Nagoya Aftermath – How We See It


Goeido Down

Day 15 put an end to a Nagoya basho that marked a further evolution of a trend that started with Hakuho’s injury a year ago. At that time, it was clear that “The Boss” was damaged, and no one knew if he was going to be able to return. Hakuho has been such a dominant force in sumo for an extended period of time, and his internal presence at the top of the banzuke set the rules for every basho for years.

With his win at Nagoya, Hakuho has managed to achieve back to back yusho after surgery and an extended recovery period. How long will his new reign last? Hakuho hopes at least 3 years, as he has stated yet again that he wants to perform a dohyo-iri as part of the 2020 Olympic ceremonies immediately following the Nagoya basho. His achievement of coming back after most fans (and it turns out the YDC) thought he was done, drew comment from the committee in their post basho meeting at the Kokugikan. They have decided to give Yokozuna Hakuho a special award for breaking the all time wins record and being the Michael Jordan of sumo. I am going to assume he needs to buy a shed to keep all of this stuff in. Maybe he can have Ishiura build him one with parts from Tokyu Hands.

We are in a transitional period where the old guard is either fading or staging their last mad surge of glory. We now have the next generation (I call them Tadpoles, because they mostly share the same body shape), in Makuuchi, and they are getting comfortable at the higher levels of competition. We guess that would be one of the stories at Nagoya, and it turns out it was a big continuation of the evolution in sumo.

Winners

  • Aoiyama – Jun Yusho! Congrats, prepare for your brutal fisting at Aki.
  • Takayasu – You did not choke in your first Ozeki basho. Rest up that pulled groin and bask in the fact that your peers are both kadoban.
  • Tochiozan – Not sure where that came from, but please, can we have more of this version of Tochiozan? He’s great. Calm, calculating, patient. He dismantles his opponents methodically.
  • Onosho – Two basho in makuuchi, two 10 win results. That’s big stuff. Get in line behind Aoiyama at Aki, you get to play with the big guns.
  • Ura – Yeah, you ended up with a make-koshi, but you survived a trip through the upper ranks without doing too poorly, and you got your first kinboshi. Excellent work expanded your sumo repertoire! Go heal up that knee and come back healthy.
  • Tochinoshin – When your healthy, you can really unleash some great sumo. It was great to see you genki again. I just know you are one more tweak to that knee away from being a breath away from intai.
  • Nishikigi – Never give up, never surrender. Fighting spirit like yours makes the sumo world go ’round!

Losers

  • Goeido – Kadoban again? You won Aki 2016 in a clean sweep! You are a fantastic Ozeki when you are in your groove, but it’s getting harder for you to find that groove.
  • Kakuryu – The YDC is talking about Aki being your last chance. It had to happen some time, please get well soon.
  • Terunofuji – I hope you did not damage that freshly repaired knee. Sumo needs you big kaiju.
  • Kisenosato – No, you can’t “naturally” heal a torn pectoral. Get your giant self to a surgery and get rebuilt.
  • Okinoumi – I wish there were some way you could get that painful injury repaired without retiring from sumo.
  • Gagamaru – Again we ask, “what are you doing in Makuuchi?”
  • Ikioi – Everyone wants you strong and ready to fight. Do you have one last run in you?
  • Kotoyuki – Either you get healed up, or you fade away. The modern sumo schedule is brutal, and it’s tearing you apart.
  • Kotoshogiku – You continue to fade, your spirit is strong but your body is failing your sumo. You make me sad now to watch you fight.

Thanks to all the readers who gave us yet another record breaking month. We are eternally thankful for you spending part of your day with us, and we hope you tell your friends and family about the joy of sumo. Onward to Aki!

11 thoughts on “Nagoya Aftermath – How We See It

  1. Other winners:

    Mitakeumi. The Shin-Sekiwake acquitted himself well at 9-6, was the only one to get dirt on the incomparable Hakuho, and earned a special prize.

    Yoshikaze. Defending the Komusubi rank is no joke, especially at his age. Defeated a Yokozuna, and likely earned a second spin at Sekiwake.

