Aki Day 6 Highlights

It was a tumultuous day on the clay at the Kokugikan, which left us with a sole undefeated leader – journeyman veteran Okinoumi. The favored rikishi in multiple matches went out, went down, and handed the white star to the other guy. How bad was it? You will know once you watch the video feed. It was the kind of day that makes sumo fans frustrated. There were multiple “non-kimarite” finishes, and the crowning achievement was Yokozuna Kakuryu’s second kinboshi in 2 days. I am going to say the lone surviving Yokozuna may be hurt now, and we may be headed to a “nokazuna” tournament shortly.

Highlight Matches

Takanosho defeats Yutakayama – Juryo visitor and Juryo yusho co-leader puts the doom on Yutakayama with an overwhelming thrusting attack. This is Yutakayama’s forte, but Takanosho just attacks with no quarter.

Ishiura defeats Tochiozan – Ishiura seems to have found a nice “groove”, which looks similar to Enho’s, but is more maneuver / evade based. It’s working well, and today it pushed grizzled veteran Tochiozan back down to 3-3.

Takagenji defeats Toyonoshima – I am happy to see Takagenji get it together enough to win another one. Folks love Toyonoshima, but I am starting to worry he may have reached the end of his run in the top division. Takagenji went left hand inside, and was able to resist Toyonoshima’s considerable forward pressure.

Nishikigi defeats Azumaryu – Nishikigi once again employs that double-arm bar hold that takes his opponents upper body out of the fight. Most rikishi (like Azumaryu) immediately shrug hard to try and break their arms free. It also raises their center of gravity and gives Nishikigi the win.

Tsurugisho defeats Shohozan – Tsurugisho kept trying to pull, but eventually decided to just face Shohozan, who looked uncharacteristically disrupted today.

Onosho defeats Daishoho – Onosho continues to look rough, but he is piecing together enough wins to keep true on a kachi-koshi trajectory. Hapless Daishoho has yet to win a single match.

Enho defeats Kagayaki – I give a lot of credit to Kagayaki, who seems to have tuned his attack to Enho. He shifts his thrusting about 12 cm lower, and manages to put a lot of pressure on the fire-pixie. But Enho calibrates and adjusts rapidly, breaking contact and coming back lower still. He repeats this 2 more times, each time grabbing for a leg, and Kagayaki stops trying to attack and starts trying to get away. Now off balance, Enho picks him off with no trouble. Wow.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Sadanoumi – Terutsuyoshi has had a rough start, but he was on his sumo today. He found Sadanoumi’s unprotected belly at the tachiai, and kept thrusting.

Meisei defeats Kotoyuki – After a strong start, Kotoyuki has gone back to being a bit silly. Granted he was against Meisei, who is fighting well, but any time I see a post-bout jogging tour of the zabuton section, I have to wonder.

Takarafuji defeats Kotoshogiku – Kotoshogiku sets up the hug-n-chug straight out of the tachiai, but Takarafuji know Kotoshogiku’s horizontal hold is poor, and twists at the tawara to send the Kyushu Bulldozer over the edge in a heap.

Okinoumi defeats Shimanoumi – Really straightforward match that gave Okinoumi his 6th consecutive win, and by the end of the day, sole position atop the leaderboard. Shimanoumi got a left hand inside position at the tachiai, but Okinoumi had control of this match from the start.

Myogiryu defeats Chiyotairyu – I have not seen the wall-buster, canon-ball tachiai from Chiyotairyu yet this basho, and as a result he is 1-5. His balance is always poor, and with a lack of forward energy, its easy for Myogiryu bring him down.

Kotoeko defeats Ryuden – It’s time for the first WTF match! We have Kotoeko fighting well, and a moment of Ryuden’s hand on Kotoeko’s mage, but hey, they keep fighting. Kotoeko gets morozashi, but Ryuden man-handles the smaller Kotoeko out. Everyone gathers to conclude with bow, but Kotoekgo gets the envelopes? Yeah, seems Ryuden put a toe out. Kimarite is listed as isamiashi, which is ancient Yayoi for “Stink Foot”.

