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John Gunning

For John Gunning's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Slicker production needed for amateur sumo

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 16, 2019

Slicker production needed for amateur sumo

Typhoon Hagibis raged across Japan last weekend leaving in its wake a trail of devastation both deep and wide-ranging. Compared to the loss of life, and destruction of homes that occurred on Saturday, the cancellation or postponement of sporting events feels barely worth mentioning. A herculean ...

Innovative club nurtures sumo's young talent

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 9, 2019

Innovative club nurtures sumo's young talent

Komatsuryu Dojo, one of the oldest and most prestigious sumo clubs in Japan emerged triumphant at the 16th National Youngster Sumo Tournament, held at the Kokugikan in Tokyo on October 6th. It was the first title for the club located on the banks of the ...

Naturalized Sokokurai fought for JSA return

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 2, 2019

Naturalized Sokokurai fought for JSA return

One of the more interesting bits of news over the past month was the announcement that Arashio stable veteran Sokokurai had acquired Japanese nationality. By far the most successful of the 12 rikishi in sumo history to have hailed from mainland China, Sokokurai's switch leaves ...

Injuries continue to impact sumo landscape

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Sep 25, 2019

Injuries continue to impact sumo landscape

Sumo fans continue to be spoiled, with September serving up yet another incredible and dramatic tournament. What seemed early on like a Kakuryu procession to a second straight title turned into a battle royale, with any of three or four contenders looking like the most ...

Sumo Sep 22, 2019

Sumo 101: Restaurants run by former rikishi

Sumo stable life is communal. Rikishi take care of all of their own cooking and cleaning, and because they consume so much food the former is of paramount importance. Michelin stars are unlikely to be handed out in sumo anytime soon, but while the dishes cooked ...

Sumo 101: Championship scores

Sumo Sep 21, 2019

Sumo 101: Championship scores

One of the side effects of having Hakuho, the greatest rikishi of all time, succeed another legend in Asashoryu at the top of the sumo pile, is that fans in recent years have become accustomed to seeing dominant championship performances. There have been 24 perfect ...

Sumo 101: Imperial family and sumo

Sumo Sep 20, 2019

Sumo 101: Imperial family and sumo

You don't have to look far in sumo to find links with Japan's imperial family. Every two months the top rikishi compete for a whole host of prizes, the most prestigious of which is the Emperor's Cup. The sterling silver trophy stands 108 cm high and ...

Sumo 101: New Otani hotels and sumo

Sumo Sep 19, 2019

Sumo 101: New Otani hotels and sumo

Last Friday, several members of the Ireland rugby team, including Clan Healy and Rory Best, visited Isegahama stable to watch a training session. It's unusual for outsiders to be allowed into a stable during tournaments as the rikishi involved understandably want to avoid distractions, ...

Sumo 101: 'Dragons'

Sumo Sep 18, 2019

Sumo 101: 'Dragons'

There are many ways of classifying rikishi and discussing those groups' various merits. Who are the best yokozuna or ozeki of all time for example? Which stable has been most dominant in history? Name your top ten Mongolians. The possibilities are numerous. In the early 2000s, one ...

Sumo 101: Sumo on the silver screen

Sumo Sep 17, 2019

Sumo 101: Sumo on the silver screen

For an activity as visually fascinating as sumo, there are precious few movies about the sport. A typical day's action in the Kokugikan often involves more drama than a whole season in some other sports. Incredible athleticism and feats of strength, combined with elaborate ritual and ...