Sumo’s rising popularity
Sumo’s popularity outside of Japan is flourishing. Amateur sumo clubs dot the United States and Sumo+Sushi events are selling out venues in major cities on the east coast. Alongside this rising popularity is more and more social media stars getting in on the act and opting to explore the unique world of sumo.
HasanAbi live streamed his experience
HasanAbi (born Hasan Piker) is a Twitch streamer and political commentator who can boast one of the largest followings on the internet. He has over 2.5 million subscribers on Twitch (which puts him in the top 20 of all streamers on the platform) and 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube. He also 1.4 million followers on Twitter and just under a million followers on Instagram.
HasanAbi has been creating content in Japan lately and, while there, he visited a restaurant that offered a special sumo experience.
Check out a video of his stream below where he and his friends can be seen learning about sumo exercises, rules and strategy. Then, while eating some delicious looking tonkatsu, they watch the wrestlers/educators have a trio of bouts.
Piker and his crew then get to don the mawashi and take on the rikishi themselves.
These guys are legit
The wrestlers who took part in this experience are Jokoryu Takayuki (who was wearing the white mawashi) and Kotootori Yoshifumi (who wore the black mawashi).
Both are retired wrestlers who competed in Grand Sumo. Kotootori competed from 1999 to 2019 and reached the Makushita (sumo’s third division). He is a veteran of 788 bout across 119 tournaments.
Jokoryu had a far more impressive career. His white mawashi symbolizes that he is a former sekitori – a wrestler who competed in the top two divisions of the sport (the only divisions that earn a salary).
As a top division wrestler Jokoryu once achieved the prestigious rank of komusubi (three below yokozuna). He competed from 2011 to 2022 and had 695 bouts across 68 tournaments.
Jokoryu won a second and third division championship during his career and is the owner of a kinboshi (a gold star awarded for defeating a yokozuna while ranked outside the upper-rankings). Jokoryu earned his gold star with a win over Harumafuji in 2015.
If you’d like to read more sumo content, please sign up for my Sumo Stomp! newsletter. There you will get alerts for when sumo content drops on BE. Sumo Stomp! is also home to exclusive and premium content on sumo history and technique.
Join Sumo Stomp!
Subscribe to the Substack!
About the author