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How the Media Shaped Sumō’s Modern TraditionsJames Singleton

Sumō boasts an impressive history that by some accounts stretches back 2,000 years. Nearly every aspect of the sport—from the dress and customs of wrestlers to the elaborate rituals performed at tournaments—appears to date from antiquity. However, many facets of sumō familiar to fans today emerged in modern times. Waseda University Professor Lee Thompson, during a recent talk at the Internation…
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Princess Diana Eager to Watch Sumō Matches on 1986 Visit (News)

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—When Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Japan in May 1986, a trip to watch professional sumō matches was included in their itinerary following a strong request from the princess, declassified diplomatic documents showed Wednesday. During their stay in Japan, the royal couple visited the Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumō hall in Tokyo on May 11, 1986, the openin…
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Sumō Association Puts Off Action against Takanohana over Harumafuji Case (News)

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—The Japan Sumō Association at an extraordinary board meeting on Wednesday put off its decision on its possible action against Takanohana, stablemaster of Takanoiwa, over former yokozuna grand champion Harumafuji's assault on the junior wrestler. Harumafuji's stablemaster, Isegahama, resigned from the board to take responsibility for the incident. Some in the assoc…
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Sumō Champion Harumafuji Retires over Assault Case (News)

Dazaifu, Fukuoka Pref., Nov. 29 (Jiji Press)—Yokozuna sumō grand champion Harumafuji submitted a letter of retirement to the Japan Sumō Association on Wednesday to take responsibility for assaulting a junior wrestler. Harumafuji (right) bows in apology at a press conference in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on November 29, 2017. Next to him, Isegahama stable master Asahifuji Seiya wipes away tea…
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Sumō Champion Harumafuji Assaults Junior Wrestler (News)

Dazaifu, Fukuoka Pref., Nov. 14 (Jiji Press)—Yokozuna sumō grand champion Harumafuji has assaulted a junior wrestler, it was learned Tuesday. Speaking to reporters at a sumō wrestlers' residence in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, Harumafuji expressed his apology over the incident. The 33-year-old yokozuna then submitted a notification that he will drop out of the Kyūshū Gran…
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Hakuhō Equals Kaiō’s Record 1,047 Career Wins (News)

Nagoya, July 20 (Jiji Press)—Yokozuna sumō grand champion Hakuhō on Thursday picked up the 1,047th win in his professional career in the Japanese national sport, equaling former ōzeki champion Kaiō’s record victories. Hakuhō holds a board to mark his 1,047th win on July 20, 2017. Kaiō appears on the left. (© Jiji) “I felt very focused in the ring today,” Hakuhō, 32, said after the day’s bou…
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Bawling Babies Battle in “Crying Sumō” Festival (Japan in Photos)

Babies take part in a nakizumō or “crying sumō” festival in the Tomioka Hachimangū shrine in Yokohama on July 17, 2017. Around 60 tiny combatants participated in the event, which entreated for their healthy growth through the full-lunged bawling of the junior athletes. Each was given a rikishi name and wore a paper helmet and decorative mawashi loincloth. (© Jiji)
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From One Record Holder to Another (Japan in Photos)

Japanese shōgi prodigy Fujii Sōta (right) and yokozuna Hakuhō lock hands at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya on July 12, 2017. Fujii, a native of nearby Seto, met with Hakuhō during the Nagoya Tournament and gave the grand champion a folding fan printed with the phrase shinshi o tassu (achieve your goals). Hakuhō, who surpassed legendary yokozuna Taihō with his thirty-third tournament…
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First Gold Star for Chinese Sumō Wrestler Sōkokurai (Japan in Photos)

Chinese rikishi Sōkokurai (right) defeats yokozuna Harumafuji in a bout on the third day of the spring tournament in Osaka on March 14, 2017. This kind of victory by a lower-ranked maegashira wrestler over a yokozuna is recorded as a kinboshi (gold star) and it is Sōkokurai’s first. The 33-year-old rikishi was absent from the ring for more than two years due to suspected involvement in match f…
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Kisenosato Becomes First Japan-Born “Yokozuna” in 19 Years (News)

Japanese wrestler Kisenosato will be promoted to the top sumō rank of yokozuna on Wednesday January 25. Currently rated at the second ōzeki rank, he will become the first Japan-born rikishi raised to the top grade in almost two decades. A Japan Sumō Association panel unanimously supported the promotion of Kisenosato at a meeting held on January 23 at Ryōgoku Sumō Hall in Tokyo. The move will be…
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