Special thanks to Herouth who is absolutely killing it with her commentary.
The Aki basho continues to be a chaotic swirl as the new order battles the old for the future. This is most likely the “false dawn” of this new order, as the stalwarts of sumo are not yet gone, simply too injured to compete for now. Will they be able to return? For some of them, no. At least not in any appreciable form.
Indicative of weakness in the old order, reports are coming in that Ozeki Terunofuji has once again injured his knees, and is considering just accepting the demotion and declaring himself kyujo. Meanwhile, the other surviving Ozeki – Goeido, has yet to really show us Ozeki level sumo. We have seen him strong and dominant. We have seen him crumple and fold Kisenosato, Harumafuji and Hakuho. But for whatever reason he is locked in some kind of survival mode, and he dares not fight by moving forward.
In response to Herouth’s headline – we are going to see a wave of retirements (Intai) in the next year, there can be no doubt. All that is required is for one senior / stalwart to boldly be the first to make a move for the exit, and many will follow suit. For those of us who love the “old guard”, steel your hearts. Thanks to people like Jason and Kintamayama, we will have their matches to re-enjoy online for as long as we wish. But the new age is rising now, and there are many many wonderful battles yet to be fought, and oh so many victories large and small to witness.
Asanoyama defeats Okinoumi – I suspect that Okinoumi could be the rikishi who breaks the Intai damn and starts the cascade. We know the guy is competing with an injury that makes him ineffective on most days. Again Asanoyama looks great, and seems happy to just have a chance to compete.
Kotoyuki defeats Endo – Wow, Kotoyuki found a way to heal up from all of the damage he was suffering from this year, and he looked very strong against Endo. I try to keep in mind that Endo is M14e, which is barely above Juryo. He has a long way to go with his recovery before he can be a solid Maegashira again.
Nishikigi defeats Takekaze – Another candidate for the “Dam Buster”, the winless veteran dropped one to Nishikigi, who is also far from full power.
Ichinojo defeats Ikioi – No longer satisfied with his career as a bridge abutment in Yamaguchi prefecture along the Shinkansen line, Ichinojo has decided to return to sumo. Granted it’s the kind of sumo you might see a bridge abutment do, but it trashed Ikioi today.
Shodai defeats Kotoshogiku – I owe a debt of thanks to Shodai. I bust him hard about his crummy tachiai, but he went a long way to preventing the now perilous “Kotoshogiku Day”. His crummy tachiai is exactly what made this match a real contest. Kotoshogiku knew that Shodai would simply stand up at the tachiai, so no henka was possible. So he had to really bring some sumo moves, but Shodai kept him from getting the gaburi-yori rolling. Well done!
Tochiozan defeats Tamawashi – Tochiozan dropped his Mongolian foe like a bag of rotten mochi. Tochiozan is capable of some amazing sumo, and I don’t know who he is renting it to this basho, but he’s actually one of the guys who could play a spoiler.
Yoshikaze defeats Hokutofuji – We love you Not Kaio, but I am very happy that Yoshikaze finally won one. Very very interested to see who comes out on top in day 6’s Yoshikaze vs Tochiozan match.
Shohozan defeats Terunofuji – I remember watching Godliza, and feeling sorry for the big monster. He was not inherently evil, he did not want to be a giant radioactive lizard. It’s clear that Terunofuji is done for a while. Sadly it might be for good.
Onosho defeats Harumafuji – Onosho continues to impress. I dearly hope we can get a functioning Ura back, because and Onosho – Ura rivalry could be infinite awesome for years to come. But Harumafuji is in trouble, and he is very close to intai as of today. Out of all the Yokozuna, he is the one I had hoped would have to most longevity, as his sumo is unique and for a good percentage of rikishi, a massive challenge. But the cumulative injuries are clearly too great for now, and it’s go kyujo or go intai, it seems.
17 thoughts on “Aki Day 5 Observations and Opinions”
Ah. Ahem. Eh….
…either I’m female, or I’m Aoiyama.
(I know, I know, not your fault. Blame my dad for that X chromosome).
Anyway, the NHK commentator just now said about the Kotoshogiku-Shodai bout, that Kotoshogiku usually prefers to let the opponents get to him at the Tachiai, and this time he chose differently, and probably shouldn’t have.
Well, if he had waited for Shodai to move forward on the tachiai, they would still be standing on the dohyo right now, and trying to win by Niramitsuke.
My most heartfelt apologies. Allow me to correct, and I will not make that mistake again.
So I have to wonder what changed Shodai. Yeah, he’s kind of static now, but in past basho he could be expected to actually attack and move forward. I think the guy has a lot of potential, but I have to wonder if his training team is really getting him prepared for any advancement in his career.
I really love your commentary on here so far! It’s heartwarming to see other female sumo fans around, because I feel like a bit of an outcast when my friends and family give me blank looks when I talk about how excited or depressed I am about various basho events.
