Sumo Wrestlers from foreign countries


At his coming summer Sumo tournament, three of all Yokuzunas, the wrestlers in the  highest rank, will all bel Mongolian. Some refer to this phenomena as “Kurofune”, Black steamship with Admiral Perry who demanded Tokugawa Japan to open the country.

The history of foreign-born Sumo wrestler goes back to 1960’s. And the acceptance of them reflects the change in Japanese society and international relationship.

1960’s : Foreigner=American——Hawaii over the rainbow

During WWII and after the war, Japanese government strongly regulated the ordinary Japanese people’s traveling abroad. In 1963, the business trip was deregulated, on condition that you do not take out money more than $500.

In1966, the travel in foreign countries were deregulated for everyone.

After being occupied by US Army, “Foreigner” usually meant “American”. And the travel destination “over the rainbow” was Hawaii, the nearest state of USA .

And from there came this lovable guy, Jesse, or Takamiyama in 1964. The .first Sumo wrestler from  the world outside. He was nominated to top ranking group of Sumo wrestlers
in 1968.



Birth places of the wrestlers in top group then is shown in map.

Follow Jesse!

In 1985, an agreement between the governments of G5 countries to depreciated the U.S. dollar relation to the Japanese yen and German Mark by intervening in currency markets. This “Plaza Accord”  accelerated a higher exchange rate of the yen. It allowed affordable travel abroad for Japanese. It also meant for the foreigner, the money you earned in Japan valued more if you go home.

Three more guys from Hawaii followed Jesse. Two of them made the highest rank, Yokozuna.
The end of Cold War

Towards the end of 1980’s, the Cold War ended. The Soviet Union had broken away.It strongly influenced Mongolian politics, leading to the peaceful Democratic Revolution and the introduction of a multi-party system and market economy.

Mr Kaifu visted Mongolia officially in 1992, which was the first official visit by Japanese prime minister. Mongolian TV started to broadcast Sumo Tournament.


And there came the descendants of Genghis Khan.

In 2004, the birth places of wrestler spread wide to the central Asia and to former Soviet Union.

More and more young boys came from Mongolia to Japan to be Sumo Wrestler.

On Japanese side, Mongolia became a romantic destination to travel.

Staying at one of their movable home ger, gazing stars above the wild steppe, watching Mongolian Sumo…It was a new experience for those who got tired of Paris and New York. From 2009 to 2010, the number of Japanese traveler to Mongolia increased 24%.

Catch the Inbound travelers!

After the end of bubble, the structure change of Japanese economy was inevitable. In 2002, the government proposed the “Visit Japan Campaign”. The number of the inbound travelers kept growing, although there was some decline in 2011, because of the earthquake.

Chinese travelers are the largest group. But when the relationship between China and Japan deteriorates, they cancel the travel seeing the communist government ‘s behavior, which causes problem to travel industry in Japan.

Halal Certification—Welcome, Muslim People!


Around 2012, some of the hotels in Japan started to serve Halal food. At most of the National Universities, such as Tokyo Uni. or Kyoto Uni., they serve Halal menu at cafeteria.

In 2013, tourists to Japan reached more than 10 million. There is a sift from Chinese to Muslim from South East Asia. The movement to get Halal certification started among service industry. And just in time for this movement, Oosunaarashi joined Sumo in Japan, the first Muslim wrestler, and the first Rikishi from Africa.




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Sumo Wrestler and change of Japanese society

I was away for my business trip and started to work on this since Sunday. I am trying to tell story about Sumo wrestler and the change of Japanese society. I could not find the csv data, so I am typing the profile data of top group from ranking table, Banzukehyou, in 60’s and 90’s and the latest.I am doing the tutorial of Google Fusion Table at this very last moment.

w( ̄△ ̄;)w


Would I make it in time…..?


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Explainer:Do we really need Giant Seawalls? —-Revision after three years from 2011 Tsunami

Three years have passed since the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami which killed more than 18,000 residents of Tohoku region in northern Japan.
On a day before the memorial day for this big disaster, Japanese Prime Minister Abe made announcement at the Budget Committee of the Upper House of the Diet in Japan that he is positive about revision of the government led plan to construct giant seawalls along the coast line of the area, and will respect the intention of the local governments.

You might wonder why the government is not constructing the giant seawalls to save the lives of people in a hurry.
But stop and think. Would giant seawall, massive monolith of concrete solve everything? Let’s see what was planned, what happened to the seawalls on March 11th, and what people think now.

