Aki Day 12 Preview


Goeido-Entry

We are working our way towards the conclusion of this really crazy Aki basho, and it’s clear that another loss by Chiyotairyu, and Goeido will be able to claim the yusho. Short of injury, there is very little chance that Goeido can be derailed. Many sumo fans will grouse about his early match strategy of avoiding the fight, but a win is a win, and this yusho will be just as valid as all the others. In fact, having a well known rikishi able to step up and dominate the field of newcomers is probably quite important for fans and actually for the newcomers too. Too much fame too soon can be a poison to any athlete or performers career.

Goeido is now fighting daily like his old self from Aki 2016, and in this mode he is a worthy champion indeed. At one point a few days ago, a reader on Facebook accused Tachiai of “Goeido Bashing”. Some thoughts on that (Bruce’s opinion only here):

I have heard from some readers and fans that they are weary of Tachiai’s Goeido bashing. I welcome all comments and opinions here that come from our readers, as truly the site is nothing without you. So perhaps I can offer an explanation. Let’s start with a contrast.

Take a look at our coverage from Aki last year. We were unabashed raging Goeido enthusiasts, his sumo was amazing, and his accomplishment was literally record-setting. Some links for those who may not have been with us then

Goeido – Redemption
It’s Goeido!
Aki Day 13 Preview
Kisenosato Defeated – Day 11

The team at Tachiai more or less love everything about sumo, and we think that every rikishi has a part to play in this wonderful and amazing sport. We have expectations of the top men of sumo, and we don’t feel they are unfounded, and when there is someone who is amazing as Goeido who choses to win easy rather than win big, we call him on it.

You can bank on the fact that when he does use his amazing offensive techniques to win, we are cheering him on. Tachiai loves sumo. Good, action packed, burly, crazy sumo. We cheer those who deliver, and chide those who would rather not.

Aki Leader board

Short of injury, there is very little chance that Goeido can be derailed from claiming his second yusho. Many sumo fans will grouse about his early match strategy of avoiding the fight, but a win is a win, and this yusho will be just as valid as all the others.

Leader – Goeido
Chaser – Chiyotairyu

4 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 12

Endo vs. Sadanoumi – Endo has kachi-koshi on the line today, while there are few reasons for Sadanoumi not to worry about a fast ramp down to Juryo for November. Their career record is 4-3 favoriting Endo, but in this tournament, Endo has been looking fairly strong.

Yutakayama vs. Chiyomaru – Yutakayama looking at maki-koshi and a return to Juryo as well should he lose today’s bout. Chiyomaru has faded in the second week, but should be able to give Yutakayama a good fight.

Ishiura vs. Daishomaru – Hapless Ishiura will likely be the prey for Daishomaru’s kachi-koshi bout. I am going to have to assume that at this point Ishiura is damaged in some why, and we just don’t know about it. He can’t seem to buy a win.

Asanoyama vs. Arawashi – Time to see if Mr Happy is going to be able to press for a sansho special prize. He will need to get two more wins before the end of the tournament for consideration, but day 12 against a resurgent Arawashi will be a stiff test. This is their first time meeting, but I would give the advantage to Arawashi.

Kaisei vs. Takarafuji – Takarafuji looks for his kachi-koshi win against a much improved Kaisei. Their career record is 11-9, with Kaisei in the lead, though Takarafuji holds the bulk of the more recent wins. I am expecting a somewhat methodical match between these two.

Onosho vs. Chiyonokuni – Onosho, like many of the tadpoles, faded in week 2. The brutal rotation of this bottom heavy basho has taken its toll on the newcomers, and Onosho is still looking to pick up his 8th win to secure his place for Kyushu. Chiyonokuni has been fighting well, but not winning as much as his frantic action on they dohyo might indicate. Chiyonokuni took their only prior match.

Tochinoshin vs. Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji is facing his second career make-koshi today. But Tochinoshin is in “limp home” mode now to be certain. It’s still possible for Hokutofuji to turn things around and eek out a winning record, but he needs to win everything from here on out.

Chiyotairyu vs. Kotoshogiku – Interesting strategic play here. A Chiyotairyu loss would hand the yusho to Goiedo. If you are Kotoshogiku, do you throttle back? I am going to say “no”. A win here today and Kotoshogiku also secures his winning record, and begins to make the case for his return to San’yaku. The Kyushu Bulldozer leads their career totals 5-1, so if Chiyotairyu does not blast him at the tachiai, I look for the hug-and-chug express to be applied with gusto.

Mitakeumi vs. Shodai – Another match of the disappointments. Both are at 5-6, both are looking really stale and ineffective. Shodai holds a slights 5-4 advantage in their career stats, but that may not matter too much for day 12. For Mitakeumi fans, don’t fear for him. Even if he is maki-koshi this time, he will be back. He is an excellent sumotori, but setbacks are to be expected along his road.

