Tag Archive for sumo

Sumo day 1

Summary of the main bouts of Day 1 of the Nagoya Summer Sumo Tournament, in chronological order with the final and top ranked wrestler last.

Harumafuji weak start, but convincing, if not, gentle win.

Tokutenho is forced out by Baruto after a brief hugging match. Baruto uses his right knee to keep Tokutenho from escaping, forcing him to go wheels up in the crowd.

Kotoshogiku pushes out Tochiozan in a slap, run, get behind and push. Kotoshogiku uses good hip movement to keep balance and be well placed.

Kisenosato (aka Blinky, for his blinking habit ahead of a bout) had to chase his opponent (Myogiryu?)  around the ring before he was able to belly-out (frontal-force out) his opponent.

Toyonoshima and Hakuho both fall out of the ring and Hakuho touches the ground milliseconds before Toyonoshima. Judges declare a rematch. Hakuho struggles to get a two-hand grip, but almost immediately doing so pushes out Toyonoshima. Great sumo.

Watching the sumo on the internet

Yes, it is possible to watch the sumo on the internet. Currently, I have a link for the Japanese-only in-stadium live footage. The national broadcaster do have English speaking commentators, but I don’t think that footage feed is available on the internet. If you do find it, I would really like to share it with other blog readers.

To watch online, click this link, and your video player should start the live streaming (usually Windows Media Player): http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/hon_basho/torikumi/eizo_haishin/asx/sumolive.asx

Tournaments are held in the middle 15 days of the month, starting on the second Sunday of the month. Tournaments are held in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Coverage starts at about 11am, but it’s only worth watching from about 4pm until 6pm Tokyo time (7-9am GMT).

Watching the sumo live on the internet.

Watching the sumo live on the internet.

Sumo Today Day 14

The second last day of the tournament.

So far:

  • Sekiwake (3rd highest rank-division) wrestler, Kakuryu leads with one loss, and could be the first Japanese Sekiwake-ranked wrestler to win a tournament, and the first Japanese person to win a tournament in at least four or more years.
  • Top-ranked favourite Hakuho is in trouble, with two losses.


  • Homasho defeats Georgian Gagamaru by head-butt, side-step, and pull down.
  • 37yo veteran Kyokutenho defeats Tochiozan by pull down
  • Aminishiki defeats Wakakoru by push out
  • In an exciting battle that looked like it could go either way, Kisenosato (aka Blinky) eventually defeats Estonian Baruto who was thrust into the crowd. Baruto now has to re-start his quest to become a top-ranked Yokuzuna.
  • Aran works hard to eventually defeats Kotoshogiku by belt-lift, belly-to-belly, and push out
  • Japanese Kakuryu struggles but eventually narrowly defeats the out-of-form Bulgarian Koto Ooshu, bringing Kakuryu one step closer to winning the tournament.
  • Hakuho defeats Harumafuji

The final day tomorrow:

  • Kakuryu has 13wins-1loss
  • Hakuho has 12wins-2losses
  • Kakuryu needs Hakuho to lose to avoid a play-off and to win by regulation.
  • It will be an exciting day tomorrow

Going to a sumo tournament

Here is a list of things you need to know when going to see a sumo tournament

1. The lowest ranked wrestlers go first, early in the day. I’ve heard rumors that the first bouts start at about 8am (I don’t believe it), but certainly the lowest ranks are already duking it out at 11am. If you arrive early enough, you can move around and sit where you like until most of the people arrive, and then you’ll eventually have to retreat to your own seat.

2. Lunch is available there. There are announcements that say you should not bring in any food, and only purchase food there at the venue, for health reasons (I don’t believe it). The food available is perfect for traditional Japanese palates, and are expensive. Range of alcoholic beverages is also limited. I hope you love Asahi Super Dry.

3. Even though tickets are for all day, most people arrive start to after 2pm, and often the whole crowd is there by 5.30pm. The final bout is at about 5.50pm.

