Monday, March 19, 2018

Show me the Yen!! How much money do sumo wrestlers make?

I get the question every so often of "How much money do sumo wrestlers make?"  Unfortunately, the real answer is "It Depends."  I know that is pretty unsatisfying, but sumo wrestler salary is confusing and complex.  The top division sumo wrestlers' salaries are made up of the following categories:

1. Monthly base salary
2. Lifetime cumulative record salary, paid 6 times a year
3. Tournament Stipend (To offset expenses)
4. Bout Prize Money (if the bout is sponsored)
5. Tournament Prize Money for winning and individual awards
6. Fan Club Contributions
7. Endorsements

It could be someone's fulltime job trying to keep track of all this and I am sure there is a small army at the Japan Sumo Association doing just that.  However, the majority of a sumo wrestler's salary is typically made up of the monthly salary and this information is published in various forums each year.  I did a quick and dirty Excel Spreadsheet to show the increase in a sumo wrestler's monthly base salary from the early 1970s until last year.  There are some interesting trends:

1. Yokozuna Hakuho with his 40 tournament wins and longevity in the sport yields him close to a $25,000/month base salary.  His true salary is probably 2-4 times that amount.

2. The huge sumo boom that started in the early 1990s and lasted until the late 1990s is reflected in the above pay chart.  Wakanohana, Takanohana, and Akebono all contributed to this huge increase in popularity.

3. The stagnation of the salaries is evident in the 21st century.  Popularity stalled due to the rise of the Mongolians and the subsequent lose of Japanese interest.  Profits dropped and the Sumo Association could not afford to really increase wrestler salary.

4. It is hard to see, but the gap between Juryo and Yokozuna base salaries is closing.

5. The biggest base salary jump is from Sekiwake/Komusubi to Ozeki.  It makes sense since this is the true delineation point between a good and great wrestler.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thanks awesome card from an awesome collector!

If you don't read Cardboard History by Billy Kingsley, you are missing out.  I pull up his blog at least once a day seeing if he has posted anything new as I like his style of writing, his passion, his amazing collection, and his great attitude.  I sent Billy a small care package a few months ago with some early 1990 hockey boxes since I knew it would fit perfectly in his collection.  He surprised me this week with an amazing card.  This card has NASCAR, Bruce Lee, and Japan written all over it and those that follow my blog know that it is a perfect fit!  Thanks Billy!

Here is the history of the card courtesy of Billy:

In 1996-1998 NASCAR ran 3 exhibition races in Japan.  In the final race, Jeff Burton drove this car (depicted on the card) and Racing Champions included it in the 1999 lineup of 1:64 scale cars.  Jeff did well finishing 4th and leading 14 laps.  Racing Champions numbered the cards only on the package that year....this is #23 in the 83-card issue.

Wow, thanks again Billy, but I am "mad" at you.  I spent the last 20 minutes on eBay looking at all the other cool NASCAR Japan stuff and have 5 new things watched.

Monday, March 12, 2018

1933 German Salem Gold Film Bilder Album and Cards

The flea market scene here in Germany is pretty legit.  There seem to be dozens around every community each weekend and even in the rain, the vendors are out braving the elements trying to make a Euro or two.  I stumbled upon these two albums and was able to snag them at a decent price.  I've seen them before, but have never been able to find ones that appealed to me.  These 1933 albums and cards were printed by the Salem Cigarette Company out of Dresden Germany.  The catalog numbers for Album #1 and #2 are 21903-5 and 21903-6, respectively.  The cards are amazingly beautiful with the gold ink and you can see how it reflects in the photos below.  There are some big names in these sets as well: Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper, and John Barrymore to name a few.  Album #1 has 180 cards in it while Album #2 has 270.  I was looking online for a checklist, but wasn't able to find one so I'll post one to the Trading Card Database for Series 1 and Series 2.  Thanks for stopping by.