Health And Wellness News

Takayasu starts training

Oh, I missed you so much, little brother

The kadoban Ozeki started practicing again today at Tagonoura’s practice room in Fukuoka. First he took four bouts with the heya youngsters.

And then Kisenosato decided to have him for lunch call him for san-ban. The Yokozuna and he went at it for 11 times, and Takayasu (above following a hiki-otoshi) even managed to win one.

“I didn’t really think I’ll be able to face up to the Yokozuna right from the start,” said the recovering Ozeki, “It was a good practice”.

As you can see in this video, the Yokozuna also lent Takayasu his chest for a butsukari.

When asked about his physical condition, Takayasu replied: “It’s 80-90%. I’ve been able to recuperate enough to do keiko.” About his kadoban status, he said “I’m relaxed. If I lose my wits worrying I will not be able to do my sumo. If not in this basho, I’ll have a chance again in the next.”

As for Kisenosato, there was no reappearance of the famous left ottsuke in that practice session, but there were left armpit pushes and sukui-nage.

Former maegashira Shotenro fights cancer

Hakhuo revealed to the press that Shotenro, currently placed in sandanme, but formerly a long time maegashira and special prize winner, was found to have cancer – type undisclosed – around the time of the 2017 Nagoya basho. He was full kyujo from the Aki basho (when he was still in Makushita). In the meeting of the rikishi-kai – the rikishi union – held today, the 70 sekitori present decided unanimously to collect money for Shotenro as a “recuperation gift”.

Ura spotted at rikishi-kai meeting, makes vague statement

Nikkan sports caught Ura leaving the rikishi-kai meeting in Fukuoka and tried to ask him about the odds of him appearing in the Kyushu basho, and his general state of health. He responded with a vague “Yes, I’ll do my best.” This was interpreted by the reporters as a “no comment” would be in the west. The big question is what Ura is doing in Fukuoka at all.

And what is the rikishi-kai doing to improve rikishi health?

Kakuryu said during the Jungyo that he intends to bring up the subject of kosho-seido, as well as a suggestion for a prayer against injury, in the next meeting of the rikishi-kai (the closest thing to a rikishi union). Reports from the meeting mention nothing about kosho-seido, but he did bring up the suggestion for the common prayer to be performed in January “as a form of exorcism.”

Besides this and the decision to collect money for Shotenro, the only other suggestion was brought up by Hakhuo, who wants to designate tickets for sekitori in honbasho.

Yep. That’s what the rikishi union looks like. Prayers, donations and perks.

Heya Power Rankings: October 2017

Is it still October? OK, cool. A few folks have sent messages asking: “where in the heya are this month’s power rankings?” Here they are! Apologies for putting this together a little late, but as a measure of where everyone’s at, maybe it’s timely to publish this around the banzuke announcement. Of course, as stables don’t compete against one another, this is more of a fun exercise anyway.

I’ve made a couple changes this time from the original calculations. Owing to the craziness that was “Wacky Aki,” it didn’t really make sense to award a kyujo rikishi the same amount of points as one who battled all 15 days, only to fall to a 7-8 make-koshi. So, for the first time, I’ve introduced points deductions, only for kyujo rikishi:

  • 10 points deducted for makuuchi rikishi who is kyujo the entire basho
  • 5 points deducted for makuuchi rikishi who is kyujo for part of the basho
  • 1 point deducted for juryo rikshi who is kyujo for any or all of the basho
  • 0 points deducted for rikishi in either division who is kyujo but still manages a kachi-koshi (this did not happen at Aki, but it’s a good rule to set going forward as fighting through an injury to achieve a winning record should still be recognised with the full amount of points)

Finally, Andy had asked a cool question after a previous iteration of these rankings: what if we could also measure by ichimon – the network of stables to which each heya is affiliated? I’ve now included a chart of that as well – it could be interesting to watch over time. Changes in the strength of a stable can take years to materialise in many cases, so I would imagine it will take several years to see shifts in the strength of groups of them.


