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The sword-bearer
The tachimochi is the rikishi (sumo wrestler, lit. "strong man") who, following the yokozuna (the Grand Champion) up on the dohyo for the dohyoiri or ring entering ceremony, carries the unsheated sword - the "tachi". The sword - a Japanese katana - is a symbol of the yokozuna's status as samurai. The position of tachimochi is given to one of the more senior wrestlers, usually from the same heya (school or "stable") as the yokozuna.

The tachimochi walks last in a procession of three: in front the tsuyuharai (the dewsweeper or herald), next the yokozuna, and last the tachimochi (the tachimochi will always be of higher rank than the tsuyuharai). All the wrestlers will be dressed in their keshomawashi, wich are heavy, ceremonial silken aprons. The yokozuna will also be wearing his tsuna - a white braided hemp rope (with a copper cable inside to make it rigid).

They enter the dohyo (the large clay-platform, where the sumo will take place) and here the tachimochi will sit unmoving, holding the sword aloft, until the yokozuna has finished his ceremonial moves. He will not do anything as such. When the ceremony is over, the procession will backtrack to the dressingrooms.

My sources are www.sumo.or.jp/eng, sumowrestling.atspace.com/yokozuna.htm and sumoforum.net/glossary.html#

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