Japan’s sumo wrestlers grapple with tradition

Sumo wrestlers during a training session at a sumo stable in Tokyo. Photo: EPA

As the sun rises over Tokyo, six men, naked apart from loincloths, stand on sand and stamp their feet repeatedly.

Tuesday, 5 March, 2013, 6:27pm

Talking Points

Undersecretary for the environment, Christine Loh King-wai. Photo: SCMP

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27 Oct 2012 - 1:39am

A not-so-weighty issue

Say 'sumo', and most people imagine huge, topless Japanese giants with cloth wrapped around their waists. This is an accurate description of a professional sumo wrestler in Japan, where athletes must keep gaining weight to stay strong. But for most locals who practise sumo as a sport, things are very different.

31 May 2012 - 12:00am

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11 Jan 2009 - 12:00am

Wrestling with tradition

Wherever 22-year-old Wakamifuji goes, he gets noticed.

His bulky body and tidy topknot give him away immediately - he's one of the few young sumo wrestlers in Japan.

'I never thought about being a sumo when I was young,' said Wakamifuji. 'But when I was 15, a sumo master came to my house to visit me. He persuaded me to follow him and take up sumo wrestle.'

10 Jun 2007 - 12:00am

Asashoryu to answer allegations of fixing

Mongolian-born grand champion Asashoryu has been summoned to appear before a panel of the Japan Sumo Association to explain media reports claiming he has been arranging for bouts to be thrown.

Asashoryu won his 20th career title at the New Year Grand Tournament this month in typically resounding fashion, losing only one of his bouts.

27 Jan 2007 - 12:00am

Asashoryu downs Kotooshu to win crown

Grand champion Asashoryu completed an impressive comeback yesterday, winning his sixth straight Emperor's Cup on the final day of the Autumn Grand Tournament with wins over ozeki Tochiazuma and Bulgarian Kotooshu in a play-off.

In the play-off at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu spun Kotooshu around after the face-off and shoved the sekiwake wrestler out to capture his 14th title.

26 Sep 2005 - 12:00am

Sumo storm

Undoubtedly, Asashoryu is a Sumo wrestling champion without parallel. The Mongolian-born 23-year-old Yokozuna (grand champion) once again took the top prize in last month's Grand Sumo Tournament, winning all his 15 bouts. It was his fifth triumph in as many years, following his debut, which firmly established him as an unequalled superstar of Japan's national sport.

14 Feb 2004 - 12:00am


BIG GUNS ARE COMING: Hong Kong national team members Choi Mo-fung and Kwong Ying-cheong stage a demonstration bout at a press conference announcing that Hong Kong will host four major sumo wrestling events at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay over the next two years.

22 Aug 2002 - 12:00am

Akebono retains unbeaten record

AMERICAN Akebono, the only unbeaten wrestler, pushed out lower-ranked Takatoriki yesterday, while Wakanohana suffered his second upset with four days left in the 15-day Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka.

One bout behind yokozuna (grand champion) Akebono at 10-1 were yokozuna Takanohana and American ozeki (champion) Musashimaru.

23 Mar 1995 - 12:00am

Champions keep unbeaten records

OZEKIS (champions) Wakanohana and Takanohana, along with sekiwake (junior champion) Musoyama, easily scored their 10th victories yesterday in Tokyo, staying unbeaten with five days left in the 15-day Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Ozeki Takanonamai was one victory behind the three at 9-1 and American ozeki Musashimaru, or Fiamalu Penitani from Hawaii, followed at 8-2.

21 Sep 1994 - 12:00am

Going Bananas over a soft kind of sumo

THERE will be fighting on the dance floor at Joe Bananas later this month - and the management has given its full approval.

The arrival of two large packages from England this week has meant sumo wrestling will be held at the Wan Chai bar every Sunday afternoon, starting from the 22nd.

13 Aug 1993 - 12:00am

Sumo 'big-shots' on target for charity

JAPAN'S top sumo wrestlers yesterday raised $250,000 for the Community Chest in a Noon-Day Gun firing which was sponsored by seven Japanese firms in the territory.

Grand champion Akebono fired the Jardines gun, watched by colleagues and the corporate sponsors.

9 Feb 1993 - 12:00am

Akebono bounces back in grand style

TOWERING grand champion Akebono stamped his authority on the Sumo in Hongkong tournament by bouncing back from an early defeat to win the overall crown at the Hongkong Coliseum yesterday.

Akebono, the world's only yokozuna (grand champion), convincingly captured Saturday's tournament with none of his five opponents lasting more than 10 seconds in the ring with him.

8 Feb 1993 - 12:00am

Workers wrestle to set stage for sumo

AFTER two days of work, the mound rising centre-stage at the Hongkong Coliseum has been raked and pounded into shape ready to hold the weight of the 40 sumo wrestlers competing in the territory's first tournament at the weekend.

5 Feb 1993 - 12:00am