Jungyo Newsreel – December 6th

🌐 Location: Nogata, Fukuoka

Evidence contradicting the claim that Terutsuyoshi never smiles

Today I have a bit of a strange newsreel for you. The accredited news outlets continue to focus more on scandal and less on the content of the Jungyo. More reporters than ever are chasing the Jungyo, mostly trying to find some new reason to grill Hakuho.

Today’s event’s sponsor decided they will have none of that, and their press officer simply forbade any television crews from entering the venue, saying they do not want anything that will be troublesome for the spectators. As a result, and because none of the phone-wielding obasan was obliging, I have no actual bouts for you. Should anything materialize, I’ll update.

So what I managed to pick is mostly from unofficial (read “Twitter”) sources.

There was a positive, though secondhand, report, that said that attendance was higher than ever, with the floor level full, and all unnumbered seats in the gallery sold out. The reason? “The attached stall was selling Harumafuji goods”. This, despite the sponsor’s decision to replace the cover of the pamphlet handed at the event to one that does not include the troublesome retiring Yokozuna.

Takayasu continues to do keiko with low-ranked rikishi. This time he was working out with Shonannoumi and Hakuyozan – mostly the latter – for 40 or 50 minutes, in a quiet corner of the venue.


And Hokutofuji engaged in synchronized calisthenics (with Tobizaru):

The resident oyakata (I can’t tell which one it is from the back, sorry) watched Kagayaki and corrected him again and again. Looks tiring.


During the moshi-age phase of the sekitori practice, we had the famous rivals in a battle of tadpoles:

Onosho vs. Takakeisho

As you recall, a Jungyo always includes kiddie sumo. Take a look at Shohozan – that sour-faced observer in the picture above – playing around with the kids:

Then, finally, everybody dressed up in their kesho-mawashi. Here is the Makuuchi dohyo iri – babies, babies everywhere! Watch out for Onosho trying to cope with a wriggling baby:

Edit: Got the musubi-no-ichiban!

Hakuho 2 – Kakuryu 1

Alas, outside the venue, controversy continued. When Hakuho came out, the press bore down on him, and in the crowd, somebody raised this placard behind his back. It says (free translation) “Hakuho carries most of the blame”.



16 thoughts on “Jungyo Newsreel – December 6th

  1. I can’t begin to imagine the mental gymnastics one must go through to think Hakuho is to blame for the recent scandal.

    • I think you don’t grasp the kind of character assassination the man is currently undergoing.

      That sign is a direct quote from something some famous manga artist (!) said in a Fuji TV show. The media keeps inviting all sorts of celebrities to comment on the Haruma scandal. That guy drew a “banzuke” on the show, and place Hakuho as the “worst”, Harumafuji next, then Takanohana, then Takanoiwa. The place at the top went to Hakuho because of the yusho interview and the “matta” thing, no less, because it was “breaking the rules” and “against Yokozuna hinkaku”. Harumafuji was only second because he is “generally a good guy”. Takanoiwa was in the list because “he probably did something to start the whole mess”. Mental gymnastics, you say? Olympic gold level, for sure.

      Add to that the fact that currently Hakuho is accused of not stopping the violence before it turned bloody. One TV station even claimed that people present in that room are also going to have charges handed to the prosecution this week along with Harumafuji.

      Then there was Asa TV which filmed inside the Jungyo venue and caught Hakuho wearing a sweat suit. Worse than that, a sweat suit with the words “Mongolian Team” on the back. This was enough to get all the “give us back our national sport” mice out of their holes.

      And today there was a show that named no names, but discussed “Yokozuna hinkaku” past and present.

      I’m getting the feeling that somebody is hoping to get the man so blackened by the 20th that when the YDC reconvenes to hear the final report from the NSK after Takanoiwa is interviewed, they will also decide that Hakuho is not fit for Yokozuna, and issue an intai “recommendation” to him.

      • Wow, I’m speechless. I was not aware that this was all going on. This is the biggest media witch hunt I’ve ever heard of, and exactly what I feared would happen when anti-Mongolian sentiments began appearing on the web.