What is seawall
A seawall is a form of coastal defense constructed to protect inhabited areas .
At least 43 percent of Japan’s 18,594miles (29,751 km ) coastline is lined with concrete seawalls or other structures designed to protect the country against high waves, typhoons or even tsunamis. The average height of seawall is between 14.7feet to 25.6feet above the low water level.

What happened to the seawalls in Tohoku region –some survived and some not
Tohoku region has experienced 3 big Tsunamis during last 100 years, including the one in 2011. One of them came all the way from Chilean Coast (1960 Valdivia earthquake) and killed 147 people in Japan.
So they knew the importance of seawall.

There were two significant seawalls.
Fudai Village in Iwate Prefecture experienced Tsunami caused by 1896 Sanriku earthquake. The height of Tsunami was 50 feet high and killed (including missing) 1,010 villagers. In 1933, another Tsunami hit the village and took the life of six hundred people. After WW2, a village mayor insisted on construction of big seawall which is high enough to protect the village from Tsunami as high as the one in 1896. A giant seawall and lock gate was constructed spending 36 million dollar.


(Above:Left side area is the Fudai port hit by Tsunami. The village behind the wall was not damaged)
In 2011, 50 feet Tsunami hit the village. The fishing port and surrounding buildings which were out side of the seawalls were completely devastated. Tsunami was about 3 feet higher than the wall and water came into the village. But no houses nor lives within the wall was damaged.

Fudai village’s case was a lucky one. In 2011, 80% of seawalls in the area were damaged.
In Kamaishi City in Miyagi Prefecture, they had super giant seawalls. They were meant to protect both city and port and constructed at the bay entrance part. It’s seawalls were about 18 feet above sea level and its underwater parts were 200 feet depth. They costed 1.2 billion dollar and took 30 years to build. It was recorded in Guiness Book as “Super Seawall”. On March 11 of 2011, these giant walls seemed to stand fast against pushing power of Tsunami but could not resist its pulling power. Eventually 80% of the walls were broken and allowed Tsunami to hit the city center.



(Above Top: Super Seawalls at the mouth of Kamaishi bay /Above next: Seawall tore into pieces by Tsunami)
Government led project with huge budget
After the Earthquake of 2011, Jqpanese government together with 3 local governments of Tohoku region proposed Disaster Restoration Projects to build giant seawalls of 50 feet high, which are as high as 4-storied building. The total extention of seawalls would be  188 mile and the initial cost would be 10 billion dollar.
It seemed to be welcomed by people at the beginning. But as time passed by, people started to ask if they want to live near a huge wall where you cannot even see the color of the sea. No one can tell that the next Tsunami will never exceed 50 feet.
The towns near the coast line started to rebuild community on the hill, which left the areas on the shore deserted. Do we need expensive seawall to protect the place where no one lives
Two big industries in Tohoku area are fishing and sightseeing. People in the city of Kesennuma started to ask themselves “Would people come to visit the city surrounded by huge seawalls, where all you can see is huge mass of concrete?”

The Risk of Dependence on Seawalls.

It is pointed out that such hardened coastlines can also provide a false sense of security to property owners and local residents as evident in this situation.  People  narrowly missed being hit by Tsunami said, “I thought my house was safe because we had seawalls.”  Many volunteer firefighters rushed to the coast line to close the lock gate and lost their lives.

Kiyotaka Abe, 90 year old retired teacher, survived three Tsunami in his life time.”Just run up the hill as high as you can. Do not trust the words, << It only came as high as this level in the past.>>.Unexpected things do happen.”

For Whom the Wall will be built
Then media reported that there is a plan to build giant seawalls even around the uninhabited island. Municipal office of Shiogama City explained that they are meant to protect rice paddies on the island, which are not cultivated more than 10 years.


Why such a meaningless plan can easily presented.
Procedure for Disaster Restoration Projects is different from usual public undertaking.
In case of public undertaking, the verification of the cost-effectiveness,environmental assessment and  some time for consensus building with local residents are required. Disaster Restoration Projects are not required to do all these things thoroughly.

Who pays for the giant seawalls?
Most of the cost for the Projects is covered by budget for reconstruction. Japanese government raised corporation tax, income tax,and residents’ tax to cover the budget.It seems only the construction plan for giant seawalls was moving fast and talked in a loud voice. One cannot but speculate that it is because it brings huge money to the construction industry
The future image of the community in Tohoku area is not clear. There are voices that the younger generation should participate more for the reconstruction of the areas. Because they are the people who will manage the future and keep paying tax for them.


The movements among the citizen started to understand the meaning of giant seawalls and to talk about what kind of community they want in the future.The voices of young generation are gathered.High School student, Naoko Matsuda looks back the experience of Tsunami and said .”Our sea betrayed us by destroying our town. But I also have all my good memories  with sea.I cannot hate it.The adults are arguing about the height of the wall.But height is not the matter. I think most important thing is that we all should know that you have to protect your own life by yourself”.

