestler Takamiyama
GV & SV Nagaoka arriving for meal
CU Takamiyama eating
CU Nagaoka eating
CU Combs TILT UP TO hairdresser attending to Nagaoka's hair (5 shots)
SV Takamiyama teasing Nagaoka
SV Other wrestlers watching
GV First fight in progress with Nagaoka losing
SPORT: SUMO WRESTLING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: As each new season gets underway a certain number of Japan's famous Sumo wrestlers achieve promotion to the senior division. This year it was the turn of a young wrestler called Nagaoka, who was a university grand champion before turning professional.
SYNOPSIS: He is doing very well in his first maku-uchi -- senior -- season, but looks a little odd in the ring because his promotion has been so rapid he has not had time to grow his hair long enough for the traditional mage -- or topknot -- that Sumo wrestlers all wear. Here Nagaoka goes through a training session with the famous Hawaiian wrestler Takamiyama -- his stable-mate and "elder brother".
Nagaoka and Takamiyama train together, eat together and between tournaments, while the wrestlers are making provincial tours, together they chose an auspicious day for Nagaoka to call in a hairdresser to fix him up with a mage for the first time.
Takamiyama acted as Nagaoka's manager for the day and made sure all the ceremonies were carried out properly. The hairdresser waxed Nagaoka's hair -- and there was just enough length to make the image, though not yet enough to make the "big gingko-leaf" shape that all wrestlers want to achieve. That will come later when the hair is a lot longer.
Nagaoka wasn't allowed to take himself too seriously for too long -- but the ritual of acquiring a top-knot made a profound impression on the young wrestler. When he looked in the mirror he couldn't believe it was himself -- the reflection looked like a much older man, he said.
The following morning when a reporter asked him how he felt, he said he'd not been able to sleep because of the mage. He lost his first bout with a top-knot too -- some people said it might have been because he was too self-conscious.