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Doreen Simmons
Doreen Sylvia Clarke

(1932-05-29)29 May 1932
Nottingham, England
Died 23 April 2018(2018-04-23) (aged 85)
Nationality English
Alma mater Girton College, Cambridge Hughes Hall, Cambridge
Occupation Writer, lecturer, commentator
Known for Sumo commentary

Doreen Sylvia Simmons (née Clarke; 29 May 1932 – 23 April 2018) was an English sumo commentator. After moving to Japan in 1973 she became an expert on sumo and was hired by NHK in 1992 to provide commentary for their English language sumo broadcasts. She was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in 2017.

Early life

She was born in Nottingham, England, the daughter of a civil servant and a store manager. She attended Mundella Grammar School and sang in its choir. She was a keen follower of cricket as a teenager and would visit Trent Bridge cricket ground every Saturday.

She studied theology and classics at Girton College, Cambridge and Hughes Hall, Cambridge from 1950 to 1954.


After graduation from college, she became a Latin and Greek teacher. She spent much of the 1960s teaching at a British Army school in Singapore, where she married. She made a three-month visit to rural Japan where she stayed on a farm and saw her first sumo match on television during the March tournament of 1968. After returning to England she taught classics and was a contestant in the first series of Mastermind, before deciding to return to Japan five years after her previous visit, securing a teaching post there in September 1973.

She worked at the International Language Centre in Jinbōchō, Tokyo, and then joined the Foreign Press Center, editing translations of Foreign Ministry press releases. She also checked English language material for both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors in the National Diet, and the National Diet Library.

Other interests

Simmons sang in Tokyo's British Embassy Choir. She also performed with the Tokyo International Players. She was a percussionist, playing the bodhrán and the djembe. She became a member of the Asiatic Society of Japan in 1980 and later served for some years on the ASJ Council. She went bungee jumping in Australia at age 68 and as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity helped dig foundations for homes in Mongolia on her 71st birthday.

Personal life

Her marriage to Bob Simmons had ended in divorce, and she had no children.

Simmons died at her home in Tokyo on 23 April 2018 at the age of 85, of a pulmonary condition.

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