Sumo is often thought to be typically Japanese but similar forms of competition are found in countries of the former Soviet Union and in North and South Korea.
Sumo traces its origins back to ancient times in which references can be found in the historical chronicles of countries such as China and India and in the wall paintings of ancient Greece. According to historians, the highest accolades of the ancient Olympiads were reserved for the winners of a contest similar to sumo. Sumo would thus appear to have been a well-loved sport throughout Japan as a dedicatory form of Shinto ritual and in so doing achieved its full expression as an event closely bound up with the national spirit of Japan.
With the International Sumo Federation’s continuing efforts to generate further interest in sumo, the sport has come to be known throughout the world and in turn is rapidly gaining a much higher international profile.
The Japan Sumo Federation, established on September 1, 1946 also holds several championships every year in the sport of Amateur Sumo, in which overseas teams are invited to compete. The oldest Amateur Championships date back to the year 1915.
In 1980, the Japan Sumo Federation held the First All Japan Amateur Sumo Championships in which we invited teams from overseas to compete. As a results, this was the first international amateur sumo tournament to be held anywhere in the world.
From that point on, the number of foreign teams participating in this event increased each year and, in July 1983, Japan and Brazil established what was the forerunner of the present day of International Sumo Federation (IFS).
As the number of counties competing increased, in 1985, we changed the name of the above event to the International Sumo Championships. In 1989, we held the 10th Anniversary of the International Sumo Championships in Sao Paulo.
On December 10, 1992, to mark the establishment of the IFS, we changed the name of the championships once again, this time to the Sumo World Championships. The first Sumo World Championships to be held under the aegis of the IFS was attended by a total of 73 competitors from 25 different countries and territories. Thereafter, the Sumo World Championships have been held annually and the number of participants has continued to increase.
In 1995, Six continental Sumo Federation were set up. Each of these federations now holds its own Continental Sumo Federation Championship. The IFS currently has 88 member countries and territories, all of which are keen to see Sumo recognized as an Olympic event.
IFS is doing its best to encourage the more widespread involvement of young people in the sport by, for example, welcoming foreign competitors into training camps run by Japanese university sumo clubs under the aegis of the Japanese National Sumo Federation and by sending competitors and advisors to major tournaments held outside Japan.
Interest is also growing in Women’s sumo and 1997 saw the first major sumo championship for women held in Japan.
1st Junior Sumo world championships was held in 1999, in Tokyo which 16 countries participated and 1st Junior women sumo world championships was held in 2008 in Rakvere, Estonia.
We are continuing to see an increase in the number of women and youth athletes participating in Sumo.
Sumo was included in Worldgames 2005 Duisburg as competition sport and IWGA approved our request of doubling the number of athletes participating in the sumo event from 48 to be 96 athletes in Worldgames 2009 Kaohsiung.
The Worldgames 2009 Kaohsiung is one of our memorial events that local organizer and audience are interested in sumo very much, tickets for both days competition were not enough so local organizer decided to increase the tickets, 2 rounds tickets on the 2nd day competition to meet demanding of local audience. All tickets are sold out.
Among 13 sports, Sumo was included in 1st World Combat Games 2010 in Beijing under the governing of Sportaccord (former GAISF). IFS will continue endeavor to do our best to promote sumo sport to the world.
Recognized by the following Organizations;
・Member Federation of Association of the IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF) since January 31, 1998.
・Member Federation of Sportaccord (former GAISF) since October 16, 1999.
・IOC Recognized Federation since 2018(Provisionally recognized since 2001)
・Member Federation of the International World Games Association (IWGA) since November 22, 2002.
International Sumo Federation