Hatsu Day 8 Highlights

Japanese Emperor Akihito’s Final Visit To The Kokugikan
From the Sumo Kyokai Twitter Feed

His serene highness, the Emperor of Japan, paid a farewell visit to the Kokugikan to take in some of the day 8 action. Japan adores the emperor, and the crowd welcomed him with applause, shouts of well wishes and waving of Japanese flag. He is set to retire in April due to declining health, making the upcoming Natsu basho (May), the first sumo tournament of a new imperial era.

Matters were less serene in the Ozeki ranks, as the two remaining both took losses to further underscore how their poor health in the new year is hampering their progress towards the safety of a kachi-koshi. This is in stark contrast to Hakuho who remains the only unbeaten rikishi in the top division, and looks to be charting a course towards his 42 yusho.

Highlight Matches

Yutakayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Juryo visitor Terutsuyoshi attempts a hit-and-shift against Yutakayama, which really seems to fire him up. Terutsuyoshi gets chased around the dohyo and receives the sumo equivalent of a “pile driver”.

Yago defeats Daiamami – An astute reader pointed out that newcomer Yago looks surprisingly like Shrek, and I think we now all see the resemblance. Daiamami did manage to get Yago turned around for a moment, but Yago was able to reverse and send Daiamami to Far Far Away.

Chiyonokuni defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki found himself completely bamboozled by Chiyonokuni’s sumo. It quick flurry of slaps were exchanged, and Chiyonokuni side steps for the win.

Meisei defeats Daishomaru – Daishomaru is winless, make-koshi, and the first passenger on the slow boat to Juryo for Osaka.

Sadanoumi defeats Kotoyuki – Sadanoumi’s level of bandaging would be comical if it did not represent how dedicated he is to competing in spite of multiple injuries. Kotoyuki drove this match from the tachiai, but Sadanoumi rolled him out at the tawara with a well executed uwatenage.

Kotoeko defeats Ikioi – Reports had surfaced prior to the match that Ikioi’s left eye, which took a finger in his day 7 match, had given him blurry and cloudy vision. But Ikioi being Ikioi (he has 3 eyes, you see), he mounts the dohyo anyhow and continues to compete. He blasted out of the tachiai and took the fight to Kotoeko, going chest to chest. He looked to be in the drivers seat, but Kotoeko rescued the match by thrusting Ikioi down and out at the edge.

Abi defeats Chiyoshoma – A rapid, blistering delivery of solid Abi-zumo carried the day.

Takarafuji defeats Ryuden – Ryuden continues to struggle in day 8. Takarafuji lands a mawashi grip and controls his opponent throughout, really not much in the way of offense from Ryuden.

Asanoyama defeats Yoshikaze – The ghost of Yoshikaze continues to mount the dohyo with little offensive sumo on tap. Painful to watch, we can only imagine how miserable it is for him. The rest of the rikishi corps seem to be in on whatever is plaguing him, as they seem to take great care to keep him safe.

Kaisei defeats Kotoshogiku – Kaisei’s first win over the Kyushu bulldozer. Kaisei withstood the hug-n-chug attack, and applied the sukuinage for the win. Even Kotoshogiku seemed impressed.

Okinoumi defeats Daieisho – An early surge by Daieisho was soon reversed by Okinoumi for the win.

Chiyotairyu defeats Shodai – Comedy match as Shodai’s miserable, weak tachiai is paired against Chiyotairyu’s 191 kg cannonball charge. Shodai actually was airborne for a moment as a result of collision. It was over that fast.

Endo defeats Hokutofuji – Endo seems to have dialed in his sumo, and is fighting well. Hokutofuji attempts the handshake tachiai, but Endo is ready and counters with a double arm thrust attack to the shoulders, which drops Hokutofuji.

Ichinojo defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi’s budding sumo power seems to be absent for the past few days. He has always struggled with Ichinojo (has yet to beat him). Ichinojo landed his preferred left hand outside grip at the tachiai, and there was nothing that Nishikigi could do.

Tochiozan defeats Myogiryu – Two battle hardened old veterans made this a quick match, with Tochiozan giving ground while maintaining grip, dropping Myogiryu to the clay.

