Haru Day 7 Highlights

Kakuryu Day 7 Dohyo Iri

All hail the wisdom of the scheduling team – tasked to begin to separate the good from the great, their will was enacted with great effect during day 7. There is some fantastic sumo action to enjoy today, so it’s another day to find Kintamayama or Jason’s sumo channels and soak in the excellence on display during the Haru basho.

It should be noted, the Oitekaze Makuuchi guys [That’s Endo, Daiesho, Daishomaru, and Daiamami –PinkMawashi] are on fire right now. They have, during past basho, had nicely above average records, but they seem to be on the march this time. I am looking towards them for some future sumo leadership, and I am seeing reasons to hope.

Highlight Matches

Myogiryu defeats Hidenoumi – I am a sucker for a strength and endurance match, and these two lower end Maegashira men provided a great example of the type. Really good form from both, and it was a pleasure to watch.

Ikioi defeats Aoiyama – Oh yes he did indeed! In spite of the pain and injuries, Ikioi explodes out of the tachiai, leaving Aoiyama on the defensive and moving backward. He tried to grab Ikioi’s head, while Ikioi dropped his hips, spread his feet and hugged the man-mountain. Aoiyama now realizes he’s in deep deep trouble, he’s high, and his heels are on the tawara. A strong and smooth shove by Ikioi and the Bulgarian is out. What a great win for a rikishi who is giving it everything in spite of his problems.

Daishomaru defeats Sokokurai – Daishomaru stays with the chasers in a really strong win over Sokokurai. Daishomaru may be one to watch, as he seems to be coming into his own, and showing some very strong sumo in the first half of Haru.

Asanoyama defeats Tochiozan – Try as he might, Tochiozan could not disrupt Asanoyama’s offense today. Asanoyama’s form was excellent today, hips low, feet wide and at 45° to the front, moving low and strongly. This is why I am sure that in a year or so, we are going to be looking at Asanoyama as a mainstay of mid to upper Makuuchi. Tochiozan fought well, but his injuries leave him at only 70% of full power.

Daiamami defeats Chiyonokuni – Both Oitekaze rikishi stay in the chase group, one off the leaders. Chiyonokuni gave Daiamami a rough ride, but Daiamami absorbed it all and worked to get into an attack position. After Chiyonokuni’s failed throw attempt, Daiamami rallied and took the Grumpy Badger to his chest. The closing uwatenage seemed to have an extra kick to it, as if Daiamami were disposing of an unpleasant burden. Excellent sumo.

Ryuden defeats Ishiura – For the second straight day, Ishiura tries doing some battle sumo. He’s not winning, but he looks to be doing better. Ryuden is getting dangerously close to the make-koshi line, and its increasing his drive to win.

Okinoumi defeats Yutakayama – As anticipated, strength and experience overcame youthful vigor to carry the day. Okinoumi is at a welcome 5-2 record at the end of the first week of sumo.

Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – Yet another Oitekaze win. Daieisho kept in motion, with Hokutofuji pursuing. This has been a key to defeating him, as he does not move with superior stability. The throw at the tawara is a great example of Daieisho’s ability to keep himself planted to the clay, even in awkward moves.

Kaisei defeats Kagayaki – Kaisei stays in the leader group today. It was an easy bout, Kaisei moved forward, and Kagayaki stepped out and collapsed.

Chiyomaru defeats Abi – Chiyomaru’s mighty chin-bag kept Abi confused and off rhythm, never getting his thrusting attack started. As fans have noted, Abi tends to lean in quite a bit on offense, so Chiyomaru simply stepped aside and let Issac Newton do the rest.

Shodai defeats Yoshikaze – Congrats to Shodai, but what on earth happened to Yoshikaze? This is killing me, folks.

Kotoshogiku defeats Endo – Endo made the mistake of letting the Kyushu Bulldozer start the bump and grind. In his heyday, there were few who could withstand this attack, and Endo should have gone into the match with a means to prevent it. Kotoshogiku went chest to chest immediately, got his grip, and started his motor.

