The Return of Kisenosato

Kisenosato Natsu Banzuke

It is reported (via Yahoo Japan) that on Thursday, August 10th, Yokozuna Kisenosato will join the summer jungyo, as the sumo PR tour makes a stop in his home ground in Ibaraki, where he is a local hero.

Readers will recall that it is the opinion of the Tachiai team that Kisenosato should have already undergone reconstructive surgery to repair damage to his left pectoral muscle in March. But clearly the first Japanese born Yokozuna in a generation wants no part of that, and instead will work with what he has and do his best.

His stable master is cited as saying that Kisenosato has limited training opportunities in Tokyo more or less alone when most of the sekitori are out on the PR tour. Therefore, in order to train and condition for the upcoming Aki basho in 4 weeks, he must go out on tour.

While I am sure sumo fans worldwide will be thrilled to see Kisenosato back in action, we all recognize that he is still hurt, and likely has no path to recovery short of a protracted medical intervention. We all wish him the best of luck and the greatest possible health.

9 thoughts on “The Return of Kisenosato

  1. Entirely predictable – entirely avoidable. For god’s sake, the YDC even told him to take as much time as he needed to get himself back together.

    • Have you seen him perform in the beginning of Nagoya? Do you think anything has improved since then? I think “end of 2017” is more likely. He can’t continue to quit in the middle of tournaments.

      • I agree but I didn’t want to sound all doom-y. Someone around here has to try to set the best-case scenario! :)

        I can imagine him retiring early at Aki, being just healthy enough to limp through Kyushu with a few lucky breaks, and making it to the start of 2018. Maybe he gets back just enough to wrestle one-armed for a few basho next year before the end comes. That seems like best-cast at this point.

        His worst would be blowing out his arm on day one of Aki and being done with it all. Although compared to the pain he’s going to put himself through, that might not be worst cases after all.

        • Well, a best-case scenario is that we are all wrong and his muscle is not actually torn. In that case he may be able to actually look like a Yokozuna in Aki. :-)

          But the thing is that I don’t think he has the option to go tochuu-kyujo again. If he starts Aki, he will have to fight all fifteen fights or start hearing hints that he is “not showing Yokozuna dignity”. He was already told that he’s expected to return only if he’s in perfect shape, after two consecutive tochuu-kyujo. He may be treated with more patience than Kakuryu, but there is already displeasure at the preferential treatment he has been getting. Eventually, the kyokai knows that a Japanese-born Yokozuna who cannot hold his own on the dohyo will become a source of embarrassment rather than pride.

          So I’m assuming that he doesn’t have the option to “retire early at Aki”. If he has to do the full 15 days, he’ll be make-koshi. No Mongolian is going to cut him any slack, for sure. Neither will self-respecting Japanese sekitori. And a Yokozuna can’t really refuse to retire after a make-koshi.

  2. Maybe JSA presurring him? So not to loose much money. With so many hurt high ranker, I see interest to decline, profit too

    • There seemed to be more than enough attendance at jungyo events with the 1 yokozuna, so even Harumafuji’s return surprised me. Comments on the Japanese articles seem to be in line with comments here, expressing concern for his health rather than excitement for his return. I would just hope the JSA would tolerate even a considerable dip in popularity for an extended absence (which dip does not appear to be occurring) more than a hasty, half-baked, ineffective return that further impairs his career. But with all of the retirement talk around so many sanyaku wrestlers lately, I wonder if this will precipitate a wave of intai by early 2018.

  3. If anybody is interested in what he looked like on joining the tour, here is an NHK page with a highlight clip.

    No actual bouts, only rather soft practice moves, and the obligatory dohyo iri, which shows that his ankles are probably fine.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.