Sumo's Foreign Invasion

Mark Buckton
Sumo - still Japanese or truly International?

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Umegatani II our man for June

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John attends asageiko at Takasago-beya to give us the first of his bimonthly looks at sumo's stables

Photo Bonanza
Kurt Easterwood & Quinlan Faris
Kurt & Quin treat us to some of the best sumo pics around - and seen nowhere else

May Basho Review
Lon Howard & John Gunning
Lon gives us his Natsu Basho summary and his take on upset of the tournament while John chips in with his 'gem' of the basho

Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila

Mikko provides his round up of the boys in Makushita and below at the Natsu Basho

July Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton

Pierre predicts the Nagoya Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein

Rhyme and reason behind the pre-tachiai rituals that mystified us all as beginners

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through A, B & C

John McTague

John's unique view of news from outside the dohyo

Las Vegas Jungyo Teaser
Ngozi Robinson
Months away but like kids at Christmas we are still too excited not to mention it

Online Gaming
Moti Dichne
Hear from the founder of Guess the Banzuke (GTB) on exactly what makes it tick

Le Monde Du Sumo
The original team at MDS tells us how it all started

Sumo Mouse
Todd Lambert
Heya Links Galore and a focus on 3

Fan Debate
JR & EB square off: Right or Left - which should Asashoryu use when receiving kensho?

Let's Hear from You
What was it that made you a sumo fan?

Ngozi Asks
Question of the month - What is Sumo?

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster

Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke


by John McTague

coconuts on the dohyo…and leave your Red Sox cap at home.


While many outside the sumo world snicker and sumo purists scoff at the sight, there is an increasing segment of the American population getting involved in sumo wrestling – sort of. People from every walk of life are donning sumo suits and doing tachiai and oshidashi at a variety of venues. From corporate picnics to after-prom parties, from Minor League Baseball stadiums to Lehigh University’s “Sundaze 2005” music festival, the sumo suit is attracting Americans to Japan’s national sport in ever increasing numbers.

Here’s how it works: Two people dress up in the foam-filled or inflatable suits and strap on helmets that sport an oichomage-like hairstyle. Then the competitors enter an inflatable ring about 25’ wide. When a whistle blows the two charge at one another. Simple. Granted, 400-pound rikishi can move better than these folks can, but the idea is to have fun knocking your friends around while vicariously living in the moment as a sumo wrestler.

The Kansas City T-Bones, a Minor League baseball team, were recognized in 2004 as the Northern League’s “Organization of the Year” after
Next Home

It may have begun in Portugal, land of the intrepid 16th and 17th Century explorers who colonized the area now known as United Arab Emirates. Perhaps its roots are in India, where it is called dhirios. Even Korea boasts a version that has been enjoyed for centuries.

Is it sumo?

It is and it isn’t.

It’s Bull-Butting, or as the French say, “Chega de bois”.  This is as macho a sport as Ozumo, if not a bit dustier, in which the male specimens of many bull species have these stand-downs to show who is the “Big Man on Campus”; helped in part by a bull’s natural tendency to confront one another to achieve their own sense of status.

In Fujairah, UAE, this is a family day. Every Friday, local

parents and children, interspersed with a few tourists, gather around an open field with just stones for seats,  to watch a ton of hamburger on the hoof knock skulls with another bull just like himself. Twenty bulls start the day and the winners move on to the next round, and so on. The winner does not receive any kensho as such, but does get a few more Dirhan (Dh) added to his overall value. The reverence of these animals, like that of the mawashi-clad rikishi we know and love in Japan, has elevated some bulls to cult status as well as a value of approximately Dh50,000 (about $13,500) or so at the market.

The open field will soon be surrounded by a fence, because even though the bulls are handled by attendants and tied to trees and posts by lines attached to the rings in their noses, bulls are still bulls and are sometimes taken to charging at anything red, such as a scarf, a shirt or even a passing motor vehicle.

So, if you’re ever in Fujairah on a Friday and looking for something to do, check out the bull-butting contests. Try, if you can, not to think about your favorite rikishi clacking

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