Sanctuary 2023 / A gritty and realistic look at modern-day sumo wrestling


There’s not a lot of good sumo representation out there. The ancient Japanese sport is often caricatured for laughs; in fact, it has a rich and complex history spanning centuries. It’s cultural but questionably brutal, revered but unable to compete against newer combat sports. And while sumo negotiates its role in an increasingly modern world, its participants continue to rely on it for a living, making it at once outdated and necessary.  

Enter Sanctuary, a Japanese Netflix original that captures all this nuance to the best of its ability. The drama is a gritty and realistic behind-the-scenes look at the sport, a raw portrait of all the literal blood, sweat, and tears that go into it. If you can stomach a fair amount of violence and gore, then you’ll appreciate what Sanctuary tries to do, which is smartly reintroduce sumo to a new generation.

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