I’ve added in Naruto-beya here (formed in April this year by former Ozeki Kotoōshū), which isn’t of consequence yet but perhaps someday soon it will be. Let’s jump into the “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):

  1. (+1) Isegahama. 147 points (+52)
  2. (+4) Sakaigawa. 67 points (+20)
  3. (+4) Kokonoe. 56 points (+13)
  4. (+-) Tagonoura. 55 points (-20)
  5. (+5) Oguruma. 48 points (+16)
  6. (-5) Miyagino. 40 points (-67)
  7. (+8) Takanohana. 38 points (+20)
  8. (-3) Oitekaze. 36 points (-12)
  9. (-6) Kasugano. 30 points (-48)
  10. (-2) Izutsu. 30 points (-10)
  11. (-2) Dewanoumi. 25 points (-10)
  12. (+7) Onomatsu. 25 points (+12)
  13. (-1) Sadogatake. 24 points (+2)
  14. (**) Shikoroyama. 23 points (+17)
  15. (+1) Hakkaku. 20 points (+2)
  16. (**) Takasago. 20 points (+15)
  17. (-6) Kise. 15 points (-10)
  18. (**) Tomozuna. 17 points (+5)
  19. (-5) Kataonami. 15 points (-5)
  20. (-3) Tokitsukaze. 15 points (even)


As opposed to August’s chart which was fairly placid, the combination of a bizarre basho along with some new rules has created all manner of changes and lots of movers.

Isegahama returns to the top spot, because when you have a champion Yokozuna, everything is wonderful. Harumafuji’s title more than makes up for Terunofuji’s injury-inspired absence, but while that’s the main driver, the stable’s four other sekitori all scored more points than in the last basho as well. Sakaigawa vaults up to #2 fuelled by a Goeido jun-yusho, in spite of Sadanoumi’s kyujo start.

Kokonoe makes up the final spot in the top 3, owing to a solid basho in which all of their six rikishi matched or improved their standing from the previous rankings. Oguruma places in the top 5 owing to the continued resurgence and special prize of Yoshikaze along with a debut point for Yago, while Takanohana-beya benefits from continued good performance from the potential starting to emerge in Takakeisho and a rebound from Takanoiwa.


Three stables took a particularly significant tumble this time, all owing to missing stars:

Miyagino lost a truckload of points owing to its yusho-holding Yokozuna missing the entire party, while Ishiura continued to struggle. Reinforcements may soon be on the way as we have covered in some detail, but a present Hakuho is a dangerous Hakuho and this may be a one-basho blip for their chart position, while Ishiura may well benefit from diminished competition and be able to challenge for a Juryo yusho like many before him who have made the drop.

Tagonoura’s drop is simply down to the absence of its only sekitori for all (Kisenosato) and most (Takayasu) of the tournament. It is more difficult to forecast a rebound here, not knowing if either will really be able to withstand the full tournament in Fukuoka. And finally, Kasugano takes a huge drop, owing to its Nagoya jun-yusho winning slap-happy Bulgarian missing half the tournament. Tochinoshin’s make-koshi didn’t help matters.

Up Next

Chiganoura-beya will post points next time for the first time, as Takanosho (formerly Masunosho) makes his Juryo debut. He’s only their second ever sekitori since reforming 13 years ago. And Takagenji’s return to Juryo may help Takanohana move further yet up the ranks should their other rikishi be able to maintain their recent encouraging performance.

Finally, while a number of other heya have numerous immediate promotion candidates, the longer term outlook for Miyagino-beya is starting to get interesting. While the focus is on Ishiura putting it together and Hakuho staying healthy, Enho and Hokaho could put themselves into promotion contention early in 2018. We’ve talked breathlessly about the former, but the latter has quietly racked up 5 straight kachi-koshi. While his track record and somewhat advanced age makes it unlikely he would ever make a serious or sustained dent in the second tier, the presence of 5 rikishi headlined by a constant yusho-challenger could give Miyagino depth similar to their ichimon-mates at Isegahama.

Speaking of which… here are those ichimon totals:


While I’m comparing these to the previous basho, I may start to show a longer term view when we revisit the rankings in December.

Who’s That Rikishi #7: Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi

TochinoshinAge: 30
Birth Name: Levan Gorgadze
Home Town: Mtskheta, Georgia
Stable: Kasugano
Highest Rank: Sekiwake

Tochinoshin was born Levan Gorgadze, in the city of Mtskheta in 1987. As a teenager, the young Georgian practiced the Soviet martial art of Sambo and was a national level judo fighter. By the early 2000’s he took up amateur sumo and competed in several Junior and World Championships. While training with the Nihon Universities sumo team, he was scouted by Kasugano Oyakata. Levan joined Kasugano beya in 2006 and made his first professional appearance at the Haru basho. Adopting the shikona of Tochinishin, the Georgian native tore through the lower divisions, collecting eleven straight winning records. This hot streak was more than enough to land him a spot in Juryo for January 2008, where he’d win the Juryo yusho with an impressive 12-3 record. Following another winning record at the Haru Basho, he broke into Makuuchi in May.

