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Should your visit to Tokyo coincide with a sumo tournament being held in the city, you really owe it to yourself to see the sport in person. Tickets are reasonably priced, the matches are fast-paced and showcase a surprisingly large variety of techniques (many similar to those of offensive linemen in football), and there’s really no way to properly convey the amazing controlled ferocity through a television screen. Best of all, the arena is compact enough that even the cheap seats provide a good view of the action.

And in case you need an added incentive, the venue is now home to two special sticker picture booths, where a little digital photo manipulation allows you to take a snapshot with your favorite sumo wrestler.

As we said, the Kokugikan, Tokyo’s sumo arena in the Ryogoku neighborhood, is intimately sized enough to give spectators plenty of chances to see the competitors, called rikishi, up-close and personal. Still, the big boys are here to slap each other around, not snap pictures with the fans, so it’s unlikely you’ll get the chance to talk one of the sports more prominent figures into taking the time to pose with you.

Instead, visitors to the Kokugikan can make use of two purikura machines, the photo sticker booths that are a mainstay of Japanese video game arcades and entertainment centers. Each machine is loaded with images of the 42 wrestlers of sumo’s top division, the makuuchi.

▼ One of the machines

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▼ A sample of the frames

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The Japan Sumo Association showcased the machines through its official Twitter account, with former rikishi and current sumo coach Asakayama demonstrating as he took what he says is his first set of purikura in 20 years.

▼ No, the booth isn’t small. Asakayama is just big.

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One round of purikura costs 500 yen (US$4.80), for which shutterbugs get to choose two rikishi to pose with. As has become standard, the machines are operated by touch screens, and after snapping the photo users can add stamps and other decorations.

Asakayama’s first selection was the 23-year-old rising star Endo.

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The retired wrestler showed a bit of favoritism with his second choice, posing inside a frame with personal friend Aminishiki, whom Asakayama affectionately calls Ami-tan.

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Both machines can be found on the second floor of the stadium. For those of you worried about using up all your stickers, fear not, as a digital copy of the photos can also be sent to your mobile phone for safekeeping.

Stadium information:
Ryogoku Kokugikan / 両国国技館
Address: Tokyo-to, Sumida-ku, Yokoami 1-3-28
〒130-0015 東京都墨田区横網1−3−28

Source: IT Media
Images: Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)