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The official rikishi talk Japanese clich

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1. 頑張ります。

"Gambari Masu" (Will do the best).

Uttered whenever rikishis want to finish an interview or get out of there quickly like needing to go to a bathroom. A mandatory phrase prior to any hon-basho or during a basho and your losses are mounting. Generally heard more than a dozen times in a day during a basho.

2. いい相撲をとる。 

"Ii Sumo wo toru" (Having a good sumo). (Ii - good).

Whenever a rikshi is asked about his aspiration and can't really think of what to say, this is a good standby. Normally meant for not doing any pulling (especially for a certain Ozeki or two) or doing a cheap henka to win (Asanowaka excepted).

Another variation of this is "自分の相撲をとる" (going with MY sumo). But the problem with this is that the opponent usually won't let them.

3. 次につながる。

"Tsugi ni tsunagaru" (Lead to the next). (Tsugi - Next, tsunagaru - connect).

Meaning no hope whatsoever for this basho but there is somehow a slim chance left for promotion the next basho (search Kaiou and Wakanosato on this Forum).

4. 立ち合いです。

"Tachiai desu" (It's tachiai).

A good set answer when they are asked about the point of winning the next day's bout or against certain opponent. Nothing to worry about nor any strategy required if they have a good tachiai. Then their body simply moves with a natural flow!

5. 仕方がない。

"Shikataga nai" (Can't or couldn't be helped).

Often said after losing miserably and being totally overwhelmed. Also meaning, "there is nothing I can do about it now so stop asking me such a silly question".

6. 一日一番 or 一番一番。 

"Ichinichi Ichiban" (One bout at a time, One day at a time). (Ichi nichi - one day).

(Ichiban Ichiban - one bout at a time).

Usually said at a later stage of basho, when a rikishi is in the Yusho race or close to getting kachikoshi or double digit wins or being considered for a Sansho award or even for a promotion. Just telling themselves don't get too greedy and think about bouts way ahead - just think about the next day's.

7. 白星を重ねる。

"Shiroboshi wo kasaneru" (Getting more wins).

This is often said by a rikishi already got kachikoshi and aiming for double digit wins. So instead of saying, "I am going for 10 or 11 or 12 wins now", they will try to be a bit humble and say, "it's important to trying to get as many wins." This phrase may be used when a rikishi is not in a good condition and not winning many bouts. So for them the best medicine is "Shiroboshi wo kasaneru". (Shiroboshi in sumo is a win as it is displayed on Hoshitori table, literally meaning a white star, 'kasaneru" - putting one on top of another).

8. 体が動く。

"Karada ga Ugoku" (I am moving well). ("karada" - body, "ugoku" - move).

An oft-heard comment made by a rikishi after he wins a bout or when asked about his success at the basho. Or even when losing, they want to say they are healthy so they can't figure out why they are losing despite "karada ga ugoiteru".

9. そうですね。

"Soudesune" (That's right).

Said as often as possible whenever they are asked any question but can't (or don't want) to think anything useful or not useful to say. A definite conversation stopper and usually the interviewer gives up after half a dozen of this response.

10. いつもどうり。 

"Istumo douri" (Just like always). ("itsumo" - normally, always, "douri" - like).

Often uttered when they are in a full of anxiety but they want to show their big sekitori presense and a sense of outward tranquility. "Sure I am aware my promotion chance went down the drain but I just go with 'Itsumo douri'". Or "I am meeting the yokozuna but I just go with "Itsumo douri". Well I say it's "itsumo douri" my....

11. 大丈夫です。

"Daijoubu desu" (I am OK).

Thesed days a phrase most often heard from Tochiazuma. His shoulder and knee bones may be broken in hundred pieces but when asked this is what Tochiazuma usually will say, "Daijoubu desu".

12. 気持ちは切れていない。

"Kimochi wa Kirete inai" (I haven't lost the will). ("kimochi" - literally feeling, "kireru" - literally cut, '"kirete inai" is the negation).

This one was said by Musoyama last basho after losing another bout just before he announced his retirement. It can be an indicator for retirement.

13. 何もできなかった。

"Nani mo dekinakatta" (I couldn't do anything).

Said by Chiyotaikai repeatedly after his many losses last basho.

14. 意識していない。

"Ishiki shite inai" (I am not conscious of it).

A favorite phrase from Wakanosato. Whenever he is asked about "Yusho" or "Ozeki promotion", this is his set answer. Kaiou also became a good user of this phrase responding to almost any questions he was asked last basho.

15. 弱いんっす。 (normally said "弱いんです")

"Yowainnss" ("Yowain desu" - I am weak).

Exclusively said by Takamisakari when asked why he lost. Having "っす" is a rikishi talk. Takamisakari often says "きつかったっす

Edited by Jonosuke

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(Sign of approval) (Punk rocker...) (I am not worthy...)

Excellent!! The thing is, every major sport has its cliches..Anyone?

Edited by Kintamayama

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Joe forgot two:


"Aite no taisei ga hikukute" (My opponent was positioned low...)

Said as an explanation after just doing a henka.


"Tossa deshita" (It just happened.)

"Tossa" has a nuance of "an instant", or without time to think. This is also said in explanation for a henka. As if the rikishi settled down for the tachiai, and the next thing he knew, he'd henka'd.

Sometimes you'll have a rikishi unable to choose which excuse he wants to use, and you'll get,


"Aite no taisei ga hikukute, tossa deshita."

"My opponent was positioned low, and it just happened."

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What is the Japanese phrase rikishi use when the translator (Japanese lady) translates as "I was just desperate". That always amused me but the last time I have seen that on NHK tape was when I hadn't studied much at all Japanese yet so couldn't figure it out. "I was just desperate" was VERY often the comment, win or lose.

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What is the Japanese phrase rikishi use when the translator (Japanese lady) translates as "I was just desperate".

I could be wrong about which phrase they are translating but my guess for this one is "必死" ("Hisshi") as I come across this one quite often.

Like saying "必死でした". If I see this one I'd probably translate it as "I was desparate" or "I struggled hard".

Edited by Jonosuke

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