It’s Rosh-Hashanah here in the land of the Jews, so I’d like to extend happy new year wishes to all readers. May the coming year be free of injuries and premature ends to brilliant careers. May the Sumo Kyokai embrace some Japanese innovative spirit to find ways to protect and improve the care of its rikishi (and shimpan. Sitting by the dohyo side marks them as a health insurance risk). May the year be full of positive, exciting sumo, and may all the rikishi who need polish and improvement receive guidance from the excellent elders, like the one in the photo above. Happy new year, Aminishiki. Glad to see you are heading up to Makuuchi again, and glad to know that you own a kabu for the sake of generations of rikishi to come.
Day 12 sees many more rikishi win their kachi or make koshi. Here is a quick list:
|Kachi koshi||Make Koshi|
Yes, this table also shows the interesting state of the Yusho-arasoi. Every single kachi-koshi winner below Goeido is also in the chaser group and still has a theoretical chance at winning the yusho. What, the Yokozuna can still win it? Theoretically, yes. But really, if Goeido actually drops two games, it’s a free-for-all. Even [shudder] Kotoshogiku!
So, how is our suffering Yokozuna doing? Actually, not that badly. Many fans in Japan and around the world let out a sigh of relief as the Yokozuna secured a kachi-koshi. But Harumafuji himself is not dancing in the streets of Tokyo just yet. “A Yokozuna’s kachi-koshi is 10 wins… This is no time to be tired.” He said. His quote on the Isegahama website also implies that he is still eyeing the yusho now that it’s somewhat opened up. Yep. The body may not be working like a Yokozuna, but the spirit most certainly is.
About the torikumi itself, well, there was some hesitation before the tachiai. Not exactly a false start. Was Tamawashi trying to apply some psychological pressure? Perhaps. Totally legitimate. But it didn’t work. Once the Yokozuna committed to the tachiai, he shot himself as usual at Tamawashi. Quick slap. Pull with the right, push with the left, a short morozashi and out goes the eagle. Straight up Yokozuna stuff.
Here is a link to the full Japanese-language version of the bout. I’m embedding it here for those of you who understand Japanese, as the commentator for the day was none other than Isegahama oyakata, the Yokozuna’s shisho.
Now on to the obligatory Aminishiki win of the day. Today he went against the shin-Juryo, a member of the Kise planetarium, Daiseido. Actually, of the two shin-Juryo, Daiseido is doing much better than Yago at the moment. It seems that experience in the pros does play a part once you get yourself into the salaried ranks. Unlike Yago, Daiseido spent no less than 5 years in Makushita before earning the toilet-paper training mawashi. And although when dressed in kimono he looks big enough to fit right in with the likes of Gagamaru, he weighs only 137kg, with formidable thigh muscle and shoulders. Worth keeping an eye on, that guy, but Aminishiki denied him his kachi-koshi today.
He did make Aminishiki work for it, though, keeping Uncle away from his mawashi, and releasing himself from the first force-down.
On to the random thoughts and comments part:
- Shohozan beats Goeido by side-stepping. 🤔
- Déjà vu in Chiyoshoma’s bout vs. Nishikigi. Once again he takes his rival to the edge for an uwatenage, and falls together with him. Again a Monoii is called. And although this time the replay seems to show Nishikigi touching down first, the shimpan don’t see it, and call a torinaoshi. But this time the W goes Chiyoshoma’s way. His slap just below Nishikigi’s ear seems to have stunned Nishikigi, who became disoriented for a moment there.
- Another déjà vu with Takarafuji. He still hasn’t regained his genki after the Benny Hill show. I’m getting worried about the man. And like yesterday, again, all the other Isegahama members win, with only Takarafuji and Terutsuyoshi still to secure their kachi-koshi.
- A day of celebration at Kasugano beya – all three sekitori won today. Aoiyama seemed to be all fired up, even too fired up, as he really didn’t need to push Kagayaki there at the end. Boob envy? Tochinoshin again shows the kind of sumo that brought him back to the top of the maegashira list in the first place.
- Chiyomaru on the roll, and doing yotsu-zumo again, and rather well. He is likely to be kachi-koshi, though not yet there.
- Ishiura wins! Yes, he wins! No mawashi knot tricks this time, just plain, basic sumo – grab the mawashi, plant your head in the opponent’s chest, and push him like a little locomotive. More of that, Ishiura, please. And poor Daishomaru has faded completely after his brilliant start.
- And so has Takanoiwa. Okinoumi seems to be gambarizing to stay in Makuuchi.
- Onosho, however, seems to have somewhat recovered from his slump. A quick morozashi on Chiyonokuni, and there was no way for the latter to even start his tsuppari attack. And Moti’s remark is worth repeating: the only previous rikishi to get three kachi-koshi in a row after advancing to Makuuchi is Hakuho.
- If the game is slap-attack, then retreat, slap-attack, then retreat, then Yoshikaze sure plays it better than Takakeisho. Yoshikaze stays at sekiwake for Kyushu. At this rate he can seriously get a double-digit win and start an Ozeki run. Wait, what?