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Yokozunas perform sumo ceremony to encourage 3.11 disaster area residents

A large crowd greets yokozuna Kisenosato, second from rear in the procession, as he enters a gymnasium in the tsunami-hit city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on Aug. 14, 2017. (Mainichi)

KAMAISHI, Iwate -- Yokozunas Kisenosato and Harumafuji lent their weight to the recovery of this city devastated by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami by performing a ring entrance ceremony here on Aug. 14.

    Some 1,000 onlookers packed a gymnasium in the city to see the ceremony, shouting encouragement as Kisenosato performed the Unryu style of entrance ceremony, and Harumafuji the Shiranui style. Kisenosato has been forced to drop out of the past two grand sumo tournaments due to injuries, but the crowd gave him a warm welcome.

    "I came here to encourage the locals, but they made me feel that I have to persevere," Kisenosato commented.

    Wrestlers have now visited Kamaishi to perform the entrance ceremony for seven years in a row, part of the Japan Sumo Association's ongoing efforts to support the 3.11 disaster areas.

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