Sumo and Video

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.

Origami Sumo (紙相撲)

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.

Origami Sumo
Origami Sumo

有言実行 = Execute (a plan): Japanese Term of the Day

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.

Sumo in The Economist

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.

March Tournament 2015: Day 4

All of the yokozuna and ozeki won. Hakuho had a quick, impressive win over Ichinojo. Hakuho truly is on his own level of this sport. Yesterday, Harumafuji had no response for his compatriot’s size but Hakuho got an Kisenosato advanced to 2-2 by getting a good two-handed belt grip and using that leverage to pick up Takarafuji and putting him over the edge. Likewise, Harumafuji dispatched Sadanoumi in a second with a quick left-handed belt grip and throw.

Goeido got an easy win over Tochiozan. It seemed that as Tochiozan retreated after the tachiai, he just accidentally stepped out. Kotoshogiku moved to 4-0 with his win over Myogiryu and Kisenosato moved back to a .500 record with his win over Takarafuji.

Terunofuji is on fire. In an exciting, energetic match, he got the oshidashi force out victory over the winless Takekaze. Endo got an impressive win against Aoiyama to move to 3-1. Aoiyama had a knee brace on his left knee so when Endo went low, he didn’t have much chance to counter. All of my other faves in the lower ranks won, and Osunaarashi, Ikioi, and Gagamaru all stand at 2-2.

Again, thank you to Jason and Kintamayama for the videos.

Prince William is a fan of Harumafuji

In the past, I’ve written about how a member of Rock ‘n Roll royalty, Sir Paul McCartney is a fan of sumo. Apparently, a member of actual British royalty is a fan of sumo as well. Several Japanese media outlets have reported that during his recent tour of Japan, William expressed his fondness for sumo and made a special request to meet Harumafuji. According to Nikkan Sports, “日馬富士の大ファンというウィリアム王子が「会いたい」とリクエスト…” (Prince William, a big fan of Harumafuji, requested to meet). If you don’t believe me:

Harumafuji meets Prince William

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March Tournament 2015: Day 2

Harumafuji wanted to end Tochiozan’s slow pre-tachiai ritual. He normally plants the balls of his feet and twists his heels to the center three times…kinda like a slow-mo, fat Dorothy. Well, Harumafuji may have put an end to Dorothy. He did not want to wait and just plowed into Tochi from Kochi. After giving him a little unnecessary extra shove, seems to taunt him a bit more, like, “What are you gonna do?” Uncharacteristically unsportsmanlike but I like the attitude. He’ll need that fire to beat Hakuho.

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