Japan Sumo Association Adds An English Language YouTube Channel

Oh my, this is grand. We have all secretly hoped that one day the Japan Sumo Association might come to understand the global appeal of sumo, and maybe this is a step in that direction.

I don’t know about your, but I just subscribed! This seems to be Morita Hiroshi’s project, and I am thrilled.

16 thoughts on “Japan Sumo Association Adds An English Language YouTube Channel

  1. Subscribed immediately after reading the news on the sumo forum! I hope they are starting to realize there is huge potential for Grand Sumo outside Japan. Point is, we like it because it is a Japanese thing. We complain, we object but in the end Sumo is Sumo because it is the way it is. We only ask for content, and perhaps recognition of our existence. Go Hiro!

  2. Watching the episodes they uploaded so far I think Sumo Prime Time is (with a football term) a missed penalty. With such resources they have (money, footage, access to heyas, rikishi, etc) they came up with a sloppy basic work which did not provide anything more than is already available here and in other sumo related youtube channels.
    For me their work is not very much disappointing because I think it was quite predictable from an organisation that totally ignored non Japanese sumo fans for decades and possibly heard about youtube and social media couple of weeks ago for the first time.

    and Hiro Morita… sorry to say that but he is just simply not the right person for this job. John Gunning would have been the right choice in my opinion.

    • “and possibly heard about youtube and social media couple of weeks ago for the first time.”

      It’s nonsense comments like this that always make me ponder if the Kyokai isn’t in the right to be mostly ignoring what non-Japanese fans think.

      • Congratulations, you have managed to highlight my obviously deliberate exaggeration. But I’m glad you didn’t have any problems with the other parts.
        But really, who doesn’t know what a progressive organisation the kyokai are. Who knows, maybe one day women will approach the dohyo just in case one of their heads needs to be revived of course.

        And I should be grateful, of course, and I should be glad that we have been ignored for decades, but now we have a YouTube channel where they have been able to come down on us with some unconvincing content. You must be very right.

      • I’m willing to bet there are Japanese trolls, too, but I do imagine the frustration goes both ways. When I went to my first basho a decade ago, there sure weren’t many resources for foreigners. Imagine my confusion when they threw the gyoji in the air at the end, especially when my wife (who grew up two stops away from Ryogoku) had fewer answers than I did. I didn’t even know about, nor would I have thought to attend the dohyo matsuri, for example. I hope to go next time I am able.

        I do think this is a great opportunity to educate. But it comes on the heels of a decades-long rather adversarial relationship with foreign fans and streamers on YouTube. No one’s going to be loved by all (except me, of course, I know everyone loves my jokes and my stuttering and “umms” and “uhhhs”). He’s done a great job and I have a lot of ideas, which I will probably post about soon.

  3. To be fair, I don’t think it’s targeted at people who go so far as to read the Tachiai Blog. And if you read or post comments, then you’re not gonna learn much early on, I reckon.

    The content is light-on and basic right now, aimed at the newly curious viewer, but there is scope to grow, neh?

    As long as they don’t get jealous about their new venture and try to crowd out or shut down some of the great YouTubers like Chris Sumo, Don Don, Natto, SumoStew and, of course, Kintamayama, that more advanced viewers rely on. [plz let me know who I’ve left out, btw]

    But more content is more content and the one thing they have that we need is quality access behind the scenes. Translated interviews and fun stuff in English can only add to our sumo experience, imho.


    • To be honest, I hope there will be quite a bit of the cultural background. I have a lot of questions about the cultural aspects that separate “Grand Sumo” from sumo.

    • Grand sumo breakdown, World of sumo, sumo paris, jason’s all sumo channel, the J-vlog are other great channels for sumo.

  4. I actually like those first videos. Sure there isn’t much new for me yet, but this tournament recap videos could be nice, if they get a bit longer. Especially if you want to revisit in a few years again. Also from the introduction video, there is much more to come. Culture related stuff or more rikishi focused. Just imagine how nice it would be to have some sort of retrospective when a veteran retires. I see a lot of potential here and the frequency is promising. My biggest complain so far is the music.

  5. “Sumo Prime Time” is all very well but it still does not address the fundamental source of frustration for the non-Japanese sumo fan. We want to see each day’s bouts in their entirety! Why is that so hard for NHK or the Kyokai to figure out? The cost to them would be practically zero. They already do 90 minutes on three days – when not 120 minutes on all 15 days??? They already have the English live narration, no need to re-record. It’s maddening and, apparently, it isn’t about to change.

    • TV Japan (a NHK affiliate) has all 15 days of Makuuchi division live. TV Japan cost $25 a month when I subscribed to it a few years ago. Presumably NHK does not want to compete with it’s own pay service by giving it away for free on NHK World for all 15 days.

    • There are two very good Twitch streams of the Abema broadcast. It’s all in Japanese with actual commentary starting at Juryo (or maybe just before the Juryo dohyo-iri). One of the regular commentators is Wakanohana and they’ve had Gagamaru and Hakuho on as well. Oh, at it starts early in the day with Division 6!

      • There have been a couple of channels on Twitch broadcasted the basho as its entire form (the most famous was Mbovo’s channel with huge and well moderated community) but it was eventually shot down app a year and a half ago or more. Of course there are always new ones but it is important to know these are not legal ones.
        Furthermore on YouTube you can follow the whole basho by the kyokai (both Abema and NHK broadcast in different live videos paralell) at least Nagoya was broadcasted with Japanese commentary.
        If I am not mistaken this was that channel : official Japanese channel of the Kyokai

        but belive me 2 hours of sumo on each day for 15 days long is a bit hard to manage :-)

  6. I think they got this just right. Hiro provides basic sumo education in a high energy way designed to attract more people to sumo rather than trying to cater immediately to a small but knowledgeable audience. You can always progress to more detailed information, but that won’t expand the audience if people are lost and tune out at the start.

    As for style, that is completely to each their own, but I think they got that just right too. Hiro can be a little goofy now and then but there is no denying his knowledge and the enthusiasm he projects. I much prefer this to some of the other knowledgeable and skilled announcers that may be more polished but sound to me like their style is much better suited to golf or cricket.

  7. Latest one was great, Shiko etc training at Arashio-beya with Waka 1, 2 & 3! Damn Hiro has some nice calves!!


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