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SUMO: Most Popular Rikishi 30–26

The dog days of summer are tough on sumo fans. We’re smack dab in the middle of the doldrums between the end of the Nagoya Basho and the Aki Basho. The banzuke [ranking sheet] for September’s tournament won’t even be released until Labor Day. If you live in Japan, there’s at least a CHANCE that the jungyo [exhibition tour] might come to a town near you. Other than that, there’s just no sumo to be had.

But into that dark abyss comes a program that aired recently on one of Japan’s commercial TV channels. The producers polled a large group of sumo fans asking them “Who is your all-time favorite sumotori?” and then put together a program that counted down the top 30. This isn’t official Kyokai [Sumo Association] rankings … just a poll, so it would likely not have come across my radar at all. But Jason Harris (whose YouTube channel is one of my favorite sources for basho coverage) recorded the show and has been posting it in roughly 15-minute segments. 

I’ll post them here, sumo fans’ convenience . . . but really Jason is the hero of the day. He does this, like his basho coverage, out of his love of the sport and as a service to sumo fans around the world. He does, however, have a PayPal tip jar so that people can show their appreciation (he recently used the tip jar money to upgrade his recording equipment, and it really shows in the quality of the vids he produces).

It’s an interesting show. Jason narrates enough so you can understand what’s being shown, but mostly you get to see clips of the most popular rikishi of all-time (including some current favorites). I’ll post one video a day over the coming week. Enjoy!

This clip includes one face that will be very familiar to anyone who has been watching recent basho . . . and one of the American rikishi I used to watch back in the ’90s

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