How Much Do Sumo Wrestlers Make?

Sumo wrestlers have been an essential component of Japanese culture, admired for their strength and abilities. Sumo has been a beloved sport for centuries and has been employed to resolve conflicts and entertain even the Emperor. 

But how much do sumo wrestlers make? With the sport’s popularity surge in recent years, the answer might astonish you. 

This article delves into the financial compensation of the highest-ranking sumo wrestlers and their strategies for accumulating such wealth.

What is Sumo Wrestling?

Sumo wrestling is a Japanese contact sport that dates back over 1,500 years. It is a form of traditional Japanese wrestling, where two wrestlers or rikishi try to force each other out of a circular ring called a dohyo. 

Here is an overview of the history, rules, and regulations of sumo wrestling.

History of Sumo Wrestling

History of Sumo Wrestling

Its origin dates back to ancient times, nearly two thousand years ago. (Source: Internet)

Sumo wrestling originated in Japan as a religious ritual to pray for a bountiful harvest. The sport was later introduced to the public as a form of entertainment.

In the 17th century, sumo wrestling became a professional sport, with the establishment of professional sumo associations. 

Today, sumo wrestling is a popular national sport in Japan and attracts fans from all over the world.

Rules and Regulations of Sumo Wrestling

The basic rule is simple: if any part of your body other than your feet touches the ground or you step outside the straw ring, your opponent is declared the winner. The following actions are prohibited during the fight:

  • Hair yanking
  • Gouging of the eyes
  • Hitting with closed fists (slapping is allowed)
  • Choking is prohibited (though thrusting with open palms at your opponent’s throat is permitted).
  • Grabbing your opponent’s mawashi’s crotch area

There are no weight categories. It’s not just about size: agility is important as well, and the smaller rikishi has the advantage of being able to step aside and slip in behind their larger opponent, using his considerable momentum against him.

While sumo has traditionally been a Japanese-dominated sport, foreigners have become more common on the Japanese sumo circuit in recent years. The rikishi with the most major tournament victories is a Mongolian wrestler named Hakuho Sho. Foreigners (many of whom are Mongolian) account for about 5% of the total number of rikishi on the circuit today.

How Much Do Sumo Wrestlers Make?

The Benefits of Pursuing Sumo: Salary and Success

Sumo wrestling requires significant skill and dedication, with wrestlers earning a salary every time they win or rank in the top 10. 

How Much Do Sumo Wrestlers Make? (Source: Internet)

The amount earned varies depending on their rank, with the highest-paid rank being Yokozuna, who receives an annual salary of 2.8 million yen (approximately $20,505.38), and the lowest is Basho, who earns 150 thousand yen ( approximately $1,090.7) per year. Wrestlers can also earn additional money through a prize fund, with each match victory providing the opportunity for further earnings.

For instance, Tochinoshin’s promotion to Yokozuna resulted in an approximately 30% increase in his monthly income, earning him around 3.3 billion yen (approximately $24 million). Each stable of wrestlers is managed by a stablemaster, typically a retired sumo wrestler, with a total of 44 stables currently operating worldwide.

After retiring, many former sumo wrestlers who previously worked as chefs or restaurant owners are utilizing their cooking skills and knowledge of nutrition to continue in their former profession. 

Sumo wrestling’s rich history and the dedication and hard work of its practitioners have contributed to its standing as one of the world’s premier ancient sports.

In September 2021, sumo wrestlers’ salaries in Japan vary depending on their rank and level of success. The salary structure for sumo wrestlers is organized into six divisions, known as the six ranks or “Makuuchi.” Here’s a general overview of the salary chart at that time:

Ranks Base Salary
Yokozuna (Grand Champion) 2.5 million yen per month (approximately $23,000).
Ōzeki (Champion) 2.03 million yen per month (approximately $18,600).
Sekiwake and Komusubi (Junior Champion and Lower Junior Champion) 1.45 million yen per month (approximately $13,300)
Maegashira (Regular Wrestlers) 1.31 million yen per month (approximately $12,000)

It’s worth noting that these base salaries do not include additional bonuses, such as special prizes for outstanding performance or various allowances for accommodation and meals. Additionally, wrestlers often receive endorsement deals and sponsorships, which can significantly contribute to their income.

Please keep in mind that the sumo wrestling salary structure may have changed since my last update in September 2021. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, I recommend consulting recent sources or official sumo wrestling organizations.

What is the earning potential of Sumo wrestlers per match?

Sumo wrestlers can earn a surprisingly high wage per match. A professional sumo wrestler can earn between 68,793 yen ($500) and 343,963 yen ($2,500) per match, depending on their rank. 

