🌐 Location: Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture
Note: some of the videos in this post may not show up as one of the Twitter accounts I was embedding them from has changed status around the time I finished the post. I hope the owner decides to change back soon, but if not, I’ll edit those references out. Sorry about that!
As you have seen, the Natsu banzuke is up. In between excited Reiwa news, various rikishi like Enho and Shimanoumi hold press conferences due to their promotions.
The Jungyo is over. Yes, generally speaking, the Jungyo is always over before banzuke day. The Jungyo is based on the previous banzuke. As of yesterday, Tochinoshin is no longer Ozeki, Takanofuji and Wakamotoharu have no right to wear white mawashi or to have tsukebito.
But we still have three Jungyo events left unreported, and this one, at Yokohama, is a doozie. I was hoping to have it posted before the banzuke announcement, but…
You see, Yokohama is the largest city in Japan, with a population of nearly 4 million (Tokyo is a metropolis that includes several municipalities and rural regions, so technically it’s not a city). In addition, it’s Golden Week! It seems half the sumo fans in the Kanto region made a pilgrimage to this event, including Tachiai reader Janelle Rhodeback, some of whose photographs you’ll see here in this report – thank you, Janelle!
So I was deluged with material, and missed my deadline… Gomennasai! Sumimasen!
So, you know the drill. Tuck in the kids. Take the dog for a walk. Set your DVR to record your favorite program. Make a thermos of coffee. Here we go!
Chapter 1 – The Arena
This event was held, as you can see, at the Yokohama Arena in Shin-Yokohama. Many Jungyo events, in tiny sleepy towns, take place in some community hall or school gym. The Yokohama arena is a different story. It’s a 17,000 seat venue where concerts and major sports events take place. Only a few days ago one of RIZIN’s pro-wrestling events took place here.
You can see that the feel of the place is completely different than a Jungyo event. Much more like honbasho. But… what are those?
This place offers something that doesn’t even exist in honbasho. Large screens. Ones that allow you to see the action even in those seats that require a sherpa to reach.
The reason that you don’t see these at the Kokugikan or any of the other honbasho venues, is, in all probability, the floating roof, that marks the dohyo as a Shinto shrine. They did away with the posts that held it, but they can’t do away with the roof itself. Whether there is a technical solution for this or not, it was a rare treat for the sumo fans who came to watch, and an even rarer one to the participants themselves:
If you were to go to the toilet, or buy yourself a nice bento, you wouldn’t have to miss the action, either:
But unlike the usual community centers, the dohyo area was not surrounded with convenient walls and corners where rikishi can practice. The hana-michi and the passages leading up to it were the only substitute:
Although the place seats 17,000, actual attendance was 8000 – which is a huge number for a Jungyo event. So as a matter of fact, no sherpa were hired this day.
So come inside!
横浜アリーナ場所 pic.twitter.com/2gRzOv3tvE— ginbura 🦍 (@watchman0211) April 26, 2019
Chapter 2 – Wake Up And Smell The Mawashi!
Or maybe, don’t smell the Mawashi. Better not. Anyway, it’s morning, and some really sleepy rikishi make their way inside.
The Ozeki is so tired he apparently falls asleep on his tsukebito:
Out in the corridor the head home-boy is welcoming guests. There is only one sekitori from Kanagawa prefecture:
But shaking hands is not the domain of home-boys alone. Here is Takarafuji being nice to kids:
By the way, Tomokaze may be the only sekitori from Kanagawa, but he is not the only home boy. There is also our fateful yumi-tori performer, Kasugaryu:
Enho stretches up in the hana-michi:
He follows that by some light warm up… or is he just enjoying the view of Wakatakakage doing his shiko?
美尻神が四股を踏む音と尻を叩く甘美な響き（あ、よろけてる pic.twitter.com/f9fF7W5Tq2— わた (@wata12222008) April 28, 2019
And of course, Enho being Enho, he gets lots and lots of attention:
Even Yoshikaze finds an opportunity to grab some Enho skin:
Speaking of massages, this very very lucky yobidashi gets a massage from a Yokozuna:
What is the other Yokozuna doing? Well, apparently, becoming one with the Light:
He is also trying to see if he can move his arm properly:
He then proceeds with real workout, like… talking to Tochinoshin and rubbing his own belly?