Tamawashi defeats Ichinojo – Big surprise for day 7. Ichinojo withered under Tamawashi’s powerful oshi-zumo. Ichinojo seems to have tried for a pull-down, but Tamawashi kept up the pressure and had the giant backward and out before he could mount a counterattack. Good work Tamawashi!

Tochinoshin defeats Arawashi – Arawashi is really in rough shape physically and provided no actual challenge to Tochinoshin. As soon as the Hatsu Yusho Winner landed his left hand, it was just a matter of when not if.

Mitakeumi defeats Chiyotairyu – I do believe Mitakeumi smells the winds of change blowing, and he knows it may be “now or never” for him to elevate his sumo. Chiyotairyu opened strong, but Mitakeumi found an opening and counter-attacked. Due to poor camera work, it’s tough to tell how the match ended, but I think Chiyotairyu touched out first.

Goeido defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji can’t buy a win, and the much feared “Bouncy Castle Mode” did not activate today for Goeido. Takarafuji battled strongly, but each time it seemed he would put the Ozeki to the clay, Goeido rallied. If any man deserves recognition for fighting spirit this basho, it’s Takarafuji.

Takayasu defeats Shohozan – Shohozan was never going to go down easy, and he opened with a blistering oshi-attack. Takayasu realized he was getting moved, and went chest to chest. Pinning Shohozan’s left arm, the Ozeki worked to contain his opponent and wear him down. A failed attempt to throw Shohozan resulted in an escape and Shohozan delivering a brutal nodowa, moving Takayasu back. Back to tsuppari, then once again chest to chest. Shohozan was going to find a way to win, no matter what! Shohozan had a right-hand shallow grip, with Takayasu pinning his left arm high and straight. They broke their grips, and the oshi-battle resumed! Both were clearly tired, and the match ended with Shohozan losing his footing, and hitting the clay. Fantastic effort from both men.

Kakuryu defeats Takakeisho – Kakuryu was in real danger two times, as Takakeisho was able to unleash his “Wave Action Tsuppari”, the force and aggression of which moved the Yokozuna back to the bales. He rallied, but Takakeisho once again attacked. The close was a chaotic tumble for Takakeisho from the west side of the dohyo. A monoii is called, as there is some question who stepped out first. Replays showed that as Takakeisho was airborne, Kakuryu’s big toe of his left foot touched the sand outside the ring. The shimpan upheld the gyoji’s decision, and even though I think it should have been a kinboshi, the result was a spotless record for the Yokozuna.

19 thoughts on “Haru Day 7 Highlights


  1. I think Kakuryu’s foot hit the tawara with such force that it kicked up the dust on the other side. Those replays looked pretty conclusive to me that his toes never touched. Verrry close though.

    Takayasu’s failed throw…it looked like he had it locked in there pretty good. He should have been able to finish that, no matter how strong Shohozan is.


    • I actually think Kakuryu’s toe DID touch, but not as the result of a technique by Takakeisho, who was already pitching over backwards at that point, so I’d invoke the shini-tai rule here.


      • It was a great effort by Takakeisho, and he gave the Yokozuna a good match. This guy is headed places if he can keep healthy.


  2. Really disappointed by two of my favorites today, Endo and Ichinojo. It’s not that they lost; it’s how they lost. As you write, Endo didn’t seem to have a plan. A number of rikishi have been able to either stop Kotoshogiku’s hip-pumping drive cold and reverse it in recent tournaments, or move laterally and throw the former Ozeki to the clay. Endo did neither, despite his considerable strength and skill. Ichinojo seemed to revert to the form of his bad old days, offering only token resistance as soon as he started moving backwards. These kinds of losses really put a damper on the notion of Endo joining the sanyaku ranks, or Ichinojo pushing for higher rank.