        If Hakuho is at fault for not stepping in sooner, then so is every man who was present, and so is every member of the JSA for propagating a culture where the physical abuse of those below you is acceptable. Hakuho is not a perfect person, but vilify him for the actions of another man is outrageous. He carried this sport through two of it’s biggest scandals, and now he risks his legacy being disgraced? As much as I love Harumafuji, forcing Hakuho to retire would be the greatest mistreatment of justice I can imagine.

        What I would like to know is what the fans think, and not the media dogs scrounging for ratings or the xenophobic members of the sumo world.

        • Hakuho fans call the placard man “drunk”. The jungyo goers vote with their wallets. And also applaud him warmly. There was this primary school kid in the stands today saying she wanted to kiss Hakuho. But all the obasan in the world and all the sweet kids won’t help if the YDC decided to issue a recommendation.

          • Are we actually seriously thinking there is a possibility Hakuho might have to step down?

            That would be the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

            The fan base for sumo would dwindle significantly and quite possibly perpetually if that actually happened.

    • I can imagine it quite well: you start with a belief, and then interpret everything in a way that supports it. That way you can fill your head with what seems to you like unbeatable proof in no time at all. It is a very human thing. We all do this, but here at Tachiai we start from a different belief. Or else we can just admit that to err is human, but luckily *we* are not human… ;)

  2. I’m getting incredibly fed up with people from all directions trying to vilify and ruin the reputation of Hakuho.

    Why do people think we should waste the remaining time we have to watch the greatest Yokozuna of all time with these incessant negative comments?

    For a man who has done so many positive things for the sport for so many years…

    • If sumo displays the beauty and quality of Japanese culture, some of those xenophobic fans display…something else. I assume that these losers are the usual hateful waste material that somehow think that a) someone else’s success takes away from success that “should” have been for the people they consider “their” people, and b) the sport, which has struggled mightily in recent memory with finding enough kids who want to take on that way of life, would be somehow feasible in this era without these infusions of talent.

      (The typical haters also think they know how to play the sport — any sport — perfectly from their armchairs. I’d like to throw them into the ring with *any* riskishi and see how that works out.)

    • Naw dog, the Japanese fans don’t hate Hakuho. Some ultra-nationalists hate Hakuho because he doesn’t have the right Yamato Damashii or some ol’ bullshit. Having a NIppon Yokozuna hero to rally behind in the form of Kise (through no fault of his) has given them some renewed vigor in an era that has seen something of a resurgence of their kind (lookin’ at you Shinzo!). But while they are all draping themselves in omamuri from Yasukuni Jinja and rubbing one out to photos of Yukio MIshima, Hakuho is working the crowds, glad-handing fans, and generally being personable and philanthropic. Have you seen any of the news footage of the White Phoenix doing a dohyo-iri in areas affected by natural disasters? He puts tears of joy in the eyes of huge crowds of people who are standing literally in the rubble of their neighborhoods. The way folks act when he hands them a bowl of chanko legit puts a lump in my throat. Just yesterday he went to an area affected by heavy rains to perform for those affected. I can’t claim to have any idea what is in that dude’s heart, but if past evidence holds any meaning, the general public will overlook his 90 seconds of inexcusable rudeness, and acknowledge that he and Harumafuji are separate men responsible for their own acts. Also he sometimes travels wearing an Inverness cape like he’s Sherlock Holmes! Have you seen this? Baller status.

      • This guy gets it. Folks, stop amplifying the crazed views of a handful of cranks into something that’s actually relevant to the running of sumo, because it isn’t. Neither the NSK nor the YDC will do anything to feed the current media-induced frenzy, so please stop acting like there’s an actual “All Mongolians will be sent packing” threat here. The cranks will be back out of sight by the time Hatsu basho starts.

        • I agree with you about the NSK. They know which side of the bread is buttered. Plus most of the accusations would seem pretty silly to anybody who was ever a rikishi. But I’m not sure if this logic applies to the YDC. They are arch-conservatives, they have never been rikishi (i.e. may not be aware that sweat suits are commonplace indoors), and they are known to be biased against foreigners. They have already made comments about Hakuho in the first meeting. I am not sure what kind of “damage to yokozuna hinkaku” is likely to trigger them, because there are not many precedents.

          By the way, the accusations I quoted are only those that appeared in mainstream media. The stuff that runs through the “handful of cranks” on twitter and YouTube is much worse (yaocho, yakuza, Hakuho keeps a mistress, and whatnot).


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