🌐 Location: Kashiwa, Chiba prefercture
Another lengthy one today. Make some coffee, feed the baby, here we go:
Still not far away from home, the tour lands in Kashiwa. Surprisingly, Kashiwa sports no fewer than three local boys. Not just local to the prefecture – local to Kashiwa itself.
The first one is a sekitori – no other than Mr. Onigiri, Takanosho. This means he is going to get lots and lots of attention today. Here he is posing with the town’s mascot.
That mascot actually appears on a kesho-mawashi Takanosho received from his supporters in his home town. Its name is “Kashiwani”, where “wani” is “alligator” or “crocodile”. Yes, that’s supposed to be some sort of crocodillian. Isn’t it obvious? The leaf on its head, by the way, is an oak leaf, because “Kashiwa” actually means “oak”.
The second local boy is not a sekitori. We have seen him again and again in Jungyo photos because he is very popular with the fans:
This is Asakura, of course – Shodai’s tsukebito. As of Natsu, his shikona is going to change to “Hakuomaru”. The “Haku” part is, in fact, the same kanji as “kashiwa”, so he is being renamed after his home town.
The third home boy, rather surprisingly, is this fella:
Wait, what? Hoshoryu is a local boy? Isn’t he from Mongolia, being Asashoryu’s nephew and all that?
Well, yes. But he studied in a Japanese high-school. And that high-school happens to be the Nippon Sport Science University Kashiwa High School. So this time his participation in the Jungyo – even as a minor – is completely legitimate. He was specifically requested by the organizers.
Did you notice that he is wearing an oicho-mage? That’s his first one. The boy certainly has fast-growing hair. He wore his first chon-mage less than a year ago, at the end of July 2018. But why is he wearing an oicho-mage?
There is currently an odd number of sekitori on the torikumi list, so a Makushita rikishi has to do a bout in Juryo. Before, it was Kotokuzan or Shonannoumi. But being a home boy means there are special arrangements, and Hoshoryu was chosen as today’s filler. When a Makushita rikishi fills in at Juryo, he wears an oicho-mage (if he can) and does all the rest of the stuff – throwing salt, giving power-water etc.
By the way, being home-boys doesn’t mean you don’t have to do chores like the rest of the Makushita-and-below rikishi on the tour. Asakura still had to fetch and carry for Shodai today:
And Hoshoryu – with his spiffy oicho-mage – still had to dry mawashi on the pavement:
Yeah, mawashi are laid out to dry outside wherever possible. A paved area, a parking lot – all good places to dry mawashi. If you think “but they’ll get dirty”, then you probably still haven’t heard that mawashi are, in fact, never washed. Thus, the chances are that the pavement is going to become a little dirtier, rather than the mawashi.
One fun activity some fans engage in is “guess the mawashi’s owner”. Every mawashi is marked. But the marking may or may not be obvious. These two are the obvious kind:
The heya’s gyoji writes the sekitori’s name on the front part of the mawashi, and it’s easy to recognize. But some sekitori prefer to keep you guessing. Or to be creative. Can you guess who this one belongs to?
The photographer actually didn’t know. But I’ve seen this before. It belongs to a certain dai-Yokozuna.
Now this one only has a little marking at the edge – one certainly not done by a gyoji, but probably by the rikishi himself. The marking is the kanji character for “heart”, pronounced “kokoro”, or “shin”. Can you guess who?
But we are actually getting ahead of ourselves again. Mawashi dry only after keiko, and we haven’t seen any keiko yet. So let’s get inside the venue, and take a look at home boy #1 shaking hands with his townspeople:
Ishiura and Enho, both Hakuho’s uchi-deshi, are having a heated conversation at one of the handshake corners.
Notably, it’s not their place at all. Seems like Ishiura is arguing about something in Hakuho’s poster? Did he discover pimples on the Yokozuna’s face? Did Enho tell him that this was in fact a body double? Probably not, but why don’t you think up the most entertaining topic this conversation could be about and let us know about it in the comments?
Moving inside, we find Ichinojo stretching. Is that a mustache he is growing?
About a month ago the NSK came up with new rules for the rikishi, including a prohibition on growing beards “for luck”. So Ichinojo is, of course, cleanly shaven. But a mustache is not a beard.
Now that Enho and Ishiura have finished arguing, Enho moves to the hanamichi to work out a bit. And Onosho is not letting the opportunity get away:
Everybody loves Enho! Even his Yokozuna gives him his fatherly look:
The same Yokozuna, by the way, continues to latch his gaze on to any camera he detects:
I guess this is also a type of fansa. This fan is going to go home and have a photo that proves that the Yokozuna looked directly at her.
By the way, Hakuho said the other day, when asked about the tutoring he gave Ichinojo, that he was taking one man each day and mentoring him. Interestingly, the “one man” of the day happened to be Ichinojo again:
So on the dohyo the lower-ranking rikishi are having some action:
Yutakayama decides to go into the moshiai and give the young rikishi some practice. Everybody is vying for his attention, including Hoshoryu who is trying to catch it with both hands:
Yutakayama ends up giving Asakura – who is from his own heya, of course – some serious kawaigari:
Who said being home boy is all fun and games? It’s not Asakura’s last “fun” of the day, either:
And you can see Hoshoryu also standing there. He got his own kawaigari from Mitakeumi:
Again and again he was rolled and rose up, ending up with this sort of look on his face:
Don’t think that only the youngsters got kawaigari. Takayasu gave Takanosho his share. And Takayasu is old-school:
Takanosho, like any kawaigari victim, lost his smile at an early stage:
Takayasu, by the way, didn’t settle just for the home boy. For some reason, he also gave kawaigari to Wakamotoharu:
So here are some practice bouts: Takanosho-Gagamaru, Ichinojo-Ryuden, Takayasu-Takakeisho:
That Takayasu-Takakeisho bout was part of a special Ozeki-only moshi-ai, featuring Takayasu, Takakeisho and Tochinoshin:
This means all three of them decided to pace up their practice – because one usually gets to practicing actual sumo with same-level rikishi only at advanced stages of practice.