Takakeisho defeats Onosho – These two are long term rivals, and friends. They also represent the archetype of the tadpole form. It was a fierce match that favored Takakeisho, and he gave no quarter to Onosho, who made a quick exit powered by Takakeisho’s thrusts.

Tamawashi defeats Goeido – Goeido drops to 3-5 as Tamawashi did not give the Ozeki any opening to bring his offense to the match. Multiple times Goeido went for a grip of any kind, and found himself reactive to Tamawashi’s oshi attacks.

Shohozan defeats Takayasu – Points to Shohozan for having the stones to unload a henka with the Emperor watching, and Takayasu bought it. To be honest, Takayasu is less than normal, and Shohozan’s execution was very good. But it would have been better to see these two fight it out.

Hakuho defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama opened strong with his preferred thrusting attack, but Hakuho absorbed it all and remained on balance and poised. In the blink of an eye, Hakuho moved in close to Aoiyama and loaded a throw. Its both amazing and impressive to see that much Bulgarian airborne. Hakuho remains undefeated.

23 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 8 Highlights

  1. Yoshikaze is looking like Takekaze of late. The man from Akita is 1-7 at J12, I wonder if Yoshi will be able to arrest a similar slide down the ranks.

    Great point about the Henka and the emperor. I wonder if he politely applauded, or sat on his hands. Maybe a compromise, is there such a thing as brief, tepid, polite applause? Lots of nuance for the emperor to consider, but he has a lot of experience!

    Looking forward to tadpole rematches in the coming months, may Onosho continue to heal and rehab.

    And how does Hakuho manage to pull 200 kg so quickly without dislocating his wrist? A mechanical marvel.

    Fun stuff

  2. It really really seemed like Aoiyama had him if he’d continued his tsuppari but he just gave it up and went for the belt. Did I miss something???

    • It my eye, Hakuho exquisitely timed a rapid move inside Aoiyama’s reach, and suddenly he was no longer able to really land any blows. You can see Aoiyama trying to reset, but before he can move to break off, Hakuho has him flying. As George said, you just have to marvel some times.

  3. I loved Tamawashi’s “you’re not in my league sonny” splatting of Goeido. And yet Goeido has been ozeki since the dawn of time while Tam has never been seriously considered for the rank. Go figure, as we used to say.

    This one should be Hakuho’s barring injury. There is however a big orange thundercloud on the horizon and its name is Kaisei.

    • Tamawashi’s been streaky in sanyaku. Goeido had a remarkably consistent presence at Sekiwake + the zensho yusho.

    • Tamawashi’s never managed more than 29 wins over 33 basho, and only 27 in sanyaku. So nothing that’s come close to an Ozeki run, but we’ll see if he can use this basho as a late-career launching pad.

      Hakuho-Kaisei head-to-head is 12-0, with most bouts decided by throws.

    • Wondering what the schedulers will do to fill out Hakuho’s Dance card.

      Severn Days remaining.
      Giku on Day 9
      plus four sanyaku (absent further injury), leaves two open spots.

      Guessing Okinoumi M4 will get one of the open.
      Maybe the other goes to Onosho at M6 rather that Kaisei at M8?

      I’m recalling not too long ago, when Aoiyama was trailing by one, but was never given the head to head chance to even score with the leader (Hakuho, it might have been).

      • I think Aoiyama was ranked lower at the time (M12?). I’m guessing Okinoumi next, then Onosho or Kaisei if they win in the meantime, or perhaps Chiyotairyu if they fall off the pace.

  4. Takayasu and Goeido very disappointing today. Aoiyama made a good effort at least; it seems inevitable that this yusho will be Hakuho, but I want him to have to work for it.

    Who was that commentator (Lee Thompson was his name I know, but what does he have to do with sumo). I found him really annoying. He mumbled and I could barely make out what he was saying. Thank God for Raj!

  5. If Daishomaru doesn’t get a single win, is it possible for him to be demoted all the way down to makushita? Or would he likely be put in at J14?

    • Indeed. Every so often he’ll have a bout that reminds everyone that yes, we are watching the GOAT at work here. Truly we are fortunate.

  6. I noticed that Hakuho did not do his usual one-handed victory gesture with his wad of money/envelopes. Instead he did a muted 2-handed gesture with a little nod of the head. I assume this was a mark of respect to the watching imperial couple?

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