Hulking sumo wrestlers make babies CRY in bizarre ceremony

Hulking sumo wrestlers make babies CRY by jigging them up and down – to the delight of their mothers – in bizarre contest said to ward off evil spirits

  • Sumo wrestlers aimed to make the babies wail first by bouncing them around
  • Referees wore scary masks and shouted ‘cry’ in the 400-year-old ceremony 
  • Wrestlers at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan, carried children aged under one

This is the moment hulking sumo wrestlers aimed to make babies wail by jiggling them around – while referees wore scary masks and shouted ‘cry’ – in a bizarre contest.

Wrestlers at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan, took part in a 400-year-old ceremony to try and make children – aged under one-years-old – cry in an effort to ward off evil spirits.

Those participating in the annual Nakizumo festival on April 28 this year believed that a loud sob could bring them good fortune and health.

Babies cry as they are held up by amateur sumo wrestlers during a baby crying contest at Sensoji temple in Tokyo, Japan

In the ceremony sumo wrestlers deliberately make babies cry to ward off evil spirits

Sumo Wrestlers – dressed in the traditional attire – each carried a baby into a circle while bouncing them up and down.

Some screamed instantly but not every tot was as easily rattled.

Violence wasn’t used but referee’s wearing terrifying masks walked around the child if they refused to cry.

The participants shake the baby up and down to antagonise it – the loudest cry usually wins the contest


In some cultures, the first baby to cry is crowned the winner, while in others they consider the last baby to cry as deserving

The judge (centre) cheered as the tots became more distressed. If they weren’t crying he would shout ‘nake, nake’, which is believed to mean ‘cry’ in Japanese

Yet amusingly, this sometimes had the opposite effect desired and the little ones smiled at the colourful accessories.

In the footage the judge could be heard yelling ‘nake, nake’, which means ‘cry’ in Japanese.

Parents – who paid up to £70 for their child to participate in the ceremony – and crowds of onlookers cheered and clapped as the tots became more distressed – believing it was bringing them good health. 

The festival is held across Japan, with the rules varying from region to region with some believing the baby who cries first is the loser.

A 160 children took part in the event this year, the organiser said.


If the baby is not crying then referees walk on stage wearing terrifying masks and start to try and scare the children

The ritual is believed to aid the healthy growth of the children and give the community watching good fortune


Sumo wrestlers make their way on to the stage after taking the tots from their parents – who paid up to £70 for their children to enter the ceremony

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