Everyone who pays attention to professional sports knows that star athletes don't live like regular folks, from being escorted by entourages everywhere they go to being hailed as heroes by schoolchildren. But for sumo wrestlers, star treatment takes on a whole different meaning. Sumo wrestlers are widely beloved in Japan, but instead of living the high life, they are expected to follow a highly regimented existence as dictated by the powerful Japan Sumo Association. They typically live together in training facilities, where they are told how to dress and what to eat. And instead of pulling up to events in fancy cars, they aren't even allowed to drive. Having a driver is something of a status symbol, but it's also about safety: Sumo wrestlers are so big that they usually can't reach the steering wheel. In fact, the rule started after a sumo wrestler was involved in a serious car accident. If caught behind the wheel, a wrestler can be booted from competition.
Wrestling with sumo regulations:
- Sumo wrestlers are expected to wear their hair in a topknot, as an homage to hairstyles from the Edo Period.
- Sumo living facilities follow a hierarchy in which lower-ranked wrestlers cook and serve their higher-ranked brethren.
- It wasn't until the 20th century that sumo wrestlers got as big as possible in order to gain an advantage in matches.