I completely agree!
To start with everyone thinks I am crazy (for this and other reasons), but I have been trying to educate them about Sumo, and I like to believe I have created some new sumo fans.
What makes me feel happy is the number of female Japanese fans I have met, who not only go to stare at men in mawashi’s, but who actually know all of the statistics on their favourite wrestlers, including the lower ranked ones.
Count me in as another female sumo fan in the house. We are out here :) I’ve never posted before but have been reading the site for the past year. Thanks for all of your hard work on a great site!
I have also enjoyed Herouth’s commentary.
Just speaking for myself but this blog is here because of you readers! It’s awesome to be able to chat with people from all over the world about sumo. Thank you!
I do not envy the basho matchmakers and their responsibilities for each day in this basho and the coming months. Also, I don’t want to alarm you, but if you watch the replay of Mitakeumi/Tochinoshin bout, you’ll see Tochinoshin cry out in pain at the end of the match. Mitakeumi was very gentle with him after the bout ended. I am worried that Tochinoshin will also go kujyo because of his ailing knee.
I am not sure who will go intai, honestly. Haramfuji is still gambarizing because of his duty to sumo as a Yokozuna. The others? Who knows. Hakuho seems the least likely, his choice to go intai would absolutely be stunning if it happens, but both he and Kakuryu can’t walk easily never mind perform any sumo at the moment. Kesinosato’s sumo ability is also completely up in the air. There is literally no one in the top two ranks who is not a question mark right now. Terunofuji has his knee problems. Goeido has zero mental fortitude. Takayasu will be kujyo at the next basho and we do not know if his sumo is up to the challenge of being kadoban, especially against the legion of Angry Tadpoles. It’s insane.
Kotoshogiku apparently will continue to wrestle, unless he decides to go intai “with a bang” and a strong result in this basho. I wouldn’t be surprised if Takekaze continues as well, even at Juryo, as long as he can compete. Tochinoshin, especially if he goes kujyo, is another intai possibility. And that’s just a limited list of possibilities. It’s an intriguing time for sumo, to be sure.
The one thing that is certain is that the San’yaku is currently a wasteland and it will take time, and a bunch of turnover, for it to be reestablished. While I doubt that we’ll have a time without any Yokozuna or Ozeki, there are sequences of events, that have surprising potential, that lead to that result.
If Takayasu is kyujo in the next basho then he’s not going to be up to the challenge of kadoban, he’s going to need collect 10 wins being sekiwake. He’s kadoban next basho. I predict he’ll try to attend, just like Kisenosato. I hope his doctor’s certificate saying “3 weeks of rest” is realistic. If he limps into the next basho, he’ll be sekiwake anyway and in a worse shape.
I saw that scream, too. My heart sank.
Are you two sure it was a scream of pain rather than a “damn” or a “watch out, I’m already injured!” to stop Mitakeumi from pushing him off the dohyo? He seemed to make his way down afterwards without a limp.
Pain. It looked like he really tweaked something.
I agree with Andy. It wasn’t a frustrated yell or anything similar. It was an unexpected yowl of pain.
There’s no doubt that Harumafuji is ailing, and his elbows and his legs will never quite work to full capacity again. Still, I think it’s premature to wonder if he’ll retire in thew immediate future, and I doubt he’ll have to go kyujo this tournament, barring some new injury. Yes, he’s lost 3 in a row, but one loss was a weird non-fight against Kotoshogiku, another was a great reversal by the rising Hokutofuji, and last night he got beat by Onosho, who’s fighting at a high, high Ozeki level right now. Harumafuji has always bled kinboshis. Would anyone really be surprised if he wins 10 in a row from now on? At 12-3, he might even still get in a yusho ketteisen. There’s a lot of sumo to be had still, and I have a feeling that Harumafuji will have a perfectly respectable record at the end of it all.
I sure hope it pans out that way. Much better than many of the options that are currently waiting to come into being. But if he gets close to 6 losses, I am going to expect him to go kyujo. Turning in a losing record is retirement for a Yokozuna.
There’s no doubt that this whole basho has been about brinksmanship, and Harumafuji is playing with fire by losing three in a row. I just don’t see a whole lot of guys out there that he can’t beat going forward, even in his somewhat diminished state. He started badly last basho too, and turned it around.
Well, I favoured Onosho and Goeido at the start and for the time-being I’m sticking with my predictions, even though Goeido is clearly not really at the races. As far as Onosho is concerned, whatever the state of Haramafuji’s health, this wasn’t a straightforward bout for the young punk, and he passed yet another test with flying colours. There are plenty of craft rikishi out there who might take a win or two from him but he’s nailed on for 12 wins and that’s probably going to be enough. Who else wants the yusho? There’s very little consistency out there.
On a more random note, I am turning into a big Chiyonokuni fan. I love his movement and his bouts always tickle me in some way or other. Takakeisho didn’t know what to do with him today.