Toil and sweat done, an apprentice meditates before a Shinto shrine. It sits on a mound he formed from sand spread earlier to allow wrestlers’ feet to slide. The ring was then purified with salt. After that ritual it is not to be trod upon until practice resumes the following morning, though the young wrestler unthinkingly entered to pay his respects. Such regard is emblematic of sumo’s stature as kokugi, the “national sport” of Japan.