Once again, here is a double header – days 11 and 12 in the lower divisions. We have some terrific bouts, and some familiar faces. Let’s go!
Day 11 in particular was a day of decisions. Rikishi with 5-0 were pitted against each other or against the closest possible candidates to bring the yusho races to the final 2 or 3. However, there were also other competitions – for kachi koshi, or for make-koshi, or just for improved marks.
We have two elimination bouts in this division today. One is Omura, from Michinoku beya, on the left, with 5-0, against the best they could come up with at this stage, Itakozakura from Shikihide beya, with 4-1.
Ow. Omura bowls Itakozakura into the stand-by gyoji. He is 6-0 and a yusho finalist.
The next pair are both 5-0 – Mimori (Irumagawa beya) and Murata (Takasago beya). If you have followed the posts through the basho you’ll know that Murata is a big, fully-developed wrestler coming back from injury. He is on the right.
Ah, yes. It seems Murata is in good battle form. He is also 6-0, and will meet Omura in the first bout of day 13, just a few hours from now, for the yusho decider.
Kitanowaka, from Hakkaku beya, has made his kachi-koshi already, but wants to advance further. On the right, he faces Kotosusumu, from Sadogatake beya. Both are 4-1.
An appraising look, tachiai, and a few shoves is all it takes.
We next take a look at our trio Naruto beya men, Motobayashi, Sakurai and Marusho. How was their day? Let’s start with Motobayashi, on the left, who faces Tomiyutaka, from Tokitsukaze beya. Both are 5-0 and want the yusho.
Motobayashi gets Tomiyutaka into a secure morozashi and forces him out. Yorikiri, 6-0, and the prospect of a second yusho in a row.
Sakurai, on the right, faces Sadanohana from Sakaigawa beya. Again, both are 5-0.
Sadanohana deploys some tsuppari and a good stance, and Sakurai is eliminated from the yusho race. In addition to Motobayashi and Sadanohana, Aomihama is also 6-0.
For Sandanme, I’ll go from lowest to highest scoreline. Start with Yoshoyama, the Mongolian from Tokitsukaze beya, left side, opposite Okinohama from Hakkaku beya (yes, he comes from the Oki islands, like Okinoumi). Both are 2-3, which is “ato ga nai”, so the loser is make-koshi.
“Anha”, as he is called (his real name is Anhabayar) avoids the make-koshi and will hope to avoid it in his last match as well. Okinohama is make-koshi.
In the same situation, we have Sadanokuni (Sakigawa beya), and Shoji, from Musashigawa beya. Both are 2-3, the loser is make-koshi. The video starts in mid-match – Shoji is the taller guy.
Sadanokuni is make-koshi, Shoji avoids it for the time being.
We move up, to a pair with a scoreline of 3-2 on both sides. Azumasho from Tamanoi beya is matched with Daitenma, the gangly Mongolian from Azumazeki beya. Winner is kachi-koshi. Daitenma is on the right.
Daitenma has sumo, but he still needs to grow some muscle. The kimarite is kimedashi. “Kime” means Daitenma got trapped in Azumasho’s armpit of doom. Azumasho is kachi-koshi, and Daitenma will hope to achieve that in his last match.
In the same score bracket we have a familiar face – Homarefuji from Isegahama, facing Teraoumi from Shikoroyama beya. Again, winner is kachi-koshi. Homarefuji is on the left.
Homarefuji started the basho well, but he is looking a bit weakened now. He is 3-3 and will need to win his last one – and he will need to improve his game to do so. Teraoumi is kachi-koshi.
Finally, our highest-achieving pair in Sandanme, both 4-1, hoping to extend their kachi-koshi, are Ako from Onomatsu beya and none other than Wakaichiro, the man from Texas, who stands on the right.
Wakaichiro starts with a kachiage, but following the Tachiai Ako starts with a stronger tsuppari which gets Wakaichiro to the edge. He circles quickly and starts his own thrusting attack. Wakaichiro is 5-1. Can he make the 6th?
Hey, I like this idea of going by ascending scoreline. Let’s keep it up. This way we won’t need to finish with a sad little match like the one we actually had at the end – this Midorifuji vs. Kaito match. Both from Isegahama ichimon, Midorifuji is from the actual Isegahama, Kaito is from Asakayama. Both are 1-4, already make-koshi, and wanting to minimize their banzuke drop. The video starts in mid-bout, Midorifuji is, of course, the smaller rikishi.
Midorifuji and Nishikifuji were the great hopes of Isegahama at the very top of the Makushita banzuke, but are now going to drop quite a bit further. Nishikifuji has actually gone kyujo (finally!) and I fear for his long-term prospects for having done this basho with a torn ligament in the first place.
Up in the score scale, we have two pairs with 2-3 – loser is make-koshi. On the left, Masutoo, from Chiganoura beya. On the right, Akiseyama, the bread man.
