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chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-05-10 17:00

Wrestlers compete by holding crying babies

Babies held by professional sumo wrestlers of the Onoe stable cry during the "Nakizumo" or "baby-cry sumo" at the Yukigaya-hachiman shrine in Tokyo on April 29, 2019. [Photo/IC]

Sumo wrestlers held aloft screaming babies in a crying contest - with the children's parents watching with delight.

More than 100 sobbing tots took part in the centuries-old ritual, which is believed by many to bring the infants good health.

The bawling kiddies, all under the age of 1, were subjected to the ritual at the Yukigaya Hachiman shrine in Tokyo.

Some Japanese parents believe sumo wrestlers can help make babies cry out a wish to grow up stronger.

A baby held by a professional sumo wrestler of the Onoe stable cries during the "Nakizumo" or "baby-cry sumo" at the Yukigaya Hachiman shrine in Tokyo, April 29, 2019. [Photo/IC]

The ceremony dates back some 400 years and is held at shrines throughout the nation.

The rules vary from city to city.

In some areas the babies are raced against each other to see who will cry first, while in others the first crier is deemed the loser of the "bout".

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