Kyushu Day 10 Highlights

Kyushu Day 10

It’s the end of act 2, and we saw another narrowing of the yusho race. But there is still a broad set of genki rikishi that remain in the hunt, waiting for Takakeisho to lose another match. Takakeisho thus far shows no signs of easing up. As we had expected, Takakeisho is likely to be an important rikishi in the future, provided he can keep his body healthy and his mind sharp.

There may be a few new folks reading the web site, and it’s been a while since I have done this, so let me explain some of the “why” of Tachiai.

Tachiai is purely a fan weblog. It is a non-revenue site, meaning we don’t sell ads, we don’t sell your data, and we don’t ask our readers to do anything more than spend some time with us and enjoy sumo with us. The contributors to this site, myself included, receive no compensation for our efforts, and do it purely for the love of the sport, and our shared desire to bring sumo to more people in the English speaking world. That means all of us have “day jobs” that pay the bills, and allow us enough free time to follow sumo.

As far as I know, none of the contributors are journalists, or people who write for a living. On Tachiai, there should be no expectations of the following:

  • Protection from “spoilers”: Sumo happens in the middle of the night, US time. Most US fans won’t get a chance to see results until much later in the day. But we report on proceedings well before most sumo fans have watched video of the matches. It’s ok to wait to read Tachiai until after you have enjoyed your favorite video feed (we recommend the excellent NHK World, Jason’s All Sumo Channel on Youtube, and of course Kintamayama).
  • Objective reporting: As fans, all of the contributors have favorites. We have things we like in sumo, and things we don’t like. All of the contributors (along with the readers and commenters) can and should feel free to chime in with their views too, but we insist you keep it polite.
  • Comprehension of Japan, Japanese custom XYZ, mastery of Japanese culture: To “get” sumo, it helps to have some knowledge of how it came about, and how it relates to the broader cultural landscape of Japan. That being said, I am pretty sure none of the contributors to this site are Japanese, or wish to replace their own cultural aesthetic with that of Japan. We do our best, but we are not, and never will be Japanese.

Good, with that back in writing for the first time in several months, let’s enjoy today’s mayhem.

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko defeats Chiyomaru – Big Chiyomaru goes down to Kotoeko’s slapping attack, and is now make-koshi. Barring some improbable circumstance, he will return to Juryo to sort out his health and his sumo. His most recent tour of Makuuchi began in July of 2017, and he has gathered a following. We hope whatever is plaguing him, he overcomes in short order.

Onosho defeats Chiyoshoma – Onosho stays in the yusho hunt, and picks up his kachi-koshi. Chiyoshoma took an early advantage, but Onosho rallied and repulsed the Mongolian, with both visiting the west side zabuton.

Endo defeats Arawashi – Arawashi can barely stand on his injured leg, so this was a “gimme” for Endo. Arawashi will be joining the barge of sadness sailing back to Juryo.

Meisei defeats Sadanoumi – Meisei picks up his first ever win over Sadanoumi, and Sadanoumi made him work very hard for it. In fact Sadanoumi was in the driver’s seat for the balance of the match, but Meisei unleaded a well time hatakikomi at the edge to rescue the win.

Daieisho defeats Takanosho – Daieisho stays in the hunt group and scores his kochi-kochi. The match was a messy thrusting battle that could have gone either way, but Daieisho got the gumbai, and the shimpan upheld.

Aoiyama defeats Takarafuji – Aoiyama may be the only man in sumo to accomplish the nearly impossible: finding and then attacking Takarafuji’s neck. Takarafuji battled bravely, but Aoiyama had too much forward pressure interleaved with powerful blows to Takarafuji’s upper body. Aoiyama joins the rest of the crew who achieved kachi-koshi today, and remain 1 loss behind Takakeisho.

Okinoumi defeats Abi – Veteran Okinoumi completely disrupts Abi-zumo, the second straight loss via the same processes. We may have reached the expiration date on the daily use of the double arm thrusting attack from Abi. Now it gets interesting, because we will see what else this guy can do.

Shohozan defeats Chiyonokuni – Chiyonokuni was protecting his right arm the past two days, but that was gone in today’s match against “Big Guns” Shohozan. Both men are brawlers, and both men got their match today. A running brawl that traversed the dohyo repeatedly, they exchanged fierce blows, thrusts and anything they could think of. The crowd was going wild for home town boy Shohozan, and then the two went chest to chest. Go watch this match. Then go watch it again. Chiyonokuni is now make-koshi, but he fought was great vigor today.

