How Much Do Sumo Wrestlers Make?

Sumo wrestlers are impressive athletes. They dedicate their lives to the art of Sumo, living in a communal house with their fellow wrestlers and training for hours everyday. Now you want to know are the sacrifices worth it? And do Sumo wrestlers’ paychecks match the size of their stomachs?

How much do Sumo wrestlers make? The average lowest ranked professional Sumo wrestler (Juryo) receives an official base salary of $9000 per month. The average highest ranked professional Sumo wrestler (Yokozuna) receives a base monthly salary of $25,000 per month. The current prize for winning a tournament in the premier Sumo division (Makuuchi) is 10,000,000 Yen ($100,000).

What Are Those Envelopes Sumo Wrestlers Receive?

The envelopes you see Sumo wrestlers receive after bouts are known as Kenshokin. These envelopes contain cash and are awarded to wrestlers who have performed well during the tournament. Each envelope contains around $300. Yokozuna have been known to be presented with up to 50 envelopes.

The envelopes actually represent significantly more money around $600 but the Japanese Sumo Association takes their cut before handing the money to the Sumo wrestlers. Previously, wrestlers were given the entire amount and then expected to pay the JSA at a later date. However, many wrestlers would take their money and blow it on a wild all night drinking escapade leaving them unable to pay the fee the next day. The JSA, to prevent this from happening in the future took their cut before the wrestlers could blow the lot on Sake.

The prize money in the envelopes are offered by corporations who sponsor the Sumo events and in response get their name read out and their banner flown around the arena.

Do Sumo Wrestlers Get Paid Well?

Do Sumo wrestlers get paid well? If you are a high level Sumo wrestler in the top 2 divisions of the sport (Juryo, Makuuchi) then you do get paid well and can expect to earn over $100,000 at a minimum. If you reach the top of Sumo and become a Yokozuna you can earn millions of dollars and never have to worry about money again.

Are Sumo Wrestlers’ Salaries Increasing?

Sumo wrestlers’ salaries exploded in the 90s going through tremendous growth. It was common for Sumo salaries to increase 3x-5x. A Yokozuna in 1990 was making $7,000 a month, fast forward to 2000 and they were making $25,000 per month. In recent years the growth has slowed dramatically with salaries increasing a few percent per year. If Sumo’s popularity receives another surge like it did in the 90s then salaries may shoot up again but for now growth is rather flat. However, don’t feel too bad for your favorite wrestler as many are still making high 6 and low 7 figures per year.

Do All Sumo Wrestlers Get Paid?

Do all Sumo wrestlers get paid? All Sumo wrestlers receive a salary. However, low level Sumo wrestlers do not earn a salary from the Japan Sumo Association and the competition prizes they win are small. They instead are paid a salary by their stable master, usually $2000 per month who pays them for performing domestic duties at the Sumo house such as cooking and cleaning.

Lower level Sumo wrestlers do not earn much money and do not bring their stable master’s income. However, to allow them to train full time so they can one day become high level professionals stable master’s pay them a livable wage. To reduce the financial burden on stable masters lower level Sumo wrestlers will earn their salary by performing domestic chores such as cleaning and cooking. These domestic chores have often become a hazing ritual where older Sumo wrestlers will take delight in forcing younger recruits to perform more humiliating tasks such as cleaning toilets.

Who Is The Richest Sumo Wrestler?

Who is the richest sumo wrestler? Asashoryu is the richest Sumo wrestler with an estimated net worth of between $50 – $75 million. The former Yokozuna earned millions throughout his Sumo career. He wisely took his Sumo earnings and invested them in his native country Mongolia, resulting in him building a successful business empire with holdings in banks, real estate and mining. 

Asashoryu begun Sumo wrestling at 18 and by the time he was 22 he was already sending his Sumo winnings from Japan back to Mongolia to invest in his homeland. Asashoryu must have a knack for investing because he has turned himself into one of the wealthiest businessmen in Mongolia with an estimated net worth of over $50 million. Not bad for a guy who grew up in a tiny communist apartment which he shared with his parents and 3 siblings.

Asashoryu started his investment company back in 2003 and the company has continued to grow, regularly experiencing double digit yearly growth figures. Asashoryu has diversified his holdings investing in a wide range of assets. He currently owns 56% of the National Investment Bank of Mongolia which he founded in 2006 after purchasing the license from a Russian bank. He owns land in downtown Ulaanbaatar and owns Dream Land Resort close to Kharkhorin. Asashoryu is also cashing in on Mongolia’s resource riches and owns a number of mines focusing on coal and other rare earth minerals.

Asashoryu has opted for a purely Mongolian investment strategy. Stating he holds no foreign investments. He said, “no investments outside of Mongolia, Mongolia all the way.”

How Much Do Yokozuna Make?

How much do Yokozuna make? Yokozuna make $25,000 per month as a base salary. It is rumored they are paid more than their official salaries under the table. They also earn $100,000 for winning tournaments and can receive bonuses as high as $14,000 for performing well during tournaments. 

Yokozunas’ earnings are made up of 4 components, base salary, tournaments winnings, bonuses and retirement payouts. A Yokozuna can expect to make $25,000 per month as a base salary. These earnings are compounded by tournaments wins which can be worth $100,000 and cash stuffed envelopes which the wrestlers receive for strong performances which can be as much as $14,000. Adding all this up a Yokozuna can earn over $1 million a year.

When a Yokozuna wrestler retires they will receive a lump retirement payout from the Japanese Sumo Association (JSA). These payouts can be astronomical. The JSA is given large discretion in handing out these payouts which are partly based on the record of the wrestler, their reputation and impact on the sport. A famed Japanese Yokozuna, Takanohana received a $1.3 million upon his retirement in 2003.


Sumo wrestlers can make large amounts of money. A low level Sumo professional can expect to earn $9000 per month plus tournament earnings and cash bonuses. While a top level Sumo professional can earn as much as $25,000 per month and receive $100,000 for winning a tournament plus $14,000 in cash bonuses per tournament for noteworthy performances. Many Sumo wrestlers have become self made millionaires from the sport and have built business empires such as former Yokozuna Asashoryu who is now one the wealthiest men in Mongolia with an estimated net worth of $75 million.

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