The tsuna, also known as the "shimenawa," is a highly revered and significant symbol in the world of sumo wrestling. It is a thick rope made of white twisted hemp that is worn diagonally across the chest of a sumo champion during his ring-entering ceremony. The tsuna is a visual manifestation of a sumo wrestler's elite status and serves as a mark of distinction, denoting the highest level of accomplishment and achievement in the sport.
Earning the privilege to wear the tsuna is an exceptional feat and is only bestowed upon the most accomplished and esteemed wrestlers. To be eligible, a sumo wrestler must attain the prestigious rank of "Yokozuna," the highest rank in sumo hierarchy. Achieving Yokozuna status requires consistent exceptional performance over several tournaments, displaying both remarkable skill and unwavering dedication. A wrestler must not only achieve consecutive championships but also demonstrate the embodiment of sumo's traditional virtues, including discipline, humility, and sportsmanship.
The process of acquiring the tsuna involves a thorough evaluation by sumo authorities, considering a wrestler's on-the-dohyo (ring) achievements as well as his off-the-dohyo conduct. The Yokozuna Promotion Council, composed of senior sumo elders, scrutinizes the candidate's matches, overall record, and influence on the sport's popularity. Importantly, the wrestler's embodiment of the ideals of sumo culture, his comportment during tournaments, and his interactions with fellow wrestlers and the public all factor into the decision.
In conclusion, the tsuna holds immense significance in sumo wrestling, representing the pinnacle of achievement and embodying the highest ideals of the sport. Earning the tsuna is a testament to a wrestler's exceptional skill, dedication, and adherence to sumo's timeless traditions, making it one of the most coveted and revered symbols in the world of sports.
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