What’s all the commotion? Part 1: Name calling

Unlike most western spectator sports, the voices of the yobidashi and the gyoji are part of the sumo experience. But what exactly are they saying?

There are two main types of vocals during a day of grand sumo. One is the yobiage, calling of the participants’ names. This starts with the yobidashi calling out the names in sing-song fashion, and continues with the gyoji, who announces the names, and in certain matches, also adds an additional sentence about the nature of the match.

The other type is the vocals during a match. These are the exclusive domain of the gyoji. We will explain those in part 2. In part 1, we’ll concentrate on the match announcements.

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