Natsu Day 13 Highlights

My Thoughts Exactly, Ma’am

Dear Sumo – What the hell was that? It’s time to set Onomatsu oyakata in a corner as he is a menace to orderly sumo. This is not the first time he has completely bumbled a call, and left everyone upset and more than a little confused. Tradition and seniority my broad, hairy Scottish backside. This guy is a disaster.

For those of you who many not know, head shimpan Onomatsu oyakata made a howler of a call in the match between Asanoyama and Tochinoshin that very well may cost Tochinoshin his return to Ozeki. In the final moments, Tochinoshin’s foot is on the tawara as he swings Asanoyama to the clay, and in what may be the longest monoii in the modern era, they gave the win to Asanoyama. Was Tochinoshin’s sumo extra sloppy today? It was – his foot placement was poor, his ring sense was nowhere to be found. But that decision is going to offend plenty of sumo fans, and not just readers of this blog.

Highlight Matches

Wakatakakage defeats Ishiura – The highest ranking Onami brother visits the top division to give Ishiura his make-koshi, and possibly send him back to Juryo once again to sort out his hot and cold running sumo.

Sadanoumi defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu worked his tail off to get back to the top division only to turn in a double-digit make-koshi. Tokushoryu is actually a skilled, talented and experienced rikishi. For long term fans it’s sad to see him fade this hard. Back to Juryo with him.

Shimanoumi defeats Kotoeko – After a cold start that saw Shimanoumi lose 3 of his first 4, he rallied to a kachi-koshi in fine fashion. This fellow won the Juryo yusho two times in a row, and has managed to get his 8 in his debut Makuuchi tournament.

Daishoho defeats Shohozan – Daishoho racks up his 8th win against a listless Shohozan, who is getting close to his 8th loss now.

Onosho defeats Chiyoshoma – Is Chiyoshoma finally going to Juryo again? Another loss and he goes to double digits, which is fine with me as he seems hurt and needs to throttle back his competition and recover.

Kagayaki defeats Yago – Yago lost this when he decided, “Hey, lets pull!”. This has happened a lot this basho. A strong, competent rikishi is executing a great attack plan, suddenly tries to pull his opponent down and loses the match by throwing away his forward pressure to the pulling move. Yago, get it together man!

Nishikigi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi launches a leg pick, but Nishikigi expertly shuts it down and gives Terutsuyoshi a face full of Natsu clay. Great attack move, excellent defense move. I loved this match.

Meisei defeats Enho – The big news here is that it looks like Enho may have injured his right thigh, as he was limping badly following the match. Meisei is one win away from double digits this basho, and he has been fighting much better than his normal.

Chiyomaru defeats Yoshikaze – The Yoshikaze the fans love is simply not in right now. Chiyotairyu did a great job of executing his usual sumo with great effect. I did like his move to arrest Yoshikaze’s impending fall at the end of the match.

Tamawashi defeats Kotoshogiku – Maybe this is why everyone is trying a pull right now. They see Tamawashi stick one on Kotoshogiku to hand him his 8th loss. Yes, I was wishcasting Kotoshogiku to kachi-koshi this tournament and maybe return to San’yaku for Nagoya.

Hokutofuji defeats Daieisho – Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai pays off today, and completely disrupts Daieisho. Daieisho exits the dohyo with his 8th loss but has a win over an Ozeki and a Sekiwake to show for his posting to the joi-jin.

Ryuden defeats Mitakeumi – What tactic lost this match for Mitakeumi? Oh yes, he decided to try to pull Ryuden down. To be fair, I think Mitakeumi is still fighting hurt, and Ryuden is really fighting his best ever. Still 2 more chances for Mitakeumi to pick up his 8th win, but the traditional week 2 Mitakeumi fade is well in effect.

