Jungyo Newsreel – Catching up at Kanagawa

Hello again, Jungyo enthusiasts. I have strayed off the trail after day 6. Let’s try to do some catching up and join the sekitori again at Kanagawa, where they have been spending days 13 and 14.

So what happened during that interval?

Little girls can no longer participate in kiddie sumo

Despite public outcry, the NSK is asking each hosting town not to send little girls to the kiddie sumo events of the Jungyo. The reason given “Safety first”. When various outlets pointed out that boys and girls are equally susceptible to injury on the dohyo, the answer was “We don’t want to risk girls sustaining permanent injuries to the face”.

Hakuho’s father passed away

On April 9th, Hakuho’s father, Mönkhbat, the former Olympic medalist in wrestling, and the equivalent of Dai-Yokozuna in Mongolian Wrestling, passed away at the age of 76 of liver cancer.

Hakuho fully participated in the event in Ina, Nagano prefecture, but asked for – and received – a leave of absence to attend his father’s funeral in Mongolia starting from April 11th. He will re-join the Jungyo for the Honozumo event at Yasukuni shrine on April 16th.

hakuho-funeral

The late Mönkhbat has been a national hero in Mongolia, and his funeral drew much attention and included military escort.

hakuho-funeral-son

Hakuho has always been very strongly connected to his father and looked up to him. When the father was diagnosed with liver cancer, Hakuho had him flown to Japan for treatment, then back to the comfort of his own home in Mongolia. Of course, even the best modern medical intervention has its limitations.

Kisenosato joins the Jungyo

Kisenosato announced that he will re-join the Jungyo. His return was planned for the 13th, but he joined one day earlier – may be to avoid Friday the 13th, or maybe to cover up for Hakuho’s absence.

kisenosato-tsuna-shime

In the couple of days he’s been participating he has been showing mixed results. I’d warn you against developing high hopes hearing reports that he wins his Jungyo bouts. We’ve been here before – Kisenosato managing to win bouts and elimination tournaments in Jungyo, getting breathless coverage from the press, then hitting a wall in honbasho. That injury is not going away any time soon.

Terunofuji and Aminishiki absent

I reported in my Day 6 coverage that Terunofuji was absent from the torikumi. The next day he was joined by his stablemate, Aminishiki. Terunofuji was reportedly back on duty today (April 14th) at the Fujisawa event, but Aminishiki is still out.

Birthdays

Goeido had a birthday on April  6th – day 6 of the Jungyo – and is now 32. The following day, Ichinojo celebrated his 25th birthday.

ichinojo-25

Today, although he is never again going to be on any Jungyo, many sumo fans celebrated Harumafuji’s 34th birthday.


So let’s now proceed to the daily coverage.

Day 13

🌐 Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture

Here is Chiyomaru’s version of kiddie sumo:

Ahaha… poor kids.

Tochinoshin offered his chest for some butsukari to Tobizaru and Takanosho. Bigger men have failed to move the Georgian Cliff:

Things look a little different when it’s reverse butsukari (the higher ranking guy is the pusher). You just let the Wookiee win:

Endo is getting a lot of high-rank attention this Jungyo. Apparently that’s because he is going to make san-yaku in the Natsu basho. Previously he got juiced by Takayasu. This time, Kakuryu invited him to san-ban (practice form in which the same two wrestlers go through full bouts repeatedly until the higher ranking one calls it off).

kakuryu-vs-endo

This one consisted of 13 bouts, all won by the Yokozuna. Rather than counting wins, the Yokozuna concentrated on adjusting his own movement and building up his body.

After practice, the Yokozuna was seen having a talk with Endo. It turned out that they were exchanging injury-related experience.

Kakuryu’s finger injury lingers on. He seems able to use his grip, but says that after applying sudden force, when he lets go of the opponent’s mawashi, the pain hits. “But it’s not preventing me from doing sumo”.

Kisenosato engaged Meisei from Juryo for a 9-bout sanban, and won them all. Also watch for the bout vs. Kakuryu at the musubi-no-ichiban. Just remember my warning above.

Day 14

🌐 Location: Fujisawa, Kanagawa prefecture

Help, a group of fierce robbers has taken to the streets of Fujisawa!

fierce-robbers

(A word of advice to Kyokushuho: your highwayman career is going to be very short if you wear kimono with your name (and those of current and former stable mates) splashed all over it).

The spectators got to enjoy double bills, both in the oicho construction performance:

And in the tsuna-shime performance, where the two Yokozuna present showed off their ropes. I think this was originally planned to include Hakuho, which would have given the spectators both Shiranui and Unryu style rope tying, but unfortunately Hakuho is in Mongolia, and so they got a double Unryu.

The top 16 members of Makuuchi participated in an elimination tournament. So here is Kisenosato vs. Tamawashi:

Kisenosato vs. Shodai (who has beaten Tochinoshin in the first round):

Kisenosato vs. Kaisei:

And finally, the final, Kisenosato vs. Takayasu. When playing in elimination format, the restriction against matching rikishi from the same stable does not apply:

Kisenosato wins today’s yusho.

8 thoughts on “Jungyo Newsreel – Catching up at Kanagawa


  1. Thanks, Herouth. You’re absolutely right. These jungyo tournaments tell us very little, since injury avoidance is the number one priority for the rikishi. So you see Tamawashi eschew his usual oshizumo for the more under control yotsuzumo, and you see guys not try anything risky at the edge of the dohyo. If you gently let Kisenosato get his preferred hidariyotsu, he’s gonna beat you more often than not. We’ll see what happens when results matter and guys attack Kisenosato’s weaknesses. He hasn’t shown he can win in scramble mode for a long time now.


  2. Plenty to chew over in this post and I may need more than one bite. Anyway, I think I remember that one of the reasons that Hakuho was set on competing until 2020 was that he wanted to bring his father over fo watch the Olympics. If that was the case, do you think that his father’s death will change his retirement plans? Maybe one last dominant zensho-yusho in honour of the old man and then walk off into the sunset?


    • I don’t think his motivation was to impress his father. That has been impossible for a while now, as he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016 and apparently was no longer capable of communicating for a while now. Hakuho simply wanted to follow in his footsteps and participate in the Olympics, and as Sumo is not an Olympic sport, do so symbolically by performing a dohyo-iri in the opening ceremony.

      So I don’t think his motivation will be gone. Perhaps even the contrary. It’s easier for one to imagine a loved one watching him from heaven when the loved one is dead, than to imagine an Alzheimer’s patient understanding what is going on. 😑


  3. I saw a picture of the Kisenosato-Tochinoshin reverse butsukari on Twitter. The Microsoft-provided translation of the Japanese caption was almost poetic: “It is the heart of the chestnut that has a rare village.”.


  4. The dodgy highwayman is in fact Kyokutaisei (I saw a Twitter pic of him in same yukata) 😂😂😂


    • Aha, then it’s actually a clever disguise, as his name is not on that yukata… that I can discern.


  5. Banning little girls from participating is a classic response to the issue with the female medics getting on the doyho. Instead of broadening their view, becoming more sensibly inclusive, they double down. The message is obvious: We mean it when we say no women. After all, how often are children actually injured while playing with rekishi? Has it EVER happened? Their logic is clearly ludicrous. Perhaps it is a trade off of some type for old school hardliners, but that’d be rather shallow. An empty choice.

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