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Sumo Terminology

Aki Autumn; used to describe the major tournament in September.

Banzuke The official list of all participating rikishi in a tournament.

Barometer Nickname for Wakanosato coined by Mike and Kenji. Wakanosato measures the performance of the other sanyaku rikishi each basho. If a rikishi loses to Wakanosato, he is not performing well enough to yusho. This formula held true from the time Wakanosato entered the Makuuchi division until the 2003 Haru basho when Wakanosato beat Chiyotaikai, who later took the yusho at 12-3.

Chanko-nabe A stew unique to sumo where a myriad of fish, meat, vegetables, and noodles are added to a thick broth. Chanko-nabe, along with rice and beer, is the staple diet for the sumo rikishi.

Chumoku-ichiban The most anticipated bout of the day.

Danpatsu-shiki Retirement ceremony that involves the cutting of a rikishi's topknot.

Degeiko Visiting a different stable and practicing with the rikishi there. Usually, a sekitori will do this when there are no other sekitori in his stable to practice with.

Denkoban The lit-up panel hanging high above the seats that lists the days matches and results. The rikishi names are written in black kanji characters on a white background. A red line signifies the winner of the bout.

Deshi An apprentice or understudy. Used to describe the lower-ranked rikishi in a stable.

Dohyo The clay ring in which a sumo match takes place.

Dohyo-iri The ring-entering ceremony.

Dohyo-matsuri The ceremony to purify the dohyo on the first day of a tournament.

Ginosho The technical merit prize awarded to a Maegashira rikishi who displays exceptional technique and variety in winning at least 8 of his 15 bouts.

Gunbaidori When the judges agree with the decision of the gyoji.

Gyoji The referee.

Harite An open-fisted slap to the side of your opponent's face.

Haru Spring; used to describe the major tournament in March.

Hatsu First; used to describe the New Year basho in January.

Side-stepping your opponent's initial charge at the tachi-ai.

Heya A Sumo "stable."

Heya-gashira The highest-ranked rikishi in a stable.

Hikiwaza Technique of pulling down your opponent usually after side-stepping his initial charge.

Hiramaku Another name for the rank of maegashira.

Honbasho A major tournament where a rikishi's rank on the banzuke is determined by his performance.

Inashi A well-timed slap to the opponent's side causing him to fall to the ring floor.

Jungyo A Sumo tour to areas outside the four honbasho locations. These exhibitions have no bearing on a rikishi's rank.

Jun-yusho Runner-up.

Juryo The rank below maegashira; the lowest of the sekitori.

Kachi-koshi A majority of wins at a major tournament.

Kakuage Promotion in rank.

Kadoban A term used to describe an Ozeki who lost a majority of his bouts (makekoshi) at the previous tournament. Losing a majority of bouts again while kadoban means that the Ozeki will be demoted to Sekiwake for the next basho. He may be promoted back up to Ozeki if he posts 10 wins the next basho after demotion.

Kakusage Demotion in rank.

Kan Sixth sense. Frequently used in the expression "sumo-no-kan," or sixth sense in the ring, to describe a rikishi who has sat out for some time and is trying to get his feel for actual tournament competition again.

Kantosho The Fighting Spirit prize awarded to the Maegashira rikishi who displays outstanding tenacity in his sumo by winning at least 8 of his 15 bouts.

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