Natsu Basho Sells Out

Natsu 2018 Sell Out

Tickets went on sale for May’s Natsu basho at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. Reports from the Sumo Association are that the entire 15 day event has sold out, except for tickets reserved for “day of” sales to ardent sumo fans who wake up and get in line at 5:00 AM.

Public interest in sumo seems to continue to be strong, in spite of the brief outcry over the Maizuru tour stop, where a pair of female medical professionals were admonished for mounting the dohyo to render medical aid to the mayor, after he collapsed during his welcoming remarks.

For readers of Tachiai who were able to score tickets, events at the Kokugikan are quite enjoyable, and offer a vastly different experience from watching the matches on video.

Tachiai Blogging From Natsu

Natsu 2017 Tickets-2

It’s My Lucky Day – I Have Tickets

It’s been broadly reported that the tickets to the May sumo tournament in Tokyo evaporated before they went on sale. So finding a way to be in person for the basho was a tall order. Thanks to the folks a, I have managed to score 6 tickets during the first week of the basho.

I have wanted to see sumo in person for some time, and I feel incredibly lucky that I am actually able to go. I promise to pay homage to the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan, too!

As you might expect, I will be all over reporting the first week, and may post various live photos and other things from the Kokugikan. We will also likely be helping out Jason’s All Sumo Channel by supplying prizes (from the Kokugkikan sumo trinket stores) for his basho guessing contest.

With the banzuke only 10 days away, Tachiai’s coverage will soon ramp up in to cover all of the action.

Kokugikan Dohyo Consecrated – Ready For Battle!


Solemn Ceremony Complete

Earlier on Saturday, the sumo association luminaries, top rikishi and religious dignitaries performed a series of sacred rites in the center of the dohyo constructed at Tokyo’s palace of sumo: Ryōgoku Kokugikan

With this step complete, the ring is ready for battle, and sumo matches will begin early in the day on Sunday January 8th.

If you are new to watching sumo outside of Japan, your best bets are to get the NHK World application for your mobile device, or to frequent YouTube channels

Jason’s All Sumo Channel


Sumo File

A sumo tournament is 15 days long, and it’s correct to think of them as 3 acts each lasting 5 days.  In the first third, a lot of sumotori will not be quite “in the groove” yet, and some of the bouts are going to be hit or miss, especially with many of the athletes taking time off over new years.  The second ⅓ is where the intensity escalates and we find out who is seriously going to contend for the championship.  The last third is where hearts are broken and dreams are crushed as everyone competing searches for the endurance to prevail.

So enjoy the basho, and keep a browser tab open to Tachiai, as we begin our wall-to-wall coverage today.


Kokugikan Renovation Planned for 2017

Screenshot (78)The Kokugikan is the arena that hosts Tokyo’s sumo tournaments. The venue is 30 years old this year. It is definitely showing its age. According to this Yahoo! article, aggregated from Mainichi Shinbun, planned renovations will include upgrades to the air conditioning and power substations. I wouldn’t expect big changes to the seating or amenities like WiFi. It would be nice to make the boxes a little bigger. Fitting 4 adults in those is nuts, three is a squeeze. Two seems to be nice, giving enough space, since I’m certainly not going to be sitting in a seiza position for more than a few minutes.

You may wonder why I didn’t link to the Mainichi article directly. Well, their sports section has subheadings for the Olympics and high-school baseball – but not sumo. Japanese media have been putting sumo on the back burner for a while. I will not link to Mainichi if they throw sumo under “Other” yet give more attention to high school baseball. OK…maybe I will, this time. I’m more annoyed by aggregators.

Not to get off on a rant but at least they don’t go as nuts as ESPN and all the American media go for certain college sports. They and the universities make loads of money off the backs of college football and basketball players who get nothing. I feel real bad for college athletes who get career ending injuries before they get to cash in. I just don’t want to see that in Japan.