4. Between each division of wrestlers, there is a brief pause, where the ring is cleaned, and umpires take a break. The upper ranks are introduced by some sort of ceremony that announces their turn. See the upper ranked ceremony photo here: http://www.westheimphoto.com/lightbox/index/detail/45094 the upper division is also marked by the ‘dance of the Yokuzuna’, performed by a Yokuzuna-ranked wrestler (the highest rank). The final ceremony is after 6pm, and it’s the bow (as in ‘bow & arrow’) twirling ceremony, see photo: http://www.westheimphoto.com/lightbox/index/detail/45099

5. The lower ranked division bouts are marked by unfancy mawashi’s (underwear / belts) and the referee is barefoot.

6. Throwing salt into the ring is done only by the upper category wrestlers. It is used to purify the ring ahead of each bout. Wrestlers may do this once, twice, or thrice ahead of a bout. Photo: http://www.westheimphoto.com/lightbox/index/detail/45101 Women are not allowed to set foot in the ring under any circumstances either before or during any point of a tournament.

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

Early morning practice session

7. I’m not entirely sure if they are successful in psyching each other out, but they do attempt to intimidate, delay, call the shots on each other ahead of each bout, even the lowest ranked dudes. Menacing photo: http://www.westheimphoto.com/lightbox/index/detail/45097

8. Key vocabulary: “dohyo” is the ring and mound; “oshi-dashi” is push-out; “makuuchi” is the highest division; “juryo” is the second highest division (see Wikipedia for more info); “basho” is tournament.

9. Ranks of the upper division (the “makuuchi” division):

  • Yokuzuna (highest)
  • Ozeki (2nd highest)
  • Sekiwaki (3rd highest)

10. Wrestlers get quite low salaries, but the upper division wrestlers can  occasionally win a bit extra. Each time banners are paraded around the ring ahead of a bout, these show the sponsors of that particular bout. It is advertising. To sponsor or show an advertisement banner, sponsors need to pay about ¥60,000 (USD$700, GBP£450) per banner. The final bout can have upto or over 20 banners. Wrestlers can also supplement their incomes with advertising contracts. The Bulgarian wrestler Koto Ooshu has been sponsored by the Japanese company that produce the “Bulgarian Yoghurt” line of products. I have no idea why they have a Bulgarian yoghurt, but the product line precedes Koto Ooshu’s involvement in Sumo.

11. Sumo tournaments are fifteen days long, usually beginning on the second Sunday of the month. Tickets go on sale about a month before the tournament begins. There are three main types of tickets: Box (expensive, and good for small parties with your buddies, but very cramped); Seats (good for those with long legs, but uncomfortable on an unpadded tush); ultra cheap seats (byo telescope). See the official Sumo website for prices and availabilities, but purchase the tickets online and pick them up at a convenience store. The annual tournament schedule is:

  • January – Tokyo
  • March – Osaka
  • May – Tokyo
  • July – Nagoya
  • September – Tokyo
  • November – Fukuoka

12. You can tell if it’s a full house and they sold all the tickets if a small white banner is lowered above the roof of the ring. It basically says thanks for the sell-out day.

13. The sumo will be on TV from 4pm to 6pm (Tokyo time), and you can push the ‘language button’ to hear the English commentators say their bit. The sumo is also currently available (in only Japanese) on the web at: http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/hon_basho/torikumi/eizo_haishin/asx/sumolive.asx (opens your media player for live streaming)

14. You can see the sumo for free… well sort of. At various places around Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka cities in the early mornings from about 7-9am they train from about two weeks before the tournament begins (see pic above). They often do little to no training on the first day of the tournament, and less toward the end. You can find the various stables at local temples, schools, at the grounds of a restaurant, or any place that fanatically supports the sumo more than I. If you ever see an unusual very tall, vertical banner, usually on bamboo poles, then that’s probably the name of the stable training there, and you should get yourself out of bed early to see if it is indeed a stable training there.

