In sumo, Yokozuna Grand Champion Kisenosato has attended an event to pray for the safety and success of the New Year tournament that kicks off in Tokyo on Sunday.
Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku attended the event held on the eve of each tournament as well as high-ranking wrestlers, including Takakeisho, who was promoted to the third-highest rank of Sekiwake after winning the last tournament in November.
The three Yokozuna Champions, who were absent from the last tournament, will all take part this time.
The focus is on whether Kisenosato, who posted 4 straight opening losses and withdrew the November tournament, will be able to retain his title.
After the tournament, the Yokozuna promotion council issued rare encouragement to Kisenosato.
It is seen as a warning that he must take part in the next tournament with the knowledge that the future of his career is at stake.
Kisenosato says he has been performing well in practice, and has done all he can.
He says he wants to focus on each bout and do his best.