skip to Main Content

Sumo Wrestling Game

Students create their own cardboard sumo wrestler and play against one another by tapping on their side of the ring.

Sumo Wrestling Game すもうゲーム

Describing a sumo match using adjectives like つよい、よわい、かちます、まけます、たたかいます
Socio-cultural aspects: traditional Japanese sport, information about sumo and the rules of sumo.


Copy the sumo wrestler sheet onto thick paper on cardboard, cut them out and fold them so they can stand. To make the wrestling ring, take a cardboard box such as a shoe box, turn it upside-down and draw a circle about 20cm in diameter on the top.

Sumo wrestler sheet


Sumo Wrestler Sheet (PDF 171KB)

Procedure (Whole class or group work)

The teacher demonstrates by first standing the two wrestlers in the ring and introducing them by the names s/he has given them. S/he then taps on the edges of the ring to make the wrestlers move. The wrestler who ‘pushes’ his opponent out of the ring, or ‘knocks down’ his opponent is the winner. Students in groups then make their own ring and wrestlers and give them names. They can cut out the wrestlers given, or draw their own. Group tournaments can be held with students taking turns to play or be referee until a grand champion (よこづな) emerges.

Useful Words and Expressions

  1. “Cut out your sumo wrestler and fold it.”「おすもうさんをきって、おってください」
  2. “Next, Tom’s and Mike’s sumo wrestlers will fight.”「つぎは、トムくんのおすもうさんと、マイクくんのおすもうさんがたたかいます。」
  3. Declaring the winner. “Tom’s wins!” 「トムくんのかちです。」OR… if students are familiar with comparisons:「トムくんのほうが、つよいです。」 “Tom’s is stronger.”
  4. Useful vocabulary:
    • to win: 勝ちます(かちます)
    • to lose: 負けます(まけます)
    • sumo wrestler: お相撲さん(おすもうさん)
    • referee: 行司(ぎょうじ)
    • ring: 土俵(どひょう)
  5. Ranking of the wrestlers is as follows:
    1. grand champion: よこづな
    2. second highest rank: おおぜ
    3. third highest rank: せきわけ
    4. fourth highest rank:こむすび
    5. untitled wrestlers in the top division: まえがしら
    6. untitled wrestlers in the second division: じゅうりょう

Other Useful Information

Find sumo information on Kids Web Japan at

Sumo, the national sport of Japan, has a 2000 year history. It became a professional sport in the early Edo Period, and since then it has been a popular spectator sport.

Each year, six formal tournaments are held every other month in four major cities in Japan (January, May and September in Tokyo, March in Osaka, July in Nagoya and November in Fukuoka). The tournament lasts fifteen days, but the lower division wrestlers fight only for seven days. For the higher ranking wrestlers (Maegashira and over), eight or more wins is a record which ensures that they go up a rank.
However, to become grand champion you have to win almost every match in two tournaments.

Additional Resources

Please read the Teacher’s Notes on Sumo.

Teacher’s Notes Sumo (PDF 117KB)

Resource created by Himiko Negishi, Cathy Jonak and Yohei Arakawa (February 2014).

Back To Top