Here we are again, nearing the half-way line, many rikishi have completed their fourth match in the lower divisions, and some of them even collected their kachi-koshi or make-koshi already.
I have four Jonokuchi bouts for you, none of which includes Hattorizakura or Bariki. Let’s start at the bottom, where our friend Senho is eager to prove that he can beat someone whose name does not begin in “Hattori”. He is on the left, with Kotoomura from Sadogatake on the right.
Um, what is this word “tachiai” that you keep using? Neither rikishi seems to be familiar with it. This is very much Jonokuchi sumo, though I would have expected better from a more seasoned rikishi like Kotoomura, who made it as far as Sandanme in the past.
The torikumi committee members must have thought it would be a great joke to match tiny Urutora from Shikihide beya against a definite one-to-watch like Hokutenkai. And it turned out to be the exact slapstick show that they were hoping for. Urutora on the left, an annoyed Hokutenkai is on the right:
“Yuck, something stuck to my leg. Get it off! Get it off!”. The attempt at an ashitori doesn’t really work out, and Hokutenkai improves to 3-1.
We’re not done with the slapstick, dear readers. We now have Kochikara from Tagonoura beya. That shikona means “small power”. He faces Yamamoto, from Asahiyama beya. Yamamoto seems to be three times the size of Kochikara, so I won’t even bother to point which sides they are on.
Yamamoto must be very averse to touch. As soon as little Kochikara touches him, he flies away as if he was touched by a ghost.
Next we have Murata, on the right, facing Chiyokozan, from Kokonoe beya, on the left.
Murata doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, it seems. No slapstick. Just a straight densha-michi, straight kachi-koshi and an intent to win the Jonokuchi yusho if at all possible.
Yesterday we had Marusho and Motobyashi secure their 3-0. Today their heya-mate, Sakurai, ups the ante and goes for his fourth vs. Kotonoumi from Sadogatake. This video starts in mid-bout, Sakurai is the guy standing upright.
And he keeps his upright position while Kotonoumi keeps going all the way down. Sakurai is kachi-koshi, and in the yusho race.
Ooh. Lots of Sandanme action today. And lots of Musashigawa guys. We start with tiny little Kaishu, on the right, who for some reason has a match with a Jonidan man, Hokutoiwami, Jd2e, from Hakkaku beya. The first two matches in Sandanme were actually mixed, with one wrestler from high Jonidan, and one from low Sandanme.
Kaishu does a hasso-tobi, turns around, and pushes the annoyed Hokuiwami outside with an oshi-dashi. He is now level at 2-2.
Now it’s Wakaichiro time – the man from Texas – facing Baraki, the homunculus from Shikihide beya. Wakaichiro is on the left:
Whoa. Nodowa, side step, tsukiotoshi. Wakaichiro is starting to scare me. 4 straight wins and a kachi-koshi!
Moving from Musashigawa to Isegahama, Homarefuji suffered a setback in his previous match. Here he is on the left, facing Rendaiyama from Kise beya. Both are 2-1.
Densha-michi (railroad). Homarefuji re-balances his scoreline.
Now we have interesting chaps on both sides the shikiri-sen. On the left, Amakaze, hoping to return to sekitori status. On the right, Shoji, the one-to-watch from Musashigawa beya. Both are 2-1 as they crouch for their tachiai.
I guess Shoji is now the one to watch later. Amakaze, like Homarefuji before him, doesn’t waste much time.
Let’s take a glimpse at Yoshoyama, the Tokitsukaze foreigner. His first two matches went awry, and he managed to rally a bit in the third. Today he stands on the left, opposite Kiyonoumi, from Tamanoi beya, on the right.
Yoshoyama is a decent wrestler for Sandanme, but he was never meant to be a Sandanme staple. He is supposed to be filling Takitenku’s shoes, er, sandals.
Moving to our next Mongolian, we have Daitenma from Azumazeki on the left. Daitenma is slightly younger than Yoshoyama. While the latter did his maezumo in Kyushu 2017, Daitenma did in Kyusho 2018. He is wrestling Aratora from Isenoumi beya. They are both 2-1. The video starts mid-bout, so daitenma is the guy in the zanbara on the right.
He uses the usual thin-man tactic of wriggling right and left, twisting his opponent around, to push him forward. I noted already that he seems to have grown upwards instead of laterally. I expect him in Makushita sooner rather than later.
Lots of Makushita action, too! We start with Narutaki, the younger Hanai brother (his brother, Kyonosato, is down in Jonokuchi, and I don’t want to show you his bouts because they are sad affairs, even when he wins). The brothers belong to Isenoumi beya. Both Narutaki, on the right, and his opponent, Kainishiki from Tomozuna beya, are merely 1-2 as they start their match.
Hit, shift, and Narutaki breaks even.
Our first celebrity of the Makushita day is Roga, and his opponent of the day is Kamito from Tatsunami beya. Both are 2-1 at this point:
The kimarite is hatakikomi, though it’s a rather aggressive one. Roga joins the 2-2 club for Nakabi.
Terao (not the original tsuppari machine, but his deshi) goes against Keitenkai (“Roga’s bane”). They are 2-1. The video starts in mid-bout, and Keitenkai is in a pinch, with his butt to us.
