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Sumo – Part 3

yamamotoyama flag ryogoku tokyo japan

The flag to the left is for 山本山 (Yamamotoyama) the largest Japanese sumo wrestler ever. Many sumo wrestlers have mountain (yama) in their name, but Yamamotoyama has it in his name twice–he’s that big. His other name is 龍太 (dragon fat), very fitting. Weighing in at almost 600 lbs. he is hard to miss.

山本山 龍太 yamamotoyama sumo wrestler japan

Entering the day I saw him he had four wins and just one loss. But on this day he was a pushover for his much smaller opponent.

yamamotoyama 山本山 龍太 sumo wrestler largest japan

During the September 2009 tournament he was easily defeated every time I saw him (once in person and three times on TV). Maybe I’m just bad luck or something as he ended the tournament with a decent record of 9-6. On the days I witnessed his bouts he seemed to need much more strength to eventually be able to contend with the best.

chiyonofuji sumo wrestler japan 千代の富士

Speaking of strength and the best… perhaps the greatest sumo rikishi ever was Chiyonofuji. I saw him win in person back in 1988 and followed him until his retirement a few years later. He was incredible. Even though he was smaller than nearly all of his opponents he seemed several times more powerful than them all.

He is now doing commentary for NHK during their live coverage of the tournaments. It seems wrong somehow to hear Chiyonofuji talk about his secrets, strategies, and successes. To me, it seems like he should be above sumo at this point, living in a castle somewhere like the emperor. I suppose it would be like hearing Babe Ruth do color commentary for Fox Sports, just not right. Legends, somehow, shouldn’t appear before the public.

3 Responses to “Sumo – Part 3”

  1. 1
    Hilda:

    I didn’t even try watching a bout when I visited my sister there several years ago. Maybe I should have just for the experience.

    Love their colorful banners! What is that tower? Intriguing.

  2. 2
    acase:

    The tower is empty except for the morning of the matches (3 times a year in Tokyo for 15 days each) from about 8 until 9 a.m. and then again as soon as the bouts end at 6 p.m. for a half hour or so. During those times there is a drummer in the tower.

  3. 3
    Jamaipanese:

    watching sumo is one of the things I must do when I eventually make it to Japan

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