Takakeisho flies from the dohyo straight into Hakuho, who pushes him back. Takakeisho, of course, bows and thanks him.
By the way, another mark of Takakeisho’s new, privileged, Ozeki status is this scene:
This is usually part of an Ozeki’s san-ban routine. San-ban is when a high-ranking rikishi names another rikishi for repeated bouts. The higher-ranked participant is calling the shots. If he wants to take a breather, the other rikishi can also grab a towel and catch some breath. If that higher-ranking rikishi is an ozeki, then every time he takes a breather, two of his tsukebito get up on the dohyo. One gives him a ladle of water, and the other wipes him with a towel. So it appears that Takakento is the water guy, while Takataisho is the towel guy.
(Not sure if this applies to moshi-ai, too).
All this doesn’t mean that Takakeisho can’t be
patronized loved. Takayasu is not the only Ozeki busy giving kawaigari:
Practice is over, and it’s time for some lunch, redoing hairs, and drying mawashi. We have already seen the latter, so here is Yoshoyama who managed to get a hot meal today.
It was a beautiful day in Kashiwa, so at least some of the rikishi got out to the stalls to get some food or drinks. One of the mobile stalls was this curry establishment:
And I’m calling it curry rather than “kare” as the Japanese call it, because this was actual Indian curry. You can tell by the fact that there is signage in English.
Still inside, down in the shitaku-beya, Takanofuji (the former Takayoshitoshi) is getting his hair done by Tokomori, the tokoyama from Minato beya. Taiichiyama (I’m guessing, Takanofuji’s tsukebito for this tour) loves pranks and jokes.
Some fans brought in their dogs. Shiba inu, to be precise. And one of the dogs is dressed up in full Yokozuna attire:
The dogs have to stay outside, but during lunch break, they get a lot of attention from the rikishi:
Because of the doggy yokozuna, all of the dogs got some attention from the real Yokozuna as well. The doggy yokozuna ended up with a couple of shide links missing, but with rather precious autographs:
Yeah, his mommy made him an oicho-mage hat.
A reporter from BS11 was interviewing some of the rikishi. Those of you who have been around for a while – quite a while – may recognize the guy:
The reporter is the former Kyokudozan, highest rank Komusubi, retired in 1996. And he seems to have the usual rikishi sense of humor. What’s he doing with Shohoryu’s oicho-mage?
Yes, both Shohoryu and Hoshoryu wore an oicho-mage today. Shohoryu, because he once again performed the yumi-tori shiki.
The yokozuna then put on their tsuna and posed for photographs in the sun. One of them being this one, with the future generation:
While all this was going on outside, inside there was Jinku and Shokkiri. This done, fans seek the performers:
Ebisumaru and Shobushi dutifully pose for a perfect shokkiri souvenir.
Time for Juryo bouts. Starting, as we said, with Hoshoryu vs. Kiribayama:
Result unknown – so I’m guessing Kiribayama won, or the Hoshoryu fans would have gleefully included the information in their tweets.
It seems Aminishiki won his bout with Takanofuji, as he is here waiting to give the chikara-mizu, and shows some interest in the Yobidashi. Maybe it’s the “Takayasu” written on the yobidashi’s back side.
A rikishi may give power-water on two occasions – if he won his bout, or if the wrestler on his side just lost, and he is the one after the next on that side. So how do I know Aminishiki won his bout and is not merely waiting for it?
It’s the sagari. He is not wearing his sagari, so his bout is already over.
The highlight Juryo bout was Takanosho vs. Enho:
This one ended this way:
Poor little pixie.
Makuuchi is getting ready for its dohyo-iri. What is Onosho doing with Asanoyama’s belt? Is he helping him fix it?
No, actually, quite the opposite:
I believe kesho-mawashi – unlike normal mawashi- are worn over a fundoshi. Not sure, though. I hope they are.
Up in the dohyo-iri, Terutsuyoshi is up to something. Meisei is giving him a killer look.
On the other side, Ichinojo is giving Shodai a “what exactly are you doing” look.
Next there are Yokozuna dohyo-iri. Shodai is complaining to Kakuryu about something.
Kakuryu seems to talk to him seriously. But then casually pokes him with his finger.
Time for the bouts. Asanoyama realizes he gives the pesky kesho-mawashi-unraveller Onosho the power water today. So he gleefully fills the ladle with salt.
Onosho may be young, but he was not born yesterday.
The only bout I have for you today is Takakeisho vs. Tamawashi:
Now that’s rock-and-roll.
Finally, Shohoryu does his yumi-tori again. I think he is doing the scything part in the wrong order. Still green.
So here is an artistic summary of this event from Azechi, Hakuho’s beat reporter:
And back to our default pin-up boy, the rubber-tubing Enho: