Sumo Terms

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.

Aki Basho
秋場所

Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament; Kugatsu Basho

Tournament held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo every September. The fifth of six yearly honbasho.

Banzuke
番付

Rankings chart

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.

Butsukari-geiko
ぶつかり稽古

Charging practice;
Battering practice

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.

Chiganoura-beya
千賀ノ浦部屋

Chiganoura Stable

A Nishinoseki-group stable located in Taito Ward, Tokyo. Founded by former Masudayama in 2004, and currently run by former Takamisugi.

Hakkaku-beya
八角部屋

Hakkaku Stable

A Takasago-group stable located in Sumida Ward, Tokyo. Founded and currently run by former Yokozuna Hokutoumi.

Haru Basho
春場所

Spring Grand Sumo Tournament; Sangatsu Basho

Tournament held at Edion Arena in Osaka every March. The second of six yearly honbasho.

Hatsu Basho
初場所

New Year Grand Sumo Tournament; Ichigatsu Basho

Tournament held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo every January. The first of six yearly honbasho.

Honbasho
本場所

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).

Ichimon
一門

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.

Kachikoshi
勝ち越し

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.

Kadoban
角番

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.

Kinboshi
金星

Gold Star Award

An award given to a Maegashira wrestler for defeating a Yokozuna.

Kyushu Basho
九州場所

Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament; Juuichigatsu Basho

Tournament held at Fukuoka Kokusai Center in Kyushu every November. The final of six yearly honbasho.

Makekoshi
負け越し

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.

Mawashi
回し

Belt; loincloth

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.

Morozashi
両差し

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 Basho
名古屋場所

Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament; Shichigatsu Basho

Tournament held at Dolphins Arena in Nagoya every July. The fourth of six yearly honbasho.

Natsu Basho
夏場所

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
日本相撲協会

Japan Sumo Association

The organization that runs Japanese professional sumo (grand sumo), formed in 1925. The current chairman is Hakkaku-oyakata, former Yokozuna Hokutoumi.

Tsuki-oshi
突き押し

Thrusting and pushing

Thrusting and pushing techniques used in oshi-zumo, including tsuppari.

Tsuppari
突っ張り

Slapping attack

Type of slapping or thrusting attack usually delivered in fast succession to the chest, throat, or face.

Oshi-zumo
押し相撲

Push sumo

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.”

Shokkiri
初っ切り

Comic sumo

Choreographed funny/slapstick sumo based on illegal moves. Often performed on regional tours.

Tawara

Straw bales

Bales made of rice straw that are partially buried in clay and form the dohyo’s circle. The four separated tawara are called “tokudawara.”

Yokozuna
横綱

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.

Yotsu-zumo
四つ相撲

Grip sumo

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.

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