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Trump makes custom trophy for Japanese Sumo champion

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US President Donald Trump will award a one-of-a-kind “Trump Cup” to the winner of Japan’s Sumo championships during his state visit to Tokyo this weekend.

Trump said he developed a special trophy to give to Sunday’s winner. “I’ve always found that [Sumo] fascinating. So, in fact, we’re having a trophy made in this country,” he said on April 26.

“We’re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship.”

A general view of the Grand Sumo May Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 21, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.
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Trump will watch the final three rounds of the tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall, Tokyo, and then clamber onto the ring, called a Dyojo, to award the winner the custom trophy, the Japanese Sumo Association (JSA) told Reuters.

The president will, however, break Japanese custom by watching the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament from a chair instead of sitting on the floor on a traditional cushion.

Komusubi Mitakeumi falls after his defeat by Endo on day eleven of the Grand Sumo Tournament on May 22, 2019.
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Trump’s decision to shun the traditional zabuton cushion was met with some disapproval in Tokyo.

“I also want to sit on chair as we watch sumo wrestling,” Masaru Tomamoto, 73, told Reuters.

Izumi Chiba from Sapporo told the news agency: “As we say, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Read more: Sumo wrestlers eat up to 7,000 calories a day, yet don’t typically suffer from symptoms of obesity

Trump is no stranger to breaking foreign customs.

When meeting the Queen of England in July 2018, Trump broke royal protocol twice in one day when he walked in front of the Queen and then forgot to bow.

Asanoyama (L) pushes Sadanoumi (R) out of the ring to win on day eleven.
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Shoes are not permitted in the Dyojo, so Trump will be trading his leather shoes for slippers when he gives out the award.

Japanese media report around 1,300 of the 11,000 stadium seats have been reserved for Trump and Shinzo’s entourages.

Trump and his wife Melania are Japan’s first state visitors since Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1.

Read more: Japan is giving everybody 10 days off to celebrate getting a new emperor — and a surprising number of people aren’t happy about it

During Trump’s statement on April 26 he also said it was possible the US and Japan could broker a brand new bilateral trade deal before the state visit on May 25 to May 28.

Donald Trump (L) and Abe Shinzo (R.)
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

That possibility has not come to pass, and on Wednesday an anonymous Japanese administration official told the Japan Times trade discussions would not be on the table.

“I don’t think that the purpose of this trip is to focus on trade. It’s really to be state guests of their majesties,” he said.

Though, Trump and Shinzo are expected to address North Korea and regional stability.

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