Terao literally seems to have the upper hand, when it turns out that Keitenkai has his mawashi knot and performs a shitatenage. He, too, is now 2-2.
The guy Terunofuji flicked off the dohyo like a fly from one’s cake, now faces Kitaharima. Both are 2-1. Genki is on the left.
Genki’s style is somewhat similar to Energizer-bunny Tomisakae.
Kyokusoten, who was all in disarray yesterday, now has to contend with Kizenryu, the former sekitori. At 2-1, neither wants to make a mistake that will keep him away from the stairway to heaven. Kyokusoten attacks from the left in this match.
Kizenryu is finding it hard to find his way back to his kesho-mawashi. Kyokusoten is at his highest rank ever and at this rate, will be in the very purgatory next basho.
And now we have our princes and dukes. Naya on the left, with 1-2, faces Masutoo, the Hungarian, who is similarly scored.
I really don’t know what Masutoo wanted to do at the tachiai. The annonucer called it a kachiage, but I just so a flap of the arm which he soon stopped and tried something else. Which was still not clear. Looks like the only functional rikishi at Chiganoura at the moment is Takanosho. Naya looks much better in this bout than he looked previously in this tournament – I guess he gained some confidence by yesterday’s win.
Next, we have Hoshoryu. He had a setback in his third bout, and wants to block the breach before it floods. But Kototebakari is not exactly the man to help you stop your breaches. Hoshoryu on the left, Kototebakari on the right.
Though he manages two miracle escapes at the edge, Hoshoryu is all over the place, and Kototebakari gets a relatively easy win here. Hoshoryu now 2 down.
Soon after this bout is over, I see the following remark on Asashoryu’s Twitter account:
Whoops. Uncle has been watching this bout live. I assumed this means that he will soon pick up the phone and give his nephew a long lecture about the honor of the family. But no, this is Asashoryu we are talking about. He prefers to start a Twitter storm about it. In Japanese, because why only have a few million people who can read you grilling your nephew, when you can have a potential audience of 120 millions, eh?
You think too much!! Hoshoryu!! Do sumo with self confidence!! If your tachiai is weak, getting a quick grip is important!
Asashoryu’s sumo was good whether wrestling at an arm’s length or grappling!! You’d do well to watch your uncle’s sumo on YouTube!!
I wonder if that moron is seeing this. 👀
(No he isn’t, because he is taking a shower at this point and phones are not allowed in the shitaku-beya anyway)
If your are going to fight, do it with an intent to kill!! If you can’t, you may as well do chankoban!!
(Chankoban = cooking chores. It’s one of the chores a sekitori does not have to do).
You were frustrated once, don’t frustrate yourself a second time!! If you want to make it, now is the time!!
Enjoy your sumo while you do it!! Win!! Laugh while crushing your opponent!! LOLOL
You have no power in your toes!! Put a newspaper in front of your feet and practice grabbing it with your toe tips!! Toes are important!
Apparently, Asashoryu subscribes to the Miyabiyama school of tough love. 🥶 Also, he is really into double exclamation points.
OK, let’s throw a bit of salt around, and move on. In our next bout, we have Nishikifuji, who shouldn’t be doing sumo, on the left, vs. Arawashi, who is also not the incarnation of health.
What Nishikifuji absolutely doesn’t need is a kotenage on the arm in which he already has a torn ligament. Can’t expect Arawashi to be altruistic, though. It’s a zero-sum game. Isegahama oyakata should take that boy off the dohyo.
Finally, Wakamotoharu, on the left, faces Chiyootori. Both are 3-0. Wakamotoharu needs one more win to virtually ensure his sekitori status for Kyushu. Chiyootori needs a bit more than 4-3.
So perhaps Chiyootori is slightly more desparate here. He is 4-0, kachi koshi. Wakamotoharu will need to win one of the next three bouts.
In the mixed match of the day, we have Chiyonoo (right, 2-1) going against Irodori (left, 2-4).
Chiyonoo fails the test. At Ms2e, a simple kachi-koshi may still suffice, especially as there is a potential for lots of promotions. But still, this was an important bout.
Moving on to the regular Juryo participants, we have Mitoryu facing Ichiyamamoto. Mitoryu is 3-3, Ichiyamamoto, the Abi clone, is 1-5, on the right.
I’m a bit surprised to see Mitoryu give in to this style of sumo so easily.
Our next match is good for assessing the state of health of our two former favorites. On the left you have Kaisei, on the right, Ikioi. Both 4-2.
Looks like Ikioi has shaken off the rust of the first couple of days, and he is now looking like the Ikioi we’d expect him to be at his age. Maybe his kabu will stay unoccupied this time around.
Finally, at the very top of Juryo, we have a bout between Mr. Belly, Chiyomaru, and Mr. Lack-of-belly, Kiribayama. I don’t think I need to tell you which is which:
Chiyomaru starts with a morotezuki (double arm thrust), and Kiribayama, as usual, is going for the belt. He manages to get a bit of belt, turns the big spinning top around, and shows him the way to the door. Chiyomaru now 4-3, Kiribayama 3-4.