    • Agreed, both were very disappointing. I’m willing to say Endo just got caught and couldn’t get his arm free, but Ichinojo put up a big ol’ self-goal today.


    • I’m not sure what Ichinojo was thinking today, he practicaly lept to the bales with that slapdown attempt, leaving him very little room for a comeback. Luckily tomorrow is another day, and hopefully both will be back to their regular form (Ichinojo better since he takes on Arawashi)


      • Please look again at the video, Kagayaki’ left foot goes out before Kaisei even loses his balance.
        It was clear as day, no replay needed here…


        • I stand corrected, I was re-watching the view from behind Kagayaki and I was so busy looking at their hands I didn’t pay attention to their feet. The side view show’s the foot out. Thanks for pointing that out! I owe Kaisei an apology!


  3. Daishomaru has been a bit of a revelation this time. He has had good results from the lower ranks before but his wins have tended to involve retreating, pulling and slapping before standing there with an insufferably smug grin on his face. Now he is looking fast, direct and aggressive. He still has that smug grin, but at least he’s earning it.


  4. I think u and I are on the train wreck lovingly called Yoshikaze 💜💚 we can only hope that he gets recalibrated and rediscovers the right track 🙏🏻


  5. “Kakuryu’s big toe of his left foot touched the sand outside the ring.”… and even though I think it should have been a kinboshi …

    Who says that? Is this highlights or a salty man’s own opinion, just like many other opinions in the previous days? Mr. Bruce H, this is outrageous. Many people read this site to gain knowledge and information about Sumo and most of them take the articles here as a fact, as news. Almost every “highlight” written by you has such comments that affect a fan’s judgement and understanding about Sumo in a very negative way. For days I want to make a statement about this, I always stopped before clicking “Post Comment” but this is too much. Many want to see Kakuryu losing, but no one in the sumo word dared to comment against the judges’ decision because it is the right one. They did not stand there for minutes to have a chat. It is clear to most people that the sand was moved by dirt which Kakuryu threw out with his foot when sliding.
    I am sorry for this comment, but for the good of the small sumo community, stop deceiving people. If you want to share opinions, do not call this topics “highlights”. Call it “Bruce H’s …. whatever” but stop poisoning the sumo fans’ minds.


    • My dear Ridiculous, thank you very much for taking the time to comment on my opinion. It is in fact my opinion. It’s a shame that you took offense at my opinion, but it is impossible to please all people. If you read the entirety of my comments on this tournament, and the days leading up to it, you will note that I am impressed by Kakuryu’s drive and commitment to sumo. He is participating and winning in spite of what I assume is a great deal of physical pain and discomfort.

      It is in fact, as you state “One Salty Man’s Own Opinion”, and always shall be. I make no pretense to be impartial, unbiased, a journalist, a reporter, a sumo expert or a person of reasonable character. I am simply a fan who takes the time to write for the entertainment, amusement and at times education of other sumo fans.

      Please be aware that the opinion of one person sitting in his study in the wilderness of Texas has absolutely zero impact or influence on the world of sumo in Japan. The judges are empowered to render their opinion, and that is the final word on the match. Even if they are wrong. That’s how the rules of sumo work. At no time did they attempt to wake me from my slumber to ask me what the hell I thought.

      Again, you seem very passionate about sumo, and that’s wonderful. Let me ask you this – would you like to bring that passion to writing for our site? Think of it as a chance to counter-balance my outrageous writing. Let us know, I think I would love to see your commentary on the remainder of Haru, or even Natsu.

      Take care, and thanks again for taking the time to read, and to comment!


      • I apologize for my aggressive and offensive tone.
        It is indeed shame for me that I took this for something more than an opinion of yours. While writing, I did realize I am taking a risk to ashame myself, but I had to share my opinion and I am grateful that you do respect it,
        I only believed that there is more need to point out what is a fact and what is an opinion.
        Mistakes are made (Aoiyama case), but I believe we should be careful when judging such hard calls like the Kakuryu-Takakeisho bout.
        And my mistake was the inappropriate way to share what I think. Nevertheless, there is a little good in this … conversation. It made me realize that the passion, as you described it (a pure anger in my case), might end up ashaming me. I only felt that there is not enough love for Kakuryu in all the sumo community while he is under both physical and psychological pressure right now. And I might be wrong for that too. And yes, I did read where you show your respect for him.

