Tag Archives: Blog

The Yamawaro: A Legend of Japan

With mere hours before Kyushu Basho starts, I figured I’d kill some time by doing a write up on the Yamawaro, the namesake of this blog. Some of you may have thought that this was a shikona or just a random Japanese word, but it is, in fact, a legendary entity from Kyushu (how situationally appropriate) in Japan.

An artist’s (Matthew Meyer) depiction of the yamawaro.

Yamawaro are minor mountain deities. They are short, covered in hair, walk upright, and have a single eye in the middle of their foreheads. Yamawaro are very good at mimicking sounds in nature as well as human speech and songs. But, the most imporant thing about yamawaro is that they love sumo. They are, in fact, considered to be better at sumo than any human can be.

So, at the end of the day, the blog is named after a sumo-wrestling mountain spirit with one eye and a skill for mimicry.

If you’d like to learn more about the yamawaro, consider visiting the amazing Yokai.com. It is run by the talented Matthew Meyer who researches and illustrates yokai from all across Japan. He has two books in print with a third on the way. Be sure to swing by and check it out.


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


Reconstruction Time

Hey, everyone. I apologize that it has been an eternity since I posted here, but I’m going to be getting back at it in the next little while. That being said, there’s going to be some changes going on. The biggest of these changes is the widening of the scope of content to include not only sumo, but other topics from Asiatic cultures as well. It will make posting here more regularly much easier for me.

Other changes will include new pages being added to the blog, the complete restart of the Yokozuna spotlights, and much more.

Also, for those of you who might have forgotten, the Natsu Basho started today so make sure to watch it when you can.