Donald Trump Will Sit on a Chair and Not Cross-legged at Sumo Bout, Outraging Purists: Report

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Sumo wrestlers take part in a ceremonial sumo exhibition, on the grounds of Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on April 15, 2019. There is concern that President Donald Trump will not adhere to the traditions of the Japanese sport when he attends a bout on his visit to Japan this month. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Traditionalists are balking at the prospect of President Donald Trump watching a sumo bout on a ringside seat rather than the traditional mode of sitting cross-legged on a cushion.

Trump will present a trophy that carries his name to the winner of a major tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall in Tokyo on Sunday during his four-day visit to Japan.

But in a sport whose rituals date back more than a millennium and a half, purists have been upset at the 72-year-old's seating arrangement.

Trump will sit in a chair among the most prized seats that encircle the ring known as masu seki. Normally sitting in this area is done on flat cushions known as zabuton.

One fan, Masaru Tomamoto, 73, told Reuters: "I also want to sit on a chair as we watch sumo wrestling. But if (Trump) watches a Japanese traditional sport, sumo, I think that it would be much better for him to sit cross-legged with the cushion on the floor, rather than on a chair."

Another sumo fan, Izumi Chiba, from Sapporo, told the agency: "As we say, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do."

However, Kazuo Saito, a sumo coach at Nippon Sports Science University told Reuters that the president's presence would be positive for the sport.

"Sumo is Japanese traditional culture. It is not just about winning and defeat. So, it is good that the president is involved and will present a trophy."

There are security concerns over Trump's visit to the bout with almost an eighth of the 11,000 seats reserved for the president, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their security teams.

Around 1,000 people with ringside seats may be security vetted and the sale of canned beer in the front section may be banned, Japan Today reported.

Abe has made a big deal of his good relations with Trump whose state visit until Tuesday will tout trade and security issues between the countries. The leaders hope to iron out differences over tariff cuts on cars and agricultural products, a Japanese trade official told Kyodo News.

Trump is expected to be the first foreign leader to meet the new emperor, Naruhito, who inherited the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.