Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 8

Hoshoryu, kachi-koshi


The fates of scheduling brought together today two well-known Jonidan denizen. Satonofuji, the yumitori master emeritus, and Hanakaze, the oldest active wrestler, 48 years old.

Somewhat geriatric tachiai there. The youngster (Satonofuji is merely 41) prevails, and is now 2-2.

Continuing the “Most X rikishi” theme, we have Kenho again! Facing Kotomanabe, both are 3-0.

And now Kenho is kachi-koshi as well. What do you think – can he get the yusho?


Of course, we absolutely can’t do without this match. I give you Ura vs. Aoi. Both 3-0 coming into this match.

As Ura gains confidence, he is starting to show us some Ura-zumo. Yesterday he went for a leg, today he went for an arm. Aoi can only feel consoled in that he got treated the same as a Yokozuna. Ura is kachi-koshi, though I’m sure he is not going to rest on his laurels just yet.


Yet another man who is on the shinkansen to Makuuchi Station is the man with the Uncle, Hoshoryu. Here matched with Tennozan.

No match, really. This bullet train is going-going-gone. Hoshoryu is kachi-koshi, and will also not be resting on any smelly leaves.

From the upper reaches of Makushita, the middle Onami brother, Wakamotoharu, vs. Kiribayama – yet another Mongolian who has a hard time gaining weight.

Could Kiribayama finally breach the sekitori barrier, after three years in the doldrums? He is 4-0. And the elder Onami brothers still can’t quite match their little brother.


Can you feel that I love this division? This was a fun day in Juryo. Let’s join in.

  • Quite a bout between Tomokaze and Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima has the better tachiai and has the beginnings of a sashi, when Tomokaze disengages and starts some tsuppari action. Toyonoshima is not easy to defeat, but defeated he is eventually.
  • Today’s Makushita representative is Tamaki from Takasago beya. He stands opposite Jokoryu, who is not doing too well this tournament. But he is doing well in this bout, picking and sweeping Tamaki easily.
  • Azumaryu seems to be getting over his initial struggles, with a third consecutive win. Shimanoumi needs to start worrying.
  • The next bout is between two of the three unlikely leaders of this division – Terutsuyoshi, Tobizaru and Enho. One is going to be relegated to the chaser group. Tobizaru (whose extra thick sagari make him look like he really is going to fly) knows exactly who he is facing, and works hard to fend Enho’s greedy arms from getting to his mawashi zone. Unfortunately for him, all Enho need is a sliver of an opening. As soon as his left hand is on the back of the monkey’s mawashi, the monkey flies indeed.
  • Chiyonoo knows he is getting to make-koshi land fast, and tries everything he can against Mitoryu. He nearly manages to throw him at the age – but not quite. He tries to pull him out of the leaning match – but doesn’t succeed. Eventually patient Mitoryu forces him out. Chiyonoo now 1-7, and it would surprise me if his score at the end will be a single-digit make-koshi.
  • Triple-breasted Gokushindo faces Tsurugisho. Both are not in a very good position at the moment, but Gokushindo is definitely heading back to Makushita for some remedial studying.
  • Chiyonoumi is in a similar straits as his heya-mate, Chiyonoo. Facing Hakuyozan, he throws everything and the kitchen sink at him, but Hakuyozan seems not to mind all the nodowa and tsuppari too much. I really hope my man from Kochi will not have to say goodbye to his collection of Bonito kesho-mawashi. Hakuyozan stays in the chaser group.
  • Takekaze finishes Akiseyama easily, first landing a nodowa, then pulling down for a katasukashi. The old man is not doing that badly at this stage.
  • Kyokushuho is not going to let yet another midget ruin his day. He batters Wakatakakage thoroughly and gets his third win.
  • Tokushoryu starts at Kyokutaisei quite energatically, and the man in orange is pushed back – but side steps and lets Tokushoryu’s bulk do the work for him.
  • Now here is our second highlight match today. Terutsuyoshi needs a win to keep himself abreast with Enho at the top of Mount Juryo. Let me tell you, he looked pretty tense today as he was about to make his final salt throw. So from out of nowhere he comes up with a nekodamashi (“I decided to do that yesterday, but didn’t rehearse it at all. I didn’t clap my hands all day!”), then dives for Daishoho’s leg. The surprised Daishoho finds himself sitting at the corner of the dohyo asking himself “what just happened”. For those of you who don’t know what a nekodamashi is – it’s clapping your hands right in front of your opponent’s face to briefly distract him. Previous to Hakuho’s famous double nekodamashi vs. Tochiozan, Mainoumi was known for using that trick. Terutsuyoshi very pleased, and keeps breathing the cold sweet air of the yusho race. He needs one win to kachi-koshi, and may not be far from serving as Hakuho’s next tsuyuharai. That is, if Enho doesn’t grab that yusho and gets there first (there are precedents for J10 yusho winners making it to Makuuchi).
  • Aminishiki goes for straightforward sumo today, but his opponent – Takagenji – is younger and stronger than he and quickly chases him out. Kudos to Takagenji for keeping Uncle from falling, though I am not sure Aminishiki appreciated being reminded of his age.
  • Hidenoumi has a three second illusion that he may dominate this match, when Yago takes over matters. Hidenoumi is desparately seeking wins.
  • Hey, what was that? Ishiura wins a bout with straight forward, no tricks sumo? Who knew he was capable of that? Kotoeko is 4-4.

