Tachiai Aki Podcast (Audio)

Josh is back in Tokyo, with Andy and Bruce joining from the US. Can Takakeisho claw his way back to Ozeki with 10 wins? We take a look at the upcoming fall tournament and handicap the rikishi, discuss the world of sumo, and present our always regrettable predictions.

This is the audio version recorded Sunday AM, with the video version to be published later today.

10 thoughts on “Tachiai Aki Podcast (Audio)

  1. This was a very interesting conversation. I liked Josh’s insight about Isegahama oyakata and his ability to re-stabilize his heya. Still, it is down to two sekitori at the moment, and Takarafuji being on the oldish side. We’ll see. BTW, Ami… Ajigawa said he was going to be biting at Terutsuyoshi’s heels, making sure he works like mad. It’s going to be fun at Isegahama now that they have the extra wily oyakata.

    In reference to Andy’s speculations about Ikioi and other former great ones below sekitori level: Terunofuji doesn’t seem to be anybody’s tsukebito. Given that there are only two sekitori, neither of which is even in san-yaku, it’s highly unlikely that this will be needed, and even if it was, I think his status at the heya is special. I have actually seen Terutsuyoshi handing Terunofuji towels at the keiko-ba, as if Terunofuji was still the sekitori and Terutsuyoshi his low-ranking assistant.

    Other sekitori who dropped to the low ranks do sometimes serve as other people’s tsukebito – like Yamaguchi (now back to the shikona Daikiho), who serves Hakuho, and Chiyootori, who serves his big brother, at least some of the time. It depends on the relationship between the sekitori to be served and the former sekitori who is considered for service.

    I am not sure what Ikioi’s kinboshi have to do with his decisions. Kinboshi are not a source of income if you are not a sekitori. See my mochi-kyukin post. I’m a bit puzzled at the fact that he didn’t get married already – but perhaps he actually has, and is just keeping it under wraps until he knows whether he can stabilize himself at Juryo, or whether he needs to make good of that kabu.

    It’s really hard to know what kind of considerations rikishi have before they retire. Shunba said he wanted to retire already last year, but Isegahama told him to “gambarize a bit more”, and then he wanted to retire in Hatsu but Isenohana was already scheduled for a retirement and they don’t want to retire more than one at a time. There are some strange customs, and sometimes the koen-kai is also involved, and sometimes there are families at the background. It’s hard to speculate, as we are not exposed to most of the data.

    • Thanks for picking up on that, re: Isegahama. The thing that made it so interesting is how it is such a hard thing to do, to be able to produce enough sekitori that you can effectively manipulate the torikumi and use that to your advantage. They almost got there on the last go around, but there are really few stables that can do it. For all of the people in Sadogatake, they’ve never really come close. Over the long term I would bet that Miyagino-Hakuho stable (whatever it ends up being called owing to whatever name he takes) will have a good shot at this.

      Takarafuji never really hung around the top of maegashira long enough, and he’s kind of on the down-slope now. But a lot of the upcoming Isegahama guys are pretty young, so if he’s able to bring through another wave (it doesn’t look like he has a ton beyond Nishikifuji and Midorifuji right now) and then all of the sudden plant 5 or 6 of these guys up there, it could get interesting. 1-2 have to be top prospects, though.

      One of the things that makes it so hard to see this phenomenon occurring in the near future is that there are really few blue chip prospects under the age of 22 right now where you can say “that guy will for sure challenge to become ozeki.” The best placed one in the near term is probably Chiganoura but I don’t know if they have anyone meaningful coming behind the twins, Takanosho isn’t going to reach that level. Chiganoura got a gift from Takanohana…. and a lot of headaches.

  2. I think Hokutofuji will get double-digit wins and be a sekiwake for Kyushu. Tamawashi and Ichinojo also seem to always do well when they’re in the M2-3-4 slot. I don’t see Endo getting kachi-koshi, much less winning the yusho. I also think the Bulgarian Boobster could be a sleeper as well. Kakuryu 14-2 (Y), Tamawashi 13-3 (loses to Kakuryu in playoff), Hakuho 12-3, Tamawashi 12-3, Ichinojo 11-4, Hokutofuji 11-4, Goeido 9-6, Aoiyama 9-6, Takakeisho 9-6, Takayasu 8-7 to name a few. I think Enho has hit his ceiling and will probably end up with make-koshi. Terutsuyoshi will get double-digit losses and fall back below M12 for Kyushu. As for poor Tochinoshin, I don’t think he’ll last the tournament before his knee craps out.

    And my other major prediction: Wakaichiro seems to have found his groove and will continue to climb his way out of sandanme. 5-2 at Aki, and in the sandanme 30s for Kyushu.

    • I think it’s pretty much mathematically impossible for all the upper-rankers listed to perform that well, given that they all must face each other. Hokutofuji has been ranked M3 or higher 10 times, and has managed double-digit wins exactly once.

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