Ozeki Takayasu Kyujo For Natsu, Too!

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In a one-two blow for Tagonoura beya, Ozeki Takaysu is also listed as Kyujo for the upcoming Natsu basho. It has been clear for the past several days that he was nursing injuries to both arms, and now he has (wisely in my opinion) decided to recover rather than risk a career-limiting injury.

Takayasu represents Japan’s best hope for a native-born Yokozuna should ailing Kisenosato end up retiring later this year. It is a wise move to have him recover his strength and mobility before returning to competition.  With this absence, Takayasu will be kadoban ozeki for the Nagoya tournament in July.

The ranks for Natsu are already down to 2 Yokozuna and 1 Ozeki.  Should Hakuho withdraw, as Kintamayama has speculated, it would leave the roster with the bare minimum of 2 Ozeki/Yokozuna needed to conduct Honbasho.

As of late, Takayasu has added a habitual shoulder blast to his tachiai, and it has significantly changed his sumo (in my opinion for the worse). It comes as no surprise to me that he has injured it, and with any luck, he will go back to his low and aggressive sumo. The run-and-gun approach (in some ways copying Goeido) was working for him, but it seems to have torn up his body.

The team at Tachiai wish Takayasu a solid recovery, and hope to see him back in fierce fighting form in July.

19 thoughts on “Ozeki Takayasu Kyujo For Natsu, Too!

    • well, there’s a question…. I’d be happy to totally upset the applecart and get Kyokutaisei straight in at Ozeki LOL my vote for stand-in Yokozuna – gotta be Tochinoshin

    • There needs to be two Yokozeki, yes. So we will start with Goeido, Kakuryu, and Hakuho. If “The Boss” pulls out for any reason, we will be down to two. But I have a hunch that Kakuryu may run the table this time.

  1. I wonder if this will finally get the Grand Sumo Breakdowns guys to talk about his chubby cheeks now?

  2. So what happens if there are less than 2 Yokozeki? Are there temporary promotions to enable the Basho to go ahead? Is the Basho cancelled? I’m guessing if this were the case it would already have happened at some point

    • My guess is that since the Banzuke still lists all of them, nothing different needs to happen. Dohyo-iri will be still be done, just with fewer participants.

  3. I will miss our furry friend but I too am relieved. Here’s hoping he come back strong and shows us he is up to the role of Yokozuna!

  4. Wait, who came up with the idea that there must be 2 ozeki (or 2 Y+O) actually present on the dohyo for the tournament to proceed…?

    • As far as I can tell, they don’t need to be present on the dohyo, just on the banzuke. It’s possible they’re needed for ceremonial duties, in which case, I imagine a kyujo Ozeki would get special dispensation to turn up just for the ceremony and not actually have to fight.

      If there’s only one Ozeki and no Yokozuna on the banzuke, though, there is a problem. I don’t know if they would emergency-promote someone to Ozeki, or if they would hold a tournament that is “not technically a honbasho”.

      • I’ve thinking about this conundrum all day (my job is quite boring) and I’m thinking that they would have to resurrect the dreaded “technical examination” tournament last seen in 2011. Fortunately we are some way from that right now and the potential problems will dissipate for a while if Tochinoshin does his stuff and gets promotion this time.

      • You’re overthinking this. They had three tournaments in 1955 with only one ozeki and none of the yokozuna designated as yokozuna-ozeki, and life went on just fine. (Other than the public complaining about the banzuke as written, so they went back to using yokozuna-ozeki again the next time it happened.) They’ve also done other weirdness like having two ozeki on one side of the banzuke and none on the other, etc.

        All of this stuff is completely arbitrary and simply a matter of historical convention. There’s no law of nature that says it’s only a honbasho if the banzuke has two ozeki.

        • …huh. I wonder where the idea “you need two Ozeki or Yokozuna for a Honbasho” came from? It seems to be pretty widespread wisdom in the English-speaking sumo world, I’ve heard a lot of people repeat it.

          • Wikipedia: Technically there must always be a minimum of two ōzeki on the banzuke, one on the east side and one on the west. If there are fewer than two regular ōzeki in practice, then one or more yokozuna will be designated “yokozuna-ōzeki”. This was seen for five tournaments from May 1981 to January 1982, when three yokozuna (Wakanohana, Chiyonofuji and Kitanoumi) fulfilled this role at various times.[5]

            [5] is Miki, Shuji (23 February 2017). “SUMO ABC (45) / While there need not be any yokozuna, 2 ozeki must always exist — in theory”. The Japan News/The Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 2 June 2017. The link didn’t work for me.

          • Emphasis on “technically” and “in theory”. In the end, the banzuke works in whatever way the Association says it works. I do think it’s highly likely that they would promote a second ozeki if there’s ever just one Y/O remaining. (Unlikely as that scenario is to begin with…) I’m much less sure that the yokozuna-ozeki is still a thing, considering it’s been almost 40 years since the last time.

            The whole matter is a convoluted mess anyway, because yokozuna are expressly not ozeki in any other context since 1909.

            Anyway, keep in mind that the format of the banzuke originated at a time when it was basically a cast list, not a meritocratic sports ranking. Just like a Broadway play wouldn’t announce “today’s play has no principal performer”, it just wouldn’t have made any sense in those days to have vacant ozeki / sekiwake / komusubi “roles”.

      • By the way, the May 2011 tournament didn’t actually have a published banzuke, only a “position order” 順席. So that’s unlikely to serve as any sort of precedent.

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