Yutakayama defeats Kagayaki – Another high effort bout, and it was unusual to see Kagayaki having a difficult time controlling his balance. Yutakayama is still less than 100%, but he put forth a great effort today, and was rewarded with a much needed win.

Takanoiwa defeats Ryuden – Ryuden’s false start / matta likely blew his concentration, and Takanoiwa applied an expertly timed slap down for the win.

Yoshikaze defeats Tochiozan – A brief struggle for grip or inside position at the tachiai quickly evolved to Yoshikaze bracketing Tochiozan and motoring ahead in 2nd gear. A monoii reviewed the final moments, but Yoshikaze got a much needed 5th win to keep kachi-koshi hopes alive.

Nishikigi defeats Myogiryu – I dare say that after his string of strong wins, Myogiryu’s loss to Nishikigi may come as something of a surprise. But Nishikigi was able to contain Myogiryu, and progressively work his position into a win. Nishikigi is holding up to his tour through the upper ranks much better than I could have hoped.

Takakeisho defeats Hokutofuji – An uneven tachiai that might have been a matta, or just Hokutofuji missing the launch, but the goyji did not call it and the fight was on. Hokutofuji had no chance to set up either offense or defense in any real sense, and Takakeisho completely blasted him up and back.

Tamawashi defeats Kaisei – Tamawashi had to put in a lot of effort, as there is just a tremendous amount of Kaisei to move. Tamawashi’s normal bash-bash-push approach was rendered, but yielded little forward motion, as Kaisei for a moment reminded me of Andre the Giant in “The Princess Bride”, looking at Wesley mid battle, and saying “I want you to feel like you are doing well…”

Shodai defeats Mitakeumi – I kid a lot about Shodai, but his effort at Kyushu has been noteworthy. Today against the one time Ozeki hopefully once again illustrates that if he can survive the tachiai, Shodai has solid fundamentals, and acres of strength. Mitakeumi is in dire need of 3 more wins in the next 5 days.

Tochinoshin defeats Ichinojo – and the Tochinoshin fans breath a well-earned sigh of relief. Ichinojo consents to allow the Ozeki an attempt at a lift and shift, and Tochinoshin is all to happy to oblige.

Takayasu defeats Chiyotairyu – A solid yotzu battle from two enormous, burly rikishi. This is not Chiyotairyu’s strong sumo, but he put up a good battle. Takayasu prevailed for his kachi-koshi, and remains in the yusho hunt group.

35 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 10 Highlights

  1. Chiyonokuni vs Shohozan was one of the best sumo matches I’ve seen since I started watching in January.

    I also agree that Hokutofuji did not seem ready for Takakeisho and it felt like a matta. The speed with which the rikishi can launch themselves forward is impressive. I watched it again in slow-mo and Takakeisho doesn’t telegraph his start at all…no tensing, it’s all smooth forward blast-off. In the Nicholas Pettas Samurai Spirit documentary a scientist measures that running into a rikishi at the tachiai is like falling 30 feet off a building (60 ft vs Hakuho).

    I’m cheering for Aoiyama to continue strong until day 15 but it looked a little bit like a hair pull today. But the gyoji was right there so his left hand pulling at the base of the head must have offset any uncertainty with the right hand.

    Daiamami’s Katasukashi was a new kimarite for me to see today.

    The number of rikishi at 8-2 just behind Takakeisho is making this basho exciting.

    Let’s see if Ichinojo with 7 losses can once again transform into Ichi-2.0 and get all wins for his KK.

  2. Great restatement of this site’s purpose & approach. However, if ever some angry YouTube-y commenter strays onto the site again & misunderstands what they’re seeing (like yesterday), you should take it as a compliment. It goes to show what an in-depth, professional-looking site you guys are producing.

    • Very kind of you, thanks. I take people coming over and being emotional as a sign of how far the site has come. Back in the day we were lucky if anyone read us. So even though you feel bad for people who are coming off as crazy, it’s still someone who cares enough about sumo to read us. Even if they don’t quite understand what we are doing.

  3. Hi All!
    I fully understand that is not ones day job and everybody has favorites.
    One of mine happens to be Goeido. I find it Ok to criticize him for henkas but as you said one should be polite. Calling him shameful or coward is not polite. And i did not feel the same hostile attitude towards Hakuhō’s slap/henka or Kakuryū’s recent textbook henka (just to mention the active Yokozuna). Here i called for objectivity, if is shameful or cowardice for an Ozeki to henka, then same should apply even more for a Yokozuna.

