Put Your Questions to John Gunning

Photo courtesy of John Gunning

Many Tachiai readers will be familiar with John Gunning’s work, be it his insightful articles for The Japan Times, his presenting and analysis of sumo for NHK, his venture Inside Sport Japan, or from the many other places that he has provided expert analysis over the years. We’re happy to say that we’ll be meeting up with John during the upcoming Hatsu-basho in Tokyo, and will be sharing the contents of that conversation in a first-of-its-kind interview feature here on Tachiai after the tournament.

As such, we’d be happy to include questions for John from the wider Tachiai community. As John has profound experience in, and understanding of the sumo world, it’s a great opportunity for Tachiai readers and commenters to pose a question for analysis, or learn more about his experiences and great moments in his career in sumo (or even his own action in the dohyo!). Obviously we can’t guarantee we’ll get to every question, but we’re hoping to include as many Tachiai reader questions as possible! Leave your questions on the comments section of this post and we’ll bring them along.

While awaiting the feature, click here to check out the Inside Sport Japan website. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

(p.s. if you’re on any of those social platforms and not following Tachiai – now’s a good time to make sure you’re following us as well – we’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!)

30 thoughts on “Put Your Questions to John Gunning

  1. Two questions from me:

    1) Is it likely that any changes will be made to the basho schedule, the jungyo schedule, or the construction of the dohyo in order to reduce the rate of injuries? Might we see a return of kosho-seido or something like it?

    2) How is homosexuality viewed in the Sumo world?

  2. To modern Japanese, is Sumo still spiritual and devotional, or do they view it as entertainment with a few religious traditions hanging on that no one takes seriously?

  3. I have something that I have been curious about, but I am not too sure if this is something John can answer.
    I want to know what the motivation is for the older Rikishi, who have never reached sekitori to stay in the sport. It would be fascinating one day to do a profile piece on some of these Rikishi, as they seem to really be the backbone of the sport.

  4. How much influence does the oyakata have on tactics on a match by match basis? In particular, do or can they direct their rikishi to perform henka? During the basho, are they actively providing coaching/analysis of upcoming bouts, or are the rikishi left to figure it out for themselves?

  5. Question for John.

    Hi John, as a Sports Journalism student, I was wondering about the state of national sports reporting in Japan around Sumo.
    From the outside it appears that the national press are “in the pocket” of the sport. Some of your articles for The Japan Times seem to be rather forward compared to some of the English language reporting we get to read.
    Is it a case that national sports reporters are sympathetic to the sport to stay on the good side and remain in favour, or is it nothing more than a cultural difference between Japanese and western sports reporting?
    Also, is there a wedge between the sports journalists who cover the sport, and those news reporters who appear whenever “newsworthy” stories and scandals make to the front pages?
    Looking forward to more revealing articles and insights John, you’re writing is inspirational.
    Mick Palmer

  6. Question for John:

    I’d be interested in knowing more about the women in the sumo world. Any insights into how much the okamisan are involved in decisions beyond running the heya household, are they the secret glue holding it all together? are there any okamisan that are active in social media?


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