Wrestlers with the highest ranking, known as Yokozuna, can earn up to $10,000 per match, with an additional bonus if they win. Yokozuna and other top-ranked wrestlers can earn a stable allowance from their training stables in addition to match earnings, which can range from 687,925 yen ($5,000) to 1,375,851 yen ($10,000) per month.

It is a highly competitive sport, but it is also an important part of Japanese culture. Every Sumo wrestling event has many tickets available, and many national and international visitors attend each year. 

When it comes to purchasing tickets for Sumo tournaments, there are several options with varying costs. The most convenient and straightforward method is through Ticket Oosumo. At the back of the arena, Jiyuseki seats are available for around 2800 yen ($21) per adult and 200 yen ($1.50) per child under 15. These tickets can be purchased at the stadium on the day of the tournament using debit or credit cards and picked up on the same day.

Do all Sumo wrestlers get paid?

Sumo wrestlers are paid a salary. Low-level Sumo wrestlers, on the other hand, are not paid by the Japan Sumo Association and the competition prizes they win are small.

Instead, they are paid a monthly salary of 275,170 yen ($2000) by their stable master for performing domestic duties at the Sumo house such as cooking and cleaning.

Lower-level Sumo wrestlers do not earn much money and do not contribute to the income of their stable masters. However, for them to train full-time and one day become high-level professionals, stable masters must pay them a livable wage.

To reduce the financial burden on stable masters lower level Sumo wrestlers will earn their salary by performing domestic chores such as cleaning and cooking. These domestic chores have often become a hazing ritual where older Sumo wrestlers will take delight in forcing younger recruits to perform more humiliating tasks such as cleaning toilets.

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Sumo Wrestlers Salary By Rank: 6 Ranks

In sumo wrestling, the salaries of wrestlers are determined by their rank within the professional sumo hierarchy. There are six ranks in professional sumo, known as the six divisions or six classes. Here is a general overview of the salary structure based on rank:

Rank 1 Yokozuna Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo wrestling. Yokozuna wrestlers receive the highest salary among all ranks. Their income can vary but is typically several times higher than that of other ranks. The exact amount is not publicly disclosed, but they are known to receive substantial earnings, endorsements, and other financial benefits. 
Rank 2 Ozeki Ozeki is the second-highest rank in sumo wrestling. Ozeki wrestlers also receive a significant salary, although it is generally lower than that of Yokozuna. Their income is still considerable and reflects their status and performance. 
Rank 3 Sekiwake Sekiwake is the third-highest rank. Wrestlers in this rank receive a salary lower than that of Ozeki but higher than the ranks below them. Sekiwake wrestlers have proven themselves to be consistently strong performers, earning them a respectable income. 
Rank 4 Komusubi Komusubi is the fourth-highest rank. Wrestlers at this rank earn a salary lower than that of Sekiwake but higher than the ranks below them. Komusubi wrestlers are considered promising and have demonstrated skill and potential. 
Rank 5 Maegashira Maegashira is a broad rank encompassing multiple divisions. It includes various levels of wrestlers, ranging from Maegashira 1 to Maegashira 17. Salaries within the Maegashira rank can vary significantly based on the specific division and individual performance. Generally, higher-ranked Maegashira wrestlers receive higher salaries than lower-ranked ones. 
Rank 6 Juryo Juryo is the second division in sumo wrestling, below the top division of Maegashira. Juryo wrestlers receive lower salaries compared to those in the Maegashira ranks. Their income is typically lower due to the lower profile and fewer opportunities associated with being in the second division.

Examining the Ancient Rituals of Sumo: Uncovering its Spiritual Influence

It remains an important aspect of sumo wrestling today, as well as one of the most fascinating traditions. When a sumo wrestler wins, he or she collects a few pieces of salt from the center of the ring to represent the origins of the ritual. 

Salt was once thought to have supernatural properties, such as the ability to prevent decay and repel evil spirits. This tradition is a powerful reminder of the spiritual power of sumo wrestling, which has been passed down for centuries. 

A sumo match can be viewed in a variety of ways. Prices can range from 3,300 yen (US $25) to 17,500 yen (US $131) depending on your level of experience. In addition to the sumo practice, tour packages include a visit to a sumo practice session. 

Whatever option is chosen, the experience will be filled with intriguing rituals and traditions, such as the collection of salt after a victory.

Determining Factors for a Wrestler’s Income – Age, Rank, Tournament Wins

The income of a wrestler can be influenced by various factors, including age, rank, and tournament wins. These factors can play a significant role in determining the financial rewards and opportunities available to wrestlers. Here’s a closer look at each factor:


Age can have an impact on a wrestler’s income, especially in professional wrestling. Younger wrestlers who are just starting their careers may have lower incomes compared to more established veterans. However, as wrestlers gain experience, develop a following, and become more popular, their income potential can increase.


