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Asashosakari

"sumo-san"

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Asashosakari    9,188
1 hour ago, Asojima said:

(...) never call a rikishi a sumo.

Two questions that have rumbled in my head for a while, and I might as well take this opportunity. (Not sure if this belongs here in JP discussions or rather in Ozumo...)

1) Does anyone know if the bad habit of Western people to call rikishi "sumos" is some sort of language transfer gone wrong from "sumo-san" / "ozumo-san"? I'm asking because I've struggled to come up with another explanation, given that it's totally not analogous to addressing athletes in Western sports, so I don't see how somebody might have come up with it independently.

2) How exactly does "sumo-san" come across to a native speaker's ears? I've tried to come up with Western equivalents - which is obviously difficult because of the whole issue with honorifics - and the closest I can imagine might be...hmm, addressing a baseball player as "Mr. Ballplayer"? Which to my ears either has a bit of a child-like ring to it, or some form of pretend-familiarity. ("Hey, I don't know your name, but I know what you do!") Is it similar in Japanese, i.e. is "sumo-san" used by people who don't know any better? Or am I completely off base and it's a perfectly acceptable way of addressing rikishi, especially if in fact you don't know their name / shikona?

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Gaijingai    51

To be honest, I never saw written anyone calling a rikishi a sumo until all the foreigners began pouring into sumo heyas and succeeding. Most newspapers use the Associated Press style book for filing their stories. If the writer uses something else for a word, the copy editor at the newspaper that is publishing it will change it to the AP style book.. This leads me to believe one of two things:

1. The early foreign sports and culture writers used "a sumo" out of ignorance, so it just simply caught on with future generations of writers.

2. The AP style book says to call sumo wrestlers "sumos." I'll see if I can find out.

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Gaijingai    51

Just submitted my question to the Associated Press. I'll let you know what they say.

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Gurowake    1,450

I never heard of anyone calling rikishi "sumos" until I started following the sport.  Of course, that might have just been because I was never reading anything about sumo at all.  The only people I've seen use the word that way were profoundly ignorant (at least, from my perspective; they're probably just normal) in plenty of other ways as well, and don't recall it ever being seen in any real journalism. 

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Bumpkin    264

"Sumotori" is acceptable. I have also heard "sumoist".

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Orion    428
6 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

Two questions that have rumbled in my head for a while, and I might as well take this opportunity. (Not sure if this belongs here in JP discussions or rather in Ozumo...)

1) Does anyone know if the bad habit of Western people to call rikishi "sumos" is some sort of language transfer gone wrong from "sumo-san" / "ozumo-san"? I'm asking because I've struggled to come up with another explanation, given that it's totally not analogous to addressing athletes in Western sports, so I don't see how somebody might have come up with it independently.

2) How exactly does "sumo-san" come across to a native speaker's ears? I've tried to come up with Western equivalents - which is obviously difficult because of the whole issue with honorifics - and the closest I can imagine might be...hmm, addressing a baseball player as "Mr. Ballplayer"? Which to my ears either has a bit of a child-like ring to it, or some form of pretend-familiarity. ("Hey, I don't know your name, but I know what you do!") Is it similar in Japanese, i.e. is "sumo-san" used by people who don't know any better? Or am I completely off base and it's a perfectly acceptable way of addressing rikishi, especially if in fact you don't know their name / shikona?

Starting from the end, if you are talking to a man who is obviously in sumo and you don't know his shikona,  it is acceptable  in Japanese to address him or refer to him as "sumo-san" or, more politely, "o-sumo-san." If you are talking about such a  man (rather than addressing him directly) "sumotori" is always right. In all these contexts, the word "sumo" (plural "sumos") used a a noun has always been wrong, and is generally used by would-be journalists who haven't done any homework in the right places.

Orion

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Akinomaki    14,915
Posted (edited)

O-sumo-san is not only right, it's the usual way to talk about rikishi in general, rather than talking about them as rikishi - but of course especially for kids. To call them just sumo-san seems much more impolite than calling a doctor just isha-san instead of o-isha-san.

Addressing one as "osumo-san" is the only natural way I can think of if you don't know who and what he is (much better than rikishi-san), but clearly can be distinguished as a rikishi (else nii-san).

Sumo is much more of a traditional profession than a sport, so I don't recall members of any other professional sport or performing art getting called like that. Something with -ka instead of -san is the usual way there - sumo-ka on the other hand seems very odd.
I don't know though what's best in regard to amateur rikishi.

Edited by Akinomaki
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Gurowake    1,450

On the same topic,

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sumo#Noun

You can thank me for adding "colloquial".  I didn't see anything that would be along the lines of "Just plain wrong" to add instead, but leaving it unmarked as though it were completely normal seemed wrong.  Hopefully we'll be able to put "dated" there eventually.  (I wish it were realistic to just delete it entirely, but dictionaries document actual usage, not preferred usage.)

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Washuyama    402

Funny, to me, because it's about Japan too.

Mr_baseball_poster.jpg

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Amanogawa    55

As growing up here in Aomori, I've known a number of local people related to/involved in sumo, or those who just have lived their lives as had been lived over the time. Sumo I say here is not just the sophisticated O-zumo type you members are familiar with but it also includes very crude, pristine one such as sumo played among little boys or practiced at local shinto festivals. To them, usually upper-middle aged, it may feel funny to be asked if they like sumo or not because sumo has just been imbued in their life ( I remember cheering for classmate boys when they did sumo in P.E. class on the school-dohyo - you know how girls are not allowed to step on there - the coaches were of course ordinary homeroom teachers or people living nearby, or somebody's relatives who could do a little good sumo ).

People like that would call rikishis "sumo" or "sumotori", like "Taro wa sumo da ( Taro is a  rikishi  )", "Ano ie no musuko wa sumotori da ( A boy of the household is a rikishi )".  A colleague, late 20's, who used to do sumo himself in college says, "Ima ii sumo ga ano koukou ni imasu yo ( There's a real sumo-hopeful boy in that high school now )". Here "sumo" referrs to a person who practices sumo.

 

On ‎2017‎年‎7‎月‎21‎日 at 08:47, Asashosakari said:

2) How exactly does "sumo-san" come across to a native speaker's ears?

I'm afraid it doesn't sound right. As Akinomaki said, It is "o-sumo san" when we refer to a professional rikishi.  I guess we don't say "o-sumo san" addressing amateur sumo practitioners though.

 

 

 

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