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Trump Takes In A Sumo Wrestling Competition

SUSAN DAVIS, HOST:

President Trump is on an official state visit to Japan. He's there to meet the country's new emperor and talk trade with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But today he also got a front-row view of Japan's national sport - sumo wrestling. The stop at the tournament was a part of the Japanese government's effort to impress Trump, as NPR's Ayesha Rascoe reports.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Wherever President Trump goes, he's usually the center of attention. But at the arena, all eyes were on the wrestlers.

(CHEERING)

RASCOE: From the beginning, this trip to Japan was planned to be full of ceremony, pomp and pageantry. Trump will get more of that on Monday when he meets with Japan's Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the throne earlier this month. At the sumo tournament, Trump was treated to something a little different - body-pounding combat.

(CHEERING)

RASCOE: The matches only lasted seconds. Two men of massive size and stature would enter the ring, but only one would emerge victorious. It was a fitting spectacle for Trump, who often talks about U.S. foreign policy in terms of winners and losers. He makes a case that if the U.S. is not dominating, it's losing. In the sumo competition, one wrestler did come out on top.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Asanoyama...

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ...In honor of your outstanding achievement as sumo grand champion, I hereby award you the United States President's Cup.

RASCOE: Trump presented a U.S.-made trophy to the champion. Clocking in at more than 4 feet and around 70 pounds, the trophy was about the size of a child. Trump had to be helped when he lifted it to give it to the winner. Afterward, he said he hoped the cup would have a lasting legacy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: We brought that beautiful trophy, which they'll have, hopefully, for many hundreds of years. And that will be their trophy for the championship - sumo championships.

RASCOE: If that happens, it would place the U.S. trophy where Trump likes to be; on the winner's side.

Ayesha Rascoe, NPR News, Tokyo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.