Shodai cannot exist without pulling some prank on somebody. This time, he grabs Asakura’s glasses and puts them on:
Poor suffering… hey, I can’t call him Asakura anymore. The banzuke is up and since yesterday, he is officially Hakuomaru. Poor suffering Hakuomaru!
Ichinojo, on the other hand, stretches without bothering anybody. Seems like not even his Oka is around:
Arawashi spends quite some time arranging his towel just so, then proceeds to do some push-ups:
Is it me, or do those push-ups seem painful?
Takanosho does his shiko diligently:
And so does Wakamotoharu, but he chooses a spot that I’m sure the ladies behind him approve of:
Nishikigi uses Hikarugenji as a towel rack (Yay Nishikigi!):
タオルすりすり遊び？？？ pic.twitter.com/iLDnBvqpnH— わた (@wata12222008) April 28, 2019
And Chiyotairyu plots to kill the only sekitori from Kanagawa!
Finally, Takakeisho is still using too much of his back lifting Takakento:
OK, I think everybody is awake and warmed up now. It’s time for…
Chapter 3: Serious business on the dohyo
It’s nearly noon! Time to gather around the dohyo and watch some serious clashes. Takayasu receives some advice from his stablemaster:
And proceeds to some vigorous Tochinoshin love:
Don’t worry, Tochinoshin is not one to take Ozeki lying down:
Takayasu also has reverse butsukari with Asanoyama:
OK, in photos like this it may be a bit hard to tell who is the “chest” and who is the pusher. So some hints: the “chest” usually puts one leg forward and one backward to support himself against the impact, and offers the right side of his chest, keeping his hands away from himself. The pusher usually has his arms forward with hands set to grab some chest. So I think it’s pretty clear that here Asanoyama is the “chest”, and Takayasu is about to push.
Meanwhile, Shodai is fiercely…
…folding his towel? Hmm… switch cameras… Chiyomaru! Chiyomaru bravely… cries to mommy?
“Momma-washi, Momma-washi, Abi is poking me! Mwaaaaah!”
OK, I guess not everybody around the dohyo is actually serious. In fact, some people will never be serious. So let’s see what Takakeisho is up to.
Some reverse butsukari with his BFF Daieisho:
And straight butsukari with Kiribayama:
And also with Chiyomaru and Wakatakakage:
This follows the moshi-ai that includes the aforesaid sekitori, like this bout between Kiribayama and Chiyomaru:
Meisei receives some advice from Hakuho:
And seems to get seriously worked out, because he ends up looking like this:
Kotoshogiku is also in a teaching mood. But he is not just talking. He is giving Wakatakakage a stiff neck:
Some smart-ass in the crowd shouts out: “Ichinojo, what’s the time?” Ichinojo is a bit bewildered.
Who dares make fun of our favorite boulder?!
And with this, we bid the not-so-white mawashi wearers a happy lunch break, as we proceed to
Chapter 4: Hitting The Showers
Noontime combines two major threads of activity. In the limelight, low-ranking rikishi entertain the audience with shokkiri and sumo jinku:
This one is interesting. We don’t normally see a Jinku singer holding a fan (which is actually just a fancy way of holding a sheet of lyrics). There are two possibilities that I can think of: (a) He is not a regular Jinku singer – maybe one of the lower-ranked home boys (sorry, I don’t recognize him, maybe one of you does?), or perhaps it’s his first Jungyo doing Jinku; or (b) There is a special Jinku song that has been composed for this event. Having listened to what he sings, it sounds like the usual fare (though of course I’m not familiar with all Jinku lyrics), so I tend to believe the first option. Here is the full performance for your judgement:
Yeah, yeah, “Sumo clause…”
Anyway, while they and the Shokkiri team are doing the work, the sekitori are showering and having their hair done, eating, sleeping and whatnot.
Some tsukebito have to take care of the never-washed-mawashi:
And so, it’s time for another towel fashion show! Shorter one this time, I promise.
Abi makes the faux pas of coming to two red carpet events in the same outfit. No, changing the footwear doesn’t count!
I’m not sure about the color combination in this one, but Arawashi certainly makes up for it with an unconventional mini-skirt in classical Greek folds:
Gagamaru demonstrates the latest in plus sizes. Or plus plus plus sizes.