Masutoo managed to evade make-koshi in his previous match, but he doesn’t look anywhere near the form he had in the two previous basho, and he is now make-koshi and once again, away from the silk mawashi line.
In the same situation, we have Hoshoryu, the man with the Uncle, against Arawashi. Arawashi is on the right (he’s hard to recognize in a chon-mage). This is an all-Mongolian bout, which should have meant it would be awesome, but in fact, Arawashi has his knee issues, and Hoshoryu injured his big toe. So in fact, it’s less than awesome. Loser is make-koshi, so it’s a nervous affair, and in fact started with a big fat matta the gyoji had to actively interrupt. The video starts with the proper tachiai, though.
Two tripping attempts, and eventually a head-on shove. Yoritaoshi. Hoshoryu is 3-3. Arawashi is not going back to Juryo this time around, and may have to consider his future, given his current capabilities and his family obligations.
Moving to the slightly happier 3-2 zone, where the winner is kachi-koshi. Narutaki, the younger Hanai brother (his brother is Kyonosato), engages with Kotoozutsu. Those of you with a good memory will remember Kotoozutsu from my Jungyo reports. His nickname is Koto-Cannon (because the “Ozutsu” part of his name actually means “cannon”). Narutaki is on the left.
The cannon blasts the ringing waterfall (that’s what “Narutaki” means). The Isenoumi man will have to win his next bout. Kotoozutsu is kachi-koshi.
In the same situation are Tsurubayashi (Kise, left) and Kototebakari (Sadogatake, right). We would have expected better from Kototebakari, but it is what it is.
Yeah. This is the real Kototebakari. He is kachi-koshi, and will want to extend that in his next bout, to secure his promotion to Juryo. This is a plausible situation with Nishikifuji and Ryuko kyujo and make-koshi, Midorifuji deeply make-koshi, and Arawashi make-koshi.
Moving on to 4-1 territory. We have Shohoryu (Tokitsukaze, left) vs. Nakazono (Nishonoseki, right).
I keep saying that Shohoryu is not Hoshoryu, but this basho the off-brand seems to do better than the on-brand Hoshoryu. Influence of Kakury? He keeps good control of his center of gravity and evades several attempts Nakazono makes to unbalance him. Shohoryu is 5-1.
Akua, the nice guy from Tatsunami beya, faces Oki from Shikoroyama beya (I have no idea if he’s nice or not). Akua attacks from the left.
Whoa, that was a dangerous one. And also, it’s a gunbai sashichigae. I couldn’t find a recording of the actual kyogi explanation, though. Akua wins and extends his score to 5-1.
Kyokusoten, yet another nice guy, but this time from Nakagawa beya, meets Wakatakamoto, the eldest Onami from Arashio beya. Kyokusoten on the left.
Kyokusoten pulls. This proves to be a mistake. There is good reason why Terunofuji took Wakatakamoto seriously. He is really good this basho, and his only loss is to the former Ozeki.
OK, now we have are up to the 5-0 line. This means the yusho contenders. First, we have Chiyonokuni. For him, they brought the top 5-0 guy from Sandanme, Oazuma, who is Sd1w. Chiyonokuni is on the right. Can he stay in the yusho race?
Well, duh. Of course he can. The Sandanme man is sent back into his proper place with a 5-1, while Chiyonokuni is 6-0 and will be in the Yusho decider.
And whom will he face there?
Our next bout is between the aforementioned former Ozeki Terunofuji, on the left, and Chiyonokuni’s heya mate, little Kinoshita brother Chiyootori (the older Kinoshita is Chiyomaru). Reach for your tub of popcorn.
It starts with a sashi-arasoi – a dash for the slash, if you will – which is trying to get your hands inside and preventing your opponent from doing the same. Chiyootori succeeds in achieving a morozashi, and Terunofuji quickly does a makikae with his left hand. This still gets him all the way to the bales, which is very worrying, but fortunately, his knees have improved to the point that he is able to survive at the tawara. The commentator notes with appreciation that he has a “heavy backside”, which means he can keep a low balanced stance. He manages to get the fight back to the middle of the dohyo. Chiyootori only has an ichimai hold (grip on the outer layer of the mawashi), but Terunofuji has nothing at all, which is the reason he eventually goes with the “kime”. Remember – if it’s a “kime”, somebody got trapped in someone’s armpit.
Though it was an impressive bout, it shows several weaknesses in Terunofuji’s sumo, which don’t necessarily have to do with his knees. That initial morozashi means Chiyootori won the dash-for-the-slash – on both sides. That’s arm strength, less leg strength. Also, the former Ozeki’s inability to achieve any hold on the mawashi is also worrying. Yes, armpits are a nice thing, but then you have to rely on your knees for the lift-and-shift.
So it’s Terunofuji vs. Chiyonokuni for the yusho day 13, that is, a few hours from now. Their bout is about mid-way through the Makushita matches.
