All-Japan Tourney: Return Of The Yokozuna


When Tachiai discussed the Yokozuna situation in a recent post, I sniggered at Kisenosato’s declaration that he’ll be ready for Kyushu, and suggested a new Kisenometer. Another comment suggested that he laughed to himself when he made that declaration.

Only, the Yokozuna was dead serious.

Today, an official but non-ranking event (sometimes referred to as “hanazumo”) took place at the Kokugikan – the 76th “全日本力士選士権大会” or “All-Japan Rikishi Championship Tournament” (with an awful kanji pun), also known as the “Meiji Shrine Sumo Tournament”. This is a one-day event, featuring sekitori only, with separate divisions for Makuuchi and Juryo, in the familiar elimination format we know from tennis and other western sports. Note that this is not part of the autumn jungyo, which starts on October 5th, but an independent event.

Last year’s Makuuchi champion was Ozeki Kisenosato, just about to start on his rope-run. The champion, now Yokozuna, came back this year, and answered our doubts as to his ability to do sumo ever again, by, well, doing sumo. And defending his title.

He started by defeating Chiyonokuni:

Then proceeded to beat Daieisho in the Sweet Sixteen, Shodai in the Elite Eight, and Asanoyama in the Final Four (I hope the NCAA doesn’t sue me), advancing to the final, where he faced Takekaze:

So yes, this is only hanazumo, which most rikishi, other than a Yokozuna with something to prove, don’t take too seriously. And Kisenosato did not get to face any sanyaku. But he was up against Makuuchi level wrestlers, which he scarcely faced in the past few months, and he looked good.  I’m particularly impressed by him lifting Chiyonokuni like that.

Here is the complete bracket:


Sharp eyes will notice:

In the Juryo bracket, which only consisted of 16 wrestlers, Abi, the Aki Yusho winner, faced his stable-mate Seiro in the final bout. Seiro won. In this format, same-stable matches are allowed (and impossible to completely avoid) even before the final, and indeed Aminishiki lost to Terutsuyoshi after beating Kotoyuki.

9 thoughts on “All-Japan Tourney: Return Of The Yokozuna

  1. It would be so so great if this actually meant Kises recovery. It would be awesome to have him back at Yokozuna level in the next basho and a small miracle at that, without any surgery and all. I am cautiously hopeful :)

    • I was sad to see Kakuryu’s loss to Ikioi – who was less than effective in Wacky Aki… I really hope we get four healthy yokozuna through senshuraku!

      • Yes, the bout itself looked like Kakuryu just gave ikioi the bout. I hope it was intentional, so as to preserve his strength or something, because otherwise… Not good.

    • Looks like it. Kisenosato as well. It’s purple (the color of high rank in Japan), and it’s brand new.

  2. Yeah Harumafuji going out in the first round is odd indeed, especially to Kagayaki. Thought it was a typo at first. Kakiuryu losing to Ikioi is surprising also, almost like they along with Goeido were fairly content showing up before bowing out early so they can get some extra rest.


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