NEWSWORTHY

Sumo 101: Ozeki

Sumo Nov 19, 2018

Sumo 101: Ozeki

by John Gunning

Yokozuna are the stars of sumo. Always in the spotlight, they get the lion's share of column inches. Rightly so, given that only 72 men have ever attained the rank. And yet, yokozuna wasn't always the sport's highest position. For most of sumo's history, ozeki was its ...

Sumo 101: Oyakata (stablemasters)

Sumo Nov 18, 2018

Sumo 101: Oyakata (stablemasters)

by John Gunning

Sumo is not a team sport, but neither is it an individual one. While wrestlers face opponents alone in the ring, their everyday existence is intertwined with others to a far greater degree than any other athlete. The closest relationship is with the oyakata (stablemaster). Unlike athletes ...

Sumo 101: Tsuriyane (Raised roof)

Sumo Nov 17, 2018

Sumo 101: Tsuriyane (Raised roof)

by John Gunning

One of the most striking sights in sumo is the giant roof suspended over the ring. The 6.5-metric-ton structure is modeled on the roofs of Shinto shrines and held in place by 2.2-cm thick wires that can bear almost five times as much weight — ...

Sumo 101: Kensho

Sumo Nov 16, 2018

Sumo 101: Kensho

by John Gunning

One of the defining sights of a sumo tournament is the parade of brightly colored kensho banners around the ring before the highest- ranked wrestlers fight. While many bouts in the top division have three to five banners, those involving the most popular wrestlers such ...

Sumo 101: Tokoyama (Hairdressers)

Sumo Nov 14, 2018

Sumo 101: Tokoyama (Hairdressers)

by John Gunning

Outside of wrestlers and stablemasters, there are three main jobs in the Japan Sumo Association: gyoji (referee), yobidashi (ring announcer) and tokoyama (hairdresser). While the first two appear on and around the ring during tournaments, the tokoyama do their work behind the scenes. As with gyoji ...

Sumo 101: Nobori

Sumo Nov 13, 2018

Sumo 101: Nobori

by John Gunning

Go to any sumo tournament and the first thing you'll notice is the array of giant colorful flags on bamboo poles in front of the stadium. Known as nobori, the flags are 5.4 meters tall and 90 cm wide. They contain the name of both ...

Sumo 101: Chanko

Sumo Nov 12, 2018

Sumo 101: Chanko

by John Gunning

Sumo wrestlers don't eat before training. An average workout is so intense that attempting to do one on a full stomach inevitably leads to the person getting sick less than an hour in. Instead, the first meal of the day for rikishi is the post-training chanko-nabe ...

Sumo 101: Hobbies

Sumo Sep 23, 2018

Sumo 101: Hobbies

by John Gunning

All sumo wrestlers get a week off starting the day after a tournament ends. Most head back to their hometowns for some much needed rest and relaxation. Some just continue to work out and lift weights daily. A few spend most of the time either sleeping or ...

Sumo 101: Yokozuna

Sumo Sep 21, 2018

Sumo 101: Yokozuna

by John Gunning

Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo. To date just 72 men have attained the status since it was first created in the late 1700s. Yokozuna can never be demoted. They are seen as the living embodiment of sumo, and when no longer able to uphold ...

Sumo 101: Winning techniques

Sumo Sep 20, 2018

Sumo 101: Winning techniques

by John Gunning

The Japan Sumo Association lists 82 different ways to win a bout. These winning techniques are called kimarite and the applicable one is announced in the arena immediately following each fight. There are also five "non techniques" covering situations such as a wrestler stepping out ...

Sumo 101: Sumo school

Sumo Sep 19, 2018

Sumo 101: Sumo school

by John Gunning

Sumo is a Darwinian world, but even in this harsh unforgiving environment, new recruits aren't given a "Battle Royale"-style "here's your mawashi — try to survive" induction. Quite the opposite in fact. All new recruits must complete a six-month course at the "Sumo School" in ...