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Sumo thank you dance for mum links Japan and Philippines

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK helped millions of viewers share the delight of a sumo wrestler thanking his mum in dance – thousands of kilometres away in the Philippines.

Masunoyama Tomoharu – famous for his beaming smile – staged a special dance at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa with fellow wrestlers to thank his mother, Maria, who returned to live in the Philippines after her divorce.

The dance was filmed for the popular NHK variety shows, Totsugeki! At Home! (Visit! to your Home), and co-produced by ABS-CBN of the Philippines for its program “Rated K”.

The producers say Masunoyama spent his junior high school years in the Philippines with his mother, where life was difficult and his mother worked terribly hard.

“Hoping to ease her burden, Masunoyama returned to Japan at the age of 14 and knocked on the door of the Chiganoura sumo stable, where he made his debut in 2006,” the producers say.

Masunoyama and other wrestlers from his stable resolved to express their appreciation to his mother by performing a sumo dance at the Sensoji temple, Tokyo’s biggest sightseeing place.

NHK says it is actively promoting the use of its content abroad, with many dramas, including the morning and historical serials, already being broadcast in South East Asia. NHK says it hopes this joint production will be a new starting point for strengthening cooperation with ABS-CBN and providing quality programs to the Philippines.