The rank or standing of a wrestler within their organization or wrestling promotion can also affect their income. Higher-ranked wrestlers often command higher salaries, as they are usually more recognized and draw larger crowds. Promotions may allocate more resources to top-ranked wrestlers to ensure their participation and appeal to audiences.

Tournament Wins

Tournament wins can be a significant factor in a wrestler’s income, particularly in amateur wrestling or certain professional wrestling promotions. Successful tournament performances can lead to prize money, sponsorships, endorsements, and increased exposure, all of which can contribute to a wrestler’s overall income.

It’s important to note that other factors can also influence a wrestler’s income, such as marketability, fan base, merchandise sales, and contract negotiations.

Additionally, the wrestling industry can vary widely in terms of financial opportunities and structures, with some wrestlers primarily earning income through performances, while others may supplement their earnings with merchandise sales, appearance fees, or other related ventures.

Benefits of Being a Professional Sumo Wrestler – Endorsements, Media Attention

Successful sumo wrestlers, especially those in higher ranks such as Yokozuna and Ozeki, have the opportunity to secure lucrative endorsement deals. They may be approached by companies to promote products or services, appearing in advertisements, commercials, or as brand ambassadors. These endorsements can significantly enhance a wrestler’s income and financial prospects.

Endorsements and media attention are some of the advantages of being a professional sumo wrestler. (Source: Internet)Sumo wrestling is a highly popular sport in Japan and attracts considerable media attention. Professional sumo wrestlers receive extensive coverage in newspapers, magazines, television programs, and online media. This media exposure can provide them with a platform to build their brand, gain recognition, and attract sponsorship opportunities.

Sumo wrestlers have dedicated fan bases, both in Japan and around the world. Fans follow their favorite wrestlers closely, attend tournaments, and support them through fan clubs and merchandise purchases. This support not only boosts wrestlers’ morale but can also translate into financial benefits through ticket sales, merchandise revenue, and fan-driven initiatives.

Sumo wrestlers have the opportunity to earn substantial prize money and bonuses based on their performance in tournaments. Winning a tournament or achieving high rankings can result in significant financial rewards, further bolstering their income.

Cultural Prestige: Sumo wrestling is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and traditions. Professional sumo wrestlers are revered and respected for their dedication, strength, and skill. They become part of the rich history and heritage of the sport, and their achievements are celebrated not only by fans but also by the wider community.

Challenges Faced by Professional Sumo Wrestlers – Injury Risk, Mental & Physical Stress

Professional Sumo Wrestlers Face Difficulties (Source: Internet)

Mental and Physical Stress: Sumo wrestlers endure significant mental and physical stress. They undergo rigorous training regimens, including intense workouts, weightlifting, and endurance training. The demands of training and competition can lead to exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout. The strict lifestyle and dietary requirements, as well as the pressure to perform, can also take a toll on their mental well-being.

Weight Management: Sumo wrestlers are required to maintain specific weight classes and often undergo extreme weight gain and loss cycles. They must carefully manage their diets and engage in specialized training techniques to achieve and maintain their desired weight. This can be challenging both physically and mentally, and improper weight management can lead to health issues.

Intense Competition and Ranking System: The professional sumo world is highly competitive, with a limited number of top-ranking positions available. Wrestlers must consistently perform well in tournaments and achieve victories to rise through the ranks. The competition for promotions and higher rankings can be fierce, and the pressure to succeed and maintain their status adds to the challenges they face.

Lifestyle Sacrifices: Professional sumo wrestlers lead highly regimented and disciplined lifestyles. They often live in communal training stables known as “heya,” where they follow strict schedules and adhere to a hierarchical system. This lifestyle requires them to make sacrifices in terms of personal freedom, family time, and social activities.

Limited Career Span: The career span of a sumo wrestler is typically shorter compared to other sports due to the physical demands and injury risks. Many wrestlers retire in their thirties, and only a few reach the prestigious ranks of Yokozuna or Ozeki.

Despite these challenges, professional sumo wrestlers often embrace the sport’s traditions, the support of their stablemates, and the sense of camaraderie within the sumo community, which can help them navigate and overcome these difficulties.


1. Who is The Highest Paid Sumo Wrestler?

In September 2021, the highest-paid sumo wrestler was Hakuho Sho. Hakuho is a Mongolian-born sumo wrestler who achieved the highest rank of Yokozuna in 2007. Throughout his career, Hakuho has been one of the most dominant and successful wrestlers in sumo history, winning numerous tournaments and breaking several records.

2. How Much Do Sumo Wrestlers Weigh?

Sumo wrestlers can weigh anywhere from around 115 kilograms (253 pounds) to over 200 kilograms (440 pounds). However, the weight of a sumo wrestler depends on various factors such as rank, age, and individual body composition. 

