International Sumo Federation

Chapter 3 : Duties of the Judges

Article 23 :
Bearing in mind the strong impact, which their words and actions have on the competitors and the general audience, the judges shall strive to be fair and neutral in their decisions, and not show the slightest sign of hesitation or emotion.
Article 24 :
In addition to judging and making decisions, judges should offer guidance and advice to the competitors. A judge must immediately admonish a competitor whose speech or conduct, while on the dohyo or in the dohyo-damari, are inappropriate.
Article 25 :
The judges shall be responsible for maintaining the dohyo in good condition to ensure that bouts be carried out safely, and they must immediately take corrective measures if necessary.
Article 26 :
The gyoji must endeavor to bring the two competitors and himself into complete synchronization at the tachiai.
Article 27 :
When a mawashi becomes loose during a bout, the gyoji shall call out "Matta!" (Wait!) to halt the bout temporarily. Both competitors must freeze in their positions (kumite) until the bout is restarted.
The gyoji shall not order the temporary halt of a bout during offensive moves of competitors.
After tightening the mawashi and confirming with the judges that neither competitor has shifted from his/her kumite, the gyoji shall place his hands on the backs of both competitors, call out "Hikimasuyo! Hikimasuyo!" (Get ready. Get ready) and restart the bout by lightly tapping their backs and calling "Hakkeyoi!"
Article 28 :
When a competitor does one of the following, the gyoji must order him/her to let go immediately. This is not the case if it is not possible to give the order at that time.
(1) gripping tatemawashi (rear vertical part of the mawashi) or orikomi
(2) grasping clothing other than the mawashi (when it is the first time)
(3) having the opponent in the 'gassho' hold (both arms around the opponent with the hands clasped together)
Article 29 :
The actions of the gyoji are as follows:
(1) When the competitors mount the dohyo and carry out the 'chirichozu' (hand-cleaning ritual), the gyoji shall position himself at the rear (muko-jomen) of the circle in front of the tokudawara (privilege bale that is set a little beyond the main circle) (hereinafter referred to as 'the basic position').
(2) At the time when the competitors move to the center of the dohyo, the gyoji shall take two steps forward from the basic position.
(3) When the competitors go down into the sonkyo (squatting) position, the gyoji shall confirm that they have synchronized their breathing and call out "Kamaete!" (Take positions!), and take one and a half steps backward to stand with legs apart.
He then calls out "Te o tsuite. Matta nashi!" (Hands down. Waiting time is over!) and slightly bending his knees, with arms stretched out a little and palms facing inward, initiates the tachiai and starts the bout with the call "Hakkeyoi!"
(4) If a tachiai is not achieved, the above procedure shall be repeated.
(5) The gyoji shall call out "Madayo, Madayo" (Not yet. Not yet) to the competitor who places his/her hands on the dohyo before the opponent to hold back a tachiai. On the other hand, the gyoji shall urge the other competitor to place both hands on the dohyo by calling out "Te o tsuite. Te o tsuite." Upon confirming that both competitors have placed their hands on the dohyo, the gyoji shall complete the tachiai by calling out "Hakkeyoi."
(6) When the bout has begun, the gyoji shall urge the competitors with the calls "Nokotta!" (Hang in there!) and "Hakkeyoi!" The call "Nokotta!" shall be used when the competitors are in motion, whilst "Hakkeyoi" is used when both are at a standstill.
(7) At the moment when the winner is determined, the gyoji shall call out "Shobu atta!" and indicate the winner by pointing his hand to the east or west side of the dohyo.
(8) Before the kachi-nanori, the gyoji shall return to the basic position. After having both competitors stand and bow to each other by calling out "Rei!" (Bow!), he shall call out "Higashi no kachi" (East side's victory) or "Nishi no kachi" (West side's victory) while pointing his hand at the winner, who remains in the sonkyo posture. If there has been a judges' deliberation, however, the kachi-nanori shall not be given until all the judges have returned to their assigned positions and an explanation has been given by the head judge.
Article 30 :
The gyoji must observe the following requirements while the bout is in progress.
(1) He must ensure that he does not step on any of the shobu-dawara, or the janome.
(2) He must endeavor to avoid turning his back to the shomen.
(3) His movements must be quick, so as not to get in the way of the competitors.
(4) He must endeavor to be in the best location, posture and angle for making a good decision.
Article 31 :
At the beginning and end of the team competition, the gyoji shall stand in the basic position, have all the competitors of the east and west line up and give the command "Rei!" (Bow!), to have them make a standing bow.
Article 32 :
When the judges enters or exits, they shall line up in their assigned places in the dohyo-damari and bow on the gyoji 's command.
Article 33 :
The judges' shifts change over in the following manner:
(1) The current judges shall stand up and bow from their respective positions around the dohyo on the gyoji 's command,after which they move to the assigned positions in the dohyo-damari.
(2) The judges for the next shift shall line up in the dohyo-damari, bows on the gyoji's command as specified in the preceding item,and they then move into their individual seats.
(3) After the movement specified in (1) and (2), the gyoji for the next shift shall give the command for a standing bow;and the changeover is completed.
(4) When giving the command "Rei!" for the bow as described in (1) and (3) above, the gyoji shall stand in the basic position.