If you were to gather 100 people from all over the world, from all ages, and from all walks of life and asked them each for a few Japanese keywords, I’m certain that among the answers would be two words: Sumo and Pokémon.
Sumo wrestling is about as traditional of a Japanese sport as you can get, with a history that dates back many centuries. Then there’s Pokémon, which, if we’re being fair, is Japan’s license to print money. So, why wouldn’t The Pokémon Company and the largest sumo wrestling organization in the country team up for a special collaboration? It’s certainly not the weirdest crossover that we’ve ever seen.
Anyway, this cross-collaboration isn’t quite as elaborate as you might be imagining. (Sorry, there won’t be any sumo wrestler/Pokémon crossover battles, though I would pay good money to see such a thing.) This special event will also only last for two tournaments.
At the first tournament, special corporate-sponsored banners will be paraded around during the November Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka. The real fun, however, will be at the tournament being held in Tokyo this coming January, which will feature the wrestlers and even the referee wearing special Pokémon-themed traditional garb. Once again, this is probably not going to escalate to Pikachu refereeing an official match but, I must reiterate that I would pay good money to see such a thing.
In an official statement, the president of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, had the following to say: “I am extremely happy and honored that we are able to work with the Japan Sumo Association in a number of ways. This year, Pokémon is celebrating its 25th anniversary, but in comparison to the long history and deep traditions of sumo, our story has barely begun.”
If you find yourself in Japan this winter and fancy seeing something unique that you’ll be able to tell others about for years to come, this could be just the event to seek out. Or should we say, “catch”?