The art of watching sumo – The May 2022 Tournament

Sumo Tournament NHK WORLD Postics

The May tournament in Tokyo
Sunday 8 to Sunday 22 May 2022

The March tournament was eventful and very exciting with suspense running high until the last moment. We look back at the highlights.

There are some wrestlers who rise slowly but surely rising through the rankings. Wakatakakage is one of these. He snatched his first title from under the noses of his higher ranking adversaries. Wakatakakagewho was himself surprised himself by his victory, was the first newly promoted sekiwake to win a a grand tournament in 86 years.

At the top of the pyramid is the title of yokozuna — once earned, it lasts for life. To achieve this supreme rank you already need to be an ozeki, then win two consecutive tournaments. Unlike other titles a yokozuna cannot lose his title even if he is defeated. However, if his defeats continue he will have to resign to preserve his dignity.  

The rank of ozeki comes just below that of yokozuna. Appointed at a full extraordinary meeting, he needs to have accumulated 33 victories during the previous three tournaments to be worthy of the title. If his defeats outnumber his wins he does not lose his rank immediately but becomes kadoban. To earn back his titlethe ozeki must score eight wins at the following tournament. 

Another praiseworthy performance was that of former ozeki Takayasu who was in the running to win his first championship. The suspense was palpable, but Wakatakakage proved himself more able in the elimination match.  New ozeki Mitakeumi and the young Kotonowake did not disappoint with their remarkable results.

On the other hand, results were more mixed for ozeki Takakeisho and Shodai as well as for komusubi Abi who only just held on to their rankings. Another disappointment was the absence of yokozuna Terunofuji who was forced to withdraw on day five due to injury.

So, what can we expect in May? Although there are no crucial issues at stake as such, everyone will be aiming to perform well enough to win the Emperor’s Cup. The battle is already promising to be fierce and exciting!

To ensure you miss none of the action, visit the NHK WORLD-JAPAN website from 8 May, which will broadcast edited highlights.

Yohann Valdenaire
Illustration: POSTICS


The May tournament in Tokyo Sunday 8 to Sunday 22 May 2022

SCREENING GRAND SUMO Highlights at Japan House London

8 – 22 May 2022 (GRAND SUMO Highlights)
Every day at 17:30-18:00

Sumo Japan house London