The Pokemon Company has announced a collaboration with Nihon Sumo Kyokai (Japan Sumo League) to sponsor official Sumo tournaments in Japan.
The sponsorship will come in the form of kensho banners, which are carried around the Sumo ring before matches, each representing the amount of prize money the victor will receive. Banners typically cost around “¥62,000 ($545) with ¥56,700 ($499) going to the winner of the match and ¥5,300 ($47) deducted for costs and fees”.
The Pokemon Company’s kensho will feature a variety of designs, including logos for games such as Pokemon Red/Green, as well as individual Pokemon such as Pikachu and Makuhita. There will also be special Pokemon kesho-mawashi (ceremonial loincloths) being produced for the event. Furthermore, the January tournament will have a sumo referee wearing a Pokemon themed outfit, although what it looks like is currently unknown.
In an official press release, Nihon Sumo Kyokai described the collab as a “historic first”, with The Pokemon Company’s president Tsunekazu Ishihara voicing his respect for the sport and its long history:
Pokémon is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, but compared to sumo, which has a long history and tradition, it’s still the beginning
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