        Once again, I apologize.


        • No worries at all, you showed a lot of guts to say what you think. The whole point of this blog is to help English language fans have a place to share their love of sumo.

          Yokozuna Kakuryu won, and that was the answer the officials came to. They had an very tough job. After your post, I challenged myself to look again. Watching source after source, it became increasingly ambiguous. In a case where it was not possible to see a clear outcome, they were right to support the gyoji’s gumbai.

          Thanks again for taking the time not only to comment, but to follow up. People like yourself help make this site, and we welcome your opinions.


    • From Merriam-Webster:

      Definition of highlight
      1
      the lightest spot or area (as in a painting) added highlights to the painting has light brown hair with blond highlights : any of several spots in a drawing or painting that receives the greatest amount of illumination
      2

      : something (such as an event or detail) that is of major significance or special interest talked about, ie the highlights of his trip to Europe

      The term “highlight” implies subjectivity, so I believe using it is appropriate. Highlights must be selected and analyzed, distinct from lowlights. Correct? Perhaps “digest” would indicate an objective summary of events? What I don’t think is appropriate is to level charges about “deceiving” when there is no deception. “Poisoning the sumo fans’ minds?” I don’t see how anyone’s minds are poisoned.

      I’ll not tolerate personal attacks on my site and your comment comes quite close to that line. It certainly leaves a sour taste when a more constructive critique or discussion would have been possible. You say you’ve been wanting to say something for days, and I’m all for going ahead and posting. Keeping it bottled up has probably resulted in a more negatively charged comment than the positive or neutral charge you would like to see from the reporting here.

      The call in particular was a very close one, certainly closer than the Aoiyama call earlier this tournament. From one view, I think his toe was out. From the other replay, it looked like there was a bit of space between his toe and the dirt. It was not “clear,” at least to me. I think they got the call right for the reason pinkmawashi mentioned above and whether the touch touched or didn’t was irrelevant…to me.

      Let’s face it, everyone has their own opinion. This community exists to foster that and not to stifle it. We can get all “JFK” on this Zapreuder film and analyze, frame by frame, the way the dust kicked up there to our hearts’ content. But the ground rule I’m leveling here is to keep it civil. I want you to enjoy the same respect that I feel everyone else here deserves.


  6. I’ve seen several people (here, on Reddit, and on the sumo Discord group) insist that Kakuryu definitely had a toe out, and several others insist that he definitely didn’t. My opinion – and it is just the opinion of a fan, I don’t claim any authority – is that:
    a) The puff of sand was kicked from inside the arena, and not the result of Kakuryu’s toe touching down outside.
    b) The available video that I have – https://youtu.be/K7BhUotOsD8?t=242 – doesn’t show with enough clarity, even full-screen and slow-motion, whether Kakuryu’s toe actually touched the clay or was a fraction of an inch above it.
    c) It doesn’t matter, because the Takanohana-beya bouncy ball was shini-tai at that point. I know that wasn’t the reasoning given by the shimpan, and shini-tai is generally used quite sparingly as a ruling, and this probably doesn’t qualify from their point of view. Watching the reply again, Takakeisho does deliver a powerful slap to Kakuryu’s back, and the Yokozuna puts a foot on the tawara to stop himself stumbling forwards – but at the moment the blow lands, Takakeisho is already pitching over backwards and has no way to stop himself crashing down. I don’t like the thought of a match being decided by a kimarite delivered while falling over.

    If the shimpan, who have access to better-quality replays from more camera angles than we do, say there was no touch of the clay, I’m inclined to agree with them.

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