Newly-minted sekitori Yago gets baptism by fire


One of the interesting up-and-comers to follow (though we won’t see him on TV) is the new Sekitori, Yago. Like Mitakeumi and Endo before him, he got parachuted straight into Makushita after becoming Amateur Yokozuna, and wasted no time upgrading himself to sekitori within two basho (including grabbing the Makushita yusho at Nagoya).

Yago, still in a zanbara hairstyle and no shikona, is a member of the Oguruma stable, where he joins Yoshikaze, Takekaze and Amakaze in wearing the TP-roll training mawashi. Oguruma is part of the Nishonoseki ichimon.

Nishonoseki held joint training yesterday, and Yago was surprised to find himself invited to san-ban (consecutive training bouts) by no other than Ozeki Takayasu, on a visit from Tagonoura together with Han-Yokozuna Kisenosato. Takayasu made short work of the shin-Juryo, defeating him three consecutive times.

At this point, Kisenosato, who was doing shiko and teppo on the side lines, took interest and surprised Yago completely by also calling him in for san-ban. Kisenosato seemed to have really taken a liking to Yago. Which in the Sumo world translates to mashing the guy into thin pulp, with no less than 13 bouts. Yago matches Kisenosato’s hidari-yotsu, as well as size, which may be the reason for the prolonged torture, er, affection. However, half-Yokozuna or not half-Yokozuna, Yago was no match for Kisenosato’s level of Sumo, and found himself treated to a variety of kimari-te and by the final bouts, by his own description, he was out of stamina and simply dropped forward like a stone.

Here is a sample of the san-ban (taken from Twitter ):

The fun did not end there, though. As I said, Kisenosato really liked the guy. So he treated him to a butsukari-geiko, which included (loving) drill-sergeant taunts like “Put some spirit in it!”, “Too early for you to drop, you son-of-a…”. The fact is, however, that Yago held up for six minutes, which is quite respectable, especially following a 13-bout san-ban.

Yago’s summary: “It was a rare treat, a real learning experience.”

12 thoughts on “Newly-minted sekitori Yago gets baptism by fire

  1. That guy’s big. If he’s continuously trained in the environment where Kise and Takayasu trains, he will be up in Makuuchi in no time

    • Well, he is not in their heya (they are from Tagonoura, he is from Oguruma), but he may have a chance to practice with them again in joint ichimon practices, which are common before each honbasho.

      Anyway, I think he is lucky enough to be in a heya with three other sekitori, especially Yoshikaze. I’m not sure how generous Yoshikaze is in mentoring young rikishi, but Yago certainly needs to improve his tachiai and learn to keep himself low and mobile, and Yoshikaze is very good at that.

  2. Excellent first post, great to have you aboard Herouth. Watching the video you included, Kisenosato seemed to be less restricted than I would have assumed. I still hope he sits out Aki, but I can see that if he can keep from re-injuring himself and can train, he may be able to come back by Kyushu or Hatsu.

    His performance in this san-ban is quite different than the recent news that his health had gone down. So who know what kind of stuff is flying through the Japanese press. Glad to see the “Great Pumpkin” in action.

    • I think the reason that the Yago story flooded my Twitter feed yesterday was the way Kisenosato looks in the various clips from that encounter. Of course, lots of Kisenosato fans around my Twitter.

      I keep calling him Han-Yokozuna, but in reality, Nanawari-Yokozuna (70%) would be more accurate. His lower body seems to be in excellent condition. The ankle injury has never been his real problem (and was perhaps just a kyujo excuse). If you compare his tachiai to Yago’s… well, that’s the difference between an Amateur Yokozuna and a real one right there.

      As for his upper body, I’m less optimistic than you. Every clip that I saw has him either using his right hand, or using the left one for a forward push. I think he doesn’t have lateral power in that arm. Whether he can regain that power or not is a question of what the damage was to begin with.

  3. Congrats on a great first post Herouth!

    Here’s a question: is it too late for him to announce a windy new shikona before Sunday? Would that have needed to done before the banzuke announcement?

    • I can’t say for sure that banzuke day is the deadline, but in his case, his stablemaster made it clear that he was not getting a shikona at the moment. He made a pun: in Japanese, “yago” is also a dragonfly nymph, so he said that “until Yago becomes a Tonbo [dragonfly], there is no point in giving him wings”.

      So I suppose that Yago needs to prove that he is not just a strong amateur, but a real professional, before he can spread his wings and ride the wind. Perhaps the stablemaster will pair it with his first chon-mage (which I would guess will take at least a year).

      • That is really interesting – and also really curious

        Almost everyone else at the heya has taken on the wind! Apart from his next nearest rival in the stable, Nogami

        It’s interesting that the oyakata took that tact as a potential motivating factor with Yago and not someone like Tomokaze

          • As far as I know the stables need to notify shikona changes right for the banzuke-making session, but I would guess it’s possible to do it a little later in exceptional cases since it’s all done behind the scenes anyway. Not that much later though – the banzuke needs be finalized so it can be calligraphed and then printed, and that process starts several weeks before the public release.


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