In professional sumo wrestling, there are six different weight classes and each wrestler is assigned to a class based on his weight. The highest weight class is “makuuchi” which includes wrestlers who weigh 150 kilograms or more.

3. Do sumo wrestlers in the US get paid?

Sumo wrestling is not a very popular sport in the United States, and there are very few professional sumo wrestlers in the country. As such, it is unlikely that sumo wrestlers in the US would earn a significant income from the sport. 

There are some amateur sumo wrestling competitions held in the US, and participants may be eligible for prize money or other forms of compensation. Overall, the amount of money a sumo wrestler in the US can earn depends on their level of skill, experience, and the opportunities available to them.

4. How much is sumo prize money?

The prize money for sumo tournaments varies depending on the rank of the wrestler and the level of competition. In the top division of professional sumo, known as the Makuuchi division, the champion of a tournament can receive a prize of around 10 million yen (about $91,000) or more. 

However, lower-ranked wrestlers in the lower divisions may receive much less in terms of prize money. Additionally, there are other awards and bonuses that wrestlers can earn throughout a tournament, such as special prizes for outstanding performances or for defeating higher-ranked opponents.

5. Is a sumo wrestler a job?

Yes, being a sumo wrestler is considered a full-time profession in Japan. Professional sumo wrestlers are highly trained athletes who compete in tournaments throughout the year, and they must follow strict rules and regulations related to their training, behavior, and appearance. 

Sumo wrestlers are typically affiliated with a specific stable, or training group, which provides them with room and board, as well as coaching and guidance from experienced wrestlers. As with other professional sports, sumo wrestlers earn money through a combination of tournament prize winnings, sponsorships, and other endorsements.

6. Can Sumo Wrestlers Get Married?

Yes, sumo wrestlers are allowed to get married. In the past, there were strict rules that prohibited sumo wrestlers from marrying or even having romantic relationships, as it was believed that such interactions could distract them from their training and performance. 

However, these rules have been relaxed in recent years, and many sumo wrestlers do get married and start families while still competing professionally. That being said, sumo wrestlers are expected to follow certain behavioral guidelines related to their public conduct, dress, and appearance, so any marriage or relationship must be conducted with appropriate decorum. 

Additionally, some stables may have their own specific rules or expectations regarding their wrestlers’ personal lives.

7. How Long Do Sumo Wrestlers Live For?

Sumo wrestlers have a life expectancy of 60-65 years due to their high risk of diabetes and heart problems caused by an excessive diet of food and alcohol. Several studies conducted in Japan have suggested that the average life expectancy of professional sumo wrestlers is lower compared to the average life expectancy of the general population.

These studies have attributed the shortened lifespans to factors such as rigorous training regimens, extreme weight fluctuations, high-calorie diets, and the physical demands of the sport.

8. What is a sumo wrestler called?

In Japanese, a sumo wrestler is called a “rikishi” (力士). This term refers specifically to a professional sumo wrestler who competes in tournaments and is affiliated with a stable, or training group. 

The term can also be used more broadly to refer to any person who practices sumo as a sport or martial art. In traditional Japanese culture, sumo wrestling has been a highly respected and revered activity for centuries, and successful wrestlers have often been seen as symbols of strength and honor.

9. What is the highest honor in sumo?

In professional sumo, the highest honor a wrestler can achieve is to be promoted to the rank of yokozuna. Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo, and only a select few wrestlers have ever achieved this status. 

To become a yokozuna, a wrestler must consistently perform at the highest level and win multiple tournaments while demonstrating exceptional skill, strength, and character both on and off the dohyo (sumo ring). 

Once a wrestler is promoted to yokozuna, they are expected to exemplify the highest standards of sumo behavior and serve as role models for other wrestlers and fans alike. Yokozuna are also granted a special tsuna (rope belt) to wear during official matches, which signifies their status as the highest-ranked wrestlers in the sport.

10. Is a sumo wrestler healthy or not?

Sumo wrestlers are generally not considered to be healthy in the sense of having optimal physical health. Due to the extreme weight gain required by the sport, sumo wrestlers often suffer from a range of health problems related to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and joint problems.


In conclusion, the question is that ”How much do sumo wrestlers make?” depends on their rank and success. Sumo wrestlers may also earn money through sponsorships, endorsements, and other sources, but these amounts can also vary widely. 

Overall, while sumo wrestling can be a lucrative profession for those who achieve success at the highest levels, it still requires a great deal of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice, and the financial rewards may not be guaranteed for all practitioners.


About Hayami Mori

Hayami Mori is an awesome travel blogger & photographer. She was born and raised in Tokyo and have been here for nearly 25 years. She loves traveling and always wants to introduce her beautiful Japan to travelers from all over the world. Therefore, her blog is a great source of information for people looking for what to do in Japan as well as provides some tips to make their trips unforgettable.


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