BIG Trouble: Sumo Outsources for Survival

Kokkai KaricatureKokkai Karicature Kokkai - The pride of Georgia (the country, not the state), Kokkai means "Black Sea" and is actually named Tsaguria Merab Levan. Kokkai seems to have a bit of a mean streak, yet at the same time he looks a lot like Fred Flintstone down to the perpetual five o'clock shadow. (image (C) 2004-2007 lolipop)







Kotooshu - Sumo's only Bulgarian wrestler, Kotooshu has reached the exalted rank of Ozeki, just one behind Yokozuna. Yet the 6 foot 9 Kotooshu (real name Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov) is frustratingly inconsistent, rarely managing to beat the top rikishi when he has to. (image via Saba no Nisomi )Kotooshu, Made in BulgariaKotooshu, Made in Bulgaria

Hakuho - The "White Phoenix" from Mongolia, Hakuho is just 22 and was promoted to the top rank, Yokozuna, following his victory at the 2007 Spring tournament. A 3-time winner of the Outstanding Performance Award, this consummate sumotori looks set to take over from reigning champion Asashoryu some day. (image via Josh Hornik )

White Phoenix RisingWhite Phoenix Rising

Asashoryu - As Sumo's current Grand Champion, or Yokozuna (along with Hakuho) and 20-time winner of the Emperor's Cup, Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, better known as Asashoryu, is everything a sumotori should be and more. Watching the mighty Mongol fight is never predictable - even though he wins most of the time, he almost always seems to find a different WAY to win. And, when technique isn't enough, his brute strength comes into play, enabling him to pick up even much heavier opponents and dump them outside the straw circle like he was taking out the trash. Asashoryu is a master of his craft, he enjoys his work, and he doesn't take no sh*t from nobody. Period.

Yokozuna Body Surfin'Yokozuna Body Surfin'

And there you have it. But don't take it from me, watch a Sumo match and prepare to be surprised, and not just because of the many non-Japanese at the higher levels. There's also lot going on, both in the dohyo and in the audience - sometimes both, when one or two rikishi go tumbling into the first couple rows of spectators (whoa, that's gotta hurt!). The camerawork by NHK is totally professional as they utilize slo-mo, overhead sky-cam shots and instant replays to great effect. Looks like wild stallions fighting. Makes the WWE look like a sorry cartoon and a pale imitation. Go to the source: go Sumo!!

Like what you've read? Help me out, in a BIG way, by voting for this article on digg and Stumble!

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer

Jul 8, 2007
by Anonymous Sue Moe (not verified)

They Ought To Have A Contest

How many "every burgers" can a sumo wrestler eat?  It would be better than a hotdog-eating contest.