Takakeisho vs. Yoshikaze – Now this one has a lot of potential. Both of them are high intensity mobile attack platforms. Takakeisho has shown a preference for yo-yo maneuvers on his opponents, a repeated pattern of strike and retreat. We know that Yoshikaze has a deep bag of kimarite that he does not always reach too deeply into, but I am hoping he can uncork some fun attack got quell Takakeisho. Yoshikazen won their only prior match.

Shohozan vs. Goeido – Big Guns Shohozan will be against Goeido 2.0 or maybe even 2.1 on day 12. I love me some Shohozan power sumo, but Goeido is allowing himself to really execute his attacks at full power now. Goeido holds a clear series advantage at 10-5 against Shohozan.

Tamawashi vs. Harumafuji – Tamawashi has been delivering some really burly sumo the past week, and we know that Harumafuji is soldering on in spite of the pain and the problems. I think all of Harumafuji’s fans just want him to win 3 more and be able to exit Aki with some Yokozuna dignity in place.

29 thoughts on “Aki Day 12 Preview

  1. I don’t understand your reply to the criticism of your so called Goeido-bashing at all.

    First a “what about”-response, so last Aki you didn’t bash Goedio, so doing it now is ok?
    And, even if you are bashing Goeido, he deserves it because, well, you didn’t like the way he was doing Sumo at the beginning of the tournament. But for the record, we love sumo and everyone has a part in it.

    Except Goeido making sure he stays Ozeki, I guess…

    Do I think Goeido has looked spectacular this Basho? No. Last part has been better than the start, for sure.
    Do I still respect him for using smart tactics and winning his matches with whatever he needs in order to 1) stay Ozeki and 2) Now have a chance at the yusho. Yes, yes I do.
    Has he been fighting disrespectful? Breaking rules or otherwise not acted in accordance with the sport of Sumo? No I cannot see that he has.

    Do I talk about how it would be terrible if he won (just as the talk about the apparently terrible terrible Kotoshogiku-day which is also turning me off from reading). No I would never do that.

    Sumo is a respectful sport and I hope your coverage of it can be respectful as well. And usually it is. I don’t really know what went wrong about Goeido this Basho.

    If a sekitori is not performing well, of course report on it, but why not in a respectful manner. I guess that’s what I and apparently others have taken issue with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Should note that I really like your coverage and that the silliniess of making up names for Goedio (Go-away-do…) is just a minor annoyance and I wouldn’t even have brought it up unless you guys did yourself.
      I guess the fact that you felt the need to defend yourself shows there was some validity in the comments over on facebook.

      So let’s just move on and keep enjoying some actually quite fun and hard to predicit sumo bouts in the final few days.

      BR Stefan

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    • I agree. We can definitely tone down the negative coverage. I’ve taken it as a symptom of disappointment from the unusual nature of this particular tournament: all the leaders are out with injuries and those who’ve been stepping up are the two sekitori who have been kadoban every other basho, skating by with their rank doing the minimum, raising questions about yaocho with every miraculous final day win. And it’s the resulting persistent chorus of, “It’s fixed!” that I had turned me off from some of the other forums.

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  2. Goeido is doing fine now, using offense to win his matches as an Ozeki should. The rank carries a responsibility.

    I think a free sharing of reasoned opinions is a very good thing when it comes to sumo, especially as almost all of us here at Tachiai are complete outsiders to the Japanese culture. The case to discuss the accused “Goeido Bashing” was to give a platform to an opinion I did not support, but I thought merited discussion anyhow.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Let’s get sekiwake

      * Mitakeumi – not so much fearful as disappointed. this basho should have been his party with so many danger men out of the equation. wonder if he put too much pressure on himself

      * Yoshikaze – I know this is ridiculous but I actually think he could end up on an Ozeki run and even if he gets promoted and goes immediately kadoban and falls out, it would be incredible.

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  3. Thanks for the defense, Bruce, especially since you are not defending your own writing but mine. If I have time today maybe I’ll write my own defense, but it’s Rosh-Hashanah here in Israel and I’m having guests, so no promises.

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  4. I don’t really read blogs for “respectful coverage” of sports. Perhaps I’m too used to American media coverage, but I’d be sad if there was only dry, logical dissections of all the matches on here. Both analysis and more lighthearted commentary helps break up the news. Especially when it’s bad news of injuries and demotions. It’s the same reason I like watching Kintamayama’s summary videos more than the NHK highlights.

    If you guys want to leave the silly nicknames and wisecracks to our fan comments to ward off criticism, then so be it. We’re not going to stick to tatemae.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. >and in this mode he is a worthy champion indeed.