Starting at Maegashira 14, the young Georgian experienced his first ever make-koshi losing record at the 2008 Natsu Basho. His first taste of top rank success came at the 2009 Kyushu basho when Tochinoshin finished second place behind Yokozuna Hakuho in the yusho race and collect his first Sansho special price for fighting spirit.Tochinoshin picked up his second fighting spirit award at the 2010 Natsu basho after defeating four ozeki in a row and finishing with an 8-7 record. This feat would earn him his first position in the San’yaku, and he debuted at Komusubi in July. His time in the joi was short-lived, and a poor 6-9 performance relegated him back to the Maegashira. He’d reach Komusubi again in Kyushu of 2010, but his fate was identical to the first time. In May of 2011, Tochinoshin replicated his previous second place finish with an identical 12-3 record and took home his third fighting spirit award. This exceptional performance would earn him his third promotion to Komusubi. Once again, he only accumulated six wins at the rank and returned to the Maegashira within one tournament.

Late 2011 also saw Tochinoshin embroiled in controversy. After a night out celebrating his birthday, Tochinoshin returned to his heya after the strict curfew his Oyakata had set. Not only had he missed his curfew, but Tochinoshin had broken the rules by going out in western style clothes. This this was not Tochinoshins first time breaking the rules, his Oyakata became enraged and proceeded to beat the Georgian and his fellow rikishi with a golf club. Following his beating, Tochinoshin fled his stable but returned two days later. During this time, the police had been alerted to what had happened and discovered a bent golf club inside the heya. His Oyakata was reprimanded by the association but was spared a criminal investigation when Tochinoshin and the other rikishi declined to press charges. As punishment for breaking the rules, Tochinoshin was not allowed to attend practices for a time following the incident, which the Georgian credited as the reason for his poor performance at the November tournament. Further misfortune would strike Tochinoshin in July of 2013 when he sustained a severe knee injury at the Nagoya Basho. This injury forced him to miss three straight tournaments and resulted in his demotion back to the Makushita division. Despite this setback, Tochinoshin made an incredible comeback, collecting four consecutive championships and exploding back onto the Maegashira scene at the 2014 Kyushu Basho. He managed 11 wins in Kyushu and took home his fourth career fighting spirit award.

2015 would be another successful year for the Georgian rikishi, who picked up his first kinboshi victory over Harumafuji, a fifth Komusubi promotion, and his fifth fighting spirit award. He’d experience another career milestone at the 2016 Natsu basho, where he finished with a 10-5 record and his first ever technique prize. His performance earned him a promotion to Sekiwake, his highest rank to date. Much like his Komosubi runs before, his time at Sekiwake lasted only one basho. At the 2017 Hatsu tournament, injury once again forced Tochinoshin to withdraw from competition. His time off the dohyo was substantially shorter this time, and he returned for the following tournament in March where he would be runner-up for the third time in his career. At the Nagoya basho, Tochinoshin collected a kinboshi win over Kisenosato and finished with a respectable 9-6 record. Despite high expectations for the Georgian coming into September, Tochinoshin only managed four victories after nagging issues with his knee resurfaced. After a rebound tournament in November that saw the Tochinoshin go 9-6, he entered the 2018 Hatsu basho ranked at Maegashira 5. From day one Tochinoshin dominated his competition, tearing through the San’yaku and the Joi and eventually finishing with an incredible 14-1 record, clinching his first ever career Yusho. With this victory, Tochinoshin became the first Maegashira ranked wrestler to win a yusho since 2012, and just the third European to ever lift the Emperors Cup. Following his tournament win, Tochinoshin was promoted to the rank of Sekiwake for the 2018 Haru Basho. Known for his tremendous strength, Tochinoshin is a skilled mawashi fighter who uses yotsu-sumo to win the majority of his matches. His preferred grip is a right hand inside left hand outside migi-yotsu, which he uses to force his opponents out of the dohyo.

Tochinoshin (left) vs. Hokutofuji (right), Aki basho, 2017.


Outlook good

Who needs to wait for the official banzuke when you have the crystal ball? After a somewhat cloudy performance for Aki, the forecast did well for Kyushu. The upper ranks were pretty straightforward based on Aki performances and absences, and I called all 11 slots correctly.

