Put Your Questions to Murray Johnson


Hello from Tokyo, Tachiai readers!

Following in the wake of our interview last year with John Gunning, we’re pleased to share that we’ll be speaking with another member of the NHK World sumo coverage team in the coming weeks. None other than play-by-play guru Murray Johnson will be meeting up with us to discuss a number of questions relating to the sport.

As with last year’s John Gunning feature, we’d like to open up the opportunity for Tachiai readers to send in some questions as well. This is another great opportunity to potentially have your questions answered by one of the leading names in sumo coverage and analysis!

Please be advised that we will ask questions as time and the parameters of the conversation permit, but we will endeavor to put as many interesting questions as possible to the esteemed announcer and pundit.

Leave your questions in the comment section below, and we will review them in the coming days before we speak to Murray!

63 thoughts on “Put Your Questions to Murray Johnson

  1. I’m new here, hi! In an interview Murray said he felt like sumo commentating is a challenge. I would love for him to expand on that — why is it so challenging? How did he hone his skill? Etc

    • …What’s his philosophy on what makes good sumo commentary? What are his goals for commenting?

  2. Great! 1) I always wanted to know if any rikishi got severly hurt while waiting for his bout in front of the dohyo. Did he? 2) What is the professional word for new heya opening ceremony? And how the ritual looks like?

  3. Same question as already asked here – is there a chance to extend the coverage starting from juryo, and maybe add some highlights from the lower banzuke of that day? Also, on senshuraku we miss a lot of bouts because the broadcast starts later.
    Additionally, I would like to watch the complete yusho ceremony to see all the prizes the winner gets, and maybe see a bit of the parade…

  4. Ichinojo has been up and down in performance over the course of the past couple of years, but last tournament discovered how to swat other rikishi down to the defeat with a slap down to win 14 matches. In the next basho, will the other rikishi figure out a way to defend and counter attack this one-dimensional attack or is he too big and powerful?

  5. Following on from the safety from injury debate, why is the ring built-up like it is? I appreciate people want to see what’s going on, but often there are landings on the edge of the ring that lead to quite serious injuries. The lighter rikishi (Enho, Ishiura) must surely be at high risk from the heavy guys (Ichinojo, Chiyomaru) etc. A wider apron around the ring with a cushioned and sloping fallaway would be one idea to reduce injuries.

  6. Following on from the safety from injury debate, why is the ring built-up like it is? I appreciate those at the back want a good view but, falls and throws at the edge do all too often lead to injuries. Especially when the small guys (Enho, Ishiura, etc.) come up against big guys (Ichinojo, Chiyomaru, etc.) Maybe a wider apron around the ring with a sloping and padded area around this would save many injuries.

  7. 1) Can takakeisho become yokozuna by 2020? What needs to be done for this target?
    2) when will ichinojo and mitakeumi become Ozeki , if at all?
    3) what are Tochinoshin chances of regaining Ozeki rank? How is his injury? What is his future prospects in sumo?
    4) Can a pixie (enho) become yokozuna in current sumo! What qualities/strategy/techniques would be required for the same to overcome size differences
    5) if Hakuho retires 3 years from now and becomes an elder, will kisenosato be senior to him as a sumo elder?
    6) Tomokaze as next Ozeki, his chances?
    7) Will salary structure be improved for lower ranks , can sumo association afford it?
    8) who pays for medical bills of a rikishi? Who pays for surgery of sekitori/ non sekitori rikishi?
    9) is there drug test in sumo? What drugs are banned?
    10) what is harumafuji doing these days? His future prospects as sumo elder?

    • I can answer that last one: He has no prospects as sumo elder. You have to become one upon your retirement. If you don’t, you can never join again. Plus, you need Japanese citizenship at the time.

  8. Sometimes a Rikishi has a grip on his opponents Mawashi but the Mawashi is so loose that the attack is difficult. Is the loose Mawashi deliberate? Is there some rule about this?

    • Apparently this can be a strategy, especially against opponents who are strong on the mawashi. If I recall correctly, Kakuryu did this against Tochinoshin during the Georgian’s Ozeki run last year. I don’t know if there are any rules limiting this.


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