Sumo 101: Kokugikan

Sumo Jul 10, 2019

Sumo 101: Kokugikan

Three of the six yearly Grand Sumo tournaments are held in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. The large structure, located next to the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Sumida Ward, opened in 1985. It also houses a sumo museum as well as the offices of the Japan Sumo Association. The ...

Sumo 101: Non-Tokyo tournaments

Sumo Jul 9, 2019

Sumo 101: Non-Tokyo tournaments

There are six honbasho (official tournaments) every year. They take place in the odd-numbered months, with half being hosted in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. The remaining three are the spring tournament in Osaka in March, the July tournament in Nagoya and the November meet in Fukuoka. While ...

Sumo 101: Charismatic rikishi

Sumo Jul 8, 2019

Sumo 101: Charismatic rikishi

One of sumo's most defining features is the stoicism of its wrestlers. Win or lose, rikishi are expected to remain composed. Sometimes after a particularly hard fought or meaningful bout, emotion slips through, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Overt celebrations after wins quickly receive ...

Sumo Jul 7, 2019

Sumo 101: Tied bouts

Every sumo bout ends with a winner declared. Even if the gyōji (referee) thinks both men crashed to the ground at the same instant, he is obliged to point his gunbai (war fan) toward either the west or east to signal that the wrestler from ...

Title appears up for grabs at upcoming Nagoya Basho

Sumo Jul 4, 2019

Title appears up for grabs at upcoming Nagoya Basho

Commentators often divide sumo into eras, each defined by its outstanding rivalry. Whether it's Akebono vs. Takanohana, Taiho against Kashiwado or Tochinoshiki taking on Wakanohana, great yokozuna pairings have traditionally been the standard way to separate one generation of rikishi from the next. So dominant has ...

Much talk, no action from sumo committees

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jun 26, 2019

Much talk, no action from sumo committees

The Japan Sumo Association loves committees. Barely a scandal or incident goes by without the creation of some kind of panel or investigative group. Last month saw the establishment of yet another. The "Expert Committee to Contemplate the Future Succession of Sumo" is an advisory body whose ...

Retirement ceremonies often full of emotion

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jun 19, 2019

Retirement ceremonies often full of emotion

It's no secret that difficulty in procuring tickets is one of the main hurdles preventing overseas visitors from being able to watch sumo in person. In recent years, third-party agents, some catering almost exclusively to foreign tourists, have provided fans with an alternative means of ...

Predicting next yokozuna a formidable task

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jun 12, 2019

Predicting next yokozuna a formidable task

When veteran sumo journalists get together and the conversation turns, as it inevitability does, to up-and-coming wrestlers, talk is rarely of who will be the next yokozuna. Most writers or commentators are only willing to hypothesize rikishi with the ability to reach sanyaku (the three ...

Amateur tourneys offer window to sport's future stars

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jun 5, 2019

Amateur tourneys offer window to sport's future stars

Asanoyama is sumo's latest champion. The Takasago stable wrestler's victory in the May tournament makes him the fourth rikishi to win a debut championship in the past six meets — something that hasn't happened in 19 years. Asanoyama is also one of four former amateur sumo ...