The Sumo Association has not been a big proponent of fans publishing videos. I hope this changes. The NFL is also very protective of its rights over video footage. I believe this is why the sport does not spread beyond the US. The NBA, on the other hand, has a much wider international audience. Today, I found this very interesting article about the NBA promoting fan videos. It makes the sport more engaging for fans and allows the sport to grow via social media…Web 2.0. Sumo was really made for Vine. I hope fans will be able to publish and share loops via Vine or YouTube a bit more freely.
My son attends a Japanese school on the weekends. He’s in first grade, and after spending the summer in Tokyo, his Japanese is better than mine. Japanese school lets him keep is Japanese skill level up and this weekend they made origami sumo wrestlers. As you can see, the dohyo is a paper plate. My son and his sister had a little sumo tournament. If you click on the gif, you’ll find the instructions for making the little origami wrestlers. However, when I Googled ‘origami sumo wrestler’, there are some insanely good origami wrestlers that I think look a lot better and more realistic. Just as paper football can get really competitive with a few beers, I think this could be a good drinking game…though it might lead to some real drunken sumo.
I came across this article about Terunofuji but was unsure of how to translate this term:有言実行 (yugen jikko) and translation sites were just giving a bunch of word salad. So, I asked my wife. In English we don’t seem to have a direct translation for this four-character idiom (these idioms are called 四字熟語, yoji jukugo) but it seems it’s close to the way athletes and coaches talk about “execution”. It’s not an empty boast since they have a plan and follow through. These four-character idioms are very important in Japanese. They study them in school growing up and my wife said that in a job interview she was asked what her favorite was – she doesn’t remember the answer.
Basically, the gist of the article was that Terunofuji had a plan to beat four particular strong rikishi: Ichinojo, Takayasu, Takekaze, and Tochinoshin. Since he did it, he was able to execute on his plan and had a successful tournament, capped off with the victory over Hakuho. (Perhaps he should have added Kaisei to that list.) Anyway, if anyone else has any insight into a good translation for the term 有言実行, it would be nice to get a discussion going in the comment section.
The website for The Economist had a little article about sumo last week. Their “Economist Explains” series focused on the rise of foreign wrestlers in sumo’s upper divisions.
The past basho had mixed results for native Japanese wrestlers. Though yusho in the lower divisions were won by Japanese, Hakuho dominated the makuuchi and his only competition (and sole loss) was from Mongolian compatriot, Terunofuji. Also, all Japanese ozeki had lackluster performances, squeaking by with winning records. Further, Endo, Aminishiki, and Chiyootori had devastating knee injuries.
Anyway, interesting article. It doesn’t go much into the recent rise in the sport’s popularity nor does it really compare Mongolian wrestling to sumo which would help explain why Mongolian wrestlers feature so prominently. Personally, I think the foreign competition is making the sport more exciting.