Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 14 (Oct 17)


🌐 Location: Kyoto, Kyoto
🚫 Scandal level: 0

Sumo tournaments and events draw members of other traditional Japanese professions, such as rakugo story tellers, and in this case, geiko.

Geiko are the Kyoto version of what is called a “geisha” in Tokyo, or a “geigi” in Fukuoka. They are traditional entertainers, skilled in singing, dancing, playing instruments, conversation, and drinking games.

There are many similarities between the world of geiko and the world of sumo. Aspiring geiko join an okiya, which is the equivalent of a heya. There is strict hierarchy between them, and you can tell the ranks by the outfits and accessories. There is a sharp difference between an apprentice geiko – a maiko – the equivalent of a makushita-and-below rikishi, and a full-fledged geiko, the equivalent of a sekitori. Maiko and geiko wear kimono or yukata even when off-duty (though less fancy then their work kimono), and you can recognize an off-duty maiko by the combination of the kimono and the special hairdo.

They also spend most of their days training. Even when they have graduated into geiko.

So in the photo above we have five maiko – one of them a minarai, the equivalent of a Jonokuchi wrestler – and one senior geiko, from the Tsurui okiya, coming to see and be seen at the Kyoto Jungyo event.

So let’s join them and see what the rikishi are up to.

Today’s fashion statement comes from Kagayaki, who shows how to do a head tie:


The fans claim that this is actually a form of stretching.

Yesterday we had a discussion in the comments about seiza and hefty guys like Takayasu. So what would you say about this guy sitting seiza?


My legs ache in sympathy. The fans, by the way, claim that this, too, is a form of stretching.

Now here is a mystery rikishi for you. Since the connoisseurs here are able to tell Kisenosato from Kotoshogiku by the mere outline of their moobs, I’m sure identifying this butt will be no challenge:


The answer is below, following the daily Tobizaru.

Goeido does shiko stomps at the bottom of the dohyo. But something seems to distract him:

There are no sekitori hailing from Kyoto. The NSK had to dig really hard for home boys – the reason why Enho is accompanied by Kyoto-born Jonidan rikishi Umizaru this Jungyo rather than his regular tsukebito. Another Kyoto man is Sandanme rikishi Kawamoto, from Kasugano beya, who gets the unexpected honor of a butsukari from an Ozeki.


This is easy enough for the Ozeki to leave his gigantic brace off his knee.

Takayasu went for a more serious butsukari opponent – Wakatakakage. And Takayasu doesn’t do butsukari by halves.


Tamawashi’s moshi-ai bout with Yutakayama:

Tochinoshin didn’t settle just for Kawamoto, and also landed his chest to Tochiozan:

Still no brace.

Moshi-ai, Kagayaki vs. Onosho:

Still no joy for Kagayaki.

Onosho also had a butsukari session with Kisenosato:

And Kisenosato continues to practice san-ban with Mitakeumi:

Yutakayama vs. Goeido:

Now here are a couple of lessons in Japanese consideration for others. First, Takanosho practices his tachiai. But waits patiently until the arriving spectators move along, so as not to hit them by accident:

Abi starts doing some push ups, but hurriedly stops and instructs his tsukebito to pick up the bars to make way for a wheelchair.

After training is over, there is some Jinku.

I find it strange to see jinku without the famous Mutsukaze and his mutton chops.

Gokushindo seems to enjoy his continuing oicho-mage privileges:


What is Nishikigi laughing so hard about?


As it turns out, he has been using that towel of his as a whip, lashing at Ryuden as he came down from his bout down the hana-michi. I guess Nishikigi is yet another one in the “pain is fun, especially in others” faction of bored rikishi. But Ryuden seems not to mind too much.

Remember Goeido’s new gag, heckling Tamawashi by proxy? Well, I have footage of it. Tamawashi is about to start his bout with Kaisei:

“Kaisei, gambare”


And the ozeki is guffawing into his elbow. He then has that tsukebito get eye contact with Tamawashi after he wins and raise his fist in feigned encouragement.


Eventually Tamawashi comes down the hana-michi after giving Takakeisho his chikara-mizu, and Goeido sends his proxy to greet his hero.