On the left, Ikioi, already kachi-koshi, with 8-2. On the right, Tobizaru, the flying monkey in the banana mawashi. He is 5-5.
The match is pretty relaxed until the spunky monkey decides to kick Ikioi in his bad ankle. After that, Ikioi has monkey meat for lunch. See his expression as he comes back inside. Ikioi is going for the Juryo yusho, and is tied for the moment with Kotonowaka.
For our final bout, we have Tokushoryu on the left, with 6-4, and Kiribayama on the right, with 4-6.
Kiribayama gets into a yotsu battle. Neither he nor Tokushoryu get the outer grip. Eventually he does a makikae, and drops Tokushoryu with a kiri-kaeshi.
Day 12 does not feature any more yusho eliminations, but we do have some interesting matches nonetheless.
First, I admit that Senho from Isegahama does not look like, say, Enho when he started. So you may be asking yourself why I keep following him through my reports. The reason is that I have full faith in Hakuho’s eye as a recruiter. If he thinks this guy can be made into a sumo wrestler, he will become a sumo wrestler. So it’s interesting to follow him through his first faltering steps to have a ground for comparison later on.
So Ayaminato from Minato beya, on the left, and Senho on the right, both have 3-2 scores. The winner of this bout is therefore kachi-koshi.
Senho actually manages to dodge some of Ayaminato’s attempts through this bout. But he has no dohyo sense, and steps out while trying to execute a throw. The kimarite is set as yorikiri, though. Ayaminato is kachi-koshi. Senho has one bout left to try and get his.
Next, I have avoided Kyonosato’s bouts so far, because I looked at some of the early ones and it looked as sad as a Bariki match. But he came as far as getting 3-2, and he is such a nice, patient guy. He is the elder Hanai, brother to Narutaki from Day 12 above. But like many sumo brothers, the younger one is the stronger. His opponent of the day is Chiyokozan from Kokonoe beya. Winner is kachi-koshi.
And that kachi-koshi goes to Kyonosato The Legless. I guess, in Japan, odder things have happened.
Leveling up, We have to men who are already kachi-koshi, trying to improve on that. Kotoyamato on the left, Hokutenkai on the right.
Hokutenkai, Takanoiwa’s nephew, improves to 5-1, in one of the shortest bouts ever.
Following Izutsu oyakata’s death, the lower division fans started paying more attention to his two “other” deshi. Here we have Tochihayate from Kasugano beya vs. Kakutaiki. Both with 2-3, loser is make-koshi.
Kakutaiki nearly forgets to finish his bout there, but eventually reconsiders. He evades the make-koshi, and has a chance for a kachi-koshi in his next bout.
On the 3-2 level, we have another one of the flock of Narutos that were recruited two basho ago. This one is not up to the Motobayaishi-Marusho-Sakurai level, but his is not entirely clueless, either: Mishima from Naruto beya. He is on the right, and Azumaiwa from Tamanoi beya is on the left. Winner is kachi-koshi.
Steady pressure, and Mishima is kachi-koshi.
With the same scoreline, we have Hamanoumi from Tokitsukaze beya, against a very familiar face, the 40 years old Satonofuji, on the right. He is a lot weaker than he used to be, but he still has a few embers of sumo left glowing.
Sticking his head under Hamanoumi’s chin, he patiently circles, until he can win by yori-kiri. Satonofuji is kachi-koshi.
In the 4-1 margin, we have yet another Naruto, Anzai, on the left, vs. Toma the not-so-small on the right.
Anzai tries to get a running start on Toma from the edge of the dohyo. Doesn’t work. He tries a flying sidestep. Toma is all like “yeah, sure”, and just pats him on the chest for the oshitaoshi.
What entertained me the most, though, was the tiny gyoji Narimasa officiating this bout. Toma is about level with this baby doll when he crouches.
In the “ato-ga-nai” 2-3 region, we have Daikiho from Miyagino beya. Who is that? Well, we knew him not long ago as Yamaguchi, the former sekitori. Heck, I still remember him in Juryo. That was him coming back after a long battle with illness. He is on the left, Tochikasuga from Kasugano beya is on the right.
This is very sad to behold. Tochikasuga dispatches of the former sekitori without much of an effort. Daikiho is at his lowest rank ever, and now he is make-koshi and will keep dropping further.
On to happier thoughts. In the 3-2 margin, we have yet another Izutsu deshi, Hagane, on the left, opposing Kototora. Winner is kachi-koshi.
It’s a hard and slow affair, but Hagane, like his lower-ranked heya-mate Kakutaiki, manages to secure his kachi-koshi.
Kaishu from Musashigawa beya has been matched with a Jonidan rikishi today, Akatsuki from Takadagawa beya. Both are 3-2 and looking for their kachi-koshi. Kaishu is on the right.
For a man his