Natsu Day 10 Highlights

Yesterday, our leadership pack of Kakuryu, Tochinoshin and Asanoyama picked up that all important kachi-koshi win. Herouth took us a bit deeper into the importance of this 8th win yesterday as this win, and each subsequent win, is literally money in the bank.

Before we start thinking yusho race, by hitting this mark so early in the tournament, Asanoyama will have his eye on another special prize to add to his two kanto-sho. And as we all know, Tochinoshin is hoping to reclaim his ozeki rank this week, as well. And Kakuryu, as lone Yokozuna, has his eyes on the first yusho of the new Reiwa era (and the first Trump Cup*). As Day 10 opens, Enho and Kotoeko have their own chances to boost their bimonthly income. Did either of them make it?

On His Way Back To Ozeki?

Highlight Matches

Chiyomaru defeats Daishoho with a quick oshidashi. Chiyomaru ends his losing streak as Daishoho put up only token resistance after the tachiai. A straight forward affair.

Ishiura defeats Sadanoumi. Ishiura borrowed Harumafuji’s hit-and-shift move on the initial charge, and quickly grabbed Sadanoumi’s arm, spinning him down for the kotenage throw. Hakuho’s deshi was quite spry today and that speed was far too much for Sadanoumi.

Shimanoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi. After a matta, the two met head-on and tried to lock in for a good belt battle. Terutsuyoshi picked the wrong time to try a kick as he was too far away. Shimanoumi seized the opportunity to push Terutusyoshi out, yorikiri.

Yago defeats Chiyoshoma. Chiyoshoma starts with a henka attempt followed by a leg sweep. Yago maintained his balance and engaged with a belt grip. Once Chiyoshoma ran out of parlor tricks, Yago showed him the exit, yorikiri.

Tochiozan defeats Enho. Enho drove Tochiozan back to the tawara but the Kochi native was able to make use of the added leverage to take control of the bout and launch his quick counter attack. Hatakikomi. Kachi-koshi will need to wait for another day.

Tokushoryu defeats Kagayaki. Tokushoryu’s stalling draws Kagayaki into a matta. Then enraged, Kagayaki leaps out into the tachiai to be met with a sidestep. This was more-henka-than HNH, but there was a little bonk of the top knots. Maybe a 90% henka? Either way, Tokushoryu took Kagayaki by surprise, slipped in behind and guided the gold mawashioed rikishi out. Oshidashi.

Kotoeko defeats Onosho and picks up that kachi koshi. A well met tachiai, with a slap to Onosho’s face for good measure, Kotoeko got Onosho to commit to an all-in slapping oshi attack. As soon as Onosho committed fully, Kotoeko ducked to the side and let the tadpole’s momentum carry him out of the ring. Hikiotoshi.

Asanoyama defeats Shodai. The judges say yorikiri but this was an oshi-tsuki battle as Asanoyama landed several strong thrusts to Shodai’s face. Shodai tried to counter but golly-geez that proved hard with that fierce arm in your face. This forced Shodai’s body to stay high so Asanoyama got inside, and bullrushed him off the dohyo.

Meisei defeats Shohozan in a wild, twirling, charging bout. After a weird waiting game where both men were committed to not starting, Shohozan finally drew in Meisei for a matta. The second attempt was a great collision. Both men backed away and started slapping to and fro in a great street brawl that then morphed into a couple of billy-goats charging at each other. A slight shift of weight to the left was enough to get Shohozan off balance.

Takarafuji defeats Tomokaze. This was a weird one as Takarafuji’s token resistance won. Takarafuji absorbed the charge of Tomokaze and pulled. If Tomokaze had been able to stay on his feet, this would have been an easy oshidashi. However, as he was fully extended and trying to drive the blocking sled back, Tomokaze’s right foot lost purchase in the middle of the dohyo. As Takarafuji stepped off the dohyo, the gunbai initially went to Tomokaze. However, after a review, we see that Tomokaze slipped and his knee touched before Takarafuji stepped out. They call it a hikiotoshi but this is likely Kintamayama’s prototypical slippiotoshi.

Yoshikaze defeats Nishikigi. Yoshikaze’s face absorbed Nishikigi’s charge but he was able to secure a strong morozashi double-inside grip of the mawashi. Nishikigi wrapped his arms around Yoshikaze’s but ultimately couldn’t mount a counter-attack from that awkward position. Yoshikaze drove forward

Tamawashi defeats Myogiryu. The two met with a strong tachiai where Myogiryu perhaps getting poked in the eye. Tamawashi pushed Myogiryu’s head back and then forced him off balance to the side with a strong right arm thrust. Tsukiotoshi.

