Tough training in high school forged Mongolian Ichinojo

Sumo Mar 19, 2020

Tough training in high school forged Mongolian Ichinojo

by John Gunning

One of the strongest sumo high schools in Japan is Tottori Johoku. Located in western Japan, Johoku has been churning out professional talent over the past last few years, and is the alma mater of ozeki pair Terunofuji and Kotomitsuki, as well as top-division wrestlers ...

Sumo Mar 14, 2020

Takanobori made unusual entry into sumo

by John Gunning

Takanobori is probably the only rikishi in history recruited into sumo as a result of winning a bicycle race. In 1926, the 18-year-old Wataru Yoshikawa was taking part in a competition in what is now Nagano Prefecture when a pedal broke on his bike. Undeterred, he ...

University sumo product Myogiryu blossoming in 30s

Sumo Mar 13, 2020

University sumo product Myogiryu blossoming in 30s

by John Gunning

There are currently seven Nippon Sport Science University graduates in professional sumo. Hokutofuji at komusubi is the highest ranked, and the Saitama native appears to be on course to overtake recently retired Yoshikaze as their college's most successful ever rikishi. Another man, Myogiryu, likely would have ...

Roho's career defined by unsavory incidents

Sumo Mar 12, 2020

Roho's career defined by unsavory incidents

by John Gunning

Since September 2018, there are officially no Russians in professional sumo. Futagoyama stable's Roga was born and raised in Russia's Tuva Republic, and considers himself Russian, but is listed by the Japan Sumo Association as coming from Mongolia (to where he moved at age ...

Former yokozuna Onokuni now acts as JSA's public face

Sumo Mar 11, 2020

Former yokozuna Onokuni now acts as JSA's public face

by John Gunning

Shibatayama stablemaster is one of the more visible members of the Japan Sumo Association's board of directors. As head of the public relations department, he is the one who announces many major decisions to the press and, along with Chairman Hakkaku, is the person most ...

Despite goofball reputation, Takamisakari had solid career

Sumo Mar 10, 2020

Despite goofball reputation, Takamisakari had solid career

by John Gunning

When Takamisakari called it a day back in 2013, this paper carried a headline declaring that the "clown prince of sumo" had retired, while Kyodo News opened with a line that called the former komusubi's pre-bout rituals "goofball antics." Those were somewhat harsh assessments, as ...