Tomokaze defeats Shodai – By the end of this match, fans might conclude that the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan was really hitting the cat nip. Again we see Tomokaze bring the weak sumo with “all pulls all the time”, but he manages to get Shodai in flight before he can try any of his cartoon sumo. But you have Tomokaze taking a good solid wrench during the final pull on Shodai’s mage as well. So we get a monoii, but its gumbai-dori. I give up, these guys should have tried again as this bout was a slop fest.

Abi defeats Aoiyama – Big Dan Aoiyama continues to struggle, and today its against Abi. Aoiyama is soft at the tachiai, and Abi more or less toys with him for a second before stepping aside and letting the Aoiyama sail past. Excuse me, sir? A bit more sumo please.

Mitakeumi defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai once again fails to find its mark, and leaves his center-mass wide open for Mitakeumi to attack. Attack he does, and Hokutofuji finds his narrow window for any offense quickly taken away, and a heartbeat later he is over the tawara.

Endo defeats Takakeisho – Endo had the upper hand on this one, as he closed in on Takakeisho and went to work while Takakeisho seemed to try a desperate pull down. But the important element of this match is in fact the kimarite: tsukihiza. As Endo was working to set up a throw, Takakeisho’s knee (the bad one) collapsed out from under him. Maybe he stepped on the gyoji’s sandal? Any way you slice it, more slop.

Asanoyama defeats Goeido – But the Great Sumo Cat was not done, oh no indeed. Asanoyama shows us his Yusho performance was a prelude to the future of sumo, as he grapples Goeido, shuts down his offense and extends his career record over the Ozeki to 3-1. As the match raged, the Gyoji took a dive over the East side, with the Tate Gyoji desperately rising to take over the match but slipping and falling down himself. Goeido looks to have Asanoyama pinned to the edge but in fact Asanoyama has Goeido locked for a throw. Ignore the gyoji antics and watch some first class yotsu-zumo from these two today.

Tamawashi defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin’s hurt, and is getting no chance to set up his lift-and-shift sumo any more. With Tamawashi you are in for an oshi-battle, and at first it looks like Tochinoshin had secured his much needed 3rd win. But once again the Great Sumo Cat, now bombed out of his mind on sumo and cat nip, summons the monoii, who identify that Tochinoshin likewise has a case of “stink foot” and awards the match to Tamawashi. Dead body? Stink foot? Corn clog in port 7? This match has it all.

Daieisho defeats Kakuryu – Anyone who has cats knows, they can be jerks. When mine gets in a mood, he will start knocking things off of shelves just to watch them break. I am going to assume this was the general disposition of that mystical kami I call “The Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan” today. Kakuryu had control over this match, until a poorly considered attempt to pull left his chest open, and Daieisho attacked with precision and vigor. This is 2 kinboshi dropped by Kakuryu in 2 days. He has in the past gotten mentally off of his sumo when he starts to lose, so lets see if he can get it back under control.

28 thoughts on “Aki Day 6 Highlights

  1. At least Aoiyama looked better than the previous 5 days…

    Daieisho deserves that kinboshi more than anyone else. He always fights so hard, but just comes up short. He has that sumo spirit!

    The monoiis today… once again, poor, poor Tochinoshin.

    The Asanoyama vs Goeido bout was good, but was made excellent by the tripping gyoji. Truly an unforgettable day in sumo.

    Endo vs Takakeisho was another great match. Everything went according to Endo plan!

    • Aoiyama looked better? He walked out completely by him himself with Abi basically doing nothing. I’m not sure what is wrong with him atm, but Hattorizakura would be in danger of picking up a win against him in his current health/shape.
      That Asanoyama match was indeed great to watch. Not only looks Asanoyama back in his Yusho form, but the gyoji put up quite a performance ;)

  2. The only decision I didn’t agree with was Tohinoshin/Tamawashi. But, even with video replay involved, the judges are the ultimate arbiters when they are summoned to do their duty. Rikishi need to remember that and do their best to end a match without involving the judges just like fighters in other combat sports.

    I’m also suspicious of a Kakuryu injury, especially with his feet or ankles. He was turned by his opponent with ease for both kinboshi and those body parts are important when defending against that type of attack.