Tamawashi, for a change, is totally classy about all this:

Let’s see some bouts. Here is Akiseyama vs. Meisei, though I have to warn you – the end has been cut off, because apparently this fan, sitting in this excellent seat, is a huge fan of Yago:

As soon as the last bout of the day (well, the last Juryo bout in this case) is over, the kachi-nokori and make-nokori, the rikishi from the previous bouts who fill the seats next to the shimpan (and also have a duty to raise a mono-ii if they see something amiss) rise and hurry off to the dressing room. Yago was one of them.

By the way, here is something that only happens in Jungyo. Takayasu and Tochinoshin were waiting their turn by the sides of the shimpan – who happened to be the gregarious Tomozuna oyakata. The oyakata took the fan’s smartphone and took their pictures for her:

Let’s see you try to get a picture from that angle in honbasho. And those smiles right before a bout.

Here is Goeido vs. Takayasu:

Finally, here is your Tobizaru:


OK, OK, what’s that supposed to be? Yet another prank during the wait for the dohyo-iri?

No, worse. It’s a prank during the dohyo-iri itself:

Tobizaru demonstrates the Japanese saying “Even monkeys fall from trees” – or dohyos, in this case.

So here is your real Tobizaru of the day:


And the mystery butt is, of course, Enho, the thinnest sekitori.

15 thoughts on “Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 14 (Oct 17)

  1. Have to agree, I’d have to fangirl over Yago too, actually I’d be too distracted to realise there was a bout happening 🤣🤣😁

  2. This series is really changing my impression of the Jungyo. Sure, it is tiring and takes away from training and recovery between the tournaments, but on the other hand, the rikishi seem to really have fun and enjoy it, and are treating it like a school field trip – or a well-deserved change of pace.

  3. Does promotion for one Geiko/Geisha come at the expense of someone else getting demoted? And If a Geiko/Geisha is injured, does she brutally fall back down the rankings and have to work her way back up?
    And do the Geiko/Geisha girls start playing stupid jock games & tricks on each other when they are waiting around and feeling bored? Oh dear, I am now entertaining a pretty disturbing image of Tamawashi dressed up in full Geisha costume as he wanders around making mischief . . .

    • Heh. I said there are many similarities between the worlds, but of course they are not entirely the same. As for Tamawashi… go back to the 1970s, and you can see…

  4. Very much appreciate your comparison between the Geiko and Sumo worlds. Thank you! Assuming the geiko is the woman in lavender, since she looks different from the others?

    Also, your coverage of the Jungyo, especially the pranks and relationships among the rikishi, really adds depth to my understanding of this way of life. It is all very complicated, of course, but on some level the rikishi are comrades as well as competitors. Probably it is the same in other sports as well, come to think of it.

    Thank you so much for all the insights.

    • Yes, the lady in the lavender and the folded obi is the Geiko. And she is a senior one, as she is not wearing a wig.

      Indeed, the relationship between the rikishi in Jungyo is much like that of athletes who represent their countries, for example, in team sports. A “national team” practices together and travels together outside of their usual teams, and a similar sort of relationship develops, in which the guy you are playing with today will be your rival tomorrow.

  5. I thought I’d try seiza. I got as far as kneeling down and putting my feet in a rough approximation of the correct position. When I started to lower my 230 pounds down however it was pretty obvious that I was unlikely to get there and that if I ever did, I would require prompt medical attention. Ah well…

    On happier notes It was great to see Tochinoshin’s right knee again: I was beginning to wonder if had been surgically replaced with a bionic version, like in “The Six Million Dollar Man” (look it up kids)..Quite an honour for a lad whose hair hasn’t grown out yet to practise with an ozeki: Kawamoto is a very promising wrestler who has gone 6-1, 6-1, 4-3 in his first three basho but he’s already 23 and will need to get a move on.

    • “Tochinoshin, a man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.”

      Ah, nostalgia…

  6. Is it just me or does Tochinoshin look a little bit shorter without the knee brace?

    I didn’t think Takayasu let his facial muscles move in that direction. 😁

    • Again, these guys’ personalities are very different in Jungyo. Even Kagayaki occasionally smiles.


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