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Sumo: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Japan's National Sport
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Sumo: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Japan's National Sport

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Sumo is a fresh and funny introduction to the fascinating world of sumo, Japan's national sport. Author David Benjamin peels away the veneer of sumo as a cultural treasure and reveals it as an action-packed sport populated by superb athletes who employ numerous strategies and techniques to overcome their gargantuan opponents. Sumo provides an engaging, witty, behind-the-sc ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 10th 2010 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 2010)
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Joel Neff
May 05, 2010 Joel Neff rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sumo fans!
In this revised edition of his classic book, David Benjamin gives the newbie Sumo fan everything they need to know to enjoy Japan's most famous sport.

Benjamin's approach is this - strip away the culture and mystic and sumo is a sport where two fat guys try to push each other down. So what does all that mystic and culture do for the game and which bits of it are important and what does it all mean anyway?

By using gently mocking nicknames for the wrestlers, and by constant comparison to other spor
David Hallman
Sep 07, 2012 David Hallman rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Japanologists, World Sport Lovers
Sumo, as a sport, too often gets deified and lost in the Shinto ceremonies that are blatantly evident to all who watch, from the throwing of salt to the traditional mawashi(loincloth) the wrestlers wear. David Benjamin does a great job in smashing down the ivory tower of Japanese culture in order to reveal Sumo as what it truly is, a fascinating sport. Irreverent and stocked with colorful antidotes from Sumo history, this book is great for anyone wanting to learn more about Japan's national spo ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Ron rated it really liked it
Fun, insightful, totally irreverent introduction to the world of sumo. A true fan's guide, this one's probably not for the self-proclaimed Japanophiles bound by sumo's entrenched rituals and religious pomposity. This book explores details of sumo in a way rarely done in typical (Japan Sumo Association-approved) books on the sport. Although the numerous references to US sports like baseball, football and basketball can get annoying at times if you don't follow them, the comparisons made do provid ...more
Sep 26, 2011 yengyeng rated it really liked it
Read this book before my first sumo match at the Kokugikan. Includes a nanosecond-by-nanosecond blow-by-blow of a very important match between 2 sumo greats that spans 8 pages and useful translation of sumo interviews (Wsrmsht = I don't remember). Fwah! Sumo is all drama - posturing, death glares, leg lifting-squat-stomp, bitch slapping, throat grabbing and jiggling mounds of flesh. And it's over in seconds! It is my new favourite sport.
Jun 19, 2013 Douglas rated it it was amazing
Not a perfect book mainly because the first half is just a rewrite of Benjamin's early The Joy of Sumo. The second half is all new though, and Benjamin is very insightful. He comes at sumo from a different angle than most, and did it before many Johnny Come Latelies, some of whom (yes, freakonomics, I'm looking at you) never gave him credit.

If you don't mind some irreverence, Benjamin will help you understand sumo, which despite all its faults, is a wonderful combination of sport and culture.
Tjibbe Wubbels
Jan 21, 2013 Tjibbe Wubbels rated it it was amazing
A great book for the fan or would-be fan of sumo. The focus is on the joy of the spectator, not so much on the technical mumbo-jumbo and that really works for me. It's a really fun book to read and in the meantime you increase your knowledge of the sport and start watching sumo in an different way. Good stuff.
Manny in da house!
Jan 17, 2014 Manny in da house! rated it liked it
it definitely has some interesting parts in which you can learn quite a bit about sumo and its place in japanese culture. the sections in which the rules, different holds and moves, and the cultural aspects of sumo are discussed are incredibly insightful and can enhance one's interest in and knowledge of sumo very much!

but...... have you ever been stuck in a room with someone who thought they were a lot funnier than they actually are? and they need to remind you of their (self-proclaimed) amazin
Sumo Chris
Dec 28, 2013 Sumo Chris rated it it was ok
I think what happened was the publishers said "David, sumo's foreign fan numbers are bulging and we need you to revise your 1980s book in three seconds flat." So Benjamin revised his 1980s book by changing the names of wrestlers but keeping most of the text in tact. And he devoted about 80 pages to describing 1980s matches - with hardly any attention given to the present day. Hopelessly out of date.
David Horney
Apr 25, 2010 David Horney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-42nd-year
funny, irreverant and insightful. a must read for aspiring sumo nerds
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When his 2nd-grade teacher, Annabella Poss, gave him a spelling workbook, Benj started writing stories on the back pages. Through more than 50 years and a dozen cities on three continents, he's still filling the back pages. The latest among his stores is Three'a Crowd, a noir comedy that takes the reader to Paris and Las Vegas. Benjamin's sumo book, SUMO: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Japan's National ...more
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