Aki Day 5 – Bouts from the lower divisions

It’s another hot day in the lower divisions, with many of the rikishi who competed yesterday competing again today. Let’s take a look.


We start with the two sumo disasters that yesterday combined into one. The first match of the day is Urutora vs. Baraki. Urutora (right) is one of the slightly better-achieving permanent Jonokuchi residents from Shikihide beya. And Bariki (left) is, well…

I’m lost for words.

Our next train wreck is, of course, Hattorizakura. And he meets our green friend, Senho, who – like Hattorizakura – is 0-2. Hattorizakura is on the left, Senho on the right.

Not exactly a brilliant Tachiai. And either somebody tipped him about Hattorizakura and he decided to be gentle with the poor famous loser, or Miyagino oyakata has a lot of remedial lessons to give.


Stepping out of the twilight zone , We start with Kitanowaka, the Hakkaku beya guy, who suffered a boo-boo yesterday. Here he is on the left, facing Oba from Otake beya on the right.

What was that tachiai, I ask you? I think Shodai’s grandmother Masayo has a better one. I guess for Jonidan this will do, but Kitanowaka should pull himself together.

Next we have Marusho and Motobayashi from Naruto beya. First, Motobayashi, the Jonokuchi yusho winner (left), engages Miyakogawa, one of the flock of Kyoto men from Isenoumi. Both are 2-0 coming into this day.

Packaged, addressed, and shipped. Next up, Marusho, on the left, taking Chiyooga from Kokonoe beya:

You can see the difference in quality from the stance at the tachiai. These two, with heya mate Sakurai, are going to give the torikumi guys the same kind of headache this basho as they did in the last, I reckon.


In Sandanme, we have Wakaichiro in his third match. 125kg Wakaichiro on the left faces Komanokuni, weighing 222kg, from Shibatayama beya. This develops as follows:

Wakaichiro’s expressions are golden. This is such a frustrating bout for him, as Komanokuni is not putting out any attack, and just waits for him to burn out. He tries slamming into him. He tries pushing. He tries the mawashi. Eventually he finds the right angle for that yori-kiri. This is popcorn-worthy, but the youngster from Texas is 3-0 and looks good for a kachi-koshi and yet another rise up the banzuke.


We start with our grumpy badger, Chiyonokuni, on the right. His opponent is Yamatoarashi from Shikoroyama beya.

Whew! That was an emergency brake at the tawara, almost Hakuho-level. Chiyonokuni improves to 3-0, will he get the yusho?

Slightly further up the Makushita chart, we have Shiraishi, on the left, opposite Keitenkai, aka “Roga’s bane”. But is he Shiraishi’s bane too? Let’s see:

I guess this is the day for braking at the edge. He stops, verifies that the other guy is already out, then relaxes. Now 3-0, he is also part of the Makushita yusho arasoi.

Of the three Onami brothers, Wakatakamoto has the lowest exposure – probably because he lags behind his little brothers a bit. But this basho he is doing very well. He starts today with 2-0, on the left, facing Chiyosakae:

If he keeps this up, he, too, will be in the yusho pool.

Now, it’s time for the former Ozeki and former Kaiju, Terunofuji, on the right. His opposite number is Genki, from Onomatsu beya. And I have already used up the “Genki” joke so I won’t try that again (it’s not spelled the same, anyway). But he is very feisty today, and attacks Terunofuji like a hungry mosquito:

Whoa, did you see that swat? Genki figured out a good tactic – testing the limits of the kneeless kaiju’s mobility. What he didn’t reckon was the fact that Terunofuji practiced before the basho with the master mosquito himself:

Terunofuji is, of course, also a candidate for the yusho at the moment.

Our next bout features Sakigake (one of the single-kanji rikishi) on the left, and good ole Kizenryu on the right.

Kizenryu hits Tagonoura oyakata as he hurtles down into the front row. Tagonoura oyakata gambarizes, but when the shimpan change shifts, he is still sore:

Next up, we have Nishikifuji from Isegahama beya, on the left, with 0-2. And as it turns out, he is fighting with a torn ligament in his left elbow. WTF, Isegahama oyakata? Why do you leave this stuff to the discretion of the wrestler? Did Terunofuji teach you nothing? This is one of your potential future sekitori, and you are just letting him self-destruct? I can’t WTF this enough.

The opponent is Nogami, who is similarly 0-2.

So Nishikifuji manages to get his first win. But still, what is he doing on the dohyo?