Aoiyama defeats Abi – This mess was a triple decker sloppy joe with extra sauce. Everyone was all over the place, and it was anyone’s guess who was going to lose first. Arms, legs, mawashi flying everywhere. I guess Abi exited first…

Asanoyama defeats Tochinoshin – The match that shall live in infamy. An embarrassment of a sumo contest, not that either competitor did anything wrong. I mean that 7 minute monoii. Points against Tochinoshin for having almost no forward pressure, trying to pull Asanoyama and that quarter-assed kotenage attempt at the bales. I am going to guess that we are not seeing the sky crane because our glass cannon Tochinoshin is once again hobbled with an injury.

Ichinojo defeats Endo – When Ichinojo is genki, this is what you get. I watch this match and it’s like Endo is some kind of doll that Ichinojo is playing with. The level of force that goes into even his casual movements must be enough to overpower any normal rikishi. Good lord, what a brute.

Goeido defeats Shodai – No cartoon sumo for Shodai today, no chance to move laterally and inject chaos vectors into his opponent’s battle plan. Goeido does a masterful job of containing Shodai to keep him centered and in front.

Takayasu defeats Kakuryu – Anyone else breathe a sigh of relief on this one? Takayasu gets his 8th with a well timed side step of Kakuryu’s charge.

Now just think – if that call in the Tochinoshin match had not been botched, we would have Ozeki Tochinoshin in a 3 way tie for the yusho heading into the final weekend. Everyone say thanks to Onomatsu oyakata for being a block-head today.

29 thoughts on “Natsu Day 13 Highlights

  1. If they have replay, why don’t the ‘judges’ use it? Then, Asanoyama WAS CLEARLY ON HIS WAY DOWN BEFORE the imagined heal contact by Tochinoshin.
    This was a blown cal through and through and a MAJOR disappointment for Sumo.

    • So the reason there was a monoii, another member or two of the judging department was looking at every angle somewhere in the bowels of the Kokugikan. I think the reason the monoii went long is that the team in the back had a tough time creating a definitive ruling, and left it up to the 5 guys on the dohyo. They, of course, performed a complete colonic extraction and everyone was left unhappy.

      • I don’t think the video guys initiated the monoii (not sure they even can); the entire s*** show was a production of the 5 stooges in black robes around the dohyo.

        • Sorry if that was what you thought I said. No, the 5 guys around the ring initiated it, and that earpiece in the chief judge’s ear links him to the video review room. That’s where they had a tough time coming up with a definitive answer.

  2. Hmm let us see, the decision allowed a Japanese wrestler to remain in the lead for the Yusho over a foreign born Rikishi, yep nothing to see here, move along.

  3. Since I probably wont be watching any sumo again certainly not anytime soon, as I cant justify spending the time on a sport where it is left to a guy who is maybe drunk wearing bifocals to tell the rest of the world all evidence to the contrary is wrong and the nsk go with that, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed taichiai and all your efforts and comments and articles that have done much to promote what could be the greatest sport ever. Arigato gozaimasu!!!

    • Well, I was not going to say it, but I do wonder about the drunk part myself. It’s not the first time Onomatsu oyakata as chief judge has seemed to be not aware of what was going on.

      • Actually from what I gather it was said judge “Hanarogame” if I recall the name correctly. In any case everyone acquiesed to his claim of seeing a touch occur. One man with imperfect vision claiming alone without any further corroboration is absolutely no way to come to a fair decision. Also it means anyone of the judges could potentially make a claim single-handedly that would be very lucrative to the right party and there would be potentially no opposition to that decision. No sport can survive in the modern era thus organised and administered. It is laughable. Anyway thanks again and farewell.

        • But every sport, sooner or later, relies on one person making a call. The shimpan consulted the video room and the video room said they couldn’t tell for sure. Onomatsu’s bumbling makes it look worse than it is – this is just “only one person was positioned to see exactly what happened, and he said Tochinoshin touched the clay”. The other judges are on the other sides of the dohyo, and the gyoji’s view of Tochi’s heel was obscured by the rest of Tochi’s foot. Hanarogame Oyakata was the only judge with a clear view, apart from the video room people who (as far as I can tell) said they weren’t sure.

