Amateur sumo wrestlers fight on a recently completed dohyo in a park in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan before a crowd of spectators on Sept. 17. (Hideshi Nishimoto)

TAOYUAN, Taiwan--A ceremony was held at a park here Sept. 17 for the revival of a sumo wrestling ring that was dismantled after Japan’s colonial rule of the island ended in 1945.

The new dohyo in Taoyuan’s Dasi district is covered by a cypress structure measuring about 6 meters square and about 5 meters high, topped with a copper-thatched roof.

When Taiwan was under Japanese rule between 1895 and 1945, the park was called Dasi Park and was home to a Shinto shrine and a sumo ring.

But the site was turned into an open-air theater after the ring was torn down in the postwar years.

The Taiwanese sumo association, consisting of 500 or so amateur sumo wrestlers and fans, initiated the project to revive the ring in the park. Some of the wrestlers compete in international tournaments.

The association has long desired a dohyo in the park because its wrestlers have usually trained and practiced on a floor covered with a plastic sheet.

Daikin Industries Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer of air conditioners and air cleaners, and its local affiliate offered 5 million Taiwanese dollars (18 million yen or $164,000) for the construction of the ring.

Daikin chipped in because the company features a sumo wrestler in a TV commercial in Taiwan.

Zeng Zhi-min, a former sumo wrestler and a trainer with the association, said, “We would like to invite professional sumo wrestlers from Japan for the dohyo that has been revived.”

Zeng, 48, was known as Eigayama when he joined a Japanese sumo stable at the age of 17.