Haru Final Day Highlights

Kakuryu Yusho.Parade

You might not know it by watching the matches today, but it was the final day of the Haru basho. Across the torikumi, everyone was fighting with some of their best sumo of the tournament. It was one of those days where it will be a good idea to seek out Jason’s All Sumo Channel or Kintamayama on YouTube to see all the bouts, and not just the highlights from NHK.

Highlight Matches

Aminishiki defeats Myogiryu – It’s kind of magical to me that we may see Uncle Sumo back in the top division yet again for Natsu. This guy should be an inspiration to everyone to stick to their dreams and keep working. Good things happen for those who refuse to give up. The match starts with a henka-matta, so Uncle Sumo needs to re-set and goes for a simple hatakikomi.

Daiamami defeats Yutakayama – Daiamami gets to double digits, but Yutakayama really made him earn it. A close-quarters thrusting match in which both men stayed low and kept applying the pressure. Daiamami closed the deal when he finally got inside on Yutakayama and drove forward.

Chiyonokuni defeats Hidenoumi – Chiyonokuni reminds us that he is a real battle machine with his energetic win over Hidenoumi. He finishes make-koshi, and we have to wonder what it will take for him to get his sumo to the next level.

Chiyoshoma defeats Nishikigi – Chiyoshoma’s leaping henka results in an airborne uwatenage. Go watch it! It’s amazingly acrobatic.

Ryuden defeats Asanoyama – Ryuden secures kachi-koshi on the final day. Asanoyama took him to his chest out of the tachiai, and from there it was a struggle. Multiple times Asanoyama went to throw Ryuden, but Ryuden somehow found a way to block the uwatenage. Great, great sumo from both.

Okinoumi defeats Aoiyama – After a strong start to the basho, Aoiyama faded down the stretch. Part of this may have been from the fact that he started facing much higher ranked rikishi, and some of it may be some unreported injury or just plain exhaustion.

Kagayaki defeats Ishiura – Ishiura tries a straight ahead fight, and can’t find a way to blunt Kagayaki’s forward drive. Ishiura seems to have forgotten some of his sumo from a year or two ago, or maybe his opponents are just much bigger / tougher now.

Abi defeats Daishomaru – A leaping hatakikomi at the edge gives Abi the win after a monoii. Impressive ring sense there! For his second tournament in a row, Abi is able to rack up double digit wins.

Kaisei defeats Ikioi – Sadly Ikioi could not pick up the special prize, but he has nothing to apologize for this basho. Even with a bandaged head, he met Kaisei with vigor and strength. But there is a lot of Kaisei to move, and even for Ikioi, it was a tall order. Ikioi has been progressively more injured each day of the basho, so I hope he goes and heals up.

Daieisho defeats Shodai – Even though he is make-koshi, Shodai seems to have found his sumo. Daieisho knew when to put him off balance and send him across the tawara. I do hope that Shodai can focus on returning in this form for the start of Natsu. He still has massive potential if he can get his sumo under control.

Kotoshogiku defeats Hokutofuji – Both men are deeply make-koshi, but you would never know it from watching their bout. This was one of the better matches of an already awesome day. The two men were chest to chest for most of the match, but neither seemed to be able to employ their favorite sumo attacks for more than a moment. In the end, it was Kotoshogiku who set up his hip-pump attack and ended the match.

Takarafuji defeats Kotoyuki – Is anyone surprised? Kotoyuki ends the the basho with a single win.

Yoshikaze defeats Arawashi – Arawashi needs to go heal. Yoshikaze finishes 7-8.

Tamawashi defeats Chiyomaru – Tamawashi is likely back in San’yaku for May, and will try again to muscle his way to his preferred Sekiwake position. Chiyomaru, meanwhile, is headed for the buffet table.

Shohozan defeats Endo – It takes a powerful tachiai from Shohozan and a couple of quick thrusts to put Endo the Golden back and out. Shohozan is kachi-koshi on the final day, after an alarming cold streak starting on day 6.

Chiyotairyu defeats Tochiozan – This looked like a Tochiozan win, and the gyoji gave the gumbai to Tochiozan, but then the sideburns of Chiyotairyu called out to the spiritual world, and the shimpan rose to their feet in abeyance. The monoii did not so much give the match to Chiyotairyu, but more to his sideburns. What did we learn here? Chiyotairyu must never remove his sideburns again. Whispered legends say that the kami that inhabits them is the same that gave Takamiyama his might, and they will only live in the facial hair of one who is worthy. [What. –PinkMawashi]

Tochinoshin defeats Ichinojo – Two enormously powerful rikishi test each other’s strength. After Ichinojo decided to lift Tochinoshin, he decided he was done playing and dialed his muscles to “Hulk” mode, finishing the boulder. With his 10-5 record, Tochinoshin has started an Ozeki campaign. Protect that knee, sir!

