Taiwan’s only surviving sumo wrestling ring from the Japanese colonial era reopened last Tuesday following reconstruction of the sumo ring’s pavilion. Located within Jhongjheng Park in Taoyuan’s Dasi District, the sumo ring was the first outdoor ring to be built in Taiwan. The water purification pavilion at Martyrs Shrine, situated at Taoyuan’s Tiger Head Mountain, was used as a blueprint for the ring’s exterior design. Pillars, beams and other elements of the reconstructed sumo wrestling pavilion’s main structure are all constructed from cypress wood which permeates the air with a heady woody fragrance.
At the ring’s reopening ceremony, the project’s sponsor, Daikin Industries Taiwan, represented by managing director Su Yi-chung, presented Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan with a donation. After sumo wrestlers took it in turns to wrestle with each other, Cheng and Su took to the stage to try sumo wrestling for themselves.
The park’s original structures included a public assembly hall, Dasi Shrine and the sumo wrestling ring. The assembly hall is still preserved in its original form, while the shrine has since been converted into an open air pavilion. The original sumo wrestling ring underwent several refurbishments, becoming a lotus flower pond and then a performance space.
Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Liberty Times
Taoyuan’s Department of Tourism and Taiwan Sumo entered discussions to restore the sumo wrestling ring to its original state. Taiwan Sumo then submitted a proposal to Daikin Industries for funding to reconstruct the pavilion, whose mascot for its air conditioning sub brand is a cute sumo wrestler.
During the Japanese colonial era, the sumo wrestling ring was built on high ground next to Dasi Shrine. The circular-shaped wrestling ring has four tiers of staggered seating and was used by children at a nearby school for sumo wrestling competitions; it therefore assumes an important place in the collective memories of Dasi’s elderly residents.
(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)
1. sumo wrestling n. phr.
相撲 (xiang1 pu1)
2. blueprint n.
藍圖 (lan2 tu2)
3. convert v.
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