  3. Wild day of sumo indeed.

    It did look like Takakeisho stepped on the gyoji’s sandal and slipped as the gyoji pulled the foot away, which is better than Takakeisho’s knee buckling on its own. I hope he’s okay and will get the 10 wins.

    Asanoyama definitely looked like on ozeki today.
    Poor gyoji, he literally flew off the dohyo.

    Well deserved kinboshi for Daieisho. I too have the feeling that Kakuryu will go kyujo pretty soon.

    Is Tomokaze hurt? Why, why is he always going for the pull down??

    • Maybe Takakeisho laid a curse on Kimura Tamajiro, the gyoji, for that foot slip, as he left the dohyo… It is Friday the 13th, after all.

      I don’t think Tomokaze is injured, but he may be affected by Yoshikaze’s retirement.

  4. My thought on Kakuryu: I watched this back about six times and for the second straight day I didn’t understand his strategy. I didn’t understand it when I saw it live either. We all know what kind of sumo Daieisho brings to the table. Kakuryu had (at least) two chances, one with Daieisho turned and his mawashi available, to take a strong belt grip, control of the match, and with a style that his opponent is uncomfortable defending.

    WHY he persisted with a pushing-thrusting attack is what is incredible to me. And that decision is not an injury thing.

    I know there are those that would say “well he’s the Yokozuna he should be able to beat Daieisho with oshizumo” but you become the Yokozuna usually by having enough varied strengths to defeat any opponent. It is truly baffling that he would play to the strong suit of his opponent two days in a row.

  5. Really, the strange events this day. Wacky Aki? Friday the 13th? The Great Cat mourning for Mugi in its unique way?

    Ryuden’s Isamiashi – the gyoji saw it, the shimpan saw it, I saw it. But for some reason, the Abema broadcast team, which included none other than the former Takekaze today, didn’t note it. They kept going on about Ryuden’s tactics, and I was all “Wait, you didn’t see the gunbai went to the East?”. Apparently, they didn’t, and neither did Kotoyuki – though Ryuden most certainly did. The NHK (Japanese) caster made the same mistake.

    And then the Tamajiro show begins. His foot interferes with Takakeisho’s foot, he removes it hurriedly, causing the Ozekiwake’s foot to slip, and surprised Takakeisho gets the second “higi” (non-technique) loss of the day. Then it’s time for Tamajiro himself to do a head dive over the yobidashi. The yobidashi reacts by checking and protecting the bucket of water. Not the sanyaku gyoji. Shikimori Inosuke watches all this with fascination, when he realizes the reason he has a front-row seat is that he has to take over if something happens to the match gyoji. But standing up is a skill not easily maintained at his age. He rises, he falls, he rises again, but by then the bout is over and Tamajiro is back on his feet. I’m sure the Marx brothers could have made a whole movie from this scene.

    Next bout, the gyoji gets a sashi-chigae. And while we foreigners argue about whether Tochinoshin was robbed or not, some of us may not realize that for a tate-gyoji, a sashi-chigae is a very serious problem. At least theoretically, he is supposed to hand in his resignation (which the NSK usually rejects, but still, they pay attention, and the gyoji may get suspended if this happens too often).

    Then we have a Yokozuna who seems to have lost at least his self-confidence. Injured? Mmmm… when did he get injured? Before the basho he was talking about a zensho and he wouldn’t have done that if he knew he was injured. The way it looks to me, he was surprised by Asanoyama yesterday, and now has lost confidence in his own strength and stamina. But who knows.

    Oh, and then, at the end of the day, at the end of the winners’ interviews, Chichiwashi does this. Not in Jungyo. In honbasho. Live, on National TV.

  6. Odd coincidence: Earlier this week, Sumopedia broadcast their clip on self inflicted losses, and today we have a selection of unwinning kimarite. NHK world broadcasts a short program, Sumopedia, directly after Grand Sumo Highlights. The program is well worth checking out on the NHK web site if Sumo is a mystery to you.

    Today’s kensho injustice: Okinoumi, sole tournament leader, is awarded zero envelopes for his win today.

