Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 12

🌐 Location: Ryugasaki, Ibaraki

Even prefabricated, temporary dohyo are dedicated

On day 12, the Jungyo hit Ibaraki, the prefecture that proudly boasts a Yokozuna and an Ozeki. Almost every nobori in the venue had “Kisenosato” on it, with the occasional “Takayasu” and very few others. This was the first time a jungyo event takes place in the town of Ryugasaki.

Takayasu started his day practicing his tachiai with his tsukebito:

This may have done him good, because later, he went on-dohyo to re-do his practice bouts from yesterday. If you recall, yesterday he went 7 wins and 13 losses, especially facing Onosho.

Today,  the picture was completely different.


He had sanban with Asanoyama and Tochiozan, three matches and three wins against each of them. And he had 10 bouts with Onosho, and won 8 of them. That’s what playing at your home court does!

The main course in the Ryugasaki event, however, was Yokozuna Kisenosato. If you think Japan in general is swept by Kisenosato fever, Ibaraki is like the Vatican of the Kisenosato religion. And Ryugasaki in particular served as the Yokozuna-to-be’s home until his middle school days. An old teacher recalls his days as a child sumo wrestler in this video from NHK.

The man in the white shirt near the end of the clip is none other than Kisenosato’s father. I can’t see any family resemblance at all. He even speaks a lot more clearly than his son (I always suspect that if it weren’t for the subtitles, even Japanese natives wouldn’t understand half of what Kisenosato is saying. But maybe that’s just my horrible listening comprehension skills…)

Kisenosato, of course, featured in the okonomi of the day, having his rope tied:


And you already saw his bout with Kakuryu in the above video. Kakuryu’s left foot is still hovering 2 cm above dohyo level. At this rate, Kisenosato is going to be the sole Yokozuna in Aki.

But there were other rikishi visiting Ryugasaki as well. For example, Takakeisho was doing some heavy lifting. This time, no tsukebito – just a modest sack of dohyo salt:


By the way, Takanohana is on this Jungyo as a shimpan. In the previous Jungyo, as three of his sekitori were kyujo and tsukebito-beating Takayoshitoshi was suspended, he was taken off the Jungyo shimpan list and told to keep an eye on his deshi at home. But this time he was back in the Jungyo – and incidentally exactly the same sekitori and TYT (aka TJT) are in the Jungyo anyway.

The NSK’s and Takanohana’s strained relationship aside, while he is at the Jungyo, he seems to fill the time he is not in the black shimpan kimono with actual coaching to aforesaid deshi:


In some other corner of the venue, Takekaze, who is still off the torikumi (as is Goeido), used Chiyomaru as a teppo pole. And like a good pole, Chiyomaru wouldn’t budge. Eventually Takekaze decides to move the immovable, no matter what:

I hope he doesn’t do the same to the teppo pole back in his heya, because that would mean serious damage… to the pole… 😜

Now, while we’re in goof mode, try to guess what Chiyomaru and Daieisho are doing here:

This is actually a Japanese game called “atchi-muite-hoi”. It’s based on rock-paper-scissors. First, the two participants do rock-paper-scissors. Whoever wins moves his finger up, down, left or right, and the loser moves his face up-down, left or right. If the finger and the face go in different directions, nobody wins and the game starts again from rock-paper-scissors. But if the finger and the face go the same direction, the finger owner wins and the face owner loses.

Apparently, there was a penalty for the loser in this particular game: loser gets a dekopin. A dekopin is a finger snap to the forehead – usually quite painful. Rikishi get lots of those on the day they get their first chon-mage arranged. But as you see, that’s not exclusive. And Chiyomaru-tan seems to be quite merciful with his ‘pin.

Here is a (slightly off-focus) video showing the sanyaku soroi-bumi, the following three bouts, and the yumitori-shiki. Actually, the video starts with Kagayaki stepping off the dohyo as the winner of a bout. His rival of the day was Shodai.

The yobidashi couldn’t be more off-key. He could open an off-key opera with Gagamaru.

Shohozan scares me.

And Takayasu with a tsuppari show that wouldn’t have shamed Terao in his day.