Among the more difficult to predict maegashira ranks, there were also no major surprises or deviations from the forecast. It’s a slight surprise to see Takakeisho jump over Chiyotairyu for the M1 slot, though they were essentially tied given their 9-6 and 8-7 records at M5 and M3, respectively. Tochinoshin seems slightly over-ranked, but the few other switches are all by one rank or half a rank and involve rikishi with identical predicted ranks. The biggest miss was Ura, whom I placed at M14 based on similar past cases, but whom the numbers would have placed at M16, where he indeed ended up on the official banzuke.

Correct rank but missed the side: Shohozan, Hokutofuji, Kaisei, Kagayaki.

Missed by one rank: Takakeisho, Chiyotairyu, Tochinoshin, Daishomaru, Daieisho, Ikioi, Okinoumi, Takekaze.

Missed by two ranks: Daiamami, Ura.

The bottom line: all 11 San’yaku slots predicted correctly; 21 of the 31 Maegashira ranks predicted correctly, and for 17 of these, that includes the correct East/West side (this corresponds to a respectable 60 points in the Guess The Banzuke game).

November Banzuke Is Live!


Now appearing on the NSK web site, the official banzuke for the Kyushu basho, starting two weeks from today.  Some notable elements include Terunofuji as Sekiwake 2E (“Ozekiwake”), Mitakeumi holds fast at Sekiwake 1E, Kotoshogiku returns to San’yaku in the Komusubi 1E slot, Onosho has his first try at San’yaku, and Takakeisho is at Maegashira 1.

Further down the banzuke, we have Aminishiki (aka Uncle Sumo) back in Makuuchi, Asanoyama levitating to Maegashira 11, and Ura still listed at Maegashira 16, even though I would be surprised if he shows up.

The story in Juryo is pretty interesting, Egyptian Osunaarashi somehow manages to hang onto a Juryo slot and is posted to Juryo 13, followed by Takagenji and Yao. Meanwhile Ishiura is ejected from Makuuchi, and appears as Juryo 1.

Meanwhile, as predicted, the Texas sumotori Wakaichiro is confirmed as promoted to Sandanme 85, and will fight at his highest rank ever.

Again, our forecast expert scored many direct hits in his banzuke forecast, and fans should feel free to compare them side by side. Hats off to lksumo!

The crew will likely have our banzuke podcast up before long, be ready!

Final Jungyo Newsreel – October 29th

🌐 Location: Fukuyama

Today we bid farewell to the 2017 Aki Jungyo!

Aminishiki's Akeni
Aminishiki’s Akeni. It has seen some history, and will see more.

The event at Fukuyama has been the last of the Aki Jungyo, and now the (about) 160 participating rikishi are heading straight to Fukuoka, where they’ll join the waiting low division rikishi who were busy preparing lodgings and equipment for the past week or so.

The Jungyo day itself started with heavy rain, carried over by the most recent typhoon. Despite the rain, the local fans filled the venue:


They got to see some very energetic practices, including Hakuho doing both reverse and straight butsukari (and getting pushed off the dohyo, much to his embarrassment).

All Yokozuna were eager to leave a strong impression, and made statements to the press either yesterday or today.


In yesterday’s practice session, Harumafuji was working on his Tachiai with Chiyoshoma, launching himself at his fellow Mongolian partner 11 times. The next one was so powerful, Chiyoshoma was blown away and nearly fell off the dohyo.

Typical Harumafuji reaction

But Harumafuji doesn’t like to see people hurt, so he grabbed Chiyoshoma by the arm before he started to take off, and made sure he stayed put.

“Just practicing the basics,” said the Yokozuna.

Nobody can overlook the fact that the Yusho winner, although he clocked in every day, did not participate in the bouts and did very little on-dohyo practice during the Jungyo. “I’m concentrating on the Kyushu basho,” was the Yokozuna’s response.


“Yes, of course I’ll fully participate,” answered Kakuryu decisively when asked about the Kyushu basho.

Kakuryu doing butsukari

The Yokozuna who has been vigorously practicing since the beginning of the Jungyo says he is feeling positive about the state of his health. He intends to engage in degeiko with some of his potential rivals before the honbasho. “I’ll do what I have to do. The important thing is to get into the right flow in the basho”.