    Nice display of sportsmanship from Endo as Takakeisho collapses on his knee, supporting him until he can steady himself. Hopefully Taka is alright.

    Asanoyama vs Goeido: we scarcely know where to look: at the combatants or the gyoji! The thud when he hit the ground was horrible to hear. That gyoji seemed to obstruct earlier today. I suspect his problems began before that tumble. Let’s hope he is OK. Not that anyone noticed, but good move from Asanoyama.

    Tochi clearly stepped out first, but Tam was airborne by then. They could have redone, but I’m OK with the call they made. I guess! Jason’s channel (last bout of the day video) has an interview with Tamawashi as he now holds #10 place for consecutive bouts.

    Kakuryu, karma’s slapping you around for hurting my boy, Ichinojo. (Nah, just kidding … or am I?) I’m happy for Daiesho, but let’s hope the yokozuna can get his head back in the game for tomorrow.

    • Yeah, that Tochinoshin thing is like the poison in the Princess Bride. He stepped out first! But no, surely Tamawashi was flying by then. So Tochinoshin wins. Aha! His other foot was not firmly inside the dohyo, so he was flying himself and therefore it matters who touched down first which he clearly did. Ah, but he wasn’t exactly flying, his other foot was on the tawara!

      In short, like the proverbial basketball teams losing by 1 after a referee calls charge instead of block: If you don’t want that to happen, make sure you lead by 20.

      • Well, it’s bouts like these which make me wish they both could lose :) Kuroboshi for everyone! :) I mean, one can make an argument for Tamawashi or Tochinoshin losing but it’s pretty hard – at least for me – to make an argument for either to win. Yet the judges found a way, that’s what they are there for anyway. I only wonder whether a rematch would have been a better solution.

        • You can’t have a rematch unless there is a dotai (both rikishi touch down at the same discernible time). Clearly there wasn’t one here.

  7. Based upon what I’m seeing this basho, I’m beginning to believe that Asanoyama is pretty darn close to having the strength of a bear which has the strength of two bears. Asanoyama is one very strong dude! Keep it up, big guy!

    Could we possibly see a second 34 year old first-time Makuuchi champion in the same calendar year?
    Answer: Yes, but let’s not bet the farm on Okinoumi just yet…

    I don’t understand why there is controversy concerning Tochinoshin’s loss. Yes, Tamawashi was airborne, but he basically jumped into Tochi’s chest and was actively shoving Tochi out while he was in the air.

    • First, you have to determine whether both are flying, and only then does it matter which one attacked, which one touched, etc. – IMO, it wasn’t that clear-cut whether he was flying at all, but of course, the gyoji and shimpan know better.

      And then, Inosuke thought Tochinoshin’s pull down was the winning move, whereas the shimpan thought that Tamawashi’s attack was the winning move.

  8. I find it interesting that, through three replays, the NHK World highlights show made no mention of Takakeisho’s loss coming directly from his stepping on the gyoji’s foot and losing his balance when said foot was removed from underneath his own. Also, Tochinoshin was surely having Friday the 13th luck – not only today, but the whole basho! I wanna root for him, but the inconsistency makes me unsure of his future. And Tomokaze, who I really liked coming into this tournament, seems to be trying to fight lazy man’s sumo every day. I wonder if he’s protecting an injury we don’t know about.

  9. I felt for Kagayaki today. As he walked backwards over the tawara having been confounded by the incorrigible pixie, the look on his face just said: “WTF is that even supposed to be?”
    Bruce – you jinxed Kagayaki when you named him ‘Mr. Fundamentals.’ He’s been in a long downward spiral since that day!

  10. Nothing controversial about the Tochinoshin bout. We’ve seen that happen ten thousand times in sumo in the past. Tochinoshin stepped out long before Tamawashi was down and under influence from Tamawashi’s oshi attack. That’s the key thing behind whether shinitai applies. If the airborne rikishi is still influencing the outcome, he’s not ‘dead’. Tamawashi was also airborne not because of any particular technique executed by Tochinoshin but because he himself thrust forward. Straightforward decision.


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