December 9, 2020

About Sumo 相撲!

The one sport most associated with Japan is of course SUMO! It's an ancient sport that has developed very sophisticated and complex rules through the ages. It may sound simple, but it is not. The goal is to knock your opponent down to the ground or out of the ring. But there are said to be 70 such ways to do this! Let's take a brief look at the fascinating world of SUMO!

Sumo Wrestler image


  • FACT: The average middle-aged business man has a greater body fat percentage than the average Sumo wrestler
  • FACT: There are at least 70 different ways to win at Sumo!
  • FACT: The first recorded Sumo bout was in 300 AD
  • FACT: There are two types of Sumo wrestlers:
    • anko - the huge wrestlers
    • soppu - the thinner, smaller sort


相撲 sumou - Sumo

土俵 dohyou - Sumo wrestling ring

力士 rikishi - A Sumo wrestler

まげ mage - the special Sumo style hair style (top knot)

角界 kaku kai - The Sumo World

横綱 yoko zuna - the Sumo grand champion

回し mawashi - Sumo lioncloth


  • Gotsu an - A contraction of "Gochisousamadeshita" - "what a feast!" which is said after a nice meal
  • にぶぁい!にぶぁい!ni-bai ni-bai - a famous American wrestler (Takamiyama) said this on a commercial for a futon company. "ni-bai" means x2. The commercial's meaning MAY be "twice the thickness (of the futon) and twice the comfort" but probably not twice the price.


  • 押し出し oshi dashi - pushing one's opponent out by pressing one's hands up against them
  • 寄り切り yori kiri - driving opponent out of the ring while gripping his belt


  • 指相撲 yubi zumou - Thumb Sumo (Thumb wresting) [the S in SUMOU become a Z; same as Western "thumb wrestling"]
  • 腕相撲 ude zumou - Arm Sumo (Arm wrestling)        
  • 紙相撲 kami zumou - Paper Sumo [Players make their own Sumo wrestlers by cutting, folding, and decorating paper. The two paper wrestlers are placed on a table or a constructed paper ring. Then, the players tap the table or ring to cause the wrestlers to move. The first wrestler to fall down loses.]

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