    Chiyotairyu and Shohozan. Put up 10-5 records at M10, and will find themselves on the outskirts of the joi-jin.

    Other losers:

    Endo. A disastrous basho after an early injury and withdrawal; will fall from the joi ranks to near the bottom of the banzuke.

    Tokushoryu. It’s not easy to drop from M9 to Juryo, but he probably achieved that feat.

    Sokokurai. From M2 to Juryo in 3 basho.

    Ichinojo. 7-8 is not bad, but when will the big guy get it together again? After his amazing 2014 debut, he went way downhill and lately has been treading water. When he’s on, he can be very effective; when he’s off, he seems totally uninterested and offers little resistance despite his size. Given the many lackluster performances by others this basho, and facing generally lowly opposition, he should have seized the opportunity to move up the banzuke, but failed to do so. How did he lose to Tokushoryu, by yorikiri no less?

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  2. Another winner was Hokutofuji, brought up to Maegashira #2 and managed 8 wins while fighting all the big boys. Given the level of competition that he faced, I think he was probably the most successful of the young guns.

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  3. I have 4 rikishi to root for: Kakuryu, Takayasu, Ikioi, and Shodai

    Ikioi can be Komusubi level if he tried but he curls up when he goes to upper maegashira.
    Shodai should be back soon.
    Takayasu may be having shin-ozeki jitters.
    I’m most worried about Kakuryu. The next may be the last and he is really my top guy.

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    • I worry about Takayasu. So much of what he has been able to accomplish comes from his constant training with Kisenosato. Tagonoura is not a very deep heya, apart from Takayasu and Kisenosato they are almost all Jonidan or Jonokuchi rikishi. Without someone bigger and stronger to push against, Takaysu is at best stalled out, and at worst going to decline a bit month over month.

      Shodai can be a big deal if he can figure out to come out much lower on his tachiai.

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  4. Onosho could steal the place in my heart currently held by Hokutofuji. That guy has some sumo in him.

    Ichinojo is dear to me for two reasons. First, he has the face of a 75-year-old Japanese grandmother. Second, he seems totally unaware that he is bigger, stronger, and better than most of the other wrestlers. He’s right behind Terunofuji for Most Sumo-Ready Body.

    He put up a nice basho late last year (early this year?) and it looked like he was about to go on a tear. Sadly, he seems so confused when he steps into the dohyo. Not sure he has the mind or the will for it, like one of those 7-footers that gets forced to play basketball when he’d really rather be a dentist.

    Here’s my bleak take on Kisenosato: Brian Orakpo. Sure, he could get the surgery on his pec. He’ll just tear it again with the strain they put on their bodies up there. I think he knows that his career is over either way, and so he’s just going to get as much sumo in as he can before the end.

    Into the wilderness of waiting I go!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think one should translate 偉業 as “surprise”, but rather as “great feat” in this context, so I don’t interpret that article as the YDC being surprised at his achievement.

    But I find the second paragraph more intriguing. It seems to imply that they hinted heavily at Tagonoura and Kisenosato that they would not like to see him start another basho and leave in the middle, but would prefer to see him “in perfect shape”. Which means they kind of join your own wish – only they have a greater clout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trust me, I have a bot running that is sifting everything I can think of for any peep that Kisenosato is under medical treatment. They have given him carte blanche to go to dry dock.

      Like

  6. Sad to see my main man Takakeisho under-perform.

    Also, I would have liked to have seen Aoiyama vs. Hakuho, although I have a feeling how that would have ended!

    And poor Kotoshogiku — my wife nearly cries whenever he climbs the dohyo. I think it’s time to retire and get that chanko nabe restaurant started…

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    • Watching Kotoshogiku makes me very sad as well. If he opens a chanko shop, I certainly will go, even take him a bottle of fine whiskey from the family stills. I do love me the Kyushu Bulldozer!

      The battle of Aoiyama vs Hakuho is coming. But he did face him on day 9 of Natsu – it was not pretty.

      There was an “accidental” teabagging of the man-mountain right there at the end. Funny how many times that happens when Hakuho is involved.

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