“I’ll be in the basho from day 1. That’s obvious,” was Kisenosato’s statement.


The newest Yokozuna did not practice on the dohyo every day of the Jungyo, but on the days he did, he showed signs of improvement both to his upper left side and to his left ankle. But his own statement was (as usually, I must say) somewhat vague: “A lot has happened in the past month. There were typhoons. And I got called to do dohyo-iri in various places, which is something I can’t always do. It was very different from the previous Jungyos I participated in.” More specifically about his health and participation in the basho: “I have been able to work my entire body patiently. As a rikishi, it’s obvious I have to participate in the basho, and I want to get results.”


Sodium Chloride Galore

“Be sure to remind me every 50 days!” reacted the dai-yokozuna when told yesterday that the Olympic games start in 1000 days. He reasserted his wish to perform a dohyo-iri in the Tokyo games. When asked about the next basho and his chances for his 40th yusho, he replied brightly “I’m doing swimmingly”.

Today he toned down his replies a little bit. “I joined the jungyo in the middle, and gradually improved my body and my dohyo-sense. My wish was to end the Jungyo in the best shape. I’d like to mark myself a 100, but I can only give myself 50.”

“As the senior yokozuna, I felt sometimes that I was able to lead and pull my convalescent junior fellow yokozuna forward,” he added with satisfaction.

Regarding his recent sodium habit, watch Goeido cover his head as Hakuho rains fire and brimstone – OK, just salt – all over the place:


As they have done before in Tokyo, today the Jonidan, Sandanme and Makushita rikishi wrestled in elimination format rather than the usual torikumi.

In Jonidan, Teraoumi (Of Shikoroyama beya) won, beating Motokiyama (Tamanoi) in the final.

For Sandanme, the winner was Takatenshu (Takanohana), who beat Kotodairyu (Sadogatake) in the final.

And the Makushita winner was Akinohana (Takadagawa), who beat Terao (Shikoroyama) in the final.

Of the sekitori bouts, all I have is, as usual, the musubi:

Hakuho 10 – Kisenosato 4. Trust Hakuho to reach double figures in two weeks.

Tiny Jungyo Newsreel – October 29th

🌐 Location: Hiroshima


Today I found nothing but the Hakuho-Kise daily bout. At least it’s a good one. Again, if anything turns up, I’ll update.

Hakuho 9 – Kisenosato 4

So for the time being enjoy Shodai being harassed by Yoshikaze and Tamawashi as they get ready to shake fans’ hands:

Tomorrow is the last day of the Jungyo!

Banzuke Weekend!


At long last, we are just about 24 hours away from the Kyushu banzuke!  Sumo fans rejoice! As usual, Tachiai will start our wall to wall coverage leading up to Kyushu pretty much now. I would like to sincerely thank the newest members of the team for providing amazing coverage of jungyo, and some fantastic biographical pieces during what is normally a slow season for sumo.  It was very much appreciated.

Onward to Kyushu!


Jungyo Newsreel – October 27th

🌐 Location: Matsue

Terunofuji hits a snag


Today, the Ozekiwake decided to make use of the Yokozuna’s self-assessment tool. Namely, ask Asanoyama for san-ban.

Unfortunately, the results of the test weren’t too good. It started out well enough:

But out of 7 bouts, Asanoyama won four, and Terunofuji only three. Terunofuji’s technique must have been seriously lacking, as Takanohana, sitting as always by the side of the dohyo, felt compelled to interfere and offer advice. Terunofuji was duly thankful, but the lesson did not continue long. The kaiju’s damaged left knee started sending out alarms, and eventually Takanohana ordered him to stop the session, telling him “not to overdo it”.

The session was over, but we have a very headstrong kaiju on our hands. He stayed around and continued to perform Shiko. “I have to overdo it!” he said to the reporters.

Me? I’m strongly reminded of the Black Knight of Monty Python fame. “Just a flesh wound!”.

By evening time, however, the kaiju was back on the dohyo and able to hold up at least for the few seconds it took to beat Mitakeumi:

It remains to be seen, then, if this was just a bump in the road, or the beginning of a spectacular road accident.

(Based mostly on Nikkan Sports, but I strongly advise against looking at the original photo accompanying the article. That is, unless a clear view of a 187kg rikishi’s crotch, complete with jock itch, is your thing. The photographer must be a Kotoshogiku fan.)

