Nagoya Day 14 Commentary


Good morning all – rather than do full highlights, if you want the read on the matches and how action unfolded on day 14, let me direct you to the fantastic live blog Herouth conducted during the day 14 broadcast. Please note that there is another live stream from the good folks at NHK World overnight (Sunday afternoon in Japan). So if you are keen to see the final day’s action live, plus a lot of trophies, do tune in. The big question on everyone’s mind – what color will the macaron be this time?

Whatever demon had a hold of Yoshikaze’s sumo loosened his grip just enough for him to finally score his first win of the basho. It’s great that he did not finish Nagoya 0-15. On twitter there are nearly as many posts about Yoshikaze as there were for Mitakeumi, such is his support among sumo followers. His lone win (thus far) does not negate that there is something sadly wrong with Yoshikaze, and all of his fans dearly hope he can get well or at least get comfortable.

A group of rikishi that I call “The Freshmen” have really out-performed this tournament. This includes the last two men who had any credible chance of competing for the yusho: Yutakayama and Asanoyama. In addition, Ryuden, at the rallied to win 5 of his last 7 matches and secure his kachi-koshi. Hell, on day 14 Yutakayama convincingly beat Takayasu. Granted Takayasu is only at about 75% of his normal burly self, but Yutakayama was not intimidated, and executed some really solid sumo.

Then we have the “Tadpoles”. The Grand Tadpole / King Tadpole scored his first ever yusho. In the tags I have been carrying on for over a year, referring to Mitakeumi as “Future Ozeki Mitakeumi”. For the longest time, it was partially a bit of a taunt, as clearly he wanted it, but had not reached the threshold where his sumo could accomplish that goal. I think we now know that he’s made that step, and will campaign hard to score his 33 before the end of the year. Should Aki turn out to be a fully staffed roster in the Yokozuna and Ozeki ranks, sumo fans will be in for a real treat, as the confidence he gained in Nagoya works to power him against sumo’s best. I would also note the rest of the tadpoles (Onosho, Takakeisho) are already kachi-koshi, and it’s been a big success for that cohort.

Day 14 was a solid day of sumo, and many of the Nagoya themes have played out as best they could within the brutal parameters of this basho. One last day to go, then it’s on to Aki!

13 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 14 Commentary

  1. Funny thing. It’s seems whenever a guy wins his first yusho, I begin to like him. I remember not caring about Kisenosato one way or the other until he won his first tournament. Then, watching him unable to hold back the tears during the National Anthem, suddenly I saw his humanity for the first time and I was really moved and have been a fan ever since. Fast forward to today and I’ve never had any thoughts at all about Mitakeumi until he broke down during the interview. He, literally, was too emotional to even speak. It really got to me. As a rule, these guys are so stoic and so emotionless as they go about their work that they tend to come over as almost robotic. Then, you see them unable to hold back their true feelings, it’s such a pleasant revelation. Good for Mitakeumi. He gained a lot of fans today—–including me.

  2. Bruce H has made comparisons between the sumo of Kisenosato and Mitakeumi in the past. On Day 14, the likeness was unmistakable. It really made me miss the big guy.

  3. I’m very glad to see Yoshikaze get a win, and get so much love from the fans. I’m worried about the cumulative effect of years of shocks to the head. All the best to him.

    • I am sure his family will help him decide when to hang up the mage and take up the black robes of a sumo elder. I would not be surprised if it happens before the end of the year.

  4. Best of luck to Yoshikaze – I have nothing but respect for his fighting spirit – he proved himself in the past beyond any doubt to be a true warrior. I hope he will heal – or that he has loving support in his family/friends to help him transition out of sumo if healing is no longer an option.

    • Others before have made this observation, but I’ve never seen SO many opponents SO careful not to administer an extra shove at the end of a match that might do any more damage to Yoshikaze. If you re-watch his first 13 bouts, some of his opponents actually stopped short of pushing him over the straw bales for fear of hurting him, hoping rather he would go out due to his own momentum. Never seen that before.

  5. Yoshi! Kaze! Yoshi! Kaze! Yoshi! Kaze! Chant it with me!

    It was most gratifying to hear the crowd cheer so warmly for him.

    Watchers of NHK highlights will be aware that he denies having any injury. Officially, he’s ‘fine’. I dearly hope that is the case.

  6. P.S. When Chirotairyu followed Tamawashi out of the dohyo, I thought at first it was to finish him off!

    And also …

    MITAKEUMIIIIIIIII!! Way to go! It’s your party! Cry if you want to! (If this joke mystifies you, don’t worry about it. It just means you’re under the age of 60 ;) ).

    • My wife thought his interview lacked two things: he didn’t thank his mother, and he didn’t say, “I just practiced by brand of sumo.” He caught me by surprise when he went suddenly from stoic to real. I guess he tried to, but couldn’t hold it in.

      So running up mountains backwards really is good training. I’ll have to try it. And one more thing. I’m going to go back to the NHK preview show to check, but didn’t John gunning pick him to win?


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