    To further reduce my stock, Ichinojo is not my favorite boulder. He should not be in sumo, the men has a serious weight problem even with sumo standards and getting heavier by the day. Can’t execute his powerful yet technical sumo and eats himself to an early grave.

    • If I recall correctly, Kakuryu got plenty of grief for his henka here … and even apologized for it afterwards.

    • I would invite you to read our coverage of Aki 2016, and Goeido’s amazing zensho yusho. After that impressive 15 days of dominance, it’s a real let down when he chooses to avoid battle. I am sure it’s because he is hurt. The guy has had a number of risky surgeries, including one to rebuild his ankle with a series of metal supports last year. I get that Goeido needs to protect himself, as he has a long future ahead of him.

      But the other side is that he has a bit of a responsibility to the fans and to the up and coming rikishi. It may sound odd to someone that has not been part of a martial society, but it’s more or less Goeido’s duty to defeat guys like Asanoyama in battle so they might improve and pass that knowledge on down the years. Some fans think that a henka does that, some (like myself) do not.

      I will reflect back on the Hakuho – Harumafuji henka from a few years ago. While I was not writing for a blog at that time, I found it at first annoying, then hilarious. Both of those guys could engage in monster scale battles that would rage on. Both were at the top of their form and health. In that case the henka was more of a prank than anything else. Sure, the fans lost the chance to witness an epic battle, and it was kind of self indulgent. But each time I watch it, I laugh.

      Just as an FYI, if Goeido henka’s Takayasu, I will find that damn hilarious as well. In fact, given what he has been doing, he more or less MUST do it, given that Takayasu always blasts off from the shikiri-sen.

    • I have to agree about Ichinojo. My husband and I have been watching old bashos to stave off withdrawal in the off-months, and we were blown away by Ichinojo when he first hit makuuchi, I believe had he not packed it on to the degree he has, he would definitely be an Ozeki on the way to Yokozuna by now. It is sad to see him, and a huge waste of talent.

  4. At the start of this basho, I thought that Nishikigi would get 3 or 4 wins. 5 would exceed expectations and anything better would be an exceptional effort. Yes he was way too high on the banzuke, but he certainly hasn’t been embarrassed. Fingers crossed for a couple more wins: sometimes the nice guys don’t finish last. The only person who has embarrassed himself at this basho has been some washed-up old cheat from Osaka whose name I can’t seem to recall.

  5. Nishikigi seems to have one trick—the kotenage—that for some reason his opponents continue top set themselves up for.

  6. At the risk of triggering someone….may I ask why Goeido’s match was not part of the rundown of day 10? Was this an oversight, or a case of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?” Yes, I realize the Henka is a legal move, just as I realize some find it cheap and “unsportsmanlike”, while others feel it is just another strategy to win matches and give future opponents something to think about. Personally, if every other match featured a “Henka” i would have no interest whatsoever in the sport. The Henka is more suited to bullfighting, where the opponents are not on equal ground and without it, the matchup could get bloody. In sumo, it deprives the fans of seeing a contest of strength, endurance and will and substitutes trickery and even fear for skill and courage. To see a “Champion” resort to this two days in a row, each against a lower ranked wrestler who he should have no fear of, is extremely disappointing and makes me think less of him. I was upset when he pulled it against Tochinoshin several basho ago, but understood that perhaps he felt outmatched (as Tochi was firing on all cylinders at the time) and need to do it to survive. I am not calling him a coward or shameful, just not someone that i care to root for. To those that disagree with me–that is what makes horse races (to paraphrase Mark Twain).

    • Sadly, the musubi no ichiban appears to have suffered the blogging equivalent of a henka. I am heartened that several of our readers already picked up on that, and I hope all enjoyed the joke.

    • At least with Asanoyama Goeido got a couple of fingers into the mawashi so that it at leastsort of looked like he did something. He seems to be making a point of jumping aside just enough to take a 3-day at the tachiai, as if that much is enough to keep people from saying much about it. It’s just not a good look, particularly as musubi no ichiban; the strongest memory of the day is the highest-ranked wrestler left wussing out.

  7. I’m a big Abi fan; he seems like he’d be a great guy to hang out with. But, good gracious, the young man has squandered his chances with his utter predictability. I’m beginning to wonder: Is ‘Abi’ Japanese for ‘one-trick pony’? Change it up, man!!!

