Barely a week after getting off the roller coaster that was Wacky Aki, our favorite sumo wrestlers will begin their Fall (巡業 – Jungyo) promotional tour. Bruce has mentioned the grueling schedule but Tachiai’s analysis provides more context to how challenging that schedule will be.
We mapped the Fall tour which consists of 22 different event sites that the crew will visit over the month of October, tracing a winding, 2500 kilometer journey across the breadth of southern Honshu, from Chiba to Hiroshima. No venue is visited more than once. Although there are three days in Osaka and two in Hiroshima, each site is in a new city within them. Add in stops in Yokohama, Fuji, Nagano, Kyoto, Nara…Holy crap, this is my next vacation itinerary!
This schedule does allow many of the Japanese rikishi to pay visits close to their hometown (shusshin 出身. The tour will pass through Ibaraki, home of Kisenosato and Takayasu. Ishikawa is home to the resurgent Endo and a leg in Shimane prefecture may help recharge struggling Okinoumi. Additionally, Goeido and Ikioi lead the Osaka contingent and Mitakeumi is from Nagano.
To give it some context, Josh, helped me liken these tours to breaking bands who sometimes play more than 120 gigs a year. But Hakuho has done this for more than a decade. It’s a hard life. There’s little “off-season” time to be with family. And for the foreign wrestlers, Jungyo brings you no closer to home. However, bands do have the extra hurdle of international tours; traveling extensively in the US and Europe with the occasional jaunt to Japan and other Asian countries with Western music scenes (I’m not talking Justin Beaver tours where he can take 20 months off and play a few gigs at big cities).
Since these wrestlers put in such rigorous work, I hope to bring more coverage of these tour dates in the intervening month between hon-basho (本場所).
7 thoughts on “Road Trip! Sumo Wrestlers Face Full Jungyo Schedule”
So you’re saying that Hakuho is the Mick Jagger of the sumo world?
(Actually everybody over thirty has been doing this for years. The Jungyo includes all wrestlers, not just high rankers, with the low rankers also having duties like washing mawashi…)
And if this was my vacation itinerary, I would return to work completely exhausted.
I thought that the bulk of the lower ranks remained back at the heya and worked on their sumo. Do they really take all ~600 sumotori on the road?
No, you’re right. Not all of them. But definitely Makushita, as I saw, for example, tons of pictures of the Taka twins in the summer Jungyo. And of course all the skitori tsukebito and whoever else they need to get things cleaned up, cooked up, and whatnot.
This year’s summer tour, or earlier tours when the twins were doing the shokkiri program?
The Taka twins were doing Shokkiri? I’ll look for that video… No, I was talking about this summer Jungyo. I believe we even had Kisenosato practicing with Takagenji.
Ah, yeah. I think that picture is a pretty good representation of how many makushita are there – one black mawashi on the dohyo, two standing aside, and otherwise only guys in white. AFAIK only sekitori are required to travel on jungyo these days – used to be more than that before things were cut back for cost reasons during the scandal years. Some makushita do get taken along, but I’m not positive how they’re selected, or whether they’re doing a full tour swing or just selected stops. Some guys definitely get brought in only when a tour hits their home prefecture / town, especially if there’s no sekitori from the area.
Tsukebito presence at jungyo is an area I don’t know much about, but the usual travel corps (two buses full or so) seems far too small to include everybody’s assistants – I suspect only the top-rankers get to take some along, while the average maegashira or juryo guy is largely on his own.
Let the poor guys rest!