Ura’s Triumphant Kinboshi

A Fantastic Achievement.

Sumo fans in Japan and around the world were stunned by Ura’s defeat of Yokozuna Harumafuji. Even though Harumafuji has been competing hurt since May, Ura’s accomplishment was unexpected, and will likely change the way he is perceived for years to come. As his fans revel in his victory, his critics can no longer dismiss him as a stunt or sideshow amuesment. Ura is a legitimate joi-jin rikishi, and if he can stay healthy, will likely be a force in sumo for the next few years.

If you watch the video above, it’s clear that Ura is overwhelmed. In all likelyhood he thought the day he faced a Yokozuna was some time in the future, maybe later this year, and the day he could actually defeat one some time beyond that. As he steps off the dohyo, it’s almost as he’s in shock.

In his interview, it’s almost if he barely comprehends what the reporter is asking him, he’s just a stream of thought. At one point he describes that his sumo just flowed through him, and his body was moving by it’s own will. He applied all of his strength and put everything into the instant he took hold of Harumafuji’s arm in a two hand hold.

At the end, he breaks into tears, so overwhelmed by the outcome he can no longer contain his emotions.

During my visit to the Natsu basho, the crowd was really behind Ura. In him they see a fellow that gets discounted and marginalized, but rises up anyhow and applies himself. This is a quintessential Japanese mythos, and he fits it in many ways. Reader nicolaah was present in Nagoya for day 9, and shares: “The Ura match was brilliant to be there for in person. EVERYONE was screaming and yelling about Dai kinboshi. Some people were actually crying.” Given my experience with fans at the Kokugikan and how they feel about Ura, this sounds about right.

Congratulations to Ura, you continue to prove your critics wrong. But don’t get cocky, it just gets tougher from here.

7 thoughts on “Ura’s Triumphant Kinboshi

  1. I was also speaking to a female Japanese fan about our favourite rikishi.
    I explained that I am a big fan of Hokotofuji, not just for his wrestling skills but for the respect he shows his opponents, whether he wins or loses. She agreed, and that is also the reason she is an Ura fan. He has great and unique sumo skill, but he also has a deep respect for his opponents and the sport.

  2. Is it weird that I was actually expecting Ura to pull off the big upset? I can’t be the only one…
    Especially after his bout against Hakuho yesterday, when he gave the Yokozuna a bit of a run for his money. Ura is so fast, he can get super low, and is just an all around tricky and slippery guy, I thought “his style just will not bode well for Harumafuji”. Just like Yoshikaze, who’s a speedy, also on the smaller side man, gives Harumafuji lots of trouble, as shown by their 9-9 record. The Yokozuna’s main stenght is his agility, and when he faces guys like that, he can struggle…
    And I was really hoping to be proven wrong, as Haru is, by a large margin, my favorite man. But Ura was awesome! He’s definitely among my favorites too, so no hard feelings, haha. And the moment on his interview when he could not stop the tears from coming anymore was quite endearing.

    • Ura will never be a steamroller but he makes things happen in the dohyo. Will his body hold up? Will he stay a step ahead of his opponents? Who knows. But he makes things happen, and that means that as long as he’s not completely outmatched physically (cough, Hakuho), he’s got chances. In a way, that makes someone like Harumafuji a prime candidate for him to be able to put on the ground.

    • Whenever Harumafuji goes up against a Maegashira, the possibility is there. I need to dig up and update my Harumafuji kinboshi page.


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