Mitakeumi defeats Goeido – Mitakeumi seems to have given Goeido 1.5.1 a solid match, and dropped the Osaka favorite on his backside in the middle of the ring. His sumo against both Ozeki has been great to watch. Maybe he is on the cusp of elevating his technique after all?

Takayasu defeats Kakuryu – The initial call by the gyoji went to Kakuryu, and it looked like Takayasu may have injured his right leg and maybe even re-damaged his right thigh. But just before they hand Kakuryu the kensho diorama of Osaka-jo, the shimpan decide it’s time to review it. The replays show Kakuryu’s heel touching out, so it’s torinaoshi time, with Takayasu limping. This time, Takayasu centers the Yokozuna and drives forward with his considerable strength. Kakuryu can’t plant his feet to defend, bringing the match and the basho to an exciting end as it’s Takayasu who hoists the kensho fort from the gyoji’s gumbai.

41 thoughts on “Haru Final Day Highlights

  1. Love the Takamiyama reference. I wasn’t following sumo back in his day, but do have a nice book on the trailblazer from Maui.

  2. Ah.mi.ni.shi.kiiiiii! And, hope goeido doesnt have a concussion from that butt-bounce-bell ringer. And, yay Abi! And, did you see what Abi’s shimpan was wearing? Gorgeous!

  3. Great matchmaking this basho. Still ticked about Goeido’s henka and the bad call against Tochinoshin. Looking forward to future Tochinochin vs Goeido.

    • I agree about both things to be ticked about. Aoyiama’s “loss” is also another thing to be irritated about.

  4. Thank you so much for the great coverage! I’m a new sumo fan and I love this site.

    Here (if it uploads okay) is a postcard I found. It has no name of photographer or subject, but doesn’t it look like our yusho winner Yokozuna Kakuryu, having a well-earned, relaxing soak with a flotilla of rubber ducks?


  5. Sadly, I don’t think there’s a path for Tamawashi to get back to sanyaku for Natsu, given how the final day played out. I’ll have a post on this later today.

    • Would they not go for 3 komusubi in mitakeumi, endo and then tamawashi? Or is that not done? Presuming ichinojo is up to sekiwake and chiyotairyu back to maegashira.

  6. Poor Takayasu, one win from the start of a big run. Big respect getting back up there for a second go against the yokozuna though.

    Hard to imagine Mitakeumi dropping all the way out of san’yaku at 7-8, and that’s the only way Tamawashi gets in. As it’s his first makekoshi in years, I think they’ll let him stick around at Komusubi. Tamawashi stuck at 1E I think (hey, it’s a promotion…sorta).

  7. Ikioi looked like Sloth from “The Goonies”. He deserved a Fighting Spirit prize just for showing up.

    The banzuke committee have an absolute pig of a job for May: we have three wrestlers, Mitakeumi, Endo and Tamawashi whose records scream “KOMUSUBI” but only 2 slots available. Bearing in mind that Mitakeumi was the one who had the easiest schedule (when did a sekiwake ever get out of fighting a yokozuna?) I think he will be the one who misses out. If Tamawashi doesnt get promoted I would hate to be the poor sod who has to fight him on Natsu day 1.

    It looks as though there are more relegation candidates than there are promotion-eligible juryo wrestlers. Aminishiki will probably be back fo one more run in makuuchi.

  8. Helluva pay day for Tarayasu. A whole boatload of envelopes for knocking off the champ!!!

  9. Awesome way to finish the tourney!

    Can anyone enlighten me? If our favourite Georgian is on an ozeki run, does his championship in the rank and file count or do the wins all have to be at sanyaku?

    • It “counts” but at something of a discount, which is why he’ll need at least 10 and possibly more wins next time out for promotion. There are no hard-and-fast rules for this…

    • According to sumo sage Kintamayama:

      Chairman of the NSK Hakkaku affirms in no uncertain terms that Tochinoshin will be on an Ozeki run next basho. “Naturally, that is the kind of basho it will be,” he said. The subtext is at least 11 wins, and hopefully , finally, a win against Hakuhou. “I’m looking forward to that match-up,” said the Rij. “I’d love to see the Olympics in 2020,” said Tochinoshin of his dream.”I had a few struggles this basho. I could have had more wins..” he added. He doesn’t use the O word but sums it up. “Hatsu basho is going to be an important basho..”

      Only one of the last 24 Ozekis started his run from Maegashira, and that was Terunofuji, with an 8-7.. Before that, it was Kitao (Futahaguro).

      • Neither of the above started their run with a maegashira yusho so this is a very odd situation. If Tochinoshin gets 11 wins and doesn’t get promoted I shall be will be writing a jolly stiff letter to my MP. And please never mention Futa-you-know-who again: after 30 years. I know I should have overcome the horror, but I still wake up at 3 am crying “why, why, why” which startles my cat.

