This glossary is a quick and easy reference to Japanese terms used in our articles. The list will steadily become more comprehensive as more terms are used.
Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament; Kugatsu Basho
Tournament held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo every September. The fifth of six yearly honbasho.
List of rankings with higher ranks at the top in large painted letters, descending to the lowest ranks with smaller script. A new banzuke comes out before every honbasho.
A drill where one wrestler slams into another and attempts to push him straight across the ring, often practiced to complete exhaustion. Sometimes referred to as “chest lending,” as the wrestler taking repeated hits “lends his chest” for the charging wrestler to crash into.
Default loss from a forfeited match
A loss that comes from forfeiting a match. Occurs when a wrestler withdraws from a tournament, but his next opponent has already been arranged.
Default win from a forfeited match
A win that comes from one’s opponent forfeiting a match. Occurs when a wrestler withdraws from a tournament, but his next opponent has already been arranged.
Spring Grand Sumo Tournament; Sangatsu Basho
Tournament held at Edion Arena in Osaka every March. The second of six yearly honbasho.
New Year Grand Sumo Tournament; Ichigatsu Basho
Tournament held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo every January. The first of six yearly honbasho.
Official Sumo Tournament
Six official 15 day tournaments are held every year. They are: Hatsu Basho (January; Tokyo), Haru Basho (March; Osaka), Natsu Basho (May; Tokyo), Nagoya Basho (July; Nagoya), Aki Basho (September; Tokyo), and Kyushu Basho (November; Fukuoka).
Group of Stables
A group of affiliated stables that conduct scrimmages and inter-stable training sessions together. There are five groups currently: Dewanoumi, Isegahama, Nishonoseki, Takasago, and Tokitsukaze.
More wins than losses
For Makuuchi and Juryo: a score of eight or more wins during a 15 day tournament.
For lower divisions: a score of four or more wins out of seven fights for lower divisions.
Ozeki demotion imminent
An Ozeki who posts one makekoshi becomes kadoban for the following tournament. A kadoban Ozeki must achieve kachikoshi or he will be demoted to Sekiwake.
Gold Star Award
An award given to a Maegashira wrestler for defeating a Yokozuna.
A wrestler or other sumo personnel absent or withdrawing from an event (usually a tournament).
Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament; Juuichigatsu Basho
Tournament held at Fukuoka Kokusai Center in Kyushu every November. The final of six yearly honbasho.
More losses than wins
For Makuuchi and Juryo: a score of seven or fewer wins during a 15 day tournament.
For lower divisions: a score of three or fewer wins out of seven fights.
A long, thick band of either cotton (for training and lower divisions) or silk (for salaried level competition) which is wrapped around to form a loincloth which can be grabbed anywhere around the belt area during a match.
Double inside belt grip
An under-arm grip with both hands on the opponent’s mawashi which provides great leverage for lifting and pushing.
Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament; Shichigatsu Basho
Tournament held at Dolphins Arena in Nagoya every July. The fourth of six yearly honbasho.
Summer Grand Sumo Tournament; Gogatsu Basho
Tournament held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo every May. The third of six yearly honbasho.
Nihon Sumo Kyokai
Japan Sumo Association
The organization that runs Japanese professional sumo (grand sumo), formed in 1925. The current chairman is Hakkaku-oyakata, former Yokozuna Hokutoumi.
Thrusting and pushing
Type of slapping or thrusting attack usually delivered in fast succession to the chest, throat, or face.
Classic style sumo where a wrestler uses pushing, thrusting, and slapping attacks as opposed to gripping the belt. Wrestlers who prefer oshi-zumo are often called “pusher-thrusters.”
Choreographed funny/slapstick sumo based on illegal moves. Often performed on regional tours.
Bales made of rice straw that are partially buried in clay and form the dohyo’s circle. The four separated tawara are called “tokudawara.”
Highest rank in sumo; Grand Champion
An esteemed position achieved by winning top division championships and showing consistently high levels of skill and dignity at the rank of Ozeki.
Grappling style of sumo where a wrestler uses a grip on the belt as opposed to pushing and thrusting attacks. The main grips are migi-yotsu, a right hand inside/left hand outside grip; and hidari-yotsu, a left hand inside/right hand outside grip.