Learning the Lingo: Episode Two

Hello sumo fans. Today I’m back with another addition of learning the lingo, a series where I briefly break down sumo terms in a way that will be accessible for all fans of this wonderful sport. Today’s episode will cover Oshi-zumo, Yotsu-zumo, Oyakata, and Heya.

Before you go, I wanted to make a special announcement. The Liam Loves Sumo channel has officially surpassed 200 subscribers, and I owe each and every one of you a huge thank you for helping me reach this milestone! Thank you for watching and supporting the channel, and I will see you all soon!

10 thoughts on “Learning the Lingo: Episode Two

  1. Nice and simple explanation.

    I’d like to remark that the official term for the elders is “toshiyori”. This literally translates into “elder”. “Oyakata” is the appropriate form of address. Like “King” and “His majesty”. But I think using either as a noun is fine.

    • True, I felt most people would be more familiar with the term Oyakata. There were so many layers to that section that didn’t make the cut, like how Yokozuna and Ozeki have a post retirement grace period after retirement to coach and acquire a stock or how they are ranked within the NSK. The section could have easily been one or two minutes longer but my videos do better when I keep them under 5 minutes. When I do gyoji or shinpan I will probably have to dedicate most of a video to them, and I’m planning on a whole video just for the MVP’s of sumo: the Yobidashi.

    • Off-topic, I’ve been wondering—how does a heya work economically? Where does the money come from to pay rent, buy food, etc? Is anyone other than the sekitori getting paid by the NSK?

      • The yobidashi, gyoji, tokoyama, toshiyori, sewanin etc. get salaries from the NSK. There is a certain budget from the NSK per head. All the rest comes from the koen-kai.

      • Seeing the vastly different sizes of heya, it would be interesting to know how it is parsed, too. Also, as wrestlers don’t exactly have a say in which heya accept them, is it the same for gyoji and yobidashi? Do yobidashi recruiters scout choral groups? Do they have a quota? Is a particular heya a better training ground for gyoji? Sorry, had a really cool data meeting at work today so I’m full of crazy questions.

        • According to former Tate-Yobidashi Hideyo Yamaki, after expressing an interest in becoming a yobidashi his father brought him to Isegahama beya, where he was asked for a tryout. Isegahama Oyakata was impressed by his calling, and that was that. I imagine a heya would need the space and to be able to support the extra costs of another individual, but it seems they are willing to take most young people who show interest/talent for being a yobidashi/gyoji. As for recruiters and quota, I don’t really know.


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