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The Dew-sweeper
The tsuyuharai (the dewsweeper or herald) is the sumo wrestler who walks in front of the yokozuna to and from the dohyo (the clay-platform where the sumo wrestling takes place) at the dohyoiri - the ring entering ceremony. Right behind the yokozuna comes the tachimochi (sword bearer). All three men are dressed in beautiful silk aprons called keshomawashi, and around the waist of the yokozuna is tied a white, braided hemp-rope - a yoko (wide) tsuna (rope). The wrestlers usually come from the same heya (training school), and the tachimochi always outranks the tsuyuharai, although both will be high ranking1.

Once in the ring (shobudawara) the two companions sit down on their haunches while the yokozuna goes through his motions. The tachimochi holds the sword aloft all the time, but the tsuyuharai carries no items. In "olden days" his job was to sweep away the dew from the path of the yokozuna with his hands - today his position is purely ornamental.

When the ceremony is over, the three rikishi (sumo wrestler, lit. "strong man") go back to their dressingroom, and the day's action can begin.

  1. The wrestlers will be from the upper part of the top division (makuuchi).

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