Sumo 101: Ryogoku

Sumo Sep 17, 2018

Sumo 101: Ryogoku

Sumo is Japan's national sport and can be seen from one end of the country to the other in both official tournaments as well as regional tours. The birthplace of the sport is in modern day Nara Prefecture, and on that site now stands the ...

Sumo 101: Sekitori

Sumo Sep 16, 2018

Sumo 101: Sekitori

The number of sumo wrestlers rises and falls as the popularity of the sport waxes and wanes. Right now it's just shy of 700 men, but only those in the top two divisions are considered true professionals. They are known as sekitori and account for just ...

Sumo 101: Tegata

Sumo Sep 15, 2018

Sumo 101: Tegata

Sumo might be a sport steeped in tradition but its governing body has a very modern approach to merchandising. Attend a sumo tournament and you will see everything from wrestler-shaped chocolate to plush toys to ear wax removing picks, all branded with your favorite wrestler's ...

Sumo 101: The Topknot

Sumo Sep 14, 2018

Sumo 101: The Topknot

It's common to smell sumo wrestlers before seeing them . . . and not in a bad way. The hair wax used in the sport has a pungent sweet smell that is instantly recognizable. Known as bintsuke, the wax is applied daily by specialist sumo ...

Sumo 101: Ringside judges

Sumo Sep 13, 2018

Sumo 101: Ringside judges

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones aren't the only all-powerful "Men in Black." Long before the two Hollywood stars suited up, sumo's ringside arbiters were deciding the fates of wrestlers both inside the ring and out. The five men seated around the ring are all former ...

Sumo 101: The Emperor's Cup

Sumo Sep 12, 2018

Sumo 101: The Emperor's Cup

"To the victor go the spoils" is a phrase that could have been coined for sumo. In a sport already top heavy in terms of privilege and salary, the outright winner of each tournament gets virtually all of the prizes on offer. While (usually) a couple ...

Sumo 101: Ring names

Sumo Sep 11, 2018

Sumo 101: Ring names

A sumo wrestler's shikona, or ring name, can reveal much about his history and heritage.

Sumo 101: The belt

Sumo Sep 10, 2018

Sumo 101: The belt

Sumo wrestlers on overseas tours have been called 'naked goodwill ambassadors'. Most people first encountering the sport see it as giant guys fighting while wearing almost nothing. While it's true that there are no leotards or singlets in (professional) sumo, it's in fact one of the ...

Sumo 101: The Ring

Sumo Sep 9, 2018

Sumo 101: The Ring

Sumo tournaments take place on a raised ring called a dohyo. The kanji characters for dohyo (土俵) literally translate as clay and rice straw bales — the two materials the ring is made of. Dohyo in professional sumo tournaments are consecrated ground. A ceremony called ...

Expect the unexpected in wide-open Autumn Basho

Sumo Sep 8, 2018

Expect the unexpected in wide-open Autumn Basho

The Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament gets underway on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. Like most recent meets this one seems wide open and you could make a solid case for five or even six wrestlers being potential winners at the end of the two ...