Archive for Gekko Images

Sumo match fixing

NHK reports that 22 wrestlers and one stable master are to resign for their part in sumo match fixing (or ’bout fixing’), which includes six of the top-ranked wrestlers. Japanese don’t fire people, but expect the offender to ‘take responsibility for their actions’. This confirmation that there had been match fixing will surely rock public confidence in the sumo world, which has already lost fans and saw drops in audience attendance. This action by the Japan Sumo Federation follows accusations of match fixing involving former top-wrestler Asashoru back in 2008 or 2009, as well as the cancellation of the March Osaka tournament, and other controversies in previous years which have also been reported on this blog (see the tags for previous sumo entries). The next question is if this also means that the Tokyo May tournament will go ahead, though this may have no impact on the Nagoya July tournament, which was almost cancelled last year. Parallel to this, the Chinese football league has been accused of the same offences and lacks major sponsors and TV coverage (BBC).

See my portfolios at Asia Photo Connection, Gekko Images, and PhotoShelter for sumo photos. Also see Sumo Metaphors for ideas on how to use my photos.

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Sumo Practice

This morning I got to the training session of the Minezaki Stable, just one day before the controversial Summer Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament is to begin. The same old faces were there, practising hard, but looking far more ready and experienced. However, there was one new addition, a young Caucasian who looked like he was just giving it a go, and today was perhaps his first day.

The sumo association has been rocked by a series of controversies, and the latest includes cavorting with the criminal underground. This has caused the association to be censured for the first time. The national broadcaster, NHK, will not air this tournament live on TV, but show pre-recorded highlights after 7pm (one hour after the last bout). A lot of community support had been withdrawn from the association and individual stables. Usually, there must be absolute silence from on-lookers (like me) during the practice sessions, and absolutely, now flash photography. So, it’s little wonder that the Minezaki Stable appeared to allow an outsider to tryout today, and a group of children to watch, and not be told off for the racket they were making.

I’ve photographed this stable before, mainly because I really like the location, accessibility, and that there is the potential that I might be photographing a future top wrestler already. You never know.

My practice session shots are already available at PhotoShelter, and will soon be at Asian Photo Connection, and Gekko Images.

Sumo wrestlers of the Minezaki Stable practicing ahead of the summer Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament

Early morning practice session

Sumo wrestlers of the Minezaki Stable practicing ahead of the summer Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament

Early morning training session

Sumo wrestlers of the Minezaki Stable practicing ahead of the summer Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament

Early morning sumo practice

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summer 2010

This should be a great summer in Japan. Coming up in July and August there will be local festivals known as “matsuri”. These are usually night-time affairs, but still really hot, sweaty, humid, and that’s just how you feel watching the summertime fireworks displays. July has the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, August has the World Cosplay Summit (usually held in Nagoya). I can’t wait for it all to begin. I will aim to be at these events, but I will definitely go if requested.

See my profiles at Asian Photo Connection, PhotoShelter, and Gekko Images.

Summer in Japan – Images by Andrew Blyth

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Naked Man Festival

The Naked Man Festival (Hadaka Matsuri) is an annual even held at Kounomiya, just outside of Nagoya City in central Japan. It’s held in the depths of winter and is a weekend-long event. The part that the public sees (and is shown in my portfolios) is held in the afternoon. The event date varies from year to year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, but is held during the lunar New Year.

It began over 1,200 years ago, in the year 767, when Nara was the capital of Japan. At that time, there were plagues affecting the Japanese people, so Emperor Shotoku ordered special prayers to be said nation wide. The governor of Owari Province (now Aichi Prefecture) asked the shrine at Kounomiya to do something about this, and to remove the bad luck. So, the Naked Man Festival, held in the coldest time in winter was formulated (first published by me at Winjeel.Com, Feb 2009).

See these portfolios:

PhotoShelter, Asian Photo Connection, and Gekko Images.

Naked Man Festival – Images by Andrew Blyth

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