Terukuni

Bilingual/Trilingual Rikishi?

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Over the years, there have been more and more gaijin rikishi in sumo, so I do know that there are bilingual rikishi. However, were any of the Japanese Rikishi bilingual, or did any of the gaijin’s have a third language?

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I've seen a few posters say that Ishiura speaks English. 

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I am sure that @Fay can attest to Kakuryu command of multiple languages. 

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6 hours ago, Terukuni said:

Over the years, there have been more and more gaijin rikishi in sumo, so I do know that there are bilingual rikishi. However, were any of the Japanese Rikishi bilingual, or did any of the gaijin’s have a third language?

You want to know about active AND retired rikishi?

AFAIK, ex-Baruto is trilingual (Estonian, Russian, English) and speaks all of the languages quite fluently.

Ex-Asashoryu was said to be trilingual as well (Mongolian, Japanese, Russian) and could speak a bit English. Here is a topic from 15 years that approaches the subject, too.

http://www.sumoforum.net/forums/topic/3329-language-skills-of-rikishi/

 

It's difficult when it comes to Japanese rikishi. The ones with a non-Japanese parent (hafu) are sometimes able to speak the language of their second origin. For example, we had the Fuji-twins in Dewanoumi-beya (both retired around two years ago), who were born to a Japanese mother and an American father. Hence, they are able to speak English and sometimes appeared in sumo documentaries.

http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Rikishi.aspx?r=11807

http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Rikishi.aspx?r=11806

 

As a vague assumption, I would guess that highly educated rikishi from university might be able to speak (or at least understand) a little English, because studies and scientific work have become quite global over the last decades.

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Posted (edited)

I know that Itadaki speaks English, Canadian father.

Edited by Kintamayama

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Generally, the East-European rikishi and most Mongolian speak Russian, it is highly unlikely that Sokokurai doesn't speak both Mongolian and Chinese - he's Chinese from inner Mongolia.

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Based upon videos and other accounts, Osunaarashi speaks Japanese, Arabic and English.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, Ishiura speaks English.  His Facebook page indicates he studied at SACE, which is an English language college in Australia.

https://www.facebook.com/masakatsu.ishiura

A mutual friend also told me he speaks English, although the day I ran into him while visiting Miyagino Beya in Sept of 2014 while attending the Aki Basho (he was only in Makushita then), he was struck mute when I greeted him by name!  He stared at me in shock, probably because he was stunned that I knew his name.  My taxi arrived just then so I wasn't able to try to engage him in conversation.   A couple of years later, I worked up the nerve to send him a Facebook message but I never received a response.

 

Edited by sumojoann
Delete info that I couldn't attach a link. I was able to.

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I'm used to a school system where a second language (mostly english) is taught (mandatory) from 5th grade on since many decades. Nowadays some start even earlier and learning a third one is nothing special. Don't japanese children have to learn another language?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Akinomaki said:

Generally, the East-European rikishi and most Mongolian speak Russian, it is highly unlikely that Sokokurai doesn't speak both Mongolian and Chinese - he's Chinese from inner Mongolia.

I’ve seen a documentary with him in which he speaks Chinese and Mongolian, though his Chinese isn’t perfectly native. He sounded like it’s his second or third language and not one he uses all that often.

Edit: I just found this other mini documentary in which he’s asked by the Chinese reporter if he’s more comfortable with Japanese or Mandarin and he answers “Japanese now” (though the interview continues in Chinese for while). He then says that as a kid he studied Mongolian but implies he doesn’t use it much anymore as he has only used Japanese since arriving in Japan aged 19. The relevant clip is at around 3:35. Not sure if it will work for you (or if you’ll understand, haha).

https://b23.tv/av4057146

Edited by Eikokurai

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2 minutes ago, Benihana said:

I'm used to a school system where a second language (mostly english) is taught (mandatory) from 5th grade on since many decades. Nowadays some start even earlier and learning a third one is nothing special. Don't japanese children have to learn another language?

I was just reading a Japan Times article yesterday (in English) about why so many Japanese students who have studied English can't speak it.  Apparently, at present, English language courses begin in Middle School & continue into High School.  However, the emphasis is on grammar and reading & not on conversation.  In addition, the total number of hours that English is taught is not sufficient to become comfortable speaking it.  Another problem is that many Japanese are shy about speaking English because they want to be perfect and know they can't be.  In the future (I don't remember which year), English will be taught starting in the Third Grade.

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15 minutes ago, Benihana said:

I'm used to a school system where a second language (mostly english) is taught (mandatory) from 5th grade on since many decades. Nowadays some start even earlier and learning a third one is nothing special. Don't japanese children have to learn another language?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English-language_education_in_Japan

If anyone is interested, here is a detailed explanation of English language education in Japan.  It discusses why Japanese children have such a hard time learning English and conversing in it.  Instruction will begin in Third Grade starting in 2020.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, rhyen said:

I am sure that @Fay can attest to Kakuryu command of multiple languages. 

If he speaks, he speaks English quite well. 

Arawashi speaks excellent English, he lived in Indis for a while. 

Chiyoshoma is learning English. 

When Terunofuji started with sumo his English was quite ok. But in the meantime he forgot nearly everything.

Edited by Fay
Autocorrection :-o

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23 minutes ago, Benihana said:

I'm used to a school system where a second language (mostly english) is taught (mandatory) from 5th grade on since many decades. Nowadays some start even earlier and learning a third one is nothing special. Don't japanese children have to learn another language?

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/10/29/commentary/japan-commentary/japanese-trouble-learning-english/#.XVfzM7ixOCk

Here is a link to the Japan Times article (in English) I mentioned in my previous post.

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8 hours ago, rhyen said:

I am sure that @Fay can attest to Kakuryu command of multiple languages. 

Just in the last few days (I can't remember which thread this was in), someone (maybe his Oyakata) said that Kakuryu speaks better Japanese than a lot of the Japanese Rikishi.

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"An additional factor has been the use of English in daily life for "decorative" or "design" rather than functional purposes." explains a lot.

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I've got to imagine that all of the Hawaiian rikishi know Hawaiian, English and Japanese [KONISHIKI has a lot of Hawaiian Pidgin in his speech].

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nihw3_rZvcI

In this interesting video, which is a compilation of 2019 Aki Basho PR by several Makuuchi Rikishi, Tomokaze can be heard saying, "Nice to meet you" with a perfect accent to someone out of camera range.  Don't know if that is the extent of his English, though!

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Here is a CNN interview with Asashoryu in which he speaks English.

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I'm pretty sure it's not my imagination that I saw a video with Kisenosato/Araiso saying "Hello*, sumo fans." 

*Herrow, obviously...

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39 minutes ago, RabidJohn said:

I'm pretty sure it's not my imagination that I saw a video with Kisenosato/Araiso saying "Hello*, sumo fans." 

*Herrow, obviously...

He wants to go to the States later this year to learn from the NFL, so he's practicing English

On 20/02/2019 at 17:36, Akinomaki said:

ex-Kise declared that he plans to adopt American football NFL training methods to rear his (future) deshi. His plans for after the danpatsu-shiki end of September: "The NFL uses the latest training methods. I'd like to go to learn."

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