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Japan Photo Journal: Subdued sumo

(Mainichi/Kentaro Ikushima)

Fans watch sumo wrestlers enter the ring on the first day of the July Grand Sumo Tournament on July 19 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo's Sumida Ward after spectators were allowed to view the action from box seats for the first time since the New Year's tournament in January. Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the spring tournament was held without an audience in March for the first time in the history of professional sumo and the summer tournament in May was canceled. The Japan Sumo Association established guidelines for prevention measures, such as limiting the number of spectators to one person per box seat, which usually hold up to four people, and limiting the audience capacity to about 2,500 people -- 25% of the maximum capacity of around 11,000. It also warned spectators to refrain from cheering out loud, as well as speaking to wrestlers or asking for their handshakes outside of the venue.

    (Japanese original by Shun Iwakabe, Sports News Department)

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