Kakuryu continues to scale up

Kakuryu seems to have an organized and itemized practice plan for the entire Jungyo. He completed the yotsu practices, continued to oshi practices, and now he is increasing the level of competition.

The other Yokozuna and Ozeki have been avoiding any bouts with joi members, probably for tactical reasons. Kakuryu, however, decided to take up soon-to-be Komusubi Onosho today:

He fought nine bouts with the special prize winner, of which he won 8 and lost 1. There’s certainly room for optimism about the recovering yokozuna here. “Of course I’ll participate. There is no pressure. I’ll just go out there and do what I always do”, he said despite the fact that his Shisho designated his next basho as “make or break”. “My ankle is fine even when I apply maximum load to it.”



Heroic tsuppari from Shunba, but to no avail.


Aminishiki doesn’t notice Gagamaru’s Isamiashi, prepares to leave the dohyo. Surprised to find that he is the winner.


Onosho lands on Hokutofuji…


Another angle but missing tachiai:

Can’t believe Kisenosato lost his footing like that. Completely untypical. Hakuho 8 – Kisenosato 4.

Who’s That Rikishi #6: Daishomaru Shogo

DaishomaruAge: 26
Birth Name: Shogo Kawabata
Home Town: Osaka, Japan
Stable: Oitekaze
Highest Rank: Maegashira 7

Daishomaru Shogo was born in the bustling city of Osaka Japan in 1991. As a primary school student, He competed in city-wide competitions and earned the rank of children’s sumo Yokozuna in the sixth grade. After completing primary school, he was scouted by the coach at Meitoku Gijukun, an elite sports boarding school. Daishomaru joined their sumo team and went on to win a national championship. After the death of his coach, he elected to attend Kanazawa Gakuin High School rather than continue in the Meitoku system. He experienced great success at Kanazawa, collecting one individual championship and several team titles. When it came time to pick a university, Daishomaru chose to attend Nihon University for their renowned sumo program. Although injury  prevented him from competing for his first two years at Nihon, he recovered and become one of the university teams co-captains. In the semifinals of a national tournament, he would best his fellow co-captain to win the championship. With this victory, he qualified to enter sumo at the rank of makushita tsukedashi, rather than starting at Jonokuchi.

In 2014 Daishomaru joined Oitekaze beya. His Oyakata had also attended Nihon University, as had his stablemate, the ever popular Endo. He finished his premiere tournament with a respectable 5-2 record at the 2014 Haru basho, and would get back to back kachi-koshi in May and July. After two consecutive make-koshi, Daishomaru put together a strong run of winning records that earned him a promotion to Juryo for the 2015 Natsu basho. After winning only six matches in his Juryo debut, Daishomaru returned to the Makushita division for the following tournament. He would rebound almost immediately, taking the Nagoya Makushita yusho and climbing back into the Juryo division by September. Daishomaru entered the Makuuchi division in March of 2016 and reached his highest rank to date, Maegashira 7, two tournaments later at Nagoya. He spent much of 2017 at the bottom of Makuuchi until a stand out performance at the September competition saw him pick up ten wins and contend for the yusho up until day seven. As an oshizumo practitioner, Daishomaru prefers to fight with a strong pushing offense. Statistically, he wins 35% of his matches with an oshidashi pushout, and 30% with a tsukiotoshi thrust down.

Daishomaru (left) vs. Tokushoryu (right), Aki basho, 2017.


Jungyo Newsreel – October 26th

🌐 Location: Tottori

Limelight bathing Ishiura and Terunofuji

Today the Jungyo landed in the one prefecture in Japan where nobody is going to tell Terunofuji to “Go back to Mongolia”.

The true Tottori Shushin is, of course, Ishiura. And the official news sources (such as there were) gave him preference, as you can see in this video:

(Asahi shimbun)

Ishiura: “The last time I was on a Jungyo in the Tottory prefecture, I was in the Juryo division. I’m happy to be here now as a Makuuchi wrestler. I felt invigorated here today, and I repaid by doing good sumo”.

As you can see in this video, there are some serious wanpaku wrestlers (child wrestlers – these were all primary or secondary school children, so no more than 15 years old!) in Tottori. I think it actually wasn’t fair to counter by tsuppari to the face, because that’s forbidden in wanpaku sumo (only allowed to professionals).

Ishiura wasn’t taking any risks wrestling with those kids himself, and left the hard work to a sekiwake, opting to play the gyoji:



But he did win his bout with Takekaze today by Okuridashi.

