(Dan Tri) – Sumo wrestlers have found a new direction that can help them earn more income after retirement and promote Japanese tourism.

Nadine, a 43-year-old tourist from the US, wearing a sumo outfit tries to push former Towanoyama boxer in the ring at Yokozuna Tonkatsu Dosukoi Tanaka in Tokyo, Japan (Photo: Reuters).

After two decades of competing for rankings in the traditional Japanese sport of sumo, Ohtori now has to perform to bring laughter to curious tourists.

Ohtori is one of six former sumo wrestlers serving foreign tourists who are returning to Japan after 2 years of quarantine to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic.

`I want tourists as well as Japanese people to better understand sumo,` said Ohtori, 40 years old, full name Koto-ohtori.

`My brothers were often quite gruff,` Ohtori said of his former professional playing days.

Yokozuna Tonkatsu Dosukoi Tanaka, where Ohtori performs, opened in Tokyo last November, a month after Japan began resuming visa-free travel.

Sumo wrestlers bring `a breath of fresh air` to Japanese tourism

A tourist wearing a sumo costume tries to fight former Towanoyama boxer in the ring in Tokyo (Photo: Reuters).

Another former sumo wrestler, Yasuhiro Tanaka, opened this restaurant.

On a recent afternoon, Ohtori participated in a very funny and honest match with his strong opponent, Towanoyama, who goes by the English name `Jumbo` so that foreign audiences can understand.

Jose Aguillar, a quality control officer from Monterrey, Mexico, held a late birthday party for his daughter with his family after a previous delay due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

When it came time to don his sumo outfit and face his opponent Jumbo in the ring, Aguillar was at the front of the line.

`At first, I wondered why I chose to compete first, maybe I should wait for the others. But no, that decision was really great,` Aguillar, 46 years old, shared after just

Sumo wrestlers bring `a breath of fresh air` to Japanese tourism

Former sumo wrestlers perform in front of foreigners in Tokyo (Photo: Reuters).

Themed restaurants are part of a tourism ecosystem that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expects will contribute 5,000 billion yen to the national budget each year.

The performances were filled with laughter, but the post-surgery scars on Ohtori and Jumbo revealed the hidden corners of sumo, a martial art that recruits young people but leaves them unemployed after retirement.

Tanaka, 47 years old, admits he is not a strong fighter.

Quynh Trang