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Friday, Aug. 18, 2006

Sumo touch down in Taiwan

TAIPEI (Kyodo) A group of sumo wrestlers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a five-day exhibition tour that will include the first matches of the ancient Japanese sport to be held in Taiwan since the end of World War II.

Local TV news footage showed that Mongolia-born Yokozuna Asashoryu, who just won his 17th career title in July at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, received a warm welcome from dozens of Japanese expatriates and Taiwanese supporters when he appeared at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport along with other wrestlers.

During their visit, seen as the most significant cultural and sports exchange activity in recent years between Japan and Taiwan, Asashoryu and the other 41 professional wrestlers are set to take part in a two-day exhibition in Taipei Arena over the weekend, an event organized by the Japan Sumo Association.

The last sumo matches held in Taiwan took place in April 1936, when the island was under Japanese rule.

Taiwan's government has expressed hope that the event would promote mutual understanding between Taiwan and Japan while helping to attract more Japanese tourists to the island.



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