Hokutofuji defeats Chiyotairyu. Why did Chiyotairyu pull? It was a pretty strong initial charge and he gained a slight advantage moving forward. However, rather than continue forward, Chiyotairyu tried for a slapdown. Hokutofuji was able to maintain his balance and drive through, forcing mutton chops off the dohyo. Oshidashi

Daieisho defeats Kotoshogiku by nodowa. Giku was off like a jackrabbit at the initial charge but Daieisho countered with a blast to the neck and sustained oshi pushing attack. This got the former ozeki moving backwards. One more solid nodowa, drawing Giku to put all of this weight forward in resistance, and then a quick shift to the left let Kotoshogiku fall to the dirt. Hikiotoshi.

Aoiyama defeats Endo. In a super quick one-two move, Aoiyama arrested Endo’s initial charge with those two big paws on Endo’s shoulders. With Endo’s head still down for the charge, Aoiyama worked his hands firmly to the back of Endo’s head and neck and pushed the ATM face first to the dohyo. Another fat stack of envelopes for a quick hatakikomi.  

Tochinoshin defeats Mitakeumi. We didn’t get sky-crane Tochinoshin today. We got the bulldozer. A shoulder blast to Mitakeumi’s face won the advantage at the tachai. Both men locked in for a belt battle but Tochinoshin drove Mitakeumi, still smarting from the initial smash, back and out for a yorikiri. One more win to reclaim ozeki status and he stays on course in the yusho race. Could the Georgian pick up number two?

Takayasu defeats Ryuden. They’re calling this oshidashi but this was a solid mawashi battle. Both Ryuden and Takayasu locked in on the belt after the initial charge. Takayasu won the initiative with his shoulder blast and worked Ryuden back to the edge…and I thought out, yorikiri…but an extra shove there at the end threw Ryuden off the dohyo, oshidashi.

Goeido defeats Okinoumi. It looked for a minute that Okinoumi was mimicking Goeido’s pre-bout routine. Goeido drawn off the line early for a matta. A solid tachiai and then a tussle for belt control as both men seemed rather evenly matched. Okinoumi made an ill-advised attempt to reach for Goeido’s mawashi with his right arm. That stretch was enough for Goeido to thrust Okinoumi off balance and into the dohyo. Tsukiotoshi.

Kakuryu defeats Abi. Kakuryu stumbled out of the gate in a weird, quick matta. The Yokozuna recovered to take the full force of Abi’s oshi attack. Abi sustained a right-handed grip of Kakuryu’s chin but he couldn’t get any drive. As he over committed, Kakuryu shifted, sweeping Abi out to the side. Hatakikomi.

An Aside

* There’s really little chance that this weekend’s visitor and extra trophy will escape politics and emotion and controversy. Let’s face it, we’re all sumo fans and we just went through the Harumafuji/Takanohana thing. I’m not looking for more distraction. We’re no strangers to controversy but we enjoy sumo. Just like over the holidays, when those of my relatives who’ve blocked each other on Facebook are able to come and enjoy each other’s company at dinner, we at Tachiai will stay above the politics. As Bruce has warned, we may elect to close comments on some posts.

As y’all likely know, I work in the Federal government and am independent politically. I work with Clinton people and Bush people and Obama people and Trump people and we don’t run around needing to lock each other up because we actually do real work together. So, I expect everyone to be civil, though it’s real hard to forget when we get lost in R vs D, Red vs Blue, lib vs con, Jedi vs Sith, Stark vs Lannister. (In this oshi vs yotsu world, everyone overlooks footwork!)

If we treat this like my family treats the holidays, we’ll enjoy it. I, for one, have been DYING to have an American prize offered. I even emailed the Chamber of Commerce and Embassy to prod people a while back. I just really can’t think of any one thing that would be sufficiently representative of the US, so I make jokes about corn. It would be cool to have something as iconic as Lord Stanley’s Cup, the claret jug, the Meisterschale, or the macaron awarded to the winner on behalf of fans from the USA.

Anyway, the latest news I heard is that Musashigawa oyakata may sit next to him to help translate. It must be a thrilling opportunity, like when Sir Paul attended and bought a whole bunch of kensho banners. For the wrestlers, especially those of Musashigawa-beya, I hope they enjoy the experience because it will be nice to have a news event which draws attention to the sport that isn’t a hazing or sexual harassment scandal. It will sure be an episode to remember.

19 thoughts on “Natsu Day 10 Highlights

  1. Note: Japanese news don’t call it the “Trump Cup” but “The President of the United States Cup”. It could be that the name “Trump Cup” is an exaggeration, not a fact.

    • Although I refuse to treat Trump as if he was just another politician I disagree with, I gotta admit that the international sumo trophies are often tacky and obnoxious, so if he had any hand in choosing the design it’d probably fit right in.

      Brace for a gold-plated statue of liberty that’s bigger than the emperor’s cup and wider than the prime minister’s cup.

      Hopefully the whole thing brings some positive attention to sumo.

