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Paul McCartney Sponsors Sumo Wrestling Tournament

Paul McCartney
JIJI Press / Getty Images

In this day and age where it becomes more and more difficult for artists to promote their work, Paul McCartney deserves credit for looking for new ways. The legend recently sponsored the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka, Japan, and put in a personal appearance.

NME is reporting that the album cover artwork for McCartney’s most recent effort, “New,” appeared on flags and bamboo billboards throughout the stadium. He also caught the action at the Kokusai Center on the tournament’s fifth day, which coincided with his performance at the Yafuko Dome on Nov. 15.

“Bizarrely, Macca really got into sumo wrestling when he first toured Japan (as a solo artist) in 1993,” a spokesman said. “He took his crew to one of the matches when they were over there recently and was explaining to everyone the rules and the scoring and how it all worked.”

According to Japan Times, Hakuho, one of the most successful sumo wrestlers ever, defeated Toyoshima in the match, which helped him keep pace as one of the tournament’s leaders. But it was McCartney who stole the show with his presence. The crowd chanted “Paul, Paul” when he was spotted after the show.

McCartney has not always been so warmly welcomed by the sumo wrestling community. In 1966, the Beatles caused controversy in Japan by performing at Budokan, a martial arts arena in Tokyo. The concert – the first time a Western act had played the venue – was seen by some as offensive to the sport, which holds a sacred place in Japanese society.

See Paul McCartney at the Grand Sumo Kyushu Tournament

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