On 28 May 2023, H.E. Mr. Singtong Lapisatepun, Ambassador of Thailand to Japan, attended the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament 2023 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan to present the Thailand-Japan Friendship Trophy to Yokozuna TERUNOFUJI, the champion who won the highest division of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
The presentation of the Thailand-Japan Friendship Trophy to the Champion of Grand Sumo Tournaments held in Tokyo started in 2017 when Thailand and Japan celebrated their 130th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations. In 2022, a new trophy in the form of Thai elephant was introduced to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations.
In 2023, the Thailand-Japan Friendship Trophy would be awarded to the Sumo Champion of six tournaments held in four prefectures across Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka. Besides Thailand, ambassadors and representatives from other 11 countries also presented certificates and trophies to the Champion, namely, the United Arab Emirates, Mongolia, Bulgaria, France, Israel, The United States of America, China, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Hungary.
The Thai Elephant Trophy was presented by the Chiang Rai Elephant Foundation. It was made of fiberglass and painted by local Thai artists depicting Japanese and Thai elements. One side of the trophy shows a depiction of a Ramayana’s ape army fighting scenes resembling a sumo fight, under the Rachaphruek flower, the national flower of Thailand. On the other side of the trophy presented an image of two Japanese sumo wrestlers grappling under a Sakura tree, symbolizing Japan.