Moving on, Tatsunami’s fun guy, Akua, on the left, with 1-1 so far, meets Akiseyama, with a similar scoreline.

Akua rebounds from his loss to Wakamotoharu on day 3, and improves to 2-1.

Kototebakari (left), whose yusho hopes were dashed by Chiyonoo on day 3, meets Arawashi (right). Both are 1-1 at this point:

I’m not sure what Arawashi was looking for, but Kototebakari didn’t leave him enough time to find it. He improves to 2-1.

The final Makushita bout of the day features Wakamotoharu, second Onami, on the left, and like his big brother, he faces a Kokonoe man, Chiyonoo in this case. Both are 2-0.

At this rate, the two Onamis may find themselves in a yusho playoff. But even without yusho, Wakamotoharu needs just one more win to virtually ensure himself a return to Juryo in Kyushu.


We keep following the singing man from Isenoumi, Ikioi, who today meets Asagyokusei (left), the newbie from Takasago beya. Both 2-2.

Yay! An Ikioi bout that doesn’t end with him looking like he needs that wheelchair! Maybe he is on the mend after all!

Our final bout is Hidenoumi vs. Kiribayama. Hidenoumi is on the left, Kiribayama on the right:

You see, never get involved in a land war in Asia, or in a belt battle with Kiribayama. Kiribayama keeps pressing his head against Hidenoumi’s chin, keeping it up and limiting both his field of view and his range of motion. Then Hidenoumi makes a mistake – he goes for a makikae. As Wakanohana taught us on Abema TV in the previous basho, when you want to change your grip from outside to inside (makikae), you have to lean in with the other side of your body to keep your opponent from advancing. Instead, he moves his torso back to create the space for the makikae. Kiribayama reads this like an open book and moves in for the kill.

18 thoughts on “Aki Day 5 – Bouts from the lower divisions

  1. I am a little concerned about Juryo. Right now, it’s a sad mix of broken veterans and unexciting rikishi overall. Can’t wait for the young talent to finally rise through Makushita.

  2. Someone help me. I get that sumo is not a sport by American terms. I really do get that. But there does seem to be a substantial number of the lower rankers that seem “helpless”. By which I mean it seems they have little to no chance of being sekitori (or even close). If I am wrong please tell me. Are these rikishi exploited for low wage labor by the Heya? What is their place in sumo or Japanese society? Have hatorizakura’s risen up in the past? In the USA (not that it matters) the hopelessly non athletic are usually drummed out by high school (this may not be good either) but American athletes aren’t used for labor either.

    • Historically, working for food and lodging has been an OK deal, so perhaps it is a sign that sumo world does not evolve the same way the rest of society does. Though even by modern standard, you could do worse: think alcoholism, drug addiction, going in and out of prison, or even things like gaming full time every day while living with your parents until age of 40

      • I think that is a good way of looking at it. But, is not the horrible performance of some of these lower rikishi not considered a bad reflection on their oyakata?

    • why be “drummed out”? there are rec leagues everywhere. who cares if you’re not Michael Jordan, you can still like and play basketball.

  3. Thanks Herouth, good stuff, Wakaichiro was gambarizing if ever I saw it, and it was fun to watch Nice to see that massive blubber not always the way to go- his opponent looked somewhat excessive to me. And what a ballet in Makushita! I appreciate being able to see our demoted friends, too..

  4. Between Wakaichiro’s reactions and the multiple screeching halts at the edge of the dohyo I feel like I’m watching Looney Toons cartoons instead of sumo! Good grief!

  5. Poor Bariki: three years out of the ring and he comes back like this? Judging from his movements he’s either in agony or up to his eyeballs on painkillers. He’s too brave for his own good and someone needs to intervene.

    • Well, he is still kyujo. Before Aki, his stablemaster said he will not be back before Kyushu. It may turn out that he will still be kyujo and only show up for the last match, as he will probably be in Jonokuchi by then, and he will want to avoid going banzuke-gai. In any case, don’t expect the exciting, mobile Ura you know from the past. He will need to wear a brace on that knee. There will be no acrobatics.

  6. Excuse me, it seems to me that you got the wrong yusho winner between Marusho and Motobayashi, or I misunderstood the meaning of your sentence (I do not speak English and understand it very poorly)

  7. The practice bout between Terunofuji and Enho was epic — and showed surprising mobility by the big Mongolian. Thanks, Herouth, for that one and the rest. Always a treat!


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