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John Gunning

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

Kyushu Basho an underrated gem for fans

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 17, 2018

Kyushu Basho an underrated gem for fans

Sumo's Autumn Regional Tour has reached Kansai and will continue winding its way westward until it arrives in Yamaguchi prefecture at the end of the month. From there it's just a short hop across the Kanmon Straits to Fukuoka, where the November Grand Sumo Tournament ...

Departed yokozuna Wajima brought charisma to ring

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 10, 2018

Departed yokozuna Wajima brought charisma to ring

Last week's column featured links between sumo and American football, including a mention of how yokozuna Wakanohana took up the latter sport after retiring from the raised ring. He isn't the only former yokozuna with connections to the gridiron, however. The 54th yokozuna, Wajima, likewise became ...

Sumo skills applicable on the gridiron, not in the ring

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 3, 2018

Sumo skills applicable on the gridiron, not in the ring

Former top-division wrestler Osunaarashi fell to 45-year-old actor Bob Sapp in his mixed martial arts debut this week. The fight at Saitama Super Arena, which was widely derided online and in the media, slowed to a snail's pace after 30 seconds, and ended with both ...

Takanohana's departure marks end of era for sumo

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Sep 26, 2018

Takanohana's departure marks end of era for sumo

Takanohana's retirement, announced on Tuesday, brings to an end the Hanada dynasty's 72-year-long involvement in sumo. The scion of a family that dominated both in the ring and in the headlines since the 1950's, Takanohana never seemed at ease in the sport that was his ...

Sumo 101: Hobbies

Sumo Sep 23, 2018

Sumo 101: Hobbies

All sumo wrestlers get a week off starting the day after a tournament ends. Most head back to their hometowns for some much needed rest and relaxation. Some just continue to work out and lift weights daily. A few spend most of the time either sleeping or ...

Sumo 101: Senshuraku

Sumo Sep 22, 2018

Sumo 101: Senshuraku

The last day of a sumo tournament is called senshuraku and it's packed with all kinds of ceremonies and events not seen over the preceding 14. The word itself combines the characters for "thousand," "autumn" and "comfort" and is an old industry term for the ...

Sumo 101: Yokozuna

Sumo Sep 21, 2018

Sumo 101: Yokozuna

Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo. To date just 72 men have attained the status since it was first created in the late 1700s. Yokozuna can never be demoted. They are seen as the living embodiment of sumo, and when no longer able to uphold ...

Sumo 101: Winning techniques

Sumo Sep 20, 2018

Sumo 101: Winning techniques

The Japan Sumo Association lists 82 different ways to win a bout. These winning techniques are called kimarite and the applicable one is announced in the arena immediately following each fight. There are also five "non techniques" covering situations such as a wrestler stepping out ...

Sumo 101: Sumo school

Sumo Sep 19, 2018

Sumo 101: Sumo school

Sumo is a Darwinian world, but even in this harsh unforgiving environment, new recruits aren't given a "Battle Royale"-style "here's your mawashi — try to survive" induction. Quite the opposite in fact. All new recruits must complete a six-month course at the "Sumo School" in ...

Sumo 101: Heya (Stables)

Sumo Sep 18, 2018

Sumo 101: Heya (Stables)

Sumo isn't really a sport in the true sense of the word. It's a combination of sport, religion and entertainment wrapped up in a quasi-monastic and militaristic lifestyle. Every sumo wrestler belongs to a heya. While the word literally means "room," it is normally translated ...