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John Gunning

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

Future without sumo unthinkable for Hakuho

| May 9, 2018

Future without sumo unthinkable for Hakuho

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, which gets underway on Sunday, is shaping up to be a make-or-break one for several wrestlers. Takayasu and Kisenosato have seen their respective hopes for a yokozuna run and triumphant comeback dampened by injuries both old and new. Ozeki Takayasu, coming ...

Ancient<em> banzuke</em> adds human touch to sumo

| May 2, 2018

Ancient banzuke adds human touch to sumo

"I can't do this for 10 years. I want to have a normal job. I want to live in a normal house. I want to eat normal food. I want to live a normal life." Those were some of the last words spoken by Takuya ...

Family legacy weighs heavily on young sumo prospects

| Apr 18, 2018

Family legacy weighs heavily on young sumo prospects

Jigjidiin Monkhbat, the father of yokozuna Hakuho, passed away recently. A legendary figure in Mongolian wrestling, the six-time Naadam festival champion was also a silver medalist at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Monkhbat's son, if anything, has surpassed his legendary father. Hakuho has 40 ...

Time for sumo to ditch ban on women in ring

| Apr 11, 2018

Time for sumo to ditch ban on women in ring

Less than a month after International Women's Day, sumo found itself embroiled in a gender-discrimination controversy when a female nurse administering CPR was ordered to leave the ring by an official. The sport's long-standing ban on women entering the ring has periodically come under fire, ...

Osunaarashi trying to navigate post-sumo life

| Apr 4, 2018

Osunaarashi trying to navigate post-sumo life

Disgraced former top-division wrestler Osunaarashi appeared on a late-night variety show this week. Head freshly shaven, the big Egyptian hammed it up, participating in sumo bouts with veteran TV personality Bobby Ologun and erstwhile UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. The appearance, coming barely three weeks ...

Quiet man Kakuryu on top after long struggle

| Mar 28, 2018

Quiet man Kakuryu on top after long struggle

Kakuryu won his fourth championship last Sunday. It was the yokozuna's first Emperor's Cup in eight tournaments and the relief on his face was visible as he accepted a stack of kensho (prize money) envelopes after downing Goeido on day 14 to take the ...

Sumo-rich Osaka ready for stormy Spring Basho

| Feb 28, 2018

Sumo-rich Osaka ready for stormy Spring Basho

That stretch in the evenings and the plum blossoms in bloom means just one thing to sumo fans — it's time for the Osaka Basho. With a historical propensity for surprising outcomes, the meet has acquired the nickname 'Areru Haru Basho' or 'Turbulent Spring Tournament.' It's ...

Hard work pays off for good guy Tochinoshin

| Jan 31, 2018

Hard work pays off for good guy Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin finally lifted the Emperor’s Cup on Sunday, 12 tumultuous years after joining the sumo world. The Georgian has had his fair share of ups and downs over the past decade with a career that not only came close to ending more than once, but ...

Belief could lift young sumo talent to glory in 2018

| Dec 27, 2017

Belief could lift young sumo talent to glory in 2018

Before the Harumafuji scandal broke, 2017 had been shaping up to be one of the better sumo years of recent times. It started with Kisenosato finally winning a tournament and becoming the first Japan-born yokozuna since 2003. Fellow yokozuna Hakuho then broke the all-time career ...