In the final match of the final day, the championship of the Aki basho was decided in a pair of exciting contests between the lone surviving Yokozuna, Harumafuji and the lone surviving Ozeki, Goeido.
Harumafuji took the initiative early in the match and quickly drove Goeido from the ring, setting up a playoff to decide the champion. Both rikishi retired to the dressing rooms to prepare for the final, deciding match. In a strange outcome of the rules, Harumafuji (being higher ranked) would enter from the East and Goeido from the West. This was the opposite of their final match of regular play. So fans were treated to video of both Team Goeido and Team Harumafuji passing each other in the hall.
Before returning to the dohyo, Yokozuna Harumafuji was seen practicing a tachiai with Juryo rikishi Terutsuyoshi. This was critical as he was working out hand placement that moments later use against Goeido.
The final and deciding match was over at lighting speed, as Harumafuji blasted Goeido over the tawara, using the same body grip he practiced on Terutsuyoshi. Harumafuji picks up his 9th tournament win, and his yusho parade featured “Uncle Sumo” Aminishiki carrying the victory banner.
Tachiai congratulates both Harumafuji and Goeido for going the distance and competing with everything they could muster in this strange and chaotic basho. You guys stuck it out, and in the end made it worth watching.
10 thoughts on “Harumafuji Wins Aki Basho”
Worthy end. Happy to c haruma win.
Visualize the win. Execute the win. That old man can wrestle.
The old horse is one tough dude. To be one yusho away from double digit yushos is incredible in the era of the great Hakuho, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Harumafuji will go down as a dai-yokozuna.
Another way to look at this: The fact that Hakuho is probably gonna win 40 yushos while fighting off challenges from Asashoryu and Harumafuji is beyond incredible. That man is the greatest rikishi to ever put on a mawashi.
I don’t think you can put Harumafuji in the same category as the Dai-Yokozuna (Taiho, Kitanoumi, Chiyonofuji, Takanohana, Asashoryu, Hakuho), but he’s clearly one of the top rikishi ever, notable much like Wajima and Akebono – greats who won a lot of Yusho whose time overlapped a lot with that of an actual Dai-Yokozuna.
How surprising to see Harumafuji practicing between bouts! You’d think H. would conserve energy but clearly
he knew what he was doing.
I had been led to believe a playoff immediately followed the tie match, but I might have guessed the rikishi would take a ‘hair styling’ break. :-)
No danger of retirement for Harumafuji or Kotoshogiku .. unless of course they want to. Good on ya, old timers!
Yoshikase faded towards the end of the tournament, *but* he got a special prize anyway. Nice! A lot of new names to watch, too.
The downside of the match: all the injuries. Wishing all the wrestlers a complete recovery!
All the matta and henka in the Juryo playoff alone made the drinking game challenging.
I was very happy to see Harumafuji put that lousy henka-zeki in his place twice today. I won’t lie, sumo gets even more entertaining when there are villains to root against! However, I was very surprised that Goeido had so much support from the Japanese crowd, considering most international fans on sites like Tachiai and Reddit were anti Goeido after the shenanigans he had pulled earlier in the basho. Was it just the Japanese crowd cheering for their home grown boy, or is the Ozeki more popular than I thought?
You’ve just discovered that international fans are not at all representative of sumo fandom as a whole, especially as far as the enduring obsession with henka is concerned. Most Japanese fans grumble when they witness a henka, and then move on.
I am sure that having international fans of sumo is going to seem strange to folks in Japan, but I am going to guess it’s a trend that will continue. I try to remind our readers that Sumo is a Japanese sport made for Japanese people living in Japan. The rest of us can come along for the ride, but for the foreseeable future, it will be just that.
That being said, when have (speaking purely for myself) us Americans not overlaid their own notions on anything they encounter?
It’s definitely interesting to see both sides. I’m sure a sociologist would have a field day dissecting the differences in how Japanese and international fans approach Sumo from their own cultural view points. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too happy to see Goeido pull two back to back henka considering his rank, and I enjoyed going along with the narrative of him as the villain of Aki as it added a bit of extra drama to the end of the basho. But I’m not going to hold a grudge against him come November. I actually think the henka has a valid place in sumo. They are to sumo what trick plays are to gridiron football. If well done they are very effective, and if you fall for one you only have yourself to blame.