        • Wasn’t following sumo back then—what’s the story there? I can kinda infer it from the stats…

          • Koji Kitao (Futahaguro) was a very tall, talented and promising young westler but known to have a bit of an attitude problem. After reaching makuuchi he rocketed up the banzuke and made ozeki in just over year. Four tournaments later he was promoted to yokozuna after consecutive jun-yusho. Apparently, the authority decided that they needed a new yokozuna, and promoted him on potential rather than achievement. He immediately got injured and was never remotely convincing at the rank. He remains the only moden yokozuna never to win a yusho. His attitude deteriorated and he was kicked out of the sport after getting into a fight with his oyakata and the oyakata’s wife. He later went into pro-wrestling where he had some success but maintained his reputation for being difficult to work with and a total pain in the a*se. The wikipedia article tells the full story.

  10. Takayasu sure looked like a yokozuna this time out. I think a promotion could happen this year. A good way for the Association to deal with the Kisenosato debacle.

    A fine basho. I don’t recall ever seeing so many moni-ii. Adds to the excitement.

    Finally, I’ll say it one more time: MISELET Plus on Youtube had all the divisions, in HD, every day.

    • I didn’t particularly care for Takayasu using the shoulder blast in the first match, then the face slap on the re-do against Kakuryu. This match was meaningless for the Yusho and for the rankings. Did he want the envelopes that badly?

      Seems to me that if these tactics are “beneath the dignity of a Yokozuna”, the wanna-be should also refrain (against Yokozuna anyway).

      • George, he WAS injured in the first bout and had to pull out all the stops to get the win. Can’t crucify him for that. And, goodness, it one just one slap. I’ve seen living legend Hakuho deliver more than a dozen slaps in certain bouts. I don’t blame Pooh-Bear one bit, but I really like the guy, so I’m very biased in his favor.

    • Respectfully, I disagree. Yes, he looked better this basho then in the pervious two, however he wasn’t as consistent as he would need to be to make Yokozuna and imo, he looked less focused than he did a year ago when he was trying to make Ozeki.

      Honestly, his sumo has slipped since his #1 sparring partner was injured.

      • Sure, Takayasu’s sumo has been a little squirrelly since the loss of his yokozuna training partner but the guy did just complete back-to-back 12-3 jun-yusho. I’m reminded a little of how Hakuho’s sumo attracted similar commentary during Natsu 2017.

        • Granted, however, he has not won a tournament as of yet and the combined record in the last 3 tournaments is 32/10/3 – he was absent for most of the September tournament and only managed 9 wins in July.

          Don’t get me wrong, I love TakaBear. I would be delighted to see him make Grand Champion, but only if he actually deserves it. I think they rushed Kisenasato’s promotion a bit and the end result was an injury that may end his career.

  11. you had it right when you mentioned the great kami-sama Takamiyama and his sideburns… he was my first ever favourite sumo – and his sideburns attained their mythical status justifiably!

  12. I disagree that Chiyoshoma did a henka. He did not sidestep his opponent. He was faster at the tachiai and went over and above his opponent. It is an entirely new move!

  13. I was very impressed with Kaisei this basho. Not just in his fighting, but with what I was seeing of sportsmanship. Several times I saw him assist, or offer to assist, his opponent back to his feet or the dohyo. That’s points in my book, especially when I see some many others just walk to their side of the ring, or turn their backs if their opponent went out on their side.

    For the first time my sister and I tried to keep track of the techniques use. That was fun in several ways. :-) First we had to come up with a way to note which technique was used on the score sheet. To do that we assigned a number to a move as it was used on day one. Our final count was 24 different techniques used in this basho. (I found it very interesting that #24, used by Mitakeumi, is one of the least common – Abisetaoshi. Quiet a mark for Mitaki) On day 14 I counted up the techniques and found 4 rikishi had used 7 different techniques. Two of them (I don’t have my score sheet here, so I don’t remember who they were off hand) I mentally dismissed since all 7 of their techniques were from the more common techniques. Two, Endo and Asanoyama had 5 common and two uncommon, so I was guessing a tie for Technique Prize. I was half right. :-) Apparently there is another variable that I don’t know being used to calculate the awards. We also picked the Fighting Spirit award correctly, however the Outstand Performance Award requirements allude us.

    I’d say we did okay, considering that we’ve only been actively following for just over a year. Now to see how long it take for our dear Dancing Rikishi (Ura) to make it back up to Makuuchi.

  14. Takayasu(fan here) bulldozing Kakuryu out ,was probably the best moment for me.Congrats to Crane Dragon anyway)))!!!


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