As for the yumi-tori, you can see that Kasugaryu is still with us, despite Hakuho’s departure. But as it turns out, he is not the lone performer in this Jungyo as I thought at first. A new yumi-tori performer from Hakkaku beya has been trained. More about him in tomorrow’s instalment. So the “Always two there are” rule is still being kept.

Here is another, less unfocused, look at that musubi bout:

At the end of the day, the dohyo looked a lot less neat than in the image at the top of this post:


By the way, I wonder why they had the nobori dangling down like that instead of properly stretched on poles. This caused some funny effects. For example, this one seems to be saying “Kagayaki-zeki, the man” (男 輝関):


In fact, it’s a nobori for Kotoyuki-zeki (琴勇輝). Got to love Kanji. (Credit for this find goes to Azechi, the sumo camera man, aka Sumotophone).

Finally, here is your Enho for today. Yes, for some reason Enho was still on the tour at Ryugasaki. It’s not clear why, as he was taken off the torikumi, so it’s probably not a question of local popularity.

Don’t feel down, little prince. You’ll soon be on the Jungyo on your own merit.


11 thoughts on “Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 12

  1. That Tamawashi vs. Shohozan bout wouldn’t have been out of place at a honbasho: impressive finishing sequence!

  2. Thanks, Herouth, for yet another entertaining and informative report. Shohozan is the man! “Try to slap me one more time, I double-dog-dare ya!”

  3. Herouth, you mention that Kisenosato is not a clear speaker and is hard to understand. Is that because he has a strong accent or is he just a mumbler?

    • Well, bearing in mind that I am really not a good judge, he sounds like a mumbler to me. He swallows words. If it was a matter of accent, I believe his dad and Takayasu would have the same problem as they come from the same region, but they don’t.

      • I thought that was probably the case: it’s not as if he comes from a remote island half way to Okinawa. When I see wrestler being interviewed I always wonder how they sound to a Japanese audience. How good is the Japanese of the foreign wrestlers? Do any of them have strong accents? I’m not expecting you to answer these questions by the way!

        As a fan of Wigan Athletic FC I am used to hearing players from all over the world attempt to conduct interviews in English, but the most difficult to understand was the theoretically English-speaking Bobby Cambell (RIP) whose Northern Irish brogue was so impenetrable that he needed subtitles.

        • Well, I do have some partial answers to some of these. The rikishi who is considered to be the best Japanese speaker among the foreigners is Kakuryu. In fact, I’ve heard it said that he speaks better Japanese than many Japanese-born rikishi.

          And they do have noticeable accents. Harumafuji was known for his good Japanese but horrible accent. Even I could hear is rolling R and tendency to pronounce the Japanese “i”, which should be something like the “e” in “he”, more like the “i” in “his”.

          • When I hear Kaisei interviewed, it appears that he frequently makes humorous remarks; he often gets his Japanese interviewer laughing. That suggests someone who is confident in their command of the Japanese language. I wonder if he learned any of the language from his Japanese grandfather.

            • Bear in mind that veterans like Kaisei, Tochinoshin, etc., who are over 30 years old, have been in Japan, totally immersed in the language, for over 10 years. That’s enough exposure to be able to communicate humor, I believe.

          • The consonants in Japanese are easy for a foreigner: it’s the vowels and the stress patterns that catch you out. HuhROOMuhFOOji, KAKooREEyoo and K’SAYnuhSAHtoe all look pretty plausible from an anglophone pov.

            The Spanish footballer and manager Roberto Martinez, who took Belgium to third place in the recent FIFA World Cup, learned his English during his time as a player at Wigan. He speaks English with a Lancashire accent in which “sun” and “son” sound identical

            • Heh, to my Israeli ears, “sun” and “son” are actually the same word. :-) But we normally can’t even tell the difference between “sheet” and “shit”, “peace” and “piss”, &c.

  4. When I learned at school in Australia they key was to speak if possible without any kind of accent-somehow I still do. I reckon my ‘pretty japanese’ from my time in Hokkaido has now probably gone ‘pretty rusty’. That said, the best compliment I ever got was to be mistaken for my Japanese boss (female 😉) over the phone at the travel agency I worked at in the early ‘80s! All these years later that still makes me smile


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