The Next One, Part 2: Asashoryu Jr.

Asashoryu’s nephew has announced that he will join Tatsunami beya. His debut is scheduled for the November tournament in Kyushu. He visited Kokugikan in his first year in high school and knew he wanted to become a sumo wrestler. He has competed and won at the amateur level, it will be interesting to see if he has his own success as a professional.

9 thoughts on “The Next One, Part 2: Asashoryu Jr.

  1. I can see the family resemblance (the guy has his uncle’s lips).

    This one is coming to the ring at the old age of 18. So it will be interesting to test the speculations raised in the previous post about how early you have to join to go far in the sport.

    I read an article yesterday that said that Hakuho is planning a revolution in the Sumo world – the cancellation of the foreigner quota – once he becomes an oyakata. This nephew of Asashoryu is going into a small heya, only because its foreigner rikishi is going intai soon (though they are trying to put a brighter face on it in the post you linked). It will be interesting to see how that revolution unfolds. A single oyakata can’t change much, but he may be backed by other foreign-born oyakata, and maybe by some of the domestic ones who want to attract more young talent to their own heya. But will it be good for the sport as a whole?

    As for this young Byambasüren (hard to tell what his full name is from the Japanese transliteration, and anyway he’ll get a shikona soon enough), it seems he shows some signs of talent, though it seems like Hakuho had fish hard for a compliment to give him after a practice scramble… Time will tell.

    • Tatsunami-beya is not exactly small with almost 20 deshi… The last of at one time three foreign rikishi retired in March, so no issues with the foreigner quota.

      • 17, unless anybody joined since the Kyokai’s page was updated? But I agree that it’s bigger than, say, the new Naruto beya. :-) But what I meant was less about absolute numbers and more about the apparent strength of the heya. It has two very inexperienced sekitori. I would have expected a “heir apparent” to choose either the uncle’s old heya (dynasty style, though it’s not necessarily the best choice), or one where there were good mentors for optimal training – if he was free to do either.

        You are right, I misread the part about Ryuonami’s retirement, I read it as “in the next haru basho”, but of course, it was “this year’s haru basho”. Next year would have made no sense anyway. Silly me.

        Anyway, correct me if I’m wrong, but the current rule is one foreign rikishi per stable. I assume that the “one time three foreign rikishi” were recruits from before the ban? Or in short, if Ryuonami didn’t retire, young Byambasüren would have had to find another heya. Right?

        • Is 17 not almost 20? ;) The average number per stable is 15 at the moment (and median 14), for what it’s worth.

          Takasago-beya is still run by the same guy with whom Asashoryu frequently clashed, so I’d have been a bit surprised if the nephew was going there, even with the foreigner slot available since Asasekiryu’s recent retirement. In general it’s difficult to guess where a new foreign recruit might end up, even given the limited number of options – many times a stable without a foreigner will already have their eyes on somebody for future recruiting, so just knowing that e.g. Sadogatake-beya’s slot is currently unfilled doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s actually available.

          (And sometimes plans change; Turbold/Mitoryu was originally linked to Minato-beya out of high school, but something fell through there, he went on to university, and Minato took Ichinojo instead a year later.)

          Tatsunami originally had two foreign rikishi from back when that was still within the rules. (2 per stable, overall maximum 40 – then changed to the current rule of one per stable with no maximum total.) The stable later exploited the now-closed loophole that the slot could be reopened by having the wrestlers take Japanese citizenship, which allowed Ryuonami to join as number 3. Anyway, I think it’s an okay choice for the new guy. Ex-Asahiyutaka has a bit of a reputation for being hard to work with at the oyakata level, but I’ve never heard anything negative about his coaching qualities. And the stable has a young-ish roster with a decent mix of skill levels.

    • No relevant bökh experience according to one report. He came over to Japan in order to train Olympic wrestling (before he decided to switch to sumo), so I assume he did some of that back in Mongolia. No idea how good he was at it.


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