Sumo Jul 12, 2019

Sumo 101: Wakanohana-Tochinishiki rivalry

by John Gunning

As with boxing, wrestling, MMA or any other activity where two contestants face off in a ring, great rivalries are the lifeblood of Japan's national sport. While it's true that sumo is a lifestyle more than a sport, and its day-to-day practices and rituals are ...

Title appears up for grabs at upcoming Nagoya Basho

Sumo Jul 4, 2019

Title appears up for grabs at upcoming Nagoya Basho

by John Gunning

Commentators often divide sumo into eras, each defined by its outstanding rivalry. Whether it's Akebono vs. Takanohana, Taiho against Kashiwado or Tochinoshiki taking on Wakanohana, great yokozuna pairings have traditionally been the standard way to separate one generation of rikishi from the next. So dominant has ...

Sumo 101: Brothers in sumo

Sumo Mar 19, 2019

Sumo 101: Brothers in sumo

by John Gunning

Normally, brothers in sumo can't fight one another. The only way siblings can meet on the dohyo is in a playoff for the championship. That has happened just once; in November 1995 when Wakanohana defeated younger brother Takanohana to win his second Emperor's Cup. The Hanada family ...

Sumo 101: Nicknames

Sumo Mar 17, 2019

Sumo 101: Nicknames

by John Gunning

All sumo wrestlers have a shikona (ring name). A few, like Endo or Takayasu, use their family name. Most, however, have ring names with elements referring to their stable or place of origin. Anyone with the prefix 琴 (Koto), for example, belongs to Sadogatake Stable or its ...

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 ...

Japanese ozeki set sights on becoming yokozuna in 2017

Sumo Dec 27, 2016

Japanese ozeki set sights on becoming yokozuna in 2017

Three Japanese ozeki were in contention for promotion to yokozuna in 2016, raising hopes that a homegrown wrestler may reach sumo's top rank for the first time in nearly two decades. While Kotoshogiku, Kisenosato and Goeido could not manage to become the first Japan-born yokozuna ...

Ex-ozeki Takanonami, 43, dies of cardiac failure

Sumo Jun 20, 2015

Ex-ozeki Takanonami, 43, dies of cardiac failure

Former ozeki Takanonami died at the age of 43 of acute cardiac failure at a hotel in Osaka on Saturday, a Japan Sumo Association official said. The Aomori-born Takanonami, whose real name was Tadahiro Namioka, entered the top-tier makuuchi division in November 1991 and won ...