    • Obviously, I too am a big Abi fan . . . and so I appreciate your kind remarks about his good character. But dude, the guy is 6-4! – so I just don’t see how we should conclude that he is ‘squandering his chances with his utter predictability’. There are presumably plenty of rikishi who are envying Abi’s ‘chances’ of a KK right now. He’s still only 24 and he will (hopefully) still put on another 10 or 20 kgs in the fullness of time. And – at the severe risk of sounding like a broken record – I also fail to see why Abi’s 2-handed thrust technique at the tachiai is widely regarded as oh-so-boring and predictable compared to the many other rikishi who also have their own tried-and-trusted, favourite techniques. Up-thread someone mentioned Nishikigi; there has also been some discussion of Hokutofuji’s repeated ‘hand-shake’ tachiai. Again: there is Takayasu’s shoulder-blast and Tochinoshin’s love of the left-hand-outside grip. Etc. I would love Abi to add more wrinkles to his sumo, but I just don’t see why he should be considered any more of a ‘one trick pony’ than the legion of other pusher-thrusters who also rely on a getting a good tachiai in whatever way suits them best.

  8. Best Goeido coverage.

    As far as spoilers…I get new posts emailed to me and I DO sometimes get spoiled because of the preview text my email provider shows =-\ Maybe make sure the first two or three sentences are spoiler free? (Or does WordPress have an option to customize this?) That’s the only suggestion I’d make in that regard. It’s a bit frustrating to be spoiled just by opening my email, but clearly not enough to stop me from spending way too much of my free time here during honbasho ;p

    • We actually do try to put some padding at the front, but today’s post was not quite conforming in that manner. I do apologize.

  9. With Chiyshoma and Arawashi heading down to Juryo, who do we think is going to be heading up to Makuuchi? As long as he gets his kachi-koshi, I think Yago is a lock for a spot. Other than that, though, I’m not entirely sure who will step up. My assumption is the Juryo yusho winner, whoever that is, but if that’s someone lower on the banzuke, I don’t think they’ll jump over everyone else in line. Enho? Terutsuyoshi? Someone else? What do y’all think?

  10. You can avoid spoilers with patience and discipline. Twitter is especially dangerous for spoilers at basho time – if I encounter them then it’s entirely my fault for unsanctioned social media breaks at work! For the same reason I stopped following Tachiai on Facebook – I check the site frequently for updates anyway (usually when I should be working).

    • Thank you for being a loyal reader – it’s people like yourself that make working on Tachiai worthwhile.

  11. Here here Bruce! At the end of the day Tachiai is a site for the fans, by the fans, and that means everyone here has a right to voice their opinions and feelings so long as the comments aren’t directly hurtful. It also means that everyone has a right to disagree with what gets posted here. Tachiai is by no means sumo gospel, but it’s also not place where we sugar coat everything. I believe, and I’m sure that my fellow writers will agree, that we try and give everything a fair shake, and that includes being critical at times. If you don’t agree with our criticism that is absolutely your right, and as long as it’s kept civil, we’d love to read your opinion on anything going on in the sumo world. Discussing sumo between fans is the heart and soul of Tachiai, and the more thought provoking the better.

    • Appreciate the support! I might add the fact that you have branched out into creating additional sumo content is a wonderful development that I hope your time will allow you to pursue.

  12. Haha.. while i literally checks tachiai website everyday (even during no basho, no jungyo days), today i specifically look what will bruce/other contributors have to say/reacted about goeido… lol.

    While by being silent, not mentioning him at all.. could express the dissapointment, i think it’s funnier to see bruce express it in words. Probably by making a short post of “kyushu day 10 lowlights”?

  13. henka, perhaps second only to letting up in sumo controversies
    without it, overcharging is advantaged

    i don’t care much if henkas are allowed (as they are) or if they are not (which we’ll never see, because there is no practical way to draw an enforceable borderline between what exactly is a henka or isn’t)
    for those passionate yea or nay re henkas, ok, no problem; sumolovers can hold different views

    it’s funny hearing the position that some are ok and some are not, as that supports an unlevel playing field and is too subjective to determine
    (likewise, allowing extra rest to yokozuna and ozeki is patently unfair in that it creates an unlevel field)

    it would be fascinating to hear a working definition of henka that could be applied to a ban

  14. On a completely ridiculous tangent, part of me is anticipating Tochinoshin’s post-sumo career in World’s Strongest Man competitions; Ichinojo is only 58 pounds lighter than the heaviest Atlas stone used for training, and Atlas stones don’t fight back. 😁


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