Kaisei Sanyaku Debut

Kaisei is a Brazilian Japanese sumo wrestler. He made his makuuchi debut in 2011 so he’s been in the upper ranks for quite a while.  His sanyaku debut will be in May. He will have a rough first week. He has never beaten a Yokozuna in 19 bouts. The only Ozeki he has beaten is Goeido, whom he’s beaten three times in five bouts. However, Kaisei’s only other Ozeki victory came against an injured Baruto in 2012. He will need to step it up if he hopes to stay among the upper ranks.

May 2016: Banzuke

There’s a lot of movement in this month’s banzuke as all sekiwake and komusubi from March were demoted going a combined 17-43. As a result, the Summer tournament will see three rikishi in their highest ever ranks: Kotoyuki’s flying high as East Sekiwake, while Ikioi and Kaisei leapfrog Okinoumi behind their impressive double-digit wins.

It’s been nearly four years since Kaisei last peaked at top maegashira. He has yet to garner a kachi-koshi winning record at a rank higher than M6. I hope he clings around in the upper ranks. I’ve covered Ikioi and Kotoyuki quite a bit in the past so I’ll look more in depth at Kaisei’s record in the next few days and hope to post a profile on him before the weekend. He’s been a bit streaky and a bit disappointing but I honestly hope he’s been biding his time and waiting for a good time to make moves into sanyaku.

Osunaarashi will make a splash at M7 while Endo barely edges back into the makuuchi at M15. I’m going to keep my eye out for Endo banners now that he’s back.

山: Mountain (with a side of Hokusai)

WP_20160419_18_22_45_ProIt’s been a while since I posted about kanji. A great example to mention when it comes to sumo is 山 because it’s used in so many shikona. There’s two basic readings for this kanji, yama and –san. Either way, it means mountain and accurately reflects the girth of guys like Aoiyama (碧山). After some characters the s-sound is changed to a z, like in Tochiozan (栃煌山) and Shohozan (松鳳山). Other makuuchi warriors with related shikona are Satoyama – perhaps with a touch of irony – and Akiseyama (otherwise known as the body of Kim Jong-Un).

Mount Fuji, or Fuji-san, is an important symbol in Japanese culture. Many works of art feature the mountain, the most famous being Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mount Fuji.” I’ve posted a picture of one of them that I have at home, “The Kazusa Province Sea Route” (上総の海路). In this picture, you can just make out Fuji-san on the horizon near the full sail.

A few years ago, the whole collection toured at the Smithsonian Museum here in DC. Some great blog posts here: http://bento.si.edu/tag/thirty-six-views/. If anyone has a chance to visit Washington, DC, I would encourage stopping by the Freer and Sackler Galleries. They’ve got great works from all over Asia, including frequent exhibitions from masters like Hokusai.

Another Earthquake

A few hours ago there was another earthquake in roughly the same area as the previous ones. This map from the United States Geological Survey shows just how many there have been over the past two days. All of these are greater than 4.5 Magnitude. Japan has a different scale that goes to 7 and it varies based on where one is from where the quake hits. My thoughts and prayers are with those of you all there in Kumamoto.

To give some frame of reference, Kumamoto is about 1200km from Tokyo…about the same distance as Jacksonville, FL from Washington, DC.

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