August 25, 2001
8:55 AM   Subscribe

Not many still-practiced sports existed at the dawn of recorded history. Sumo wrestling is one of them. I've been trying to learn more about Sumo lately, and with the Aki-Basho tournament coming up next month, now is the time to follow along on the web as the drama unfolds.
posted by machaus (5 comments total)
The first link was actually created by a group of high-schoolers. Quite impressive. Any other sumo followers out there? Where do you get your fix?
posted by machaus at 8:56 AM on August 25, 2001

There is definitely, as the one site says "more than fat guys in diapers" to sumo. If anyone turns the TV on to sports in my house, it's my wife, and it's either figure skating (with those anorexic teens) or sumo. (She calls Takanohana a "cutie." I guess compared to Mushi, she's got a point.) As a budding Nipponphile (been to Japan twice in the last 4 years -- I've even got a collection of quotes from The Way of the Samurai (inspired by the movie Ghost Dog) on my consulting business' website.), I too have gotten into the sport.

In the US, ESPN and ESPN2 usually carry 1-hour summarys of the major bashos (tounaments) which focus on the major bouts of each day. I stay on top of these broadcasts by periodically checking Yahoo's TV search page. Unfortunately, the ESPN broadcasts are too often multiple repeats of previous bashos. For example, this afternoon (8/25) and tomorrow's (8/26) broadcasts are the third time around (at least) for last January's basho. By the way, I notice there's also an upcoming National Geographic documentary on sumo as well on CNBC on 9/3. Again, a repeat, but highly recommended for a painless intro to the "fighting spirit" of the sport.

One of the disappointments of the US broadcasts is the almost exclusive focus on the bouts. I wish they did more of the pre-bout and daily rituals. It looks to be truly fascinating.

My wife and I are considering another trip to Japan/China/Hong Kong in the spring, and I've found a tour that starts in China just as the Osaka basho in March ends. If anybody has any guidance on how to get tickets for upcoming bashos from the US -- most of the websites I see lead me to Japan only outlets -- I'd appreciate hearing about it.
posted by fpatrick at 9:47 AM on August 25, 2001

I forget the channel out here; I think it's 62, one of the international ones. Anyway, my roommate and I were addicted to sumo for a good long time, and we'd stay up late for the highlights of whatever tournament was going on.

I think my favorite moment was seeing Taiko (at least, I think that was his name) win a match. Taiko was small by sumo standards: 5 foot 9 and hovering around 220 lbs. Small, especially next to giant hulks who were around 6 feet and 370+ lbs. And he pulled it off like you'd expect: the wrestlers launched at each other, Taiko side-stepped, and he used his opponent's own momentum against him. Pushed him right out of the ring. Very cool.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:21 AM on August 25, 2001

I used to keep up with sumo tournaments by watching Today's Japan, a nightly 30-minute broadcast that aired on PBS stations. Sumo Now! is probably the best way to keep up with bouts online, but it's not the same without a video feed of salt tossing, the stare down, and all the other strange rituals. Sumo World magazine, published from Japan in English, is great for historical and educational coverage of the sport.

Sumo trivia: The original home of Yahoo! was two Stanford workstations, akebono and konishiki, named after the top two Hawaiian sumo wrestlers.
posted by rcade at 6:24 PM on August 25, 2001

Sumo today is big guys in Reeboks who dig Weezer, apparently.
posted by werty at 7:07 AM on August 27, 2001

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