Edit: A video with some bouts materialized! Ishiura cleared of henka charges!

This also allows us to keep up the tally: Hakuho 7 : Kisenosato 4!

Edit2: A full video of the Kisenosato/Hakuho bout, full version including chikara-mizu and full shikiri, plus yumitori at the end:

The chikara-mizu also tells us that Kakuryu has beaten Goeido (and that Terunofuji also won, but we knew that from the previous video).

Ishiura-Takekaze including tachiai (different angle):

So why did I open with Terunofuji? While the official channels celebrated Ishiura, most tweets I found were more around the theme of “Terunofuji is back! And he’s genki!”. “It was great to see Teru again!” and so on.

The Tottori crowd considers Terunofuji to be a local, as he started his career in the famous sumo program of the Tottori Johoku high school, headed by none other than Ishiura’s father. It was Ishiura senior who noticed the young kaiju’s unbelievable strength, and advised him “If your opponents get a grip on your mawashi, bear-hug them”.

Terunofuji was in a bright mood, and practiced with Shodai and Daieisho. Here you can see him in a reverse butsukari:


And here, in what seems to be a rather painful (for Daieisho) uwatenage. Notice the rapt attention on the faces of Takarafuji and Onosho:


His bout of the day is also included in the second video above, as is Takanoiwa’s, who was also in the same school (Ichinojo, too, but he is currently off the Jungyo).


To compensate for the complete lack of bout information (in the first version of this post), here are some Jungyo interviews (these are from the beginning of the Jungyo, but surfaced on Twitter only today):


Q: Do you feel pride for being the only Japanese-born Yokozuna?

A: Being a Yokozuna, one usually has both self-awareness and self-confidence to wrestle steadfastly and produce results.

Q: You won the All-Japan Rikishi Championship tournament on October 2nd. What is your response?

A: It was only hana-zumo, but I am happy I produced a good result. I want to steadily develop a winning habit.

Q: You had to go kyujo in the middle of the Nagoya basho, and did not participate in the Aki basho at all. What are your feeling as you head towards the Kyushu basho?

A: I want to take the challenge of the honbasho by working on tuning my condition and my rhythm, and increasing my power during the Jungyo.


There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is!

(I think he’s the only Yokozuna ever to have his interview accompanied by a picture with a towel on his head. To compare, Kisenosato’s picture was one with his oicho-mage)

Q: You were the only Yokozuna to ascend the dohyo in the Aki basho. Did you feel any pressure?

A: I concentrated on doing my bouts one at a time. During the playoff bout I felt nothing but fighting spirit.

Q: Tell us about about your readiness for the Kyushu basho

A: There is still some time before the basho, and my wish is to work slowly and diligently, listening to my body, towards the basho.

Q: Do you enjoy anything about the Jungyo?

A: It’s a good opportunity to raise the knowledge of sumo among the fans. I would like everybody to enjoy the atmosphere of the Jungyo where, unlike honbasho, you can take pictures and get in contact with the wrestlers.


Q: The Aki basho was your 10th straight kachi-koshi. What were your feelings as you faced it?

A: As always, I faced is as a challenger. I think that may have brought me the special prize.

Q: Aren’t you under pressure to improve your kachi-koshi record in the kyushu basho?

A: I intend to face the challenge with all my heart, not giving up regardless of the results.


Q: After having undergone surgery in July in your left ankle, you ended up with a double-figure winning record in the Aki basho. How did you control your feelings?

A: I did not recover completely before the basho. I am glad that I could relax well enough to be able to wrestle without worsening my condition.

Q: Are you aware of the common opinion that you have a beautiful shiko?

A: I don’t try to perform it in an especially pretty way. My shiko now is the same as I was taught when I was a boy.


Q: Your little brother is also an active rikishi. What kind of an influence does that have on you?

A: I want to be better than my little brother, so I regard him as a rival.

Q: Do you feel the weight of the “Chiyo” in your shikona?

A: I was very happy when I was given my shikona. I finally felt that I was truly a member of the Kokonoe beya, and this motivated me.


Q: How do you feel about having the Jungyo in Chiba, where your heya is located?

A: I feel stimulated by the support of the local people.

Q: Many people don’t know how to pronounce your shikona. What do you feel about that name?

A: I feel I was given a good name. I’ll gambarize to make more people remember my name.

