Beyond2020 – Rare Yokozuna Exhibitions

Earlier today, another exhibition event took place at the Kokugikan, just before the Autumn Jungyo starts, called “Beyond2020”.

Kisenosato and Hakuho doing san-dan-gamae

In this event, in addition to the usual fare (low-ranking rikishi practicing, keiko with kids, and later a full torikumi), there were two feature exhibitions.

The first, featuring Kisenosato and Hakuho, is called “san-dan-gamae”. Basically “Three level stances”. The two Yokozuna face each other in symbolic poses – upper, middle and lower – representing, respectively, fighting spirit, offense and defense.

Last year, this exhibition was renewed after 20 years, featuring Harumafuji and Kakuryu. This year it was the other two Yokozuna’s turn.

The second feature, a little more active, was the “Gonin-gakari”. This pits a Yokozuna against five simultaneous rivals on the dohyo. He takes the first at the tachiai, and then the rest tackle him one after the other from the sides. This is the first such exhibition to take place since 2001, when it was performed by Takanohana. This time it featured Harumafuji:

I won’t blame anybody who thinks that this looks scripted, but somehow, it seems Mitakeumi didn’t get the memo.

The feature exhibitions were followed by a regular set of Makuuchi torikumi. I’ll post all results if and as I get them, but these are the ones I got to see live (Yay, no geo-restrictions):

  • Chiyoshoma vs. Takarafuji. Chiyoshoma wins, but thinks he didn’t, as Takarafuji picked him up and got him out of the dohyo. But he did so with one foot out…
  • Chiyonokuni vs. Ikioi. Ikioi wins after a Monoii and a Torinaoshi.
  • Ichinojo vs. Kagayaki. Ichinojo wins by being bigger.
  • Shodai vs. Takakeisho. Shodai wins. What?
  • Shohozan vs. Chiyotairyu. Chiyotairyu picks Shohozan at least half a meter above ground and wins by a fancy kimarite. I know, I know, I should have written it down.
  • Hokutofuji vs. Onosho. Starts off on equal footing, then Onosho sidesteps, gets behind Hokutofuji and sends him outside.
  • Kotoshogiku vs. Tochiozan. Tochionzan wins.
  • Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi. Turns out that given enough time, Mitakeumi knows what to do with a morozashi. Well, Tamawashi is not Harumafuji. Mitakeumi first holds him high, just below his armpits, then corrects this to a full mawashi grip and out goes the eagle.
  • Goeido vs. Kakuryu. Well, if I find a video of this torikumi I’ll be sure to add it here. Kakuryu wins convincingly. Slightly favors leg, though.
  • Musubi no ichiban: Kisenosato vs. Harumafuji. This was… disappointing. It reminded me a bit of that strange matta in the Aki basho. Harumafuji got into a bad tachiai, Kise pushed him a bit so he jumped back, and then jumped back again and out of the dohyo. It was set down as an oshi-dashi, but Kisenosato was still in the middle of the dohyo at the end of the bout. I’d call it an isami-ashi. Fans are now worrying about Haruma’s health.


2 thoughts on “Beyond2020 – Rare Yokozuna Exhibitions

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me if Haramafuji is in poor health. He won the last basho while dealing with multiple injuries.

    • His left elbow is certainly a source of worry. He spoke very candidly in an interview a couple of days ago, saying that that injury is not going to heal, “It’s a kind of occupational injury”, he said. Apparently, he visits a doctor every day, even in his free days, to get daily treatments, mostly to prevent inflammation. He said that the doctor was “kind enough to agree to come along for the Autumn Jungyo”.

      In various clips I saw from this Beyond2020 event he was seen fingering his elbow. So the odd musubi-no-ichiban could be (a) just giving away the bout and letting Kisenosato enjoy the limelight, saving himself some wear and tear, (b) a result of an aggravation of his injury, perhaps following that Gonin-Gakari, (c) some new unrelated damage, or (d) something else. Speculation abounds.


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