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The Sumo Matchup Centuries In The Making

Hakuho, the yokozuna

Hakuhō, largely considered the best sumo wrestler in the modern era, pictured here with the traditional yokozuna rope during dohyo-iri (the ring-entering ceremony) – Photo by Tim Foley.

FiveThirtyEight has released a new data visualization in tandem with an article on an upcoming sumo wrestling match which has been billed as one for the ages. While sumo has been around for roughly one thousand years, statistics on professional matches have been kept since 1684. The results of nearly every major tournament have been compiled dating back to 1761.

While this seems like an unusual story to cover on a blog like this, it is a good example of statistical analysis that is used commonly within the digital humanities realm in finding an answer to “who could be the greatest sumo wrestler of all time?”

If you’re curious to know more, check out the full data visualization at this link.

For the associated article on the long-awaited match and a brief summary on some of the legendary wrestlers, click here.

Tim Foley’s in-depth article on the world of sumo, click here.