    – no opposition. Lone ozeki, 0 yokozuna
    – and even without competition, had the nerves to pull henka a few times

    Yeah… Yusho… Champion

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goeido 2.0 is possibly worthy of Yokozuna status in my book. The only problem seems to be that Goeido is not capable of maintaining that mode. One of the reasons I liked the prior posts was to demonstrate that (as most folks know), there seem to be at least 2 Goeidos. One of them is awesome. One of them is so-so. We like the awesome one a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But this basho is not Geoido 2.0. He don’t have any high rank opponents and he is still not clear winner. If the other yokozuna and ozeki are present, Goeido might even be kadobam

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    • Yeah sorry, it’s kind of a lose definition. There is a group of young rikishi who have gone for a very bulbous lower thorax, that gives them a tadpole shape. Most of these guys are under 25, and most of them that have survived to Makuuchi are doing quite well. If you take Onosho and Mitakeumi as a prototype, you can more or less see a handful of rikishi that seem to have that archetype.

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      • It’s basically all the guys that aren’t in the “giant strong blob” body shape of say Ichinojo or Tochinoshin, nor the “small, muscular” shape of Ishiura or Harumafuji.

        There is something a little disconcerting about how bulbous they are, it almost reminds me of the way women move with a late term pregnancy. But it seems to be getting the job done.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Look, I like Terunofuji as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive him for that one henka against Kotoshōgiku. Was that a smart way to win the fight? Sure.

    Did that show a certain lack of respect from one ōzeki to another? Yeah, I think so.

    Sumo is, at least to me, not just about winning by any means necessary. I like it exactly *because* it integrates respect for your opponent and how you behave inside and outside of the dohyo into the sport.

    And promotion to ōzeki should also reflect your quality of sumo from what I know. If you are henka-ing your way to +10 wins for three consecutive basho as a sekiwake, you shouldn’t (and I hope wouldn’t) be promoted.

    Is the occasional use of it in the lower ranks okay? Yeah, sure, totally.

    But once you are an ōzeki and (I would assume) aspire to represent the sport in general and become a yokozuna, take the f***ing charge. Sorry. 😀 And if that results in a lost bout, I guess you need to improve your sumo.

    Do I like Goeido 2.0? You bet. He has impressive skills and is entertaining to watch and can win against anyone right now.

    But if he can only boot up in 2.0 mode 40-50% of the time (or thinks he can and therefore takes a ‘safe’ and ‘easy’ route too often), then maybe he is not cut out for the rank?

    I generally think he is. There is evidence that he can show great sumo consistently (last aki for example) – so seeing him like in those couple of earlier bouts just doesn’t sit right with me.

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  7. Look, I like Terunofuji as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive him for that one henka against Kotoshōgiku. Was that a smart way to win the fight? Sure.

    Did that show a certain lack of respect from one ōzeki to another? Yeah, I think so.

    Sumo is, at least to me, not just about winning by any means necessary. I like it exactly *because* it integrates respect for your opponent and how you behave inside and outside of the dohyo into the sport.

    And promotion to ōzeki should also reflect your quality of sumo from what I know. If you are henka-ing your way to +10 wins for three consecutive basho as a sekiwake, you shouldn’t (and I hope wouldn’t) be promoted.

    Is the occasional use of it in the lower ranks okay? Yeah, sure, totally.

    But once you are an ōzeki and (I would assume) aspire to represent the sport in general and become a yokozuna, take the bloody charge. 😀 And if that results in a lost bout, I guess you need to improve your sumo.

    Do I like Goeido 2.0? You bet. He has impressive skills and is entertaining to watch and can win against anyone right now.

    But if he can only boot up in 2.0 mode 40-50% of the time (or thinks he can and therefore takes a ‘safe’ and ‘easy’ route too often), then maybe he is not cut out for the rank?

    I generally think he is. There is evidence that he can show great sumo consistently (last aki for example) – so seeing him like in those couple of earlier bouts just doesn’t sit right with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t say it better myself, though I tend to attribute Terunofuji’s henka there to already having his knee injured at that point. But then, I’ll admit that being his fan, I’m not impartial in this case.

      In any case, indeed, Ozeki and Yokozuna make a vow to maintain the dignity of their rank when they accept it. At any lower rank, winning is the most important, and the only thing you are not allowed to do is kinjite. And as a fan I’ll add also dangerous behavior, especially if intentional. But at Ozeki and Yokozuna, you have two duties – to win, and to do so with dignity.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The problem is then that as Ozeki/Yokozuna you become predictable which makes for less interesting sumo. Thus I have no problem with the occasional henka. I think Hakuho does it perfectly. Once every few basho he will throw in a henka to make sure his opponents are on their toes. I have no problem with that. Is someone going to say that this makes Hakuho unworthy of being Yokozuna?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is exactly what the entire stadium was telling him when he pulled off his senshuraku henka of Harumafuji. They scolded him to the point where he apologized and was really choked up and in tears. I felt terrible for him, but yes, that is exactly why people are so hard on Goeido. I, personally, am of the same view as you that it’s an acceptable method of winning, but a great belt battle or slapfest is undoubtedly more exciting. When Hakuho did it, you could sense how deflated the stadium was. It would be like Patriots fans going silent and scolding Bill Belicheck for the way he bends/breaks the rules a bit to win games: see Spygate, DeflateGate, etc. If you don’t follow American football, I’m going to need to find another analogy.

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