Natsu Day 10 Preview

Myogiryu: “Then Takayasu said, pull my finger..”
Goeido: “No matter what, don’t pull Takayasu’s finger!”

We come to the end of act 2 now, and we have sorted the rikishi nicely into piles: the ones we know are doing well, the ones we know are doing poorly, and the third group who are struggling to stay afloat. For myself, I find the zero-sum game that is sumo quite fascinating. Every win comes at the expense of some other rikishi’s loss. When you have basho like Osaka, the devastation can be remarkable.

Launching into act 3, we are going to sort everyone into make and kachi koshi, and crown a tournament champion. With a broad front of 3 rikishi with 1 loss with 2 more just behind, there is a lot of competition left to play out this May. Starting on day 10, we will see a larger span of ranks in some matches, as the schedulers work to find pairs that keep the competition interesting and fair. Our worries about the 2 surviving Ozeki and the lone surviving Yokozuna seem to have been laid to rest, and we are all enjoying a re-energized Tochinoshin. I think that Team Pixie has really made a huge impression this basho, and I have to say that Enho may not be their captain, but he is certainly their heart. We are also watching Asanoyama have a great tournament, and we hope he can sustain this level of performance for the rest of the year.

Who has caught your eye this basho? Let us know in the comment section.

Natsu Leaderboard

Leaders: Kakuryu, Tochinoshin, Asanoyama
Chasers: Enho, Kotoeko
Hunt Group: Goeido, Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Abi, Ryuden, Shodai, Shohozan, Daishoho

6 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 10

Chiyomaru vs Daishoho – Chiyomaru: a man of substance who has been mugged by elves a couple of days in a row. His record is in tatters, and I am sure he wonders how he finishes out with 8 wins now. Going up against Daishoho is not going to help. Daishoho is near the bottom of the banzuke for Natsu, but he’s fighting well and dominating his matches. The NHK-G showed the comically large soaking tub in the rikishi’s changing room – I encourage one of Chiyomaru’s tsukibeto to have that thing loaded and steaming hot for day 10.

Ishiura vs Sadanoumi – Ishiura has been able to conduct some good “Enho inspired” sumo the past few days, but he has taken his time to develop his attack before being able to close the deal. The issue with Sadanoumi is that he is a “fast mover” – his plan is on the dohyo and executing at fast forward speed. If Sadanoumi can keep Ishiura in front of him, it’s win #6 for the Sakaigawa man.

Shimanoumi vs Terutsuyoshi – Both of these rikishi are struggling to stay close to the line that takes them to a winning record, so the schedulers put them head to head. But Terutsuyoshi holds a 4-1 career advantage, and seems to be finally in touch with his sumo.

Chiyoshoma vs Yago – Chiyoshoma, clinging to the bottom left corner of the banzuke, desperately needs a win, but then again, so does Yago. Is it time for Chiyoshoma to bring out his henka paddle and start evading the tachiai?

Enho vs Tochiozan – Enho might get his 8th win today, but the challenge is that Tochiozan is not large enough that the submarine tachiai is going to phase him, not slow enough that the normal scampering pixie sumo is going to baffle him, nor inexperienced enough that he is going to worry if Enho puts his face into his navel. First time match between these two.

Kagayaki vs Tokushoryu – Loser of this match receives a brand new make-koshi, and a hearty invitation to regroup and come back in July with their normal top-division class sumo. Kagayaki has stayed true to his form, but has bungled nearly every match. Tokushoryu has forgotten his form, but done what he could with whatever sumo came to mind. Try again guys.

Kotoeko vs Onosho – Although Kotoeko is 5 ranks lower on the banzuke, I personally think he may take this one from Onosho this time. Kotoeko seems to have some of his best sumo going in some time, and Onosho is still struggling with what seems to be a persistent balance problem.

Shodai vs Asanoyama – Someone on the scheduling team is really pushing my buttons, as they pair Shodai with Asanoyama. I am looking for some solid cartoon sumo out of Shodai day 10, and depending on what Asanoyama was doing most Saturday mornings as a child, he may have no idea what happened to him. Shodai won their only prior match, after opening a box from Acme moments before walking down the hanamichi.

Shohozan vs Meisei – Meisei has this “Little Engine That Could” vibe going on right now, so I am sure he will do his utmost. Shohozan seems to have gotten his punk moves out of his system, and has settled own into some first rate sumo in the past few days. This might be a really exciting match.

Takarafuji vs Tomokaze – Tomokaze has a 3 match losing streak going, and all of the piano time he wants is not fixing his sumo. But Takarafuji won’t take any pity on the Oguruma man, as Takarafuji is going to always execute his plan, no matter who he’s facing.

Nishikigi vs Yoshikaze – I predict this will result in Yoshikaze getting his make-koshi. What has been plaguing him for the past several basho? He’s not telling. I just hope that he’s ok when this is all done.

Myogiryu vs Tamawashi – Tamawashi has a real chance to be back in San’yaku, and maybe even back at Sekiwake. Myogiryu will have a very different opponent than his day 9 match with Takayasu – this one will be sharp, short and intense. There will be plenty of kinetic energy in play, Myogiryu will just need to make sure it’s working for him instead of Tamawashi.

Hokutofuji vs Chiyotairyu – Both come in with 3-6 records, and are looking at the make-koshi line racing toward them. Only one of them will exit with a much needed win. These schedulers are being complete bastards, aren’t they?

Daieisho vs Kotoshogiku – I know I commented on lksumo’s day 5 storyline post that I liked Kotoshogiku for a possible San’yaku slot. Of course that was the cue for the Kyushu-Bulldozer to suffer a performance-robbing breakdown. Since then Kotoshogiku has been unable to produce much in the way of offense, and looking poor. If it’s any help, he has a 4-1 career advantage over Daieisho.