15. Useful links:

Sumo Today Day 13

The crowd got a lot of sweaty sumo action today, and a day of upsets.

  • Aminishiki wipes the ring with his opponent, and uses his opponent to wipe out an umpire sitting on the side, and a member of the crowd.
  • The bruised-pride of Baruto easily overcomes Harumafuji with thrusting-at-neck attack. Harumafuji falls onto the same umpire who was squashed and bruised in the previous bout.
  • Kakuryu (I still don’t know how to spell his name) struggles in a belly-to-belly battle, but overcomes Kotoshogiku.
  • Bulgarian Koto Ooshu easily pushes out Russian Aran, they both hold onto each other, and fall out together and into the crowd.
  • SURPRISE!!!!!!! Kisenosato (aka Blinky) pushes out top-ranked Mr Undefeatable Hakuho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  CONGRATULATIONS Kisenosato


  • Low-ranked Kakuryu, with one loss, is now the sole leader of the tournament.
  • Top-ranked Yokuzuna Hakuho now has two losses.
  • If Kakuryu loses one bout, he would need to face Hakuho on the final day. Often the higher ranked wrestler wins and takes home the Emperor’s Cup.

File image, Kisenosato is the wrestler with the bull and frog apron.


Sumo Today: Day 12

  • Kotoshogiku defeats Estonian Baruto by push out onto a spectator
  • Kisenosata pushes out Toyonoshima
  • Harumafuji quickly defeats Tochiozan by surprise cuddle and scoot out.
  • Hakuho struggles but eventually throws Koto Ooshu out into the crowd, and wins a huge pile of cash.


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Sumo Today: Day 11

The Day 11 Round up.

I’ve been doing this when I can on Google+, but thought I should start putting some round up summaries here, too.

– Wow! Aminishiki dominates Toshinowaka, only to make a mistake and gets pushed out. Amazing bout.
– Kakyuryu defeats Yogiryu in an exciting / entertaining battle of arm flailing (the win is officially known as an “under-shoulder swing down” I saw it, but I have no idea what the official announcement means).
– Harumafuji narrowly defeats Kisenosato by push out on the second attempt, and both fell out of the ring and on top of each other.
– Out-of-form Koto Ooshu narrowly defeats his in-form Euro rival Baruto by push-out and fall-on-top-of maneuver, only to be rolled on top of by Baruto.
– Hakuho struggles a little but eventually pushes out Kotoshogiku in true textbook style. NHK announcer says “Kotoshogiku’s biggest weapon is his belly”, but wasn’t big enough today.

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File image of Baruto (blue) and Koto Ooshu (black):

23 Jan Photo of the week


This POTW is in celebration of Estonian Baruto and his first tournament win the January Tokyo Sumo Tournament. There is already suggestion that if he wins the next tournament he could become one of two top-ranked wrestlers (a ‘yokuzuna’). The only yokuzuna at the moment is Mongolian Hakuho. Currently, all the top wrestlers, who have a chance at becoming top-ranked are non-Japanese. The Japanese media emphasis this point and the media hang their hopes on Japanese Kisenosato.

Baruto is in the blue mawashi, on the left.


Kisenosato is on the left, facing the camera.

Baruto wins

In sumo news

Estonian, Baruto (Kaido Höövelson; left, blue mawashi), won his first sumo tournament. He is the new kid on the block, an has ascended the ranks of sumo quite fast whilst gathering many fans in Japan. He was undefeated until today when he faced top-ranked wrestler Hakuho (who defeated him), but still Baruto had enough wins to secure the tournament and the Emperor’s Cup. His mother flew from Estonia to sit with his wife in the crowd to see him claim the tournament. Upto this point, everything about Baruto’s win today mirror’s Bulgarian Koto-oshu and Mongolian Harumafuji’s ascents. However, Koto-oshu and Harumafuji have only won one Emperor’s Cup, and haven’t returned to the fiery form they displayed ahead of their first (and only) tournament wins.

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