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John Gunning

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

Amateur sumo lacks flair, but worthy of fans' attention

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Dec 4, 2019

Amateur sumo lacks flair, but worthy of fans' attention

As detailed in last week's column, sumo fans are divided when it comes to the kind of English language coverage they want and expect. Some would like greater explanation of basic terms and techniques, while others think there is already too much handholding of the ...

More content needed to satisfy sumo's overseas fans

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Nov 27, 2019

More content needed to satisfy sumo's overseas fans

Sumo's popularity abroad has increased massively over the past few years. A huge section of the fan base is now composed of people who have come to the sport relatively recently. That larger audience has been a boon for those of us working in sports media, ...

Asahisho's comedic talents have provided many laughs

Sumo | Rikishi Files Nov 24, 2019

Asahisho's comedic talents have provided many laughs

Sumo is a sport with a surprising amount of interesting characters. For a lifestyle so intrinsically violent and harsh, it attracts a striking number of comedians and practical jokers. Social media feeds of rikishi like Chiyomaru are filled with hilarious antics. Everything from scaring people with ...

Relatively light Takanoyama paid his dues in lower ranks

Sumo | Rikishi Files Nov 21, 2019

Relatively light Takanoyama paid his dues in lower ranks

About five years ago a sumo video went viral online and was widely shared on websites dedicated to other fighting sports. The video itself was a low resolution (360p) poorly-edited effort with ill-fitting music, featuring a rikishi that spent only five tournaments in the top ...

Tamawashi's January victory among sumo's biggest shocks

Sumo | Rikishi Files Nov 20, 2019

Tamawashi's January victory among sumo's biggest shocks

Roughly half of sumo's recent first-time champions have been rikishi on the way up. Takakeisho, Mitakeumi and Asanoyama are young guns who should all win titles again in the future. The other half are rikishi like Tochinoshin and the now-retired Kisenosato — veterans whose Emperor's Cup ...

Immaturity cost Wakanoho bright future in raised ring

Sumo | Rikishi Files Nov 18, 2019

Immaturity cost Wakanoho bright future in raised ring

When it comes to could-have-been rikishi, the first name on most people's lips is Futahaguro. His controversial expulsion from the sport in 1988 makes him the only yokozuna never to have won a championship. Futahaguro, however, at least made it to the rank of yokozuna. Another troubled ...

Muscular Chiyonofuji's career bloomed late

Sumo | Rikishi Files Nov 17, 2019

Muscular Chiyonofuji's career bloomed late

For a certain generation of fans there is only one name that comes to mind when discussing the greatest of all time and that name is Chiyonofuji. The muscular yokozuna dominated inside the ring and won hearts outside it during the 1980s. Known as "the Wolf," ...