Aki Story 2 – Kisenosato


Readers of Tachiai know that since the day of his injury, I have been warning that Kisenosato might never recover. Odds of a full recovery from a pectoral tear are not good, even if the injured seeks immediate surgery, which Kisenosato did not. For the past 18 months he has struggled to compete, and at times to do any sumo at all. He has completely missed multiple tournaments, and only casually participated in jungyo events. Most sumo fans, myself included, assumed that he would need to make an attempt at a return some time this year, or face mounting pressure to retire.

During the summer jungyo, Kisenosato looked increasingly genki. He took practice matches against Makuuchi ranked rikishi, and found himself winning. This is in contrast to his performance previously this year, where he struggled against even junior opponents. Performance in jungyo is, of course, not indicative of how a rikishi will compete, especially a Yokozuna. Jungyo matches have no ranking impact, and there is no problem losing to a higher ranked opponent as it shows respect and a willingness to be a good member of the sumo clan.

But once jungyo ends, the rikishi begin to train with purpose and conviction. In joint keiko sessions, and at the YDC Soken, Kisenosato has looked surprisingly genki against a range of opponents, including Ozeki Goeido and Komusubi Tamawashi. As mentioned before by Team Tachiai, we would take Kisenosato seriously when he was training with Takayasu daily, and holding his own against San’yaku practice partners. I think we may in fact have reached that point.

As of now, I expect Kisenosato to enter Aki, to unbridled shouts of joy and enthusiasm across the sumo world. Will he compete all 15 days? There is no way of knowing. I would not assume that he would contend for the yusho, but just entering and turning in a set of strong matches would be good enough for the fans, and likely for the YDC. We can assume a positive result would be a 10 day run, with 8 wins followed by a kyujo to avoid injury. Everyone would agree that after 18 months in dry-dock, this would be a successful return.

Video below of Kisenosato at the Nishonoseki Ichimon rengo keiko, today at Nishonoseki heya.

15 thoughts on “Aki Story 2 – Kisenosato

  1. My opinion: Even if he gets 8 wins, going kyujo would not be taken well. He needs to finish the tourney and face the top guys before he can safely put the retirement pressure to rest.

    I hope he can do it. We need more angry Kisenosato 👍

  2. If Kisenosato gets 10 wins at Aki I will be surprised. If he wins the yusho, it would be the greatest comeback since Lazarus or at the very least up there with Stu Ungar, Alex Higgins, George Foreman and “Maria” by Blondie.

  3. If Kise gets through the basho without aggravating his injury to the point where his ability to function on a day-to-day basis is hampered, I don’t even care what his record is -.-;;;

  4. As others have said, he needs to go the full 15 days for it to be deemed a successful return. Obviously with at least 8 wins. There have been 18 bare-minimum 8-7 KK records posted by Yokozuna in the 15-bout era, most recently by none other than Takanohana in 1999. None led to immediate intai. Only twice has a Yokozuna gone 7-8.

  5. Unless this is a massive ruse to drum up interest in the basho, it’s actually looking relatively positive for Kisenosato.

    I actually think the bar will be low for him to avoid intai given the level of patience shown so far, I think he’ll survive to the next tournament with 8 wins.

  6. Still very very skeptical that he’ll ever reach yokozuna-level sumo again.

    Although I agree with his promotion, it’s a bit of a shame that he’s now committed to that standard. He might have a longer career if he could slip down the banzuke and compete at a lower level, like the Giku has.

    • It is an interesting feature of sumo compared with other sports. Andy Murray came back from long term injury and only got to the second round of the US Open. If sumo standards were applied he would be shamed into immediate retirement. Likewise we wouldn’t be seeing the resurgence of Tiger Woods. My point is it’s unrealistic to throw someone back in after 18 months out and expect them to perform Yokozuna level sumo.

  7. I don’t want to to preempt any upcoming training reports, so I’ll just say that Japanese language sources, (through the miracle of google translate) claim that today a man from the “rare village” took a walk along the “Australian rice path” and stumbled repeatedly.

    • No, it’s clear that the “Training day Goeido” was present at the rengo keiko on Tuesday, and was using his cannonball tachiai with great effect. I would say Kisenosato can be counted on for about Sekiwake class sumo right now. It may in fact be good enough for him to participate in at least the first 10 days of Aki.

      • I think we will now what’s going on with Kisenosato quite early. I would imagine that he would get Tamawashi and Takakeisho in the first few days and neither of those lads are going to mess around.

    • I would have also accepted “Village of the rare village” and “Australia Road” or “Australia Wong”. I think Google translate things are both hilarious, and crafting their own indecipherable language. As a good point, it drove me to improve my kana and kanji comprehension.


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