One of the great additions to NHK World’s sumo coverage is a new program that is filmed and broadcasts prior to each basho entitled “Grand Sumo Preview”. This 30 minute program features the NHK on-air sumo personalities and commentators providing an overview of the state of sumo just prior to the tournament, along with one or two in-depth examinations of subjects around sumo. The one prior to Nagoya featured one of the hosts joining the queue to get “day of” tickets outside the Kokugikan in May.
The program airs Friday and Saturday Japan time, with the first showing being tonight at 12:30 AM Eastern / 9:30 PM Pacific in US time.
By extension this means that the preview video that is airing today on NHK World is available on demand now via the web site. The preview turned out really well, and includes a great Hakuho retrospective. Note Hiro’s remarks about Yoshikaze – his mobility and how he uses his feet being a essential element of his sumo.
NOTE: This is from 2016, but may be helpful to readers wondering where they can watch sumo. It will be top of the page for a few days. -Bruce
You may have noted two things in my writing for Tachiai – my love for Sumo and my frustration at my limited access to video of my current favorite sport. But if you are considering watching sumo from the United States, don’t despair. There are free and easy ways that you, too, can enjoy one of the worlds most interesting and compelling sports.
First to know, the national broadcaster of Japan, NHK, owns the rights to sumo broadcast. By and large, if it’s sumo, it’s on NHK. For a long time that meant frustration for most fans. While NHK generously provides a “NHK World” feed on some video providers, it was not offered on DirecTV or any cable provider I have had since I lived in Cupertino during the era of Akibono and Takanohana.
Now, in the modern era – we have an app from NHK World. This little marvel will allow you to stream video from the NHK World Service to almost any smartphone, tablet or even (my favorite) 4th generation Apple TV.
What – NHK world does not show the full 3 hour event that is the upper divisions of sumo. What we have instead is about 25 minutes of daily highlights from the current tournament (which happen in the middle of odd numbered months). You can watch highlights on the NHK World app at
12:30 PM Eastern / 11:30 AM Central / 10:30 AM Mountain / 9:30 AM Pacific
6:30 PM Eastern / 5:30 PM Central / 4:30 PM Mountain / 3:30 PM Pacific
12:30 AM Eastern / 11:30 PM Central / 10:30 PM Mountain / 9:30 PM Pacific
On their dedicated sumo web page, there is also video on demand, which makes it easy to watch matches when you want, where you want. For my family, we watch them via Apple TV, and it’s is a greatly anticipated household event.
If you have never watched sumo before, and you think it’s just two fat sweaty men in loincloths pushing each other around, you owe it to yourself to watch one of these summaries. Unlike US “Pro Wrestling” – this is the real thing, not scripted, no pre-determined. They battle with strength, courage and skill. At the end of the tournament, wrestlers with losing records are demoted, and wrestlers with winning records are promoted. Their rank determines their pay, so winning truly matters.
Join me in my favorite sport during September, you will probably be hooked and come to love sumo.