Category Archives: Sumo General

Joy of Sumo


When I first started watching sumo, I had pretty much no idea what to make of it. I was intrigued, but I was confused as all hell (and the language barrier with the commentators did not help). Eventually, I found my way to r/Sumo which pointed me to the beautiful book that you see above: The Joy of Sumo by David Benjamin.

What a read. Not only did this book form the basis of my sumo education, but it did it in a hilarious and endearing way. David Benjamin is a talented writer with a good voice and is a pleasure to read. Whether you’re new to the sport or a wily veteran, this book is worth the time it takes to read it.

If you ever have a chance to read it, I’d strongly recommend that you do so.


Banzuke Shoushin


Good evening, friends. I was doing some work on my other blog tonight (The Table of Starry Wisdom) and I stumbled across something that I think is pretty cool. Below you’ll find the files for a free, print and play tabletoptop game called Banzuke Shoushin. Here’s an information dump about it from Board Game Geek: “Banzuke Shoushin (番付昇進 ‘Rise through the ranks of sumo’) is – as the name already indicates – a sumo wrestling career simulation game. Hence, it does not focus on individual bouts (even though hundreds of fights are simulated during the game), but on the whole of a rikishi’s (sumo wrestler) career. There are 12 rikishi in the game, but only a small number of those are player-controled; the others are ‘automated’, i.e. controled by the game. The game is intended to be played by a very small number of players or solitaire. In principle it could work with up to 6, but it is recommended for 2 or 3 players. During a single game year, rikishi first train, which means that they improve their skills in 1 or 2 of 5 different areas of skill (endurance, strength, weight (yes, that’s a skill here…), speed, technique). In the meanwhile their oyakata (stable masters, comp. coaches) try to improve their spirits, which works like a 6th skill. After training the basho (tournament) begins. A whole year of sumo (6 basho) is condensed into a single tournament (of 45 bouts) in the game. Every bout is decided by the match tactic and a number of dice. Rikishi can try to influence the match tactic such that it matches their strongest skills (or the opponent’s weaknesses). After the basho the banzuke (ranking) is adjusted, rikishi age one year, and some retire (forcibly or voluntarily).Playing one game year takes about 45 to 60 minutes, most of which is taken up by the tournament. Consequently, simulating a 10-year sumo career will take up to 10 hours. It is, however, easy to store away the game in between years, and thus to play the game in many different sessions spread out over a longer period of time.”

Banzuke Shoushin – Bookkeeping Charts

Banzuke Shoushin – Components

Banzuke Shoushin – Rules


Samurai Spirit – Sumo

I stumbled across a great documentary about Sumo on YouTube the other day.  Here are the videos that comprise the documentary as a whole. (And, incase you were wondering,  “Samurai Spirit” was a TV documentary series from NHK World that focused on the traditional martial arts of Japan. If you’ve got time to kill, the other installments are also pretty interesting.)