Unpredictable <I>banzuke</I> adds flavor to sumo

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 30, 2019

Unpredictable banzuke adds flavor to sumo

by John Gunning

For sports journalists based in Japan's capital, no reminders are needed to know the last of the three annual non-Tokyo tournaments is just around the corner. The decamping of the Japan Sumo Association to Fukuoka and its surroundings is lock, stock and barrel, meaning that ...

Naturalized Sokokurai fought for JSA return

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Oct 2, 2019

Naturalized Sokokurai fought for JSA return

by John Gunning

One of the more interesting bits of news over the past month was the announcement that Arashio stable veteran Sokokurai had acquired Japanese nationality. By far the most successful of the 12 rikishi in sumo history to have hailed from mainland China, Sokokurai's switch leaves ...

Sumo Sep 27, 2019

Takanofuji calls punishment for out-of-ring violence 'too heavy'

Second-tier juryo division wrestler Takanofuji, who is facing disciplinary action for hitting a lower-ranked wrestler in the forehead, said Friday after issuing an apology that he is not ready to end his career. "This penalty is too heavy and I can't accept it," said Takanofuji, ...

Sumo 101: Kaobure

Sumo Sep 13, 2019

Sumo 101: Kaobure

by John Gunning

Every day of a sumo tournament contains hundreds of bouts. From early in the morning until late in the evening, a virtually non-stop parade of wrestlers arrives at the arena. They change, warm up, stand in line in the hanamichi (aisle leading to the ring), ...

Sumo 101: JSA chairman

Sumo Jul 21, 2019

Sumo 101: JSA chairman

by John Gunning

The Japan Sumo Association's highest authority is the chairman of its board of directors. The current occupant is 56-year-old Hakkaku, who has been in power since 2015. Like the majority of his predecessors, Hakkaku is a former yokozuna. Known as Hokutoumi when at that rank, he won ...

Much talk, no action from sumo committees

Sumo | INSIDE SUMO Jun 26, 2019

Much talk, no action from sumo committees

by John Gunning

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 ...

Trophy presented by Trump to go on display at sumo museum

Sumo May 27, 2019

Trophy presented by Trump to go on display at sumo museum

The American-made trophy presented by U.S. President Donald Trump at a sumo tournament will join the sport's historical materials at a museum in Tokyo, the sport's governing body said Monday. The President's Cup, which was presented by Trump to the winner of the Summer Grand ...

Sumo 101: Sumo and singing

Sumo May 26, 2019

Sumo 101: Sumo and singing

by John Gunning

Though sumo and song may not seem obvious bedfellows, Japan's national sport has musical connections both varied and historical. Jinku, a form of folk singing, is a common sight on provincial tours and at retirement ceremonies. Six wrestlers wearing kesho mawashi (highly decorated apron-like belts) take ...

Sumo 101: Souvenirs

Sumo Mar 14, 2019

Sumo 101: Souvenirs

by John Gunning

Sumo is a unique sport and its merchandising reflects that fact. While many sports rely heavily on wearable items like hats, T-shirts, and replica uniforms, sumo tends to focus more on traditional Japanese goods and edibles. Tegata (autographed handprints), banzuke (ranking sheets) as well as various ...