John Gunning
For John Gunning's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Kirishima waves to fans as he celebrates his second Emperor's Cup, in Fukuoka last month.
Dec 6, 2023
Wild 2023 the storm before the calm for Japan’s national sport
The sport finished on a high this year, setting up enticing possibilities for 2024 as several potential stars emerge.
Kirishima has had injury woes of his own since earning promotion to ozeki following the May meet, but with 11 wins or better in four of six tournaments this year, and two Emperor’s Cup wins since March, his stock is rising quickly.
Nov 29, 2023
Kirishima takes Emperor’s Cup and yokozuna hopes from Takakeisho
As Takakeisho heads back to the starting line, Kirishima steps into the spotlight and will feature in most sumo-related content in the near term.
Takakeisho (seated, left) following his loss to Asanoyama on Sunday in Fukuoka.
Nov 22, 2023
Takakeisho falters as sumo’s wait for next superstar continues
The good news for Takakeisho is that slip-ups elsewhere mean he remains in the title race.
Takakeisho (left) wins his opening-day bout on Sunday in Fukuoka. The Hyogo Prefecture native is nearing a promotion to yokozuna.
Nov 15, 2023
Top wrestlers' hot starts set stage for dramatic Kyushu tourney
The opening three days of action at the Fukuoka International Center has seen the six highest-ranked wrestlers that are taking part go a combined 17-1.
Ozeki Hoshoryu is a match for anyone in sumo despite his occasional bouts with inconsistency.
Nov 10, 2023
Young ozeki duo may be ready to step into spotlight at Kyushu Basho
Kirishima and Hoshoryu have generated much of the excitement in Japan’s national sport over the past 12 months.
Asahanshin Torakichi's ring name is nod to the Osaka native's favorite baseball team, the 2023 Japan Series champion Hanshin Tigers.
Nov 8, 2023
Tigers’ triumph resonates in a sumo world full of Kansai natives
As Hanshin fans celebrate a long-awaited championship, it's timely to look back at what sumo looked like when Hanshin last won it all in 1985.
Gonoyama (right) faces Daieisho at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on Sept. 22
SUMO / Inside Sumo
Nov 1, 2023
The risers — and fallers — in the latest sumo rankings
The sumo rankings ahead of the upcoming Kyushu Basho produced its share of winners and losers.
Takakeisho celebrates with the trophy after winning the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sept. 24.
Oct 26, 2023
Takakeisho heads to Kyushu Basho with yokozuna promotion in sight
The 27-year-old has put himself in line for elevation to the sport’s highest rank following the upcoming Kyushu meet.
Without the World Games, the Sumo World Championships remain amateur sumo's top-level international competition.
Oct 18, 2023
Sumo's Olympic dream requires fresh approach
A new variant of the sport wouldn't replace the professional or amateur versions, but would instead create a new path to participation and fandom.
U.S. wrestlers (from left) Christina Griffin, Madison Guinn, Etan Perez and Kellyann Ball celebrate after winning bronze in the women's team competition at the Sumo World Championships in the western Tokyo city of Tachikawa on Sunday.
Oct 11, 2023
American women make history at Sumo World Championships in Tokyo
The achievement by the U.S. team, two of whom are new to the sport, ended a 22-year wait for American women to reach the podium at the worlds.
Hakuoho's (left) impressive performance at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament saw him nearly win the Emperor's Cup in his top-division debut.
Oct 4, 2023
JSA on right track with new rules to increase pro sumo participation
Revisions to the tsukedashi system will see more spots reserved for top amateur performers in the third and fourth divisions.
Takakeisho's (right) henka against Atamifuji in Sunday's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament title playoff drew significant ire from sumo fans.
Sep 27, 2023
Frustrating September tournament contained silver linings
The worst possible outcome for a playoff has set up an even more intriguing storyline for the final grand tournament of the year in November.
Atamifuji is declared the winner following his bout against Mitakeumi at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on Day 6 of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
SUMO / Inside Sumo
Sep 21, 2023
Eyes on Atamifuji for possible record at autumn sumo tournament
The 21-year-old wrestler enters Day 12 of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament having won 10 of his first 11 bouts.
Hokutofuji (right) grapples with Kirishima during Day 3 of the Autumn Basho at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Tuesday.
Sep 13, 2023
Hokutofuji shines early as sumo's English streaming era begins
The Day 2 presentation by YouTube channel Sumo Prime Time was a welcome development for international fans.
Kazuki Paul Tsuyukusa with his dog Sunny in Fukuoka
Sep 9, 2023
Kazuki Paul Tsuyukusa: 'It’s better to live without being noticed everywhere.’
A former rikishi, Kazuki Paul Tsuyukusa has swapped his sumo stable for the life of a salaryman.
Kotonowaka surely has his eyes on eventually emulating his grandfather, former grand champion Kotozakura.
Aug 30, 2023
New sumo ranks highlight rise of next generation
Ahead of the autumn tournament in Tokyo, it's the up-and-coming wrestlers who are making waves.
Hoshoryu (left) beats rank-and-file wrestler Hokutofuji in a playoff on the final day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Dolphins Arena last month.
Aug 23, 2023
A closer look at sumo's 'hot hand' after Hokutofuji's Nagoya run
Hokutofuji’s career best 12-win outing in July not only came out of the blue, but was his first winning record of any kind since the previous September.
Japan Times
Jul 19, 2023
Amateur sumo star embarks on journey made for Hollywood with NCAA football move
Hidetora Hanada will be joining the Colorado State Rams, marking another huge step in what has been a whirlwind 16 months for the university sumo superstar.
Japan Times
Jul 12, 2023
Nagoya Basho roars back with early thrills and rocking atmosphere
With Terunofuji out, various promotion challenges figure to monopolize the headlines over the next 10 days.
Japan Times
Jul 7, 2023
Terunofuji looking to take another step toward rarefied status at Nagoya Basho
One of the most highly anticipated grand sumo tournaments of recent times gets underway at the Dolphins Arena in Nagoya on Sunday.


Janos Cegledy sits in a park in Tokyo's Nerima Ward. The pianist says Japan suits him, “There is a certain civility and politeness here which you don’t find anywhere else.”
The extraordinary life of a Holocaust survivor living in Japan