NSK Rikishi Health Checks

Tochinoshin Undergoes Routine Health Screening, Courtesy NSK Twitter Feed

With the Aki basho just over 2 weeks away (and this being banzuke weekend!), it’s time for the semi-yearly rikishi health checks. The twice a year parade of sumo favorites undergoing the routine provides some excellent opportunities for sighting of missed former stars of the top ranks, and today was no exception

Yes, that’s our dear grumpy badger and stalwart brawler Chiyonokuni reporting for his check up. After dropping out of the Hatsu basho in January, he has been kyujo for knee repair. He was ranked in the Makushita joi-jin for Nagoya, and will likely fall further down the banzuke before he returns. He’s a fearless competitor, so we look forward to his campaign to re-take his place in sumo’s top division.

But the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan was not done, none other than fan favorite, and fellow knee patient Ura was present today as well. We don’t expect him to re-enter competition until next year, and may battle back from the very lowest ranks.

12 thoughts on “NSK Rikishi Health Checks

  1. Seeing has how some…if not most of the sekitori are fighting injured, has a lowly unformed sumo fan, i can wonder what is the real utility of these health check.

    It is like:

    NSK: “Welp, you got X fractured, and Y and Z muscle torn. If you keep practicing and fighting with these injuries for the next 6 months, you’ll have permanent physical damage to your bodies for the rest of your live and probably won’t make it to 65 years old.”

    Rikishi: ” I know that. ”

    NSK: ” Oh ok. Well…beside that, your blood pressure is good and you have no problem to walk. So see you next’s basho. ”

    Rikishi ” Yup, thank you. ”

    All joke aside, what are these health check for if their monthly trip to the hospital and the recomandation from the doctors there aren’t preventing them from continuing to fight unhealthy ?

    Can they (NSK) really put their foot down here and say ” Sorry, your health checkup say you are way to much unhealthy to be practicing sumo anymore. Either you start taking treatment right now to get you back into health, or it’s the intai for you. ”

    I mean….if these checkup where to really say base on their health who can practice sumo and who can’t (Like a health check in the army who say who can be a soldier and who can’t.), there is no wayyyy in hell some Rikishi can hope to have a passing nod. I’m thinking people like my dearest Ikioi who has been a walking corpse in over 6 month, barely being able to pick himselft up after each bout. His body is maybe broken perhaps today beyong repair. snif

    Poor Ikioi…I love you so much.

    • These are not orthopedic checkups. They measure blood pressure, take blood samples for various blood chemistry and standard infections, etc. – it’s like the standard exam every human in the first world has. Rikishi are prone to diabetes and similar conditions, and these health checks are there to detect stuff like that. It’s nothing to do with sports medicine.

      • IIRC, these check-ups have also turned up a couple of previously unrecognized heart defects in lower rankers. In fact, multiple young guys succumbing to complications from such heart defects during training (as sadly happens far too often across pro sports these days) was the impetus for making these check-ups more comprehensive 15-ish (?) years ago. I don’t believe they were including lower-rankers prior to that, or at least not at the same check-up frequency as the sekitori.

        • It is Ura! I do hope his recovery is sufficient that we can see him once again on the dohyo. The guy is quite the character.

          • Yes! BTW…the note on Enho’s negative weight gain raises an interesting question of whether their body type and tactics fit better (and are more durable) in a lighter frame….

            • I think Enho has said that he wants to get up to 120kg but I think that would be a mistake as his playbook is based on his current stature. It’s not just that he can bamboozle opponents with speed and agility, it’s also that his lack of mass means that he can recover from positions that would be terminal for a heavier man.


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