The Japan Sumo Association may have a problem. It has been forced to cancel its recruitment checkups for fresh apprentices. Nobody applied.
This is only the second time in sumo history that no one applied to become a professional wrestler. 11 years ago the same thing happened.
Tests occur 6 times a year. And the 4th of this year was scheduled to take place next Monday ahead of the start of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on July 8th. The deadline for applying was Wednesday.
In the past few decades, the rise of two brothers to the top rank in sumo sparked interest in entering the sport. More than 200 people applied to take apprentice tests in the year 1992.
But the number has been under 100 in the past dozen or so years.
64 people have so far applied for the tests this year.
The association says recruitment ahead of the Nagoya tourney has always been slow, and it doesn't predict a significant drop in the number of applicants throughout the year.