Repost – Kisenosato – A Kyujo Ultimatum?

Back in November, we ran this post discussing an edict from the YDC that the next time Kisenosato took to the dohyo, it was to resume his full 15 day commitment to Yokozuna class sumo. With his 1-4 open to Hatsu, the prognosis is worrisome.

Kisenosato – A Kyujo Ultimatum?


At last poor Kisenosato went kyujo.  His injury was reported to Sumo Kyokai as a strain to the lumbar region of his back, along with more damage to his left foot. As Kisenosato is left-hand (and foot) dominant, all of the accumulated damage to his left side, coupled with his light training program have left him well below even San’yaku level condition. Since injuring his pectoral muscle in the spring, he has not (as far as we can tell) sought out surgery to repair the damage. In all probability, there would be little use for surgery now, as the tear has healed to scar tissue, leaving his pectoral muscle permanently degraded.

It was clear from day 4 that he was in no condition to compete. Takakeisho described the Yokozuna as “surprisingly light” in his post-kinboshi interview. Some readers and others remarked that it was a strange thing to say about a man who weighs 177kg (390 pounds). What you were seeing instead was young Takakeisho noting that Kisenosato made himself easy to move around and off the dohyo.

Video thanks to Jason’s All Sumo Channel

In his pre-injury days, Kisenosato was tough to defeat in part because he would always keep himself very low to the ground. Furthermore, if you watch his old, pre-injury matches, his movement was almost always forward, and the soles of his feet barely cleared the surface of the dohyo when he was moving strongly forward on offense. This allows a rikishi to answer any offense from his opponent by locking his feet to the earth and applying force. By contrast, watch Kisenosato’s feet in this basho. He steps high and with a lot of vertical leg motion. With that 177kg balanced on one foot, he is easy to move. He becomes “light”, in that little force is required to push him around.

Today, there is news in the Japanese press (thanks, Herouth) that Kisenosato has run out of excuses. His next basho he is in fighting form, and finishes all 15 days, or resigns from sumo’s highest rank.

It would seem that the first Japanese born Yokozuna in a generation is between a rock and a hard place now. Foregoing the surgery that could have returned some of his Yokozuna level might, he is now forever diminished, with his primary weapon (left arm / hand) ineffective in battle.

I would not be surprised to see the NSK and the YDC grant him another chance at rehabilitation, but fans are right to wonder if it would make any difference.

6 thoughts on “Repost – Kisenosato – A Kyujo Ultimatum?

  1. “His next basho he is in fighting form, and finishes all 15 days, or resigns from sumo’s highest rank.”

    Does this mean the March basho, or the next basho he appears in? Will he have the option to sit out the March basho to recuperate?

    • That statement was from November. Since he chose to start January this is supposed to be the final chance.

      Unless they decide to give him one more “final-final” chance.

      He’s in a tough spot.

      • Correct. This is going to be sad no matter how it comes out, as I am pretty sure that even another recovery break is not going to fix what ails him.

  2. If the NSK and YDC follow form, this (the Hatsu basho 2018) is to be his final chance. But he may get another chance. I think Kisenosato now understands it won’t really make a difference.

  3. I have mixed feelings about the NSK/YDC policy. On the one hand, I can see why the NSK/YDC don’t want yokozuna on the payroll, kicking back (relatively speaking, of course) kyujo for years. On the other hand, it seems very harsh and unrealistic not to let these men heal properly from their wounds.

    Not a doctor or physical therapist or anything of that nature, but how hard would it be to get an experts to examine Kisenosato, (or Kakyru or Hakuho) and make a recommendation regarding how long should sit out and whether he has hope of recovering to yokozuna level?


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