Short Jungyo Newsreel – October 24th and 25th

Yes, I know, I know. You expect two days’ worth of Jungyo goodness. But the Japanese media is not obliging. Most papers only have updates on Nishonoseki Oyakata. Unfortunately, the updates only say “No change, he is still unconscious”, with some, rather indelicately, I think, adding that “He will be absent from the entire Kyushu basho”. No s–t…

So first, for those readers who do not follow Tachiai on Twitter: if you’re interested in seeing bouts not just of the top echelon but of the entire Makuuchi from Asanoyama through the various Chiyos and Fujis, head back to the Osaka post, where I edited in a video of the complete and yummy set of Makuuchi bouts.

Now on to the meager fare of the past two days:

🌐 Location: Okayama

Kakuryu keeps his word

A few days ago, when he was interviewed about his san-ban with Asanoyama, Kakuryu said that Asanoyama was a good yotsu rival, but that next time he was going to look for an oshi-zumo specialist to continue honing his own skills.


And true to his word, his preferred san-ban opponent this day was Daieisho. This consisted of 10 bouts, all of which the Yokozuna won.

When asked about the condition of his ankle, he said “I felt no difficulty, neither when I braced myself against it, nor when I moved from side to side”.

Later on that evening, he also added a win against Goeido to those 10 practice wins.

Kisenosato beats Hakuho

Kisenosato exhibits his usual tenacity and finally manages to shrink the gap to 6:3.

(Sorry for the shaky video)

🌐 Location: Yabu

News were even scarcer here. Apparently, Several sekitori from Hyogo prefecture (e.g. Takakeisho, Myogiryu – Terutsuyoshi doesn’t seem to be participating in the Jungyo) shared the adoration of the local crowd. Currently no toriukmi videos, only photos.


Hakuho wins, bringing the balance to 7:3.

As usual, keep your eyes peeled. If any video materializes, I’ll be sure to add it.

Legends of the Dohyo #4: A Family Divided Part One

Takanohana Wakanohana 2

Sports have a unique power to bond and connect us. New friendships begin on rinks, courts, and fields all over the world, and many a companion has been made cheering for the home team. Even the bond between siblings can be strengthened by a shared love of sports, and the storied history of athletics is full of brothers competing side by side, and sometimes, against each other. Competition drives us to become better, to push each other to new successes. But just as it can strengthen us, competition and the will to succeed can turn family into foe and tear the bonds of brotherhood apart. Such is the case of the Hanada brothers, Takanohana II and Wakanohana III.

The Hanada brothers were born into sumo royalty. Thier uncle, Yokozuna Wakanohana Kanji, was one of the most popular rikishi of the 1950’s. Nicknamed the devil of the dohyo, he had a prosperous career spanning twelve years and ten yusho championships. Wakanohana I opened the highly successful Futagoyama beya upon his retirement in 1956. One of his most promising students was his own younger brother, Ozeki Takanohana Kenshi. Although Takanohana never went on to reach the rank of Yokozuna, he was incredibly popular with fans throughout the 1970’s. Like his older brother before him, Takanohana would open his own stable (Fujishima beya) in 1982. After a successful junior high sumo career, Takanohana’s youngest son Koji joined his father’s stable in 1988. Not wanting to fall behind, he was soon joined by his older brother Masaru, and the two began to train together. Heya life would be an adjustment for the two brothers. When addressing their father, they were instructed to use the traditional name of oyakata, and they lived alongside their fellow rikishi in the stable, performing all the duties of rookies, regardless of their lineage.

Koji and Masaru adopted the shikona of Takahanada and Wakahanada respectively, and made their debut in March of 1988 alongside future rival Akebono. They made quick progress through the lower ranks amid much fanfare, as it was believed by many that the two “princes of sumo” were destined to continue their family’s prestigious legacy. Both earned promotions into the Maegashira rank in 1990, and by 1993 the brothers had become sumo superstars. With a combined four yusho and six jun-yusho, the brothers were widely credited for the sport’s restored popularity. 1993 also saw both men earn ozeki promotions, with Takahanada’s coming in March and Wakahanada receiving his in September. With these promotions the two were permitted to adopt the shikona of their father and uncle, officially becoming Takanohana II and Wakanohana III. Within six years, the Hanada brothers had taken the sumo world by storm, yet their greatest achievements and most challenging trials were still ahead of them.

End of part one.

Takahanada (left) vs. Chiyonofuji (right), Natsu basho, 1991.