Nagoya 2016: Special Prizes

Yes, I’m dragging this out because it’s going to be a long time until September. Four wrestlers took home special prizes and there were likely other candidates for special prizes, like Shodai and Ichinojo, if they had managed wins the last day. In all, four special prizes were awarded. That’s the most since September of last year.

  1. Technique: Takayasu (1st) – The technique prize hasn’t been awarded much over the past few years, only 6 times in the previous 21 tournaments. His 10 competitive wins came from using a variety of 7 different winning techniques.
  2. Fighting Spirit: Takanoiwa (1st) & Takarafuji (1st) – Takarafuji’s fighting spirit prize came by virtue of not only having 10 wins at the difficult Maegashira #2 position, but punctuating that record with wins over 4 of 7 sanyaku wrestlers faced: 1 Yokozuna, 2 Ozeki and 1 Sekiwake. It’s important to note that as a stablemate of Harumafuji and Terunofuji, he did not wrestle either of them. Takanoiwa’s strong second-place finish was rewarded with the Fighting Spirit prize…and likely a position in the rough-and-tumble top Maegashira ranks in September.
  3. Outstanding Performance: Yoshikaze (2nd) – Yoshikaze’s 10-5 record, including a critical win over cup-winner Harumafuji, ended a special prize drought of three tournaments. This time last year he started the remarkable streak of 4 special prizes and two kinboshi in 3 basho, propelling him to sekiwake. He’s fallen back of late from those highs but he still owns Harumafuji with a shocking 5-3 record against the yokozuna.

8 thoughts on “Nagoya 2016: Special Prizes

  1. Having only recently gotten back into Sumo (from the US), I was completely enthralled by Yoshikaze’s performance at Nagoya. Admittedly I am a novice, but it my eye he looks to have been very strong for being ranked West Maegashira #5. I am eager to see how he does in September.

  2. I admit I am re-engaging in Sumo after a long absence, but safe to assume this is not the first time that Yoshikaze has been injured and bleeding out during a basho? Has it always been his eyes? I manage to find his twitter feed ( and it seems he may still be in the hospital. I have to wonder if he sits out the September basho if it would help him heal.

    • It’s common for some boxers to get a reputation as a “bleeder,” I figure he’s just prone to it. In boxing, too, it’s usually that they’re prone to getting cut and bleeding a lot around the eye. Those guys go 10-12 rounds, though. With as short as sumo bouts are, I don’t figure it will hurt his career much unless it’s something more serious like a broken eye-socket or something.

  3. I hope he recovers and can continue. I like the fact he has a habit of collecting kinboshi, and that in spite of the brutal pounding that Harumafuji was dishing out, Yoshikaze took his time and put him on the clay.

    Really appreciate you take the time to publish this stuff. It’s a real asset for folks like myself who have a minimal grasp of written Japanese.

  4. This needs a fansub parody version. Especially when Kisenosato takes on Kotoshogiku, I could sense the tension.
    Kisenosato: Let’s go, you one-dimensional hack.
    Kotoshogiku: That’s oshidashi, bitch.
    Kisenosato: You got lucky, motherfucker.
    Kakuryu: (meekly) I got next cuz they said I have to win one.

  5. Say – here’s an idea. It’s a good 3 weeks until the even publish the Banzuke, how about you create an “open thread” topic for fans to carry on and speculate about the upcoming fall basho? Even if you post stories above it, you can use it as the place for commenters discuss all manner of Sumo stuff. Like what is the story about that Juryo Karaoke thing?


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