Tochinoshin’s Final Exam Results



Up until day 12, the “grumpy” elements of the sumo world maintained that Tochinoshin might be denied an Ozeki promotion due to some concerns about the strength of his opponents in this tournament. Through no fault of his own, this tournament went “Nozeki” fairly early. But Ozeki hopeful Tochinoshin focused on his sumo, and winning his matches one day at a time.

Day 12 was an unexpected wrinkle in the anticipated order of things, when his match against Yokozuna Hakuho was brought forward by one day. This provided an opportunity should Hakuho win of having a 3 way tie for the yusho going into the final weekend. The odds seemed good, Hakuho held a 25-0 advantage over the Georgian, and while Hakuho was not quite his genki self, he seemed sufficiently potent to apply the brakes on the Tochinoshin yusho train.

But all of the chatter and expectations fall away when two men face each other on the dohyo. It comes down to strength, speed, training an no small amount of luck. The match was excellent, and I urge readers to watch it as soon as they can.

Tochinoshin’s win over Hakuho marks a fundamental shift in the sumo world. We all know that the long serving stalwarts are fading; its the natural order of things. But it’s a identifiable point in time where one rikishi who had been completely dominated by possibly the greatest Yokozuna ever to mount the dohyo was able to train, to work and to overcome his history and emerge victorious.

Nothing stands in the way of his promotion to Ozeki, and little stands in his way of his second yusho in three tournaments. Tochinoshin’s story is one of the great stories of sumo, and indeed one of the great stories of individual sports competition. The team at Tachiai wish him a long an prosperous reign as Ozeki, and we will continue to cheer him on.

39 thoughts on “Tochinoshin’s Final Exam Results

  1. Such an exciting and thrilling bout – did the earth shift just a little? Yes it did!

  2. At the rate Tochinoshin is going, he won’t be an Ozeki for long. If he wins Natsu, gets promoted to Ozeki and then wins Nagoya in July, he could be a Yokozuna by Aki in September.

    • Normally they look for a pair of wins as an Ozeki. But I love your enthusiasm. After Kakuryu, the may be a bit more patient to give him the rope unless they need to mint a Yokozuna ina hurry.

      • Three wins in a row with a zensho yusho if he doesn’t lose? I don’t see how they could refuse him, honestly.

        • What three wins in a row? He was a very respectable 10-5 last basho, but far from the yusho.

          • If he wins a zensho yusho this time and a zensho yusho next time… nah, still probably not enough. But it has never happened in the six-annual-tournament era that a sekiwake has won a tournament, been promoted, and won the next tournament as well, so who knows?

            (The only sekiwake to ever win a tournament, be promoted to ozeki, and win that tournament as well was Futabayama; his wins were zensho — part of his record-setting winning streak — but he was not promoted to yokozuna until after his third yusho.)

            • And in 1949-50, Chiyonoyama won his first two basho as Ozeki, and still wasn’t promoted until he won his third a year later.

  3. Omedetou gozaimasu Tochinoshin!!! :-D Watched the live feed at 2am on the West Coast, and it felt like we were watching sumo history being made.

    I have one question, and be gentle with me, as I am somewhat of a Sumo noobie. When Tochinoshin came out into the hallway to warm up, he walked over to a bucket at the end of the hall, and he started visibly gagging like he was throwing up into it. Everyone around paid no attention… like it was a normal occurrence. Later, Hakuho did much the same.

    Is it normal for rikishi to vomit there? Is it some kind of ritual to rid the body of negative energy, or is it just nerves getting to certain guys?

    • I was wondering the same thing – I had not seen this done before. Maybe someone has some inside knowledge that has thus far escaped me.


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