Juryo leaderboard

7-1: Terutsuyoshi, Enho

6-2: Hakuyozan, Tobizaru

10 thoughts on “Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 8

  1. And now you’ve got me hooked on Juryo ;-) As I recall, nekodamashi is somewhat controversial, but I thought it was brilliant stuff. Dream scenario: Terutsuyoshi and Enho win out, meet in a playoff, Enho prevails, both men in Makuuchi.

    • I think it’s only controversial insofar as a henka is controversial, since it’s almost always used at the tachiai where the whole point is to make the opponent flinch so that he can’t see your dodge.

  2. Thank you for the recap, and the nIce pic of Hoshoryu standing victorious. Ura and him both on later today, hopefully both can continue their zensho. Come on Enho – keep throwing those big guys around!

    • One of the reasons I think the future of sumo is a lot of fun. There is something to said to being able to watch the “Michael Jordan of Sumo” do his magic for several years. But as he fades we are going to have a landscape less ruled by a single dominant ur-rikishi, and more of a flat competitive space. When that list (plus a few others) are mainstays, we can expect any basho to be an arm twisting, leg grabbing, hand clapping at the tachiai battle-mess. The fans are going to love it.

  3. I REALLY want NHK to give us BOTH Juryo and Makuuchi, and ALL of them. I am asking Sumo Santa for that, and leaving a big bowl of chanko under the tree. Sumo Santa looks amazingly like Chiyomaru to me, Not sure about the beard, but he looks very kawaii in the red suit.

    • So, the folks at NHK World would like something bigger for sumo. Hiro is carrying the flag, and pressing the powers that be for a bigger role for sumo. The appearance this year of Grand Sumo Live is the first attempt to do more.

      The challenge is how to jack sumo into a 30 minute time slot and get it to work. Big NHK does a 30 minute highlight show with all matches, but people are not sure it would work for a western audience. There is some concern that for the “hard core fans” it would be just fine, but for people just discovering sumo, they might be lost. Josh talks about these “sumo curious” folks in our mid-way video podcast, and converting them is the key to growing the sport’s popularity abroad.

      I wonder if maybe doing a 50 minute highlight show with all of Juryo and all of Makuuchi might work. That would allow them to keep a 10 minute news digest at the top of the hour.

      • Thanks for responding. That would be better than what we have now,and I do really want all of it, but I will take 50 minutes. I think to grow sumo, Juryo exposure is crucial- these are the up and coming guys that could generate interest . I think maybe I’ll try writing to Hiro….

  4. I normally root for the up-and-comers but it would be nice for Kenho to get a jonidan yusho- it’s probably the best he can do at this stage of his career and he deserves some credit for fighting back after dropping off the banzuke a year ago. Checking the database I see that he got to a sandanme playoff back in 2012. That’s a long time to go without a sniff of glory.

    I also like Kiribayama who has been knocking at the juryo door for ages. Here’s an oddity- he doesn’t have a given name as part of his shikona, he’s just Kiribayama. If one name is good enough for Madonna…

    • If he gets the yusho, I am going to give at least partial credit to several friends of Tachiai who sought him out on senshuraku in September and made him feel like he mattered. They know who they are, and I think the big guy appreciated it a lot.


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