While Kotoshogiku calls out his inner child:
But there are some models who, no matter what they wear, will make it look absolutely fabulous:
To be honest, the towel show is apparently a mix between lunch-time and post-bout time, but oh well. So if we’re already in that time warp, who is this elderly gentleman?
おジャージ姿も！！ pic.twitter.com/UdWkZi11Pt— はちみつ (@_hachimitsu09) April 29, 2019
An experienced man knows that there are fans with cameras along the way.
Chapter 5: Juryo bouts
Juryo dohyo-iri, and here is our lovely pair of brothers. Tobizaru is making a Tobizaru pose. Hidenoumi… looks like a big brother.
As Takanosho waits for his bout, there is nobody around. Definitely not Tamawashi, but not Gagamaru or anybody like that, either. So he has no choice but to pinch his own cheek.
So here he is vs. Arawashi:
I hope Arawashi will look better in Natsu.
Next, Takanofuji vs. Aminishiki:
Serious fight back for a Jungyo event. Too bad. Aminishiki can console himself that he will probably not need to wrestle against the bully twin in Natsu. Well, not unless there is an odd number of kyujo sekitori.
I’m guessing Akiseyama didn’t survive this.
Takagenji vs. Daishomaru:
At this point Juryo bouts are suspended, and Kakuryu’s team demonstrates rope tying:
You can see, on the left, holding one end of the rope, our friend Shohoryu. Behind the yokozuna, waiting for the pulling stage, is Kyokusoten. The head tsukebito, in charge of the actual knot (I’m not kidding, doing the knot is considered the most important part for the balance of the rope, and is only given to the most responsible tsukebito with the best sense of balance) is Shinzan, who is apparently hidden behind Shohoryu’s hand.
Proceeding with the bouts, we have Enho vs. Chiyomaru:
I’m sure Enho would love all his bouts to be this easy.
Chapter 6: Naka-iri
Naka-iri is the part of a day of contests from Makuuchi dohyo-iri to the end. So here is some dohyo-iri. Watch Mitakeumi:
He embarrasses Takakeisho by inviting the spectators to clap and cheer for the shin-Ozeki.
Ryuden harrasses Yutakayama, whose modest boobs seem to just call in the pervs:
But for some reason, he dares not reach anywhere near that region when he moves on to Aoiyama. I wonder why:
Now we wait for the bouts. Onosho, of course, passes the time pleasantly:
And it seems Nishikigi is not objecting too much, either. But then Onosho realizes he is on camera:
Nishikigi still has that “mmm… go on” expression on his face, though.
Chapter 7: Actual, honest-to-goodness, bouts!
But before we start those, suppose you have photos of wrestlers going down the hana-michi. How do you know if they won or lost?
Yeah, well, the facial expressions are a clue. But you know some rikishi tend to be more stoic. So there is another clue. If the wrestler still has his sagari on, or holds it in disarray, he probably lost. if his sagari are off him, and rolled neatly together – he probably won. The reason being that if he wins, he needs to give the chikara-mizu to the next wrestler. While that is done, the yobidashi rolls his sagari for him. If he loses, he has to leave the dohyo immediately. Now, test yourselves on these pair of images:
Hint: Tamawashi is tricky. The answers will shortly be revealed.
The Ryuden-Terutsuyoshi bout was very entertaining. First, Ryuden decided he wanted to compete with the king of salt:
That, of course, will not do:
Of course, the yobidashi needed to add salt to the basket:
But once again, it all ended in tears:
But the weeping pixie overcame his regrets very quickly and did… well… this:
Because that’s how my main man Terutsuyoshi rolls.
The next bout of interest (read: I have material about) was Abi vs. home boy Tomokaze. Abi opens with his usual gambit:
Tomokaze looks unimpressed:
The bout was also quite entertaining:
Daieisho vs. Shodai:
Shodai keeps his ass so high he will need pointe shoes to get it any higher.
That was a mighty nodowa!
Well, I’ve seen better.
And that’s it! Let’s say goodbye to all the rikishi as they leave Yokohama for their next destination:
Hmmm… I wonder if that bus is so slow because of all the… you know… extra weight?
Short summary video:
Our pin-up boy of the day is: