Aki YDC Soken Report

Aki 2018 Soken

For tournaments that happen in Tokyo, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council conducts a supervised practice session, referred to as the “Soken”. The YDC is a body of sumo enthusiasts who are outside the Japan Sumo Association, who advise the Association on matters concerning the sport, and the leading men of sumo. They frequently state opinions on all manner of rikishi, but it’s undefined how much actual sway they have over the Sumo Association.

The Aki Soken was conducted on Friday August 31st, and most of the rikishi who are part of the joi-jin were present, going through training routines, and a few practice bouts under the watchful eye of the council. One notable absences was Ozeki Takayasu, who did not even appear. This is typically a sign that a rikishi is in poor health, and we may now consider him doubtful for the Aki basho.

His stablemate, the perpetually injured Kisenosato, was present, and in fighting form. He faced fellow Yokozuna Kakuryu, and Ozekis Tochinoshin and Goeido, finishing with a 4-4 record. He dropped 2 bouts to Kakuryu, but his 4 matches against Goeido were of the most interest. After a rough start against Goeido, Yokozuna Hakuho encouraged Kisenosato to re-engage and re-challenge himself. Entering the ring, he proceeded to dominate Goeido in what can best be described as rough and vigorous sumo. His form still looked a bit off, but his fighting spirit was on full display.

More disappointing was Ozeki hopeful Mitakeumi, who turned in a dismal 1-13 result against a variety of opponents, including a pounding by Yokozuna Hakuho. Fans pulling for Mitakeumi to reach Ozeki should take note that he seldom shines in these events, and is generally considered much weaker in practice than he is on the dohyo. A video below for your review.

Aki Story 1 – Wakaichiro

Wakaichiro nagoya Day 1

In the heat and toil of Nagoya, Texas sumotori Wakaichiro pulled off a come from behind kachi-koshi from a Sandanme 94 slot. This was his 3rd posting to a Sandanme rank, and the first time he was able to achieve kachi-koshi in that division. His Nagoya record was

Day 1 – Win vs Kotoato
Day 3 – Loss vs Dewaazuma
Day 5 – Loss vs Kototora
Day 7 – Loss vs Kotorikuzan
Day 9 – Win vs Mienosato
Day 11 – Win vs Mitsumune
Day 14 – Win vs Fudano

As you can see, Wakaichiro ran his record to 1-3 before he battled back with 3 straight wins to earn his promotion. For Aki he is posted to Sandanme 77, his highest rank ever, and will face a tough slate of up-and-coming rikishi, along with many grizzled vets. His fans should take heart, as he has always fought better in Tokyo, and has a real chance of a break out basho.

John Gunning – Life of a Yobidashi


Once again the prolific John Gunning has opened his mental encyclopedia of sumo knowledge and let the rest of us learn.  His latest article in the Japan Times focuses on the life of the Yobidashi – the men who are always sweeping the dohyo, filling up the salt baskets, announcing matches, and taking care of everything needed to run a basho (or a jungyo day).  The article features an insight that at some point in 2012, there was recreational sumo match up between the yobidashi and the NHK crew. Once can only imagine the pounding Raja took on that dark day.


Tachiai’s Aki Video Podcast

As we warned you, eventually the new beta YouTube studio would stop misbehaving and we would have our 48 minute festival of September Sumo ready for your eyes.  Now you can enjoy watching us discuss the upcoming Aki tournament in all of our splendid glory.  Yes, for reasons beyond explanation, Bruce is not wearing a Tachiai shirt, or drinking from a Tachiai mug. Someone fire that guy.

But do watch us predict things that will never happen, and that we will forever regret.