  2. If we’re trying to figure out a “henka percentage”, I generally call that a “hit and shift” a la Haramafuji. I’ve found that rikishi get a lot more leeway from fans when they make initial contact, so that’s what I stick with in general. On that front, there is definitely a lot more movement at the tachiai these days.

    I did notice that at least two rikishi (Shodai and Ryuden) lost because their opponents were focused on locking up their arms and preventing them from reaching a mawashi and/or getting a grip. This strategy is also being applied more often, from what I’m seeing, with positive results.

    Enho shouldn’t submarine against smaller opponents. He’ll learn, especially based on his expression after the end of his bout today.

    One more for Tochinoshin! So close!

    I agree that a gift from the U.S. would be good to have (and definitely bring more attention to the sport), but I’m also struggling to come up with a properly “American” gift that the heyas would actually use. Beef, maybe?

    • The winner receives a cow’s weight in prime beef with the Miyazaki Prefecture Trophy.

    • “Enho shouldn’t submarine against smaller opponents.”
      I totally agree with this as general tactical advice for Enho. But I would not really count Tochiozan as a ‘smaller opponent’.

    • “I’ve found that rikishi get a lot more leeway from fans when they make initial contact, so that’s what I stick with in general.”

      It’s more of a “is this their style of sumo?”. Harumafuji’s semi was absolutely his style, and no one would think twice about a full-blown henka from a smaller rikishi, because it’s their style, and doing your style is honorable. If you Terunofuji out of the way, that’s not your style, just grabbing an easy victory.

  3. Can anyone explain why M8 Asanoyama (9-1) gets to fight M13 Sadanoumi (5-5) on Day 11? Shouldn’t they be putting him against higher ranked rikishi and/or opponents with good winning records? He hasn’t fought anyone higher than M5 (Ryuden) yet is a joint leader with Kakuryu and Tochinoshin.

    • That does seem like an odd pairing. There are a lot of constraints in putting together a torikumi, and I can see how those ranked M5 and up are busy fighting each other, but even Shohozan or Tochiozan would seem like a better choice. I’m guessing the degree of difficulty will go up on Day 12 and beyond if he keeps winning, but they’re not leaving themselves a lot of time to test him properly.

    • The schedule of the top guys is basically set so they only battle sanyaku and the top Maegashira (joi). I figure they won’t be worried about an Asanoyama yusho until day 13 or so. Kyokuteho and Tochiozan fought in a playoff for the title in 2012. Kyokuteho faced an Ozeki on Day 14.

    • No, no one can explain why they make the torikumi the way they do. I am fairly convinced that in general it is a lack of ambition for those who put it together, simply going with whatever works easiest. It’s probably some low-level gyoji who decides everything, and unless he gets instructions from a senior gyoji or the shimpan to make sure to do something specific, he probably simply gets the job done as fast as possible. That’s an explanation at least. But it doesn’t explain why Hokutofuji vs. Kotoshogiku wasn’t on Day 10, because I can’t see someone coming in and forcing them to do any of the other matches picked.

      • I recall seeing a film on it on NHK. A short film. There’s a group that decides. They have to follow rules such as no duplicate matches, no matches from the same stable, etc. They also try (the film said) to give matches that will excite the fans. It looks like most of the work is writing out the match ups in Sumo calligraphy.

  4. “Why did Chiyotairyu pull?” This is one of his standard tactics — if he wins the tachai but his opponent resists further backward movement then he goes for hatakikomi or hikiotoshi. I wonder if Hokutofuji was planning on it.

  5. I’ve been wondering why more wrestlers don’t hatakikomi Enho. He seems so vulnerable crouching beneath his opponents belly. Of course, that is easy to say from an arm chair. Look on his face said it all — he was thinking not only was he off the leader chasers, he can look forward to a critique from Hakuho.

    That Daishoho defense against Chiyomaru looked pretty lame, did it not? It looked like the token resistance you give your mom when she’s slapping you for not cleaning your room.

    For a moment, I thought Abi had Kakuryu. But no.

  6. I was again impressed by Goeido’s patience today. He came off 2nd best at the tachiai and wasn’t looking in a great position, but he was calm and savvy enough to pull a very neat throw.

    There was a strange kind of stalemate by mutual nodawa going on at the start of Kakuryu v Abi. But Abi can have no complaints at the manner of his loss given how often he has recourse to that kind of sudden switch to hatakikomi

  7. Hey, plenty of other countries give out prizes; why not the US? As far as what the prize is…well, the UAE gives a year’s supply of gas to men who can’t drive, so we can’t do much more awkward =-p As a native Chicagoan, I would nominate Chicago-style deep dish ;p

    • I think that gifting an assortment of America’s regional foods would be appropriate. Deep-dish, both Texas and Carolina bbq, a huge Mission burrito, an enormous block of cheese, and what ever the hell they eat in New England. I assume the average rikishi could eat about $1m worth of lobster rolls in a year so that’s out. Baked beans?

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