Aoiyama vs Endo – Much like that Hokutofuji/Chiyotairyu match, team “3-6” throws two more onto the dohyo for a beating, this time the rubbery man-mountain Aoiyama and the perpetually “almost genki” Endo. Aoiyama holds a 7-3 career advantage, and may just smack Endo around for a while before sending him a loss closer to that make-koshi-bound angry bouillabaisse stewing in that soaking tub near the shitaku-beya.

Mitakeumi vs Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin got a day away from competition with the Takakeisho re-kyujo, so he comes to this match rested and ready. Sure, he’s going to try to to land the left hand outside, and engage the sky crane. We just want to see what Mitakeumi is going to do about it. I am sure Mitakeumi is well aware of the 7-3 Tochinoshin career advantage, and has no desire to make it 8-3.

Ryuden vs Takayasu – Did you know Ryuden (aka Shin-Ikioi) holds a 2-0 career lead over Takayasu? Sure, one of them is from Makushita in 2009, but this certainly removes some air of invincibility around the Ozeki. Takayasu seems to be working well enough that he can figure out a win on whatever terms evolve during the course of a match, so I think Ryuden has his hands full.

Goeido vs Okinoumi – You know what would go really well in the make-koshi hot tub? Some fresh Shimane Taimeishi! I am sure Okinoumi will give him a solid, but ultimately losing, fight. (The two have a long 25-bout history, which the Ozeki leads 19-6, though Okinoumi pulled off the upset the last time they met, in January. -lksumo)

Abi vs Kakuryu – These two have split their 2 prior matches, and I think Abi is due a win or two this week. I can see someone getting dirt on the Yokozuna at least one more time, and it may as well be a nice kinboshi.

18 thoughts on “Natsu Day 10 Preview

  1. I think that the schedulers are being such mercenaries because they want definitive records for demotion and promotion this time around. The last banzuke was an utter mess. There’s still going to be a lot of shifting going on, but I don’t think there will be as many “Is this rikishi going down?” discussions when everything is said and done.

    I think both Asanoyama and Ryuden have had a “coming out party” this basho. We’ll just have to see if it sticks like it did for Abi or if they’ll struggle like Onosho has recently.

  2. I’m happy that many of my (at least 20) favourite rikishi are doing well this basho.
    Abi – kinboshi please! We know you can.
    Asanoyama vs Shodai is really not fair! These are among my top 5 favourite rikishi, but this time Asanoyama should win – would be great if he could win the yusho but this will be hard because of Tochinoshin. So, I hope Asa will get the gino-sho at least.

    I still think Meisei has great potential generally, he is doing better every basho.

    • I think the gino-sho is going to whichever one of the little guys with a huge range of techniques piles up the most wins ;)

    • Asanoyama and Shodai are in my top five too! Kagayaki is up there as well (c’mon you’re better than 2-7!) Watching all my favorites go head-to-head is tough!!

      • I’m realizing my “top five” has more than 5 members ;) From the top of the banzuke: Hakuho, Tochinoshin, Mitakeumi, Endo, Shodai, Asanoyama, Enho (four of whom are matched up tomorrow). And that’s with some painful omissions.

        • Ah I know that pain well. Every Basho I put together a smaller scorecard of about 10-12 Rikishi to track my favorites, and I have a core group of regulars who always make the card. They are Hakuho, Ichinojo, Asanoyama, Shodai, Ryuden, Kagayaki, and Chiyomaru. Takanosho, Toyonoshima, and Yutakayama also rank high on my list, but with them down in Juryo for the time being its allowed me to add some new names to my scorecard. I always add Makuuchi newcomers, though few seem to stick around for more than a two Basho ( Last one on first one off I guess, though Enho is bucking that trend.) Takakeisho, Tochinoshin, and Terutsuyoshi are also quickly becoming scorecard regulars. With a few of my Juryo guys doing well, I’m going to have to make some hard choices come Nagoya.

          • I guess the acid test is “which rikishi would I want to win if they face each other?”, but even that’s complicated by what’s at stake for each in any given bout.

            • same conflict here – in this case I choose the one who needs the win more…. Since the last two basho I’ve chosen Takakeisho – too bad that he’s kyujo

  3. Bruce, you asked of Yoshikaze, “What has been plaguing him for the past several basho?” But his last four basho have included an 11-4 record (the memorable ‘mystery rash’ basho) and, in March, a 10-5 record. So, perhaps you should ask, “What has been intermittently plaguing him?” And it apparently isn’t the mystery rash!

  4. Random observation: of the 42 men currently in Makuuchi, two have been ranked as high as Yokozuna (obviously), 5 as high as Ozeki, 10 have made it to Sekiwake, and a further 5 to Komusubi. So more than half of the top division has San’yaku experience!

    • I assume that, in your totals, you aren’t including the two yokozuna among the five current or former ozeki, etc., etc., although the yokozuna certainly did make it as high as ozeki (and even higher).

  5. Of course I want Tochinoshin to regain Ozeki plus take the yusho. And besides Ryuden being the new Ikioi, he’s also an accomplished singer and dancer, as evidenced during this year’s fukushi sumo event:

  6. I sad earlier that I think Tomokaze is a future Ozeki in my eyes or that at least in potential I rate him higher than anyone else. I have still not seen a loss of him that I felt he was outclassed, just a lot of bad decisions I discount due to inexperience for now.

    I do acknowledge now that Asanoyama made a visible step up. Whether that will show next basho against the Sanyaku I have my doubts but I would be happy if I am wrong on him…

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