How Much Sumo Wrestlers Earn?

It is a frequently asked question.

The salary of a sumo wrestler varies based according to rank. On average, a professional sumo wrestler earns 8800 USD or one million yen.

How Much Sumo Wrestlers Earn?

Moreover, they also get prize money and additional perks as well. However, the stipend varies a lot. In the top two divisions of Juryo and Makuuchi, rikishi gets the monthly stipend.  They also get daily payments for participating in the tournaments and aka Top Division.

Almost all the matches are sponsored so they get extra prize money and that goes to the winner. The judge hands over this prize money to the winner in the envelopes. The envelope contains almost 300 USD. 

The monthly stipend might have changed now because this information is about 10 years old. 10 years ago, monthly stipends were used to be:

  • Yokozuna - $24,250 
  • Ozeki - $20,200
  • Komusubi – $14,600 
  • Maegashira (aka rank) - $11.250
  • Juryo (all ranks) – $8,900

If they are in the top division, rikishi earns about $100,000 USD when they win Basho. They win about $200,000 if they win the Juryo championship. Rikishi also wins a special prize of $20,000 at a time. They also get sponsored money as well. Each envelope contains $300 plus $200 that is a fund for retirement. The retirement fund also increases based on the rank number of Basho the wrestler has attenuated. Maegashira also gets $20,000 fund per tournament. They have to attend at least 20 to 25 consecutive Basho to earn this amount. 

How Much Money Do Sumo Wrestlers Make?

The real answer to this question depends on different things. Wrestlers ranked in the top division earn their salaries based on the following categories:

  1. Monthly salary
  2. Lifetime cumulative record salary
  3. Tournament stipend
  4. Bout prize money if the bout is sponsored
  5. Tournament prize money if you win individual awards
  6. Fan club contributions
  7. Endorsements

Six Ranks of Professional Sumo

Sumo is a much-enjoyed sport in Japan and it has lots of fans all over the country. When it comes to ranking, the rules of sumo can be complicated. Based on the performance of wrestlers, they are divided into six different divisions. When they perform well they are promoted to a higher rank. Moreover, on poor performance, they are demoted as well. The rank of a sumo wrestler doesn’t only predict his skill level, but it also tells how much sumo wrestlers earn. Even these six divisions further have hierarchical categorization. The title of Yokozuna is the highest rank of the makuuchi division. 

  • Jonokuchi 
  • The lowest rank in sumo wrestling is Jonokuchi. All the young individuals who are hopeful lie in this division. It is not only made for young and new wrestlers. Senior and professional wrestlers due to their bad performance can also fall into this rank. They can also fall into it because of their continuous illness or severe injuries as well. Promotion from Jonokuchi isn’t easy. Many wrestlers try to get promotions to make room for the new recruits. 

  • Jonidan 
  • Wrestlers ranked in this division have some experience. But only those wrestlers are promoted who have shown something. It is the largest of the six divisions because it has no-cap policy and numbers of wrestlers move to the bottleneck situation. Wrestlers have to deal with hazing and still they face restrictions on clothing. Professional sumo wrestlers are bound to wear traditional Japanese dress when they are in the ring or when they are outside the ring. Wrestlers in the Jonidan division are not allowed to wear a jacket even in the cold. 

  • Sandanme
  • Wrestlers in this rank are not considered professionals. Like the first two divisions, wrestlers only receive a small allowance after each tournament. Wrestlers in this category can win the equivalent of 2000 USD plus prize money for winning bouts. The number of wrestlers in Sandanme capped at 200. 

  • Makushita
  • It is the final frontier between the unranked wrestlers who don’t receive any salary and to the prestigious ranked wrestler. Wrestlers from the higher ranks fall to this division. It is totally unfortunate fate. They have to go back to living on a small bi-monthly allowance and part-time work for stable training. Wrestlers in the Makushita and lower ranks can only compete 7 times in a tournament. If you have won all the 7 bouts in a tournament, you are unconditionally promoted to the next highest rank Juryo. 

  • Juryo
  • Wrestlers in this division are considered as professional competitors. Wrestlers in division 4 and 5 are known as a sekitori. On average, a professional sumo wrestler earns 8800 USD or one million yen. Moreover, they also get prize money and additional perks as well. Juryo wrestlers can compete for 15 times per tournament. It is much high than the 7 bouts in the former ranks. 

  • Makuuchi
  • Reaching to this division is the dream of all the sumo wrestlers. Titleholders are ranked in this category. Yokozuna is the top rank, and it is followed by sekiwake and Komusubi. The number of wrestlers in this category capped at 42 and more than one wrestler can hold these titles at a time. Wrestlers ranked in this category are the highest paid wrestlers and their bouts are broadcasted regularly on television. 


    A sumo wrestler can earn around $8000 to $24,500 per month when training. They can earn a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per day when participating in a tournament. A top wrestler like Hakuho can easily earn $12,000 to $24,000 per day from just sponsorship prize money. 

    So, there are lots of factors associated with how much sumo wrestlers earn. They earn based on their category. Wrestlers ranked in the highest category earn the most. They get sponsored money. They also get endorsements. Sumo wrestlers who perform well and win fights are promoted to the higher ranks. Wrestlers who perform poorly are demoted to the lower ranks. So, it is not simple to answer that question of how much sumo wrestlers earn. 

    Sky Hoon. About
    Martial Art Fan
    He started his love on martial arts by watching MMA and Angela Lee. He then started this blog to learn more about the different martial arts.
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