November 2015, Day 15: Storylines


  1. Harumafuji Yusho
  2. Special Prizes
    1. Technique: Yoshikaze
    2. Fighting Spirit: Ikioi & Shohozan
  3. Homarenishiki 6 Wins, Promotion to Sandanme
  4. Goeido Kachi-koshi
  5. Death of Kitanoumi
  6. Injuries

20002308YushoThe first storyline from this month’s tournament is that Harumafuji picked up his 7th Yusho. He’s the fourth different winner over the last four tournaments: Terunofuji(五月), Hakuho(七月), Kakuryu(九月), Harumafuji (十一月). The last time there were four different winners in a row actually wasn’t that long ago. Coincidentally, it was also the last time there were four winners all in the same calendar year, 2012: Baruto(一月), Hakuho(三月), Kyokutenho(五月), Harumafuji(七月).

Special PrizesYoshikaze had another great tournament. As Myogiryu and Tochinoshin faltered, he will likely be able to take over the vacated sekiwake spot. He was only just able to pick up his kachi-koshi on Saturday, losing on Sunday to Ikioi.

Ikioi had another stellar tournament and won the fighting spirit prize along with Shohozan. They finished the tournament tied with Hakuho with 12 wins. It was Ikioi’s 4th fighting spirit prize, his second in a row. Ikioi is particularly strong in these middle maegashira ranks. As I’ve noted before, he’s had a lot of success when ranked M4-M6. I really appreciate how he goes after every bout with the same intensity.

HomarenishikiThe up-and-coming Canadian wrestler, Homarefuji, is doing well and is moving quickly up the ranks. He’ll likely jump into the top half of Sandanme division, likely into the Sd40s.

Goeido Remains Ozeki. Barely.I’m not a big fan of people who just do the minimum. So with Goeido seemingly kadoban every other tournament, I just wonder how much longer this can go on. At sekiwake, he was so solid, almost never going make-koshi over the course of 14 tournamets & more than two years. Only twice he finished with 7 wins and five times he had 10 wins or more. However, as ozeki he has yet to win 10 bouts in a tournament. He can’t string together more than four wins in a row and it’s usually just two in a row…if that.

November 2015, Day 14: Harumafuji Goes for Yusho


Harumafuji hit Kakuryu with the same fierceness he displayed against Hakuho…and Kakuryu bumbled as he did against Terunofuji. With Hakuho’s iffy loss to Terunofuji, Harumafuji leads alone. Hakuho met Terunofuji at the tachiai rather softly and then they leaned against each other for a long while before Terunofuji drove Hakuho out. Terunofuji secured kachi-koshi with that win and I expect him to pull out, giving Kotoyuki a 9th win tomorrow.

Ikioi will fly up into sanyaku, likely taking over the komusubi slot which will be vacated by Tochinoshin. Yoshikaze’s impressive win over Goeido will likely bring promotion into sekiwake. If Goeido loses tomorrow, he could take the sekiwake slot away from Yoshikaze but I think it’s highly unlikely. He fights Tochiozan, who already has his kachi-koshi and thus little incentive to do anything but keep himself from getting injured. However, if Tochiozan wants to start another ozeki run, 9 wins could be helpful.

Osunaarashi is out, injured, as is Kotoshogiku. Endo should be resting. He’s obviously hurt and will likely be little challenge tomorrow for Myogiryu, who’s been woeful with a weakened ankle.

November 2015, Day 13: Harumafuji Beats Hakuho


Harumafuji showed quite a bit of aggression in his win over Hakuho today. It’s his second straight over the 大横綱. In a very quick match, Harumafuji went right at Hakuho on the tachiai and appeared to headbutt the senior yokozuna. After breaking to the left and trying to get a belt grip, he made Hakuho spin around. Hakuho retreated and tried to regroup but Harumafuji was on him quickly and slammed him to the ground, perilously close to the salt container.

Normally, the fact that Hakuho has to fight Terunofuji would be an advantage to Harumafuji, who is prevented from fighting his stablemate. However, Hakuho will probably pick up an easy win from the injured ozeki who will need to beat either Hakuho or Kakuryu to avoid going kadoban. He should have sat out this tournament.

Kotoshogiku came up noticeably lame after his kachi-koshi win against Myogiryu. Kisenosato may pick up a nice freebie win tomorrow. Myogiryu will have his hands full with Aoiyama. He has only won two matches so he’ll be plummeting down the banzuke. Aoiyama will fall, too, but likely only a few spots.

Thankfully, Myogiryu and Goeido are stablemates. Otherwise Goeido might have an easier time of preserving his rank. Today, Goeido beat Kisenosato in a rather weakly contested matchup. Tomorrow, Goeido will face Yoshikaze who is trying to get his kachi-koshi as well so he can stay in sanyaku and likely even be promoted to sekiwake. He lost a surprising one to Aminishiki. Aminishiki – with those bad knees – was able to get low position against the shorter komusubi and drive him out pretty quickly.

November 2015, Day 11: Kakuryu “Won” One


Our leaders are unchanged. Hakuho beat Kisenosato and Harumafuji slapped the crap out of Tochiozan. It looked like Kisenosato may have had a shot at a hatakikomi win at one point but couldn’t react quickly enough.

I’m sorry, but it looked to me like Kotoshogiku rolled over pretty easy on this one. It was just odd because Giku didn’t even seem to attempt any jack-rabbit thrusts. They clinched, and he “got thrown,” game over.

Goeido effectively lost twice today against Ichinojo, even after the uncalled matta. He will face Harumafuji tomorrow, likely with Yoshikaze, Myogiryu and Tochiozan still to go. It will be hard to pick up 2 wins in there.

Yoshikaze put up a great effort against Terunofuji but all for naught as the one-legged ozeki was able to score a great throw. The most amusing match today was Tochinoshin pulling a henka on Aminishiki. Beautiful.

NekoDamashi x2 + Henka = Angry Japanese Press


Okay, the hilarious Hakuho/Tochiozan match had more going on than I noticed when I watched this morning. I obviously saw the henka but I didn’t notice the hand-clapping. The clap is called neko damashi. Mainoumi, who is frequently the Japanese commentator for NHK, was famous for this move. Apparently the Japanese media is all aflutter because they think the trick is not becoming of a yokozuna, nevermind the fact that he did it twice and topped that with a henka.

Mainoumi could get away with it because he was tiny and needed to pull out all the stops to succeed. This is another bit of silliness.

November 2015: Kakuryu Falls


Kakuryu fell to Goeido in the final match and biggest upset of the day. Previously, Hakuho’s failed henka was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. Tochiozan stopped his momentum before falling out, so Hakuho had to run over and shove him a few times to get him out of the ring.

After Shohozan’s loss to Ikioi, Takayasu’s loss to Kyokushuho, and Kisenosato’s loss to Toyonoshima (arguably a bigger upset than Goeido over Kakuryu), Harumafuji stands as the lone competition trailing Hakuho who still controls his own destiny. If Harumafuji wins out, including victories over Hakuho, he will win the tournament.