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 ...

Unsung yobidashi keep sumo running smoothly

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Aug 29, 2018

Unsung yobidashi keep sumo running smoothly

Who spends the most time in a sumo ring? Wrestlers? Nope. Referees? Uh-uh. As any veteran fan can tell you, it is of course the yobidashi. Sumo's 'ring announcers' not only maintain the dohyo but also build the thing in the first place. Over the course of three days ...

English sumo broadcasts bring together diverse cast

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Aug 22, 2018

English sumo broadcasts bring together diverse cast

In last week's column, I talked about overseas tours by the Japan Sumo Association and also mentioned the live sumo broadcasts with English commentary on NHK. What I didn't reveal was that the latter came about as a direct result of the former. According to Hiro ...

Entering sumo world not something to be taken lightly

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Aug 8, 2018

Entering sumo world not something to be taken lightly

In lifting the Emperor's Cup last month, Mitakeumi became the fourth Japanese wrestler to win a championship in the past two years. That's significant in a sport that had been utterly dominated by foreigners for the previous decade. However even with the recent success of native-born ...

Grueling summer tours offer mixed blessing for sumo

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Aug 1, 2018

Grueling summer tours offer mixed blessing for sumo

Sumo's summer regional tour is already under way, snaking around Lake Biwa and across central Japan towards the Kanto region. After a brief stop in Tokyo, the jungyo, as it is known, heads up north as far as Hokkaido before returning to the capital where ...

Mitakeumi earns spoils of victory

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jul 25, 2018

Mitakeumi earns spoils of victory

The Nagoya tournament ended with the Emperor's Cup being handed to arguably the most surprising top division champion in eight years. The steamy meet in central Japan took its cue from the World Cup, delivering a succession of shocks right from the get-go. Big names fell ...