Where and When Does Sanctuary Take Place?

Netflix’s ‘Sanctuary,’ directed by Kan Eguchi, is a Japanese sports drama series about the Sumo Wrestling culture in Japan. The show revolves around Kiyoshi Oze, a newcomer Sumo Wrestler from the deteriorating Ensho Stable. Oze lacks respect for Sumo and is obnoxiously flippant about its customs. As a result, he garners much backlash from The Sumo Association and other wrestlers. However, his glib attitude toward the sport halts his talent from achieving its full potential. Now, Oze and The Association must adapt to each other in order to bring about something new and fierce to the World of Sumo.

‘Sanctuary’ focuses on Sumo Wrestling’s cultural significance and its influence over different generations in Japan. By employing a crass young protagonist, ‘Sanctuary’ delves into the orthodox issues of Sumo while still advocating for the honor present in Sumo customs and traditions. As such, viewers might wonder about the story’s time period and location. Here’s everything we know about when and where ‘Sanctuary’ takes place.

Sanctuary Likely Takes Place in the Post-2020 World

‘Sanctuary’ follows the Sumo Wrestling journey of Kiyoshi Oze while he is still in the early stages of his career. Though the exact timeframe in which the story takes place is never specified, it is clear that this series portrays a contemporary tale that occurs somewhere in the post-2020 world.

A major theme the show explores throughout its various storylines is the implications of ancient Sumo traditions in the modern world. For the most part, it employs the character of Asuka Kunishima to call out some biases and toxicity within the sport. Kunishima is a bold, outspoken woman with liberal opinions and an open mind. She frequently criticizes Sumo’s old-fashioned ways, like its strict rules against a woman entering the dohyo or violent hazing rituals.

Likewise, Oze’s character often scoffs at the antiquated ceremonial aspect of Sumo. Oze’s primary drive behind becoming a Sumo Wrestler stems from his financially unstable background. Therefore, he has no real passion for the sport. Through this facet of his character, ‘Sanctuary’ tries to convene the ancient traditions of Japan with its youth.

With a base premise set firmly in the modern world, the show utilizes many modern notions to further along the character’s storylines. For instance, social media plays an important role in Oze’s Sumo Wrestling career when he discovers his disrespectful attitude is receiving public backlash from the masses. The modern-day setting of ‘Sanctuary’ plays a key role in the journey of its protagonist and is utilized to further the themes of the generation gap and the youth’s disregard for an age-old honorable sport.

Sanctuary is Set in the Sumida region of Tokyo

‘Sanctuary’ primarily takes place within the Sumida region of Tokyo, Japan. The Sumo Tournament forms a pivotal backdrop for turning points within the narrative. As such, much of the story occurs in the Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena, which is situated in the Ryogoku district of Sumida City. Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena has been host to some of the most influential Sumo events in the country. Therefore, by placing crucial storylines within the arena, the show further reinstates the legacy and heritage of Sumo Wrestling in Japan.

Similarly, Oze resides in the Ensho Stable, where he trains as a Sumo Wrestler alongside his stable mates, Enya, Enga, and several others. Most Sumo Stables in Tokyo are found within the Ryogoku district as well. The show’s intimate connection to the Ryogoku district directly ties into its inherent subject matter of Sumo Wrestling.

On the other hand, the two central Sumo Wrestlers featured in the show, protagonist Kiyoshi “Enno” Oze, and his rival Kunihiko Shizuuchi, don’t naturally belong to the Sumida region. Oze hails from Fukuoka City in the Kyushu region. Meanwhile, Shizuuchi has roots in Rausu town in Hokkaido. Both these cities are briefly explored in the show while depicting Oze and Shizuuchi’s backstories and complex pasts. By separating the characters’ family lives and careers into different regions of Japan, the show almost successfully creates a barrier between Oze and Shizuuchi’s relationship with the outside world and Sumo.

Read More: Sanctuary Ending, Explained: Did Shizuuchi Kill His Family As a Kid?