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Sumo 101: Heya (Stables)

by John Gunning

Sumo isn't really a sport in the true sense of the word. It's a combination of sport, religion and entertainment wrapped up in a quasi-monastic and militaristic lifestyle. Every sumo wrestler belongs to a heya. While the word literally means "room," it is normally translated into English as stable. A heya isn't ...

Yokozuna survive scares on Day 9

/ Sep 17, 2018

Yokozuna survive scares on Day 9

Yokozuna Kisenosato bounced back from defeat and posted a victory over ozeki Tochinoshin on Monday at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament. Fellow yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu both survived scares and remain undefeated after the ninth day of action at the 15-day tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan. A ...

Sumo 101: Sekitori

Sep 16, 2018

Sumo 101: Sekitori

by John Gunning

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 ...

Kisenosato rebounds from loss

/ Sep 15, 2018

Kisenosato rebounds from loss

A day after his first loss, yokozuna Kisenosato bounced back with a hard-fought win over No. 4 maegashira Chiyonokuni at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday. The two other yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, remained undefeated on the seventh day of the 15-day tournament at ...

Sumo 101: Tegata

Sep 15, 2018

Sumo 101: Tegata

by John Gunning

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

Sep 14, 2018

Sumo 101: The Topknot

by John Gunning

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 ...

Kisenosato dealt first loss

/ Sep 14, 2018

Kisenosato dealt first loss

Yokozuna Kisenosato tasted his first defeat of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, losing in an upset to No. 2 maegashira Chiyotairyu. The other two yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, remained undefeated, while ozeki Takayasu also maintained a perfect record on the sixth day of ...

Sumo 101: Ringside judges

Sep 13, 2018

Sumo 101: Ringside judges

by John Gunning

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 ...

Yokozuna remain unbeaten

/ Sep 13, 2018

Yokozuna remain unbeaten

Hakuho survived a scare against komusubi Takakeisho on Thursday as all three yokozuna stayed undefeated at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament. Chasing his first victory over the all-time championship record holder, rising talent Takakeisho (1-4) looked to be on the verge of an upset on ...

Top-ranked fighters win on Day 4

/ Sep 12, 2018

Top-ranked fighters win on Day 4

Yokozuna Kisenosato emptied the tanks yet again and pulled off his fourth consecutive win Wednesday at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament. Kisenosato had to muster all of his strength to take on top-ranked maegashira Kaisei (1-3), the second heaviest wrestler in the top division who ...

Sumo 101: The Emperor's Cup

Sep 12, 2018

Sumo 101: The Emperor's Cup

by John Gunning

"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 ...