Aki: (Autumn) Used to describe the major tournament in September.
Banzuke: The official list of all participating rikishi in a tournament.
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.
Henka: 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.
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.
Keiko: Sumo practice.
Kimarite: Technique used to win a sumo bout. Click here to see the entire list.
Kinboshi: Literally a "gold star." When a Maegashira-ranked rikishi topples a Yokozuna, he receives an extra 15,000 yen monthly stipend each month for the rest of his sumo career. If a rikishi has 5 kinboshi, he receives 75,000 yen extra a month regardless of his rank.
Kokugikan: The indoor stadium in Tokyo where 3 out of each year's six tournaments are held.
Komusubi: The lowest of the three sanyaku ranks.
Kosho: A status given to an injured rikishi that guarantees his place on the banzuke for the tournament he will miss due to the injury. The injury must be sustained during a hon-basho bout.
Kyokai or Sumo Kyokai: The governing body of professional sumo in Japan.
Kyujo: Sitting out a tournament due to injury.
Kyushu: Refers to the last major tournament of the year held in Fukuoka in November. Fukuoka is located on Kyushu, the southernmost island of the four major islands which make up Japan.
Makuuchi: The division containing the top five ranks in Sumo: yokozuna, ozeki, sekiwake, komusubi and maegashira.
Mawashi: The silk belt that rikishi wear.
Maegashira: The rank below komusubi and above juryo; the lowest of the makuuchi division.
Make-koshi: A majority of losses.
Makikae: Changing the grip on your opponent's belt, usually from outside to inside.
Makushita: The rank below juryo.
Matta: A false start at the beginning of a bout.
Mizu-iri: A break in the middle of an unusually long bout.
Mono-ii: When judges meet to discuss the accuracy of a gyoji's decision.
Musubi-no-ichiban: The final bout of the day.
Nagoya: A city between Osaka and Tokyo where a major tournament is held in July.
Natsu: (Summer) It refers to the major tournament held in May in Tokyo.
Nekodamashi: Move where a rikishi claps his hands in front of his opponent's face at the tachi-ai to throw him off guard.
Nihon-sumo-kyokai: The Japan Sumo Association.
Okuridashi: A winning technique that involves pushing the opponent out of the dohyo from behind.
Osaka: A large city in Kansai, south of Tokyo where the Haru-basho, or Spring Tournament, is held in March.
Ozeki: The second rank from the top, below yokozuna.
Rijicho: The chairman of the Japan Sumo Association.
Rikishi: A Sumo "wrestler."
Sanbangeiko: Practice technique where two rikishi fight over and over until exhausted.
Sanyaku: The group of rikishi in the Ozeki, Sekiwake, and Komusubi ranks.
Sekiwake: The rank below ozeki and above komusubi.
Senshuraku: The final day of a tournament.
Shikiri: The preliminaries and warm-up before a bout.
Shikiri-sen: The white lines in the center of the dohyo from which the rikishi begin a bout.
Shiko: The stamping of feet on the ground to strengthen the legs.
Shinpan: A judge. Five judges sit around the dohyo to help officiate the bouts.
Shisho: A stable master.
Shitatenage: A winning technique that involves throwing the opponent down by using an inner grip on his mawashi.
Shukunsho: The Outstanding Performance prize awarded to a Maegashira rikishi who topples several Yokozuna and/or Ozeki along his way in winning at least 8 of his 15 bouts.
Sumo: The national sport of Japan. The Japanese here is actually "ozumo," or "Grand Sumo."
Suna-kaburi: The first six spectator rows around the dohyo. The name is derived from suna, or sand, and kaburi, to wear on one's head. A spectator sitting in the first few rows around the dohyo may be hit with flying sand from the bouts in the ring.
Tachiai: The initial charge at the beginning of a bout.
Taiketsu: A match between two rikishi.
Tate-gyoji: The chief gyoji.
Tawara: The narrow bales of straw that mark the perimeter of the dohyo.
Tegata: A rikishi's handprint, the Sumo equivalent of a signature.
Tenran-zumo: Sumo performed before the Emperor of Japan.
Teppo: The striking of a wooden pole to strengthen the arms and shoulders.
Tenpai: The Emperor's Cup, or huge trophy awarded to the yusho rikishi.
Tokudawara: The tawara that are slightly set back from the dohyo's ring. Originally, they were to allow the gyoji to enter the ring back when the tawara were full-sized bales of straw; now they give a few extra centimeters of fighting space to hard-pressed rikishi.
Torikumi: A Sumo bout.
Tori-naoshi: A rematch, called when a bout is too close to determine the winner.
Tsuna-tori: An act of tying the white Yokozuna rope around the waste of a newly promoted Yokozuna.
Waza: A technique.
Yagura: The scaffolding or tower outside the entrance to a tournament; a taiko drum is placed at the top and beaten to announce the tournament.
Yakata: The roof that is suspended above the dohyo.
Yaocho: A fixed bout.
Yobidashi: The announcers who call out the names of the rikishi at the beginning of each match.
Yokozuna: The highest rank in Sumo from which a rikishi cannot be demoted.
Yorikiri: A winning technique that involves forcing the opponent out of the dohyo by using a grip on his mawashi.
Yotsu-zumo: Fighting with a grip on your opponent's belt.
Yusho: A tournament victory.
Zabuton: A cushion used when sitting on the floor. Before their bouts, rikishi sit on their personal zabuton at ringside. Sumo performed before the Emperor of Japan.