Ikioi Gamberizes – Kotoshogiku’s Dream Shaken


Needs To Win 3 of Remaining 4

Kotoshogiku has been hit-or-miss since his stunning yusho in January 2016. Some tournaments he’s strong and dominant, others he is clearly in pain, injured and just can’t make his sumo work. At the end of the January tournament in 2017, he failed to clear his kadoban status and was demoted to Sekiwake, with a single chance of returning to Ozeki – if he scored 10 wins in the following basho.

The Tachiai crew agreed, this was a hard road, and might require some rikishi doing “favors” for the big bulldozer from Kyushu. But then Haru started, and it was clear that Kotoshogiku was in fighting form. He has been winning, using his sumo, against foes who are putting out full effort.

Ikioi is a fine sumotori with a solid future in Makuuchi, but he has had a terrible basho. In fact, he is already deep in make-koshi by day 10 shows just how poorly he has been doing at Maegashira 1. But somehow he found his sumo on day 11, and bested Kotoshogiku, in what was probably expected by most to be win #8 for the struggling former Ozeki.

Kotoshogiku was unable to lock up Ikioi for a Hug-n-Chug win, but instead, Ikioi kept mobile and slapped down Kotoshogiku when his balance went too far forward.

With today’s loss, Kotoshogiku can only lose 1 more bout and still regain his Ozeki title. Everyone loves a comeback story, especially when the hero is a nice guy that people like. But Kotoshogiku’s comeback story now hangs by a thread.

4 thoughts on “Ikioi Gamberizes – Kotoshogiku’s Dream Shaken

  1. Ok, a couple of people have called me out on twitter for use of the term “Gamberize”. Let me explain where it comes from.

    Many moons ago, I was a US Marine. I spent a bit over a year in Japan, and in doing so became infected with fascination for many Japanese cultural things, including sumo. I also learned enough Japanese to get myself into real trouble. There was a word in Japanese that was very much a piece of the Marine Corps way that has no equivalent in English – ganbaru (がんばる).

    English speakers have a long and crazy history of lifting good / interesting / useful words from other languages they encounter. Ganbaru seemed like a good one, in that it expresses an intent or encouragement to give it everything you’ve got – even when you think you have done all you can, go harder / better / faster.

    In English there is a word suffix – “ize” which means to apply something to an object, action or situation. So when faced with a challenging or difficult or impossible situation, you could say that you are going to ganbar-ize. This means you are going to put in whatever effort it takes to overcome and achieve.

    Somehow down the line, the N became an M and it turned into “Gamberize”.

    Long time readers will note I have used it a few times in the past, but I am honored to report the blog is being read enough now that actual Japanese sumo fans think I have lost my marbles because I am using a term that almost translates into Japanese, but is clearly very wrong.

    To anyone who I may have offended by my corruption of a wonderful word in Japanese, I do apologize. But I will likely keep using it, in part because it reminds me, of my colleagues in the JMSDF who I had the pleasure of getting to know, who would do whatever it took to accomplish the mission. This attitude towards success is one of the things that makes Japan a country and population worthy of admiration.

    • Oh…so that what it means!! Ha ha! You had me scratching my head over that one, Bruce. And had me running to the internet going, “What the frack is he saying?”! Nice one! Hey man, it’s uniquely you — so use it. Doesn’t bother me at all.

      • Not sure if I can claim credit for it’s invention, but I do use it in real life too. Just this week my wife told me she was going to “Gamberize” against a tough situation.


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