Skip to main content

15-16 May 2024
Olympia London

12 Feb 2021

Rakuten TV Announces Sumo Wrestling Doc The Giants

Max Miller - Broadcast Sport
The Giants will be available to viewers from this summer

Rakuten TV has announced a new documentary series focusing on the stories of the first non-Japanese sumo wrestling champions, named The Giants.

Filming has aready begun in Hawaii and Japan, focusing on the likes of Konishiki Yasokichi, one of the heaviest sumo wrestlers in history and first non-Japanese-born wrestler to reach Ozeki, and Musashimaru Koyo, the second foreign-born wrestler to reach the rank of Yokozuna and winner of 12 top division championships.

The three 30-minute episodes, directed by J LaLonde and executive produced by Anouk Mertens, will be available free and exclusively on Rakuten TV from this summer. It is produced in collaboration with NEO Studios.

Through never-before-seen footage, testimonials from the wrestlers themselves and those close to them, the series will cover the sacrifices and dedication involved in devoting their lives to a rigorous and isolated lifestyle with extreme dietary demands, to life after retirement, where they have formed new careers with their celebrity status.

For example, Yasokichi is still a celebrity in Japan as a rap recording artist and ukelele player, as well as appearing in Hollywood films.

Teresa Lopez, EU content director at Rakuten TV, said: “This documentary series reinforces our commitment to developing quality, free original content through our Rakuten Stories. We are strongly focusing on sports content that captures the brand’s DNA and core values of empowerment and optimism through stories that showcase the human side of sports and all the effort and determination behind greatest victories.”

Yasokichi commented: “I went to Japan when I was 18. I didn’t really know anything about Sumo – I was spotted one day on the beach in Hawaii and told I had a chance to be something in Sumo – so I just packed my bags and went. Japan was a totally different culture for me, and Sumo was its own special world with its own hierarchy and even its own language.

“I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I didn’t know if I was going to do good, but I was determined to make the most of it. In the end it was an incredible journey and I’m excited to share it in The Giants.”

Director LaLonde added: “The Giants tells the story of four Hawaiian former Sumo-wrestlers, who went from being outsiders to become legends of the sport. The show is a celebration of their remarkable journeys and of one of the world’s oldest and least understood sports. We’re in the midst of shooting the show now and I can’t wait for people to get the chance to see it later this year.”

View all Industry News


  • It’s the best show I’ve ever been to, to be honest, I think you guys have done an incredible job. It’s really packed, there’s a very broad selection of people here.
    James Burstall
  • MPTS is an important event in our fast-paced, changing industries. A great place for minds and technology to come together, learn, interact, explore and create for the future.
    Carly Paradis
  • My first time attending MPTS 2023 and I was blown away at how much was on offer - from the exhibitions to the seminars, not to forget all the attendees who gave it a great atmosphere and fantastic networking opportunity. Will definitely be back next year.
    Jahreal Wright
    Sky Production Services
  • It’s been our first time exhibiting at MPTS and we will definitely be coming back. The quality of the customers and panels was perfect for us.
    Dawn Bochenski
  • MPTS 2023 was a tremendous opportunity to not only catch up with colleagues, but meet so many enthusiastic new faces and have the opportunity to share insights, knowledge and debate about the future of tech in the creative economy
    Dr Jodi Nelson-Tabor
    Final Pixel Academy
  • We had a great time at the show this year at MPTS, I think the interest in cloud production has significantly increased in the last twelve months and we saw a lot of traction with customers and people looking at solutions in transforming the way that live TV is being produced. So we've got a great partnership
    Gareth Capon
  • MPTS has been really wonderful, it is great to see how much the show has expanded this year. In my opinion, it just seems to be getting better and better every year and I can’t wait to see what next year brings
    Lexie Morgan
    HHB Communications
  • I think the panel discussions here are of huge benefit to everyone that comes, especially freelancers and maybe students wanting to work in this industry. The hot topics that are affecting everybody in their jobs o its quite a unique day out, and its free
    Ria Hebden
    TV Presenter & Broadcaster
  • A truly brilliant event. It was absolutely buzzing with excitement, innovations, and incredibly interesting and insightful stories. With sessions ranging from sustainability to virtual production, XR, the talent gap, and accessibility and inclusion in production, it’s become the UK media and tech show to attend for anything content creation and should not be missed.
    Amisa Saar-Stout
  • It was great to meet with customers, partners, and prospects in the heart of the UK M&E community, demonstrating how LucidLink enables remote collaboration from anywhere in the world. MPTS 2023 was a huge success for us, and experiencing professional ‘white glove’ treatment from all the show staff, just made my job that much easier
    Julie O'Grady
  • We get to see a lot of customers, we get to talk about what their plans are for the next year, we get to see all of our resellers as well, it’s a really important day for us
    Simon Sherbourne
  • I find myself among people like me who love new technology and love the potential of what we can do
    LJ Rich
    Presenter and Broadcaster
  • Of all the trade shows that Argosy participates in, MPTS represents the greatest return on investment for us, by far!
    Chris Smeeton