picture of the day

Empty house


The sparsely populated Ryogoku Kokugikan at lunchtime Sunday -- Day 1 of the New Year sumo tournament. A rule preventing people with 2nd floor tickets from entering the 1st floor during the early bouts was put in place last year to supposedly deter underworld members from entering, and is very unpopular with fans unable to afford in excess of 40,000 yen for a 4-person box. These fans previously moved upstairs in the mid-afternoon when box owners started to arrive.

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Oldsanno, is that supposed to make the rules okay? Basically what it comes down to is that the foreigners are the only ones propping up this dying sport. How do they thank the foreigners? Make rules about how many there can be. Not exactly a great business model is it?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hakuho won.

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Watching it on the news and the lower seats are filled.

Hakuho up next.

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It's like the setting for Karate Kid, minus the spectators.

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Noriyosan73 -

As far as I'm aware, the early bouts start at around 8am; and the last bouts finish about 6ish; but I fully agree, everyone would probably be better served by moving the matches to a later starting/finishing time.

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oh and you can hear the clap of that one guy on the corner of the stream feed video. The clap has an open echo, like a large open space. Funny.

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I like the full day events. (I'm watching the live streaming right now in fact) Normally there would be more in the front. There's exactly one couple having lunch, a guy on the corner, and the refs. Looks bad. Anyway, you get a sense of what it takes and at what level the final wrestlers have attained. It's also easier to spot when someone didn't try hard enough.

It's kinda like watching juniors in hockey, you can see the fire in the belly for some players and that makes for better matches if the skill is there. Not always true as you can guess.

Another dynamic is the training of the gyoji as they sing who's next. They also change as the levels increase.

Anyway, there's a lot going on and I like the pace which is different that just a 5 min sports highlight. I realize it's not for everyone but I certainly appreciate an all day event.

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meaning that for the first time since victors' portraits were put up in 1909, there are no Japanese sumo wrestlers among the 32 likenesses hanging above the ring.

0 Japanese out of 32

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Sumo needs to move the starting time from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM. Just try it at one tournament . Only the rich or independent businessman can leave work early. Also, prime time on TV can generate real advertisement revenue rather than a few flags. Modern marketing needs to be adopted and still keep the traditions.

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Perhaps sumo needs to get rid of its racist rules (one foreigner born allowed per stable) so that people from other countries take an interest? The way it is going now, I give it another 10 years before it is done - and that is only if they are able to control the yaks, the bribes, the other dirty business...

Never been. Why bother why I used to see them practice in Osaka in little parks with their little tents. Up close and free!

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It's really sad to see the depths sumo has sunk to in recent years, with all its dirty laundry aired in one scandal after the other. One of the highlights of my time in Japan was being present at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in 2001 and watching an injured Takanohana defeat Musashimaru for the yusho and then to see new PM Koizumi present him the Emperor's Cup.

I know the early bouts are usually not well attended, but the above picture is proof that sumo needs to do whatever it can to accomodate fans and get more of them in attendance. I don't buy the explanation in the caption.

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Wow - looks like a Dodgers game!

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Thats me, 3rd from the left, back row

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

looks like 100 units of Japanese 1DK !

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been there and did that and it was really fun. what a shame.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Last year when I was invited to watch a tournament with 3 tall Military Officers, it was a very tight fit for all of us in that tiny 4-person box. I wished we had ordered 2 boxes.

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For the cost of one of those box seats during this month two people could fly round trip to Korea (well, almost... it's a little over 2-man yen per person), experience another culture, excellent food, and get away from it all, instead of watching an all-but-dead sport that is fixed and riddled with scandal. Nice picture, though.

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The sparsely populated Ryogoku Kokugikan at lunchtime Sunday - Day 1 of the New Year sumo tournament

Yawn. Who wants to watch 6 hours of sumo. 2 to 3 hours with the big boys at the end of the day is plenty.

Here is ticket availability information. http://sumo.pia.jp/en/vacant/va01.jsp

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To go early and see the lower-ranked guys fight close-up was a treat. Too bad they had to change the rules.

Now that sumo is once again underway, perhaps those English-language commentators on NHK can tell us whether or not the bout seems to have been a "yao-cho" or not. They always give us commentary about what happened, which we all can figure out for ourselves, so why not make their dull comments more lively by commenting on what everybody is wondering: was the bout fixed ... or was it legit.

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