John Gunning, The Japan Times

John Gunning

The Japan Times


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Past articles by John:

Takakeisho enters New Year Basho with golden opportunity

The first professional sumo tournament of the year gets underway at the Kokugikan in Tokyo this weekend. For sumo fans it’s a last chance to see Miyagino s → Read More

Sumo's topsy-turvy 2022 showed hopeful signs for sport's recovery

For the first time in over 30 years, all six grand tournaments in a calendar year were won by different wrestlers, with rank-and-filers sweeping the final three tournaments. → Read More

High school hopefuls make leap into professional sumo

While university graduates have dominated headlines at recent tournaments, just one of eight new wrestlers entering the sport ahead of the New Year Basho boasts a college background. → Read More

Wrestlers with amateur backgrounds becoming new normal in sumo

These days elite top-tier wrestlers without an amateur background are an increasingly scarce sight. → Read More

Should the Japan Sumo Association reconsider the Kyushu Basho?

While better ticket sales and increased income could potentially be found elsewhere, the value of holding a tournament in Fukuoka isn’t just monetary. → Read More

Ascent to sumo's peak slowing for recent crop of foreign wrestlers

While Mongolia may currently be monopolizing sumo's foreign slots, the overall level of domination that the central Asian nation has exerted over the sport is unlikely to continue. → Read More

Balanced Summer Basho banzuke offers few reasons for complaint

With the current top-division hierarchy well established, fans in search of the unexpected may have to look down to the third-division makushita. → Read More

Sumo's doors open for college stars but closing for foreign hopefuls

University sumo clubs regularly churn out talent capable of reaching the paid ranks, but fewer foreigners are entering the sport outside of powerhouse Mongolia. → Read More

Return of Hakuho Cup a positive development for aspiring wrestlers

For more than a decade, the tournament for elementary school students has offered overseas teams a chance to compete against some of Japan's top programs and interact with the sport's stars. → Read More

Sumo's off-months aren't so quiet, if you know where to look

Retirement ceremonies, ozeki and yokozuna promotions, JSA elections, TV variety show appearances and more all take place between honbasho. → Read More

Much more to come from yokozuna Terunofuji after stunning 2021

Just years removed from the unpaid ranks, the 30-year-old is on the path to becoming one of the most successful foreign-born grand champions in the sport's history. → Read More

Early American sumo trailblazer earned rare honor at Miyagino stable

In the summer of 1976, high-school teacher John Jacques traveled to Japan in order to learn what he could and promote the sport's development in Hawaii. → Read More

Hakuho leaves unmatchable legacy after 20 years of dominance

In submitting his retirement papers on Monday, the Mongolian-born yokozuna has brought an era-defining career of new records and unparalleled success to a close. → Read More

Hakuho, sumo's record-setting yokozuna, to retire

The 36-year-old Mongolia-born wrestler had been considering retirement after failing to recover from a knee injury that has kept him out of tournaments in recent years. → Read More

Lack of international streaming options hampers sumo's growth

While the Japan Sumo Association has made some progress on its online offerings, fans' inability to watch the sport overseas is a wasted opportunity for the sport to expand its audience. → Read More

Sumo makes its way to Cambridge as former U.S. wrestler studies sport's ancient role

Colton Runyan, 31, has gone from taking on Tobizaru and Daiamami in the ring to tackling ancient and abstruse Japanese texts in Cambridge’s vast and sprawling library system. → Read More

'Air sumo' tournament offers hope for amateur sport's future

A unique online competition, established due to the inability to hold amateur meets in person due to the pandemic, is aiming to cast a rare spotlight on form and technique. → Read More

Chiganoura Beya had unique, eventful existence

Opened in 2004, by former sekiwake Masudayama, Chiganoura Beya grabbed the interest of many sumo observers right off the bat for a number of unique moves. → Read More

Sumo stables housed in older structures becoming rare sight

The demolition of the Izutsu Beya stable building, one of the more run-down in the sport, got underway Wednesday. → Read More

Venerable Ryogoku Kokugikan has allowed sumo to successfully cope with pandemic

Possessing its own full-size arena has allowed the Japan Sumo Association to easily switch tournaments scheduled for other cities to its home base in Tokyo. → Read More