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In the aftermath of Mt.Gox’s bankruptcy in Japan, Newsweek throw another bomb.


Early in the morning of March 6, Newsweek magazine posted an exclusive article titled “The Face Behind Bitcoin”. The reporter Leah McGrath Goodman claimed in the article that they found the mysterious founder of Bitcoin living in Temple City, California.


According to this article, a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose name really is Satoshi Nakamoto is the founder. He hobby is collecting model trains,and he has done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military.For the past 40 years, Satoshi Nakamoto has not used his birth name in his daily life. At the age of 23, after graduating from California State Polytechnic University, he changed his name to “Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto,” according to records filed with the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles in 1973. Since then, he has not used the name Satoshi but instead signs his name “Dorian S. Nakamoto.”

Bitcoinfans and press were thrown into confusion at this. Trying to have interview with Nakamoto, a car chase began.

“We are chasing Satoshi Nakamoto,” wrote Buzzfeed reporter Hunter Schwarz in an article published Wednesday afternoon.

And this news about car chase has spread through twitter and facebook.



In this “manhunt”, AP seems to have stood out from the others.

In the afternoon of March 7, AP posted the article “Man said to create bitcoin denies it” AP succeeded in interviewing Nakamoto.

Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto told the reporter that he is not the creator of bitcoin.”I got nothing to do with it,” he said, repeatedly.


“I’m saying I’m no longer in engineering. That’s it,” he told AP. “And even if I was, when we get hired, you have to sign this document, contract saying you will not reveal anything we divulge during and after employment. So that’s what I implied.”

And he continued.

“It sounded like I was involved before with bitcoin and looked like I’m not involved now. That’s not what I meant. I want to clarify that.”

Then on a long-dormant PeerToPeer Foundation site believed to belong to the Satoshi Nakamoto who created Bitcoin suddenly appeared a post denying he was Dorian.


Newsweek posted a statement about the story, saying that the research was conducted under the same high editorial and ethical standards that have guided Newsweek for more than 80 years and Newsweek stands strongly behind Ms. Goodman and her article.


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Hiromi’s Media Diary

I consume medias mainly on PC, Kindle,Mobile phone,TV,printed media and organic relation (oral:talking with people, physical:dance workshop). I used “Rescue Time” for my PC, and as for other medias, I took notes and summed them up.

While setting up my PC for Rescue Time, I encountered something very surprising.

On Rescue Time, you categorize your activity on PC either as “distractive” or as  “productive”. Checking news is part of my work life for more than 20 years. So I categorized “News & Opinion” as “productive”. There came an alert “Most people categorize this as “distracting time”.

WHAAAAAT!! When I was on shift as a page editor, I had to read all 5 national newspapers from top to end  for 3 hours in early morning before go to work. And you call it “distracting time”!  (Of course you can persist and set it up as “productive” in Rescue Time)

OK! Calm down. Here is a very important key for news industry. People want to be productive. But most people think reading news or opinion as distracitve, because it’s passive, I guess. If we can let people consume news in productive way, there could be a break through for the future.

Let’s go back to homework. Here is the summary of the time I spent for the different media.(numbers are minutes I spent)


I spent702 min. for mail. Half of them are for the report and message sent back to Japan, so that is for business. “Oral” does not include chatting at the lunch, but group meeting.”Physical” refers to dance lesson and dance workshop.

As I have been working in the media industry, I tend to use both old and new media. If I put them on timeline, you can see different aspect.


I use mobile phone as an alarm clock. So I sleep with mobile and Kindle. Whenever I wake up at night, I check my mobile for news. When earthquake happen while I am sleeping , I usually wake up at the primary wave and check the data and news on mobile. If it is bigger than M5, I turn on TV and PC.Thus the first screen I see in the morning is mobile.

Then I check TV news. First CNN, surfing through big networks then lands on CNN again.

During daytime, I use mainly PC, but also mobile when I am on move.The evening time is for printed media and Kindle. The last screen I see is mobile again.

This pattern is created after a long time of experience. If anything big happens, I have to go to the newsroom, I have to make phone calls.

How do I choose the media I consume?


I spent 140 minutes, which is almost a quarter of time I spent for media, at the media introduced through social media. They are mainly technology and business information.

There are several news sites and data site which I constantly check. It is like police car checking several points on patrol. There I check top stories and then shop around. It is like “Things to do ” list.  This patter must be quite different from young people, but having several media which I need to check for work, I cannot help.

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