YDC Encourages Kisenosato To Prioritize Recovery


In an article published in Mainichi, a member of the Yokozuna Deliberation Committee is quoted, urging Kisenosato to heal, recover and get healthy. Recent reports have highlighted the Yokozuna’s efforts to prepare not only for the Aki basho, but to join the Jungyo tour later this month.

In the article, Mr Kitamura is quoted as saying that Kisenosato should commit to skipping the Aki basho. Saying, “Don’t be foolish, even if the fans beg you to compete, prioritized your recovery”.

As a western observer viewing this from afar, there is an odd push-pull being playing out in the media around Kisenosato. I note that as long as Kisenosato himself does not accept that his injury is significant and cannot “heal naturally”, he will continue to think he is just days or weeks from returning to full health.

14 thoughts on “YDC Encourages Kisenosato To Prioritize Recovery

  1. His stablemaster is not making it any easier for him, either. I suspect that another factor is that he doesn’t have a wife who would veto this sort of thing, as do the other Yokozuna.

    • I don’t think Tagonoura is pushing him into competing, if that’s what you’re insinuating. I suspect it’s more that he’s relatively young and inexperienced as a shisho, and was himself a rather low-ranked guy while active (and known as a gentle giant type rather than a born leader), so he’s probably finding it hard to overrule his intensely driven deshi and just tell him, “no, you’re not stepping on the dohyo next month!”

      • Well, I’ve seen him quoted in several articles as saying “Better improve your body in the tour, resting is out of the question” or other variations on this theme. I’ve not seen any hint of him saying he will try to reason with the Yokozuna or pass the advice to him etc.

        • Well, Tagonoura’s not going to publicly say “I tried to reason with him, but there was no way to talk him out of participating”.

          I only ever recall one shisho who threw his own deshi under the bus in public about an injury issue, and that one went the opposite way: Takadagawa basically calling Ryuden a wuss because he wouldn’t keep competing with the hip injury he sustained in his juryo debut. Ryuden ended up missing most of the next year and a half due to that injury, so it was probably a bit more major than Takadagawa thought at the time…

          • I was thinking more of “I tend to agree with the YDC and I will certainly discuss that with the wrestler”. Of course no Japanese would say “I disagree with someone” in public. Except in politics, perhaps.

          • The thing is that the YDC is not really an authority, just an advisory council of laypeople who are meant to be some sort of (educated) representation of sumo’s general fanbase. Their post-tournament statements are relevant, but I’ve never really seen Kyokai personnel or rikishi comment on them publicly, just like they don’t respond to something like Mainoumi’s press commentary on the subject (which I think was alluded to in a previous Tachiai post).

        • Basically, what I’m trying to say is: When it comes to star rikishi such as Kisenosato, assume that every public comment his shisho makes also reflects what the rikishi himself thinks. Nothing that can be construed as a difference of opinion will actually end up quoted in the press.

          • From everything that has been reported in the past 8 month “Kisenosato Media Orgy” points to him being relentless and driven, and he takes the world of sumo very seriously. We can also assume that he is downplaying the extent and severity of his injury, or he would have already gone to a top flight sports surgeon and getting the repair process started.

            So it looks like we are going to get to watch him fall apart one basho at a time.

    • They would be, if Takayasu delivers the same shoulder blasts in practice as he does in competition.

  2. As much as we can rationally say how Kise needs surgery and rehab if he wants a realistic shot at winning any more yusho (he clearly does), I understand his reluctance. I read somewhere that he literally never missed a single day of school in his life, presumably he took that same philosophy to training and competing, and it took him to the absolute pinnacle of his chosen craft. He attained something only 73 people in history ever have with this tenacious tactic. Altering methodologies now must seem radically counterintuitive.

    • It’s not a realistic shot at winning any more yusho. It’s a realistic shot at evading intai before Hatsu 2018. In his current condition, he’ll be very lucky to get a kachi-koshi in any tournament if he doesn’t do any further tochuu-kyujo.

      I understand your argument, though. But it reminds me of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”, where she discusses the balance between giving in to the opinions of your peers, and being obstinate, throwing caution to the wind. It’s sad to see a thirty-something man with excellent work ethic being this obstinate, if indeed he is the sole responsible party in this insanity.

      Of course, there is always the possibility that we are all wrong, and he didn’t actually tear his muscle. There was this physical therapist in one of the articles I read in the past few days who described a situation in which the X-Rays and MRIs show no sustained problem, but there is still pain in the area as the nerves are still sensitive, and it’s that pain that causes him to fail. In which case this is theoretically something that can be gotten over without surgery. But I’m not sure if the speaker was one who is actually in on the case or just speaks in theory.


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