Shin-Yokozuna’s Dohyo-iri Greatly Improved.
On Sunday, at the Kokugikan in Tokyo, the Japan Sumo Association conducted the 41st annual one-day sumo tournament. It is a winner take all / single knock out style competition that featured elements of jungyo along with elements of a regular basho. This included dohyo-iri from the sekitori present, including Yokozuna Hakuho, Kakuryu and Kisenosato. It should be noted that Kisenosato’s dohyo-iri looked greatly improved, but still not as graceful and theatrical as Hakuho or Harumafuji. He and his attendants are still wearing the ceremonial kesho-mawashi from Wakanohana I.
Events went on for several hours, with elimination bouts being interspersed with typical jungyo favorites such as rikishi vs swarms of local children, and interestingly enough, several retired rikishi and coaches suiting up and going at it on the dohyo. Frankly, this part was really the most fun / interesting to watch as these guys, while not in peak condition of their younger years, carry a massive amount of knowledge and skill.
The final bout featured Kisenosato defeating Takanoiwa, taking the championship for this single day tournament. Like the big tournaments, the winner receives a number of prizes, some of them large and/or strange. A favorite feature of this Tokyo mini-tournament is that the winner receives an air conditioning unit, which they hand him at the center of the dohyo.
Fantastic video from english language sumo stalwart, Kintamayama to be found on YouTube
It should also be noted that this event, although it was just a “fun” competition – was a complete raging sell out. Even the “day of” reserved seats disappeared in 15 minutes, and the demand for attendance was above what the Kokugikan could accommodate. It would seem that Japan is in the grips of sumo fever now that Kisenosato has gotten his tsuna.
Also – if you thought I was joking about the air conditioner, check it out via twitter!