          If Hanarogame was wrong, well… shit happens. Every single sport has had at least one case of a judge or referee making a bad call and someone getting screwed out of a deserved win. I understand it can leave a sour taste in your mouth when it happens to one of your favourites, but I’d urge you not to abandon a sport you love over one incident.

          Now, it’s possible I’ve misunderstood, and the video room actually said “we didn’t see him touch down” rather than “we couldn’t tell”, in which case the fault is on… wait for it… Onomatsu Oyakata. Hanarogame thought he saw something, and that’s fair. Onomatsu is the head shimpan, he’s the one who (in this hypothetical scenario) decided to ignore the video room and let Hanarogame make the call entirely by himself.

  4. Tochinoshin was robbed, plain and simple. Onomatsu oyakata seems to be a bumbling fool. He shouldn’t be anywhere near the dohyo, let alone in a judge’s chair. What other damage he is doing to the sport, away from the cameras?

  5. Like someone said yesterday, it’s tough a be a Tochi fan. We’ll leave it at that.

  6. Let’s face it and let’s say it out loud: there are only two possible reasons for this decision: 1) Racism or 2) Corruption. If the head shimpan was indeed drunk, as some have suggested, I would think option 1 the most likely. The desire to have a native Japanese win the first yusho of Reiwa might be a factor here; especially considering all the press and hype that is going to surround the Trump Cup. Either that, or the fix is in.

    • I never assign malice were a simple mistake will suffice. I think it came down to one judge wanting a review. The video room not being able to make a determination, and then the chief judge (Onomatsu oyakata) deciding he would sort this out.

      • If the video room did in fact say that they couldn’t see that he was out, then they should go with that. One guy thought he was out, no-one else saw it, not even in slo-mo replay. You’ll forgive me for thinking that something is amiss here.

        • We don’t have the transcript of what the video room said. It might have been “we don’t see Tochinoshin touch out”, or it might have been “we genuinely can’t tell, the resolution isn’t good enough, it’s up to you guys”.

  7. My favorite match of the day was Takarafuji’s victory over Tochiozan. These two grizzled veterans delivered a fine (and lengthy) exposition of tactical sumo.

  8. I think the judges are very poor all tournament. There is that completely fumbled mono-ii yesterday or the day before and there were numerous mono-ii missed. I think Aoiyama lost one match that way. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention in previous bashos, but this basho seems to be extremely poor overall.

  9. Saddened to see Enho’s injury. Let us pray it is not serious.

    Speaking of injury, Ichinojo is looking healthy as far as I can tell. But these guys are so stoic, you can’t really go by appearances, can you?

    Tochi call: Right or wrong, it is definitely unfortunate for Tochinoshin’s ozeki bid. He has only two more chances to get the win. I’m beginning to wonder if he will do it. Can he beat Kakuryu? I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict one of them moves backwards.

  10. I was so glad that Takayasu/Nijinski was able to end a dismal day on a high note. His balletic footwork is indeed a thing of beauty.

  11. I wanted Tochinoshin to get his 10, but it’s a double standard to pretend this is an isolated aberration fuelled by nationalism.

    We see judging failures all the time (we’ve already seen some terrible examples this basho). There’s no doubt it was a tight call: the ring-side judges were largely unsure, and the video reviewers couldn’t make a definitive judgment, so they went with the one person who did claim to be sure. That’s decision-making in sumo, whether flawed or not.

    Think of the most popular sport in the world: football / soccer. There are appalling errors made by officials every single week in the most professional, well resourced leagues in the world; some referees are better than others, but they are all humans who are subject to error. I think it’s an overreaction to write off sumo as a joke because a bad decision went against a rikishi a lot of us who read this site want to succeed.

  12. I’m glad I was home alone when I was watching Grand Sumo Highlights, because I started SCREAMING at the television 😡

    • You and me… that call was beyond nasty and i am pretty sure my neighbors know that too :)


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