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John Gunning

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

Sumo wrestlers beat heat, make new fans at summer camps

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Aug 14, 2019

Sumo wrestlers beat heat, make new fans at summer camps

For many, the words "training camp" and "summer" are synonymous with American football and particularly the NFL. Ever since George Plimpton's 1966 book "Paper Lion" first drew back the curtain on what takes place inside a professional football camp, sports fans have been fascinated by ...

Kakuryu adds to solid resume with latest win

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jul 24, 2019

Kakuryu adds to solid resume with latest win

Yokozuna Kakuryu lifted the Emperor's Cup last Sunday after a final day defeat of fellow yokozuna Hakuho. The win gave Kakuryu his sixth title overall, with half of those championships coming in the past 18 months, after a period in which speculation was rife about ...

Sumo 101: JSA chairman

Sumo Jul 21, 2019

Sumo 101: JSA chairman

The Japan Sumo Association's highest authority is the chairman of its board of directors. The current occupant is 56-year-old Hakkaku, who has been in power since 2015. Like the majority of his predecessors, Hakkaku is a former yokozuna. Known as Hokutoumi when at that rank, he won ...

Sumo 101: Non-traditional training

Sumo Jul 20, 2019

Sumo 101: Non-traditional training

Sumo is often described as a lifestyle rather than a sport. As regimented as a military and requiring the total immersion of a religious order, it's certainly much more multifaceted than any other activity that makes the sports section of this paper. For many in sumo, ...

Sumo 101: Press club

Sumo Jul 19, 2019

Sumo 101: Press club

Sumo receives extensive coverage year- round in the Japanese media. While it may not get the column inches that baseball does (understandable when you consider the respective sizes and number of participants in both sports) it's still a significant amount of media attention. To facilitate that, ...

Sumo 101: Tsukebito

Sumo Jul 18, 2019

Sumo 101: Tsukebito

Sumo is a life built around the carrot and stick approach. The higher a rikishi rises up the rankings, the easier his life becomes. Changes are incremental and consist of things like better quality yukata, less chores, being allowed to own a cellphone, etc. The biggest jump ...

Sumo 101: Regional tours

Sumo Jul 17, 2019

Sumo 101: Regional tours

An oft-heard refrain from fans new to sumo is that wrestlers get paid huge sums for just a few seconds work each day. It's one of the more common misconceptions, along with thinking that success in Japan's national sport is just a matter of eating ...

Sumo 101: Futabayama's win streak

Sumo Jul 16, 2019

Sumo 101: Futabayama's win streak

Sumo fans these days have the privilege of being able to watch the greatest rikishi of all time live in the ring. For a sport that's been around for a couple of millennia in one form or another that's no small thing. While Raiden may have ...