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Kintamayama

Article about foreigners-new

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"Georgian sports officials went so far as to build a round earthen sumo-wrestling ring three years ago at their National Sports Arena, where would-be pros now train three times a week"

Nowhere near the truth. Most of the acclaimed sportsmen here (Weightlifting, Rugby, Wrestling, Judo) like olympic, world champions, who aren't many to begin with, don't have decent grounds for training, not to mention amateur sumo. This sure sounds something like lost in translation + the usual outrageous bragging by all Georgian people overseas.

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The cited Georgian, Levan, is staying in Japan waiting for some foreigner to leave Ozumo so that he could get in. With zero Japanese language skills, his only communication are daily short calls from his country-mate. They came together with a dream of becomming professional rikishi but the friend has already returned because he didn't want to overstay his visa.

While interest among Japanese is evidently declining and the number of professionals is shrinking, many motived foreigners can't get in. The other day, I got an email from one asking me to help him to get recruited which, of course, I can't.

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While interest among Japanese is evidently declining and the number of professionals is shrinking...
Time to put that old chestnut to rest. (Nodding yes...) The bleeding actually stopped about two years ago, as the following table will show.

Number of Japanese rikishi on the banzuke

Yr/Bs

Jan

Mar

May

Jul

Sep

Nov

1999

762

746

829

805

788

769

2000

750

724

768

749

726

697

2001

691

671

713

696

677

661

2002

662

649

688

673

663

644

2003

624

615

662

656

654

640

2004

642

638

694

683

667

651

2005

649

643

695

693

676

664

What has changed is the composition of the debut classes. Many more new deshi are high-school or college graduates now, whereas just half a decade ago, the overwhelming majority of those who started in maezumo were still middle-school grads. Edited by Asashosakari

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Thanks fore the table, Asashosakari.

The table clearly shows the May to have the most as the majority of new entrants join in March/April and have their Mae-zumo that basho. As the new recruits realize the reality, the number starts to dwindle and there are fewest rikishis just prior to the Haru Basho.

I just thought I'd point this out as some of you may have not known that the Japanese school year goes from April to March.

But there are 100 fewer rikishis now than five years ago - and that's a lot.

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Cheers.

There was relatively less people lost between May 2003 and March 2004 (and the recruiting next year wasn't bad). Has something happened two years ago, something related to the cause of the previous decline (such as change in Kyokai policy on beating shin-deshi...), so that we could assume the bad days are really over?

If possible, I would like to see also a couple of years before. Was May 1999 exceptionally high? More than 100 is lost only in the following 11 months.

One popular argument against letting more foreigners in is that they would take chance from the locals to enter. If the overall capacity is really so limited what about letting each year as many foreigners in as there is 'free' places after all willing Japanese have been acommodated?

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The new apprentice inspection was done today.

All five people filled the physique standard.

Georgian belongs to Kise-beya is included in that.

ジュゲリ・ティムラズ (Romaji:Jugeri Thiramuzu Age:18)

(I'm sorry I don't know a correct spelling.)

He came to Japan in August and was practicing in Kise-beya.

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There was relatively less people lost between May 2003 and March 2004 (and the recruiting next year wasn't bad). Has something happened two years ago, something related to the cause of the previous decline (such as change in Kyokai policy on beating shin-deshi...), so that we could assume the bad days are really over?

If possible, I would like to see also a couple of years before. Was May 1999 exceptionally high? More than 100 is lost only in the following 11 months.

I don't have the full banzukes further back than Kyushu 1998, unfortunately, so somebody else will have to provide that data. But from what bits I've seen, May 1999 was probably quite average for a mid-/late 1990s Natsu basho. I think the dropoff afterwards was thanks to shrinking recruitment numbers in combination with higher-than-usual retirement counts (probably because the recruitment boom was a few years back, and the less successful joinees from the early 1990s now began to drop out).

I'm only speculating from some banzuke movements I've seen, but I think the number of rikishi around 1989 (when Taka/Waka debuted, before the boom) was not much different from today, so today's numbers aren't that unusual...but of course, with 50 more foreigners and 50 fewer Japanese.

Still, at least the slide has stopped now, which is a good sign for the future IMHO. I think some in the Kyokai aren't happy that their traditional middle-school base has imploded (because those 15-year old recruits are probably easier to control than the older ones), but that's just a sign of the times they'll have to live with. I'm pretty happy to see more 18-year olds join, because it means sumo is attractive even to kids with a full education, not just the typical big brutish 15-year old who wasn't going to finish grade 12 anyway.

One popular argument against letting more foreigners in is that they would take chance from the locals to enter.

Are people really using that as an argument? If so, that's nonsense. There are more stables now than in the 1990s, and they were perfectly capable of accomodating a lot more rikishi then. I think it's arguable that foreign recruits require more "babysitting" because of their lack of cultural understanding in the beginning, so in that sense they require more resources, but I don't think it's that much different from Japanese deshi that it would be difficult to have more than one foreigner.

If the overall capacity is really so limited what about letting each year as many foreigners in as there is 'free' places after all willing Japanese have been acommodated?

I think they're worried about how unrestricted joining by foreigners would impact heya life, because (rightly or wrongly) the assumption is probably that, if you have multiple foreign rikishi in a stable, they will mostly keep to themselves and won't integrate into the heya. Even moreso when they're from the same country, of course.

Maybe the first step in opening the limits could be "only one foreigner from each country per stable", perhaps with an upper total limit of 100 or so. That way, heyas who want foreign rikishi can take them, and the ones who don't want them aren't under external pressure by the one per stable limit.

Edited by Asashosakari

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I think they're worried about how unrestricted joining by foreigners would impact heya life, because (rightly or wrongly) the assumption is probably that, if you have multiple foreign rikishi in a stable, they will mostly keep to themselves and won't integrate into the heya. Even moreso when they're from the same country, of course.

I think they're worried that their sport will be overrun by gaijin with no respect for tradition etc, altering the "special" aspects forever.. Or maybe just the mere fact that if foreigners may one day constitute more than 50% of the rikishi , it will turn the Japanese National Sport into just another sport..

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I think they're worried about how unrestricted joining by foreigners would impact heya life, because (rightly or wrongly) the assumption is probably that, if you have multiple foreign rikishi in a stable, they will mostly keep to themselves and won't integrate into the heya. Even moreso when they're from the same country, of course.

I think they're worried that their sport will be overrun by gaijin with no respect for tradition etc, altering the "special" aspects forever.

Completely correct, I neglected to mention that. I think that's really two sides of the same coin though, i.e. the micro and the macro impact of having too many foreigners. It starts with a change in the heya life and ends with a change in the whole of sumo.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Maybe the first step in opening the limits could be "only one foreigner from each country per stable", perhaps with an upper total limit of 100 or so. That way, heyas who want foreign rikishi can take them, and the ones who don't want them aren't under external pressure by the one per stable limit.

A well-thought-out compromise strategy - very good! (Dribbling...)

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Maybe the first step in opening the limits could be "only one foreigner from each country per stable", perhaps with an upper total limit of 100 or so. That way, heyas who want foreign rikishi can take them, and the ones who don't want them aren't under external pressure by the one per stable limit.

A well-thought-out compromise strategy - very good! (On the banzuke...)

I second this, too!

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But isn't this intersesting - and a wee bit hopefull too? (At least for those of us who fell that sumo ought to open up more to foreigners.)

"Sumo, like Japan itself, is becoming globalized," said Yutaka Matsumura, chairman of the Japan Sumo Federation. "Not everyone is happy about it, but I would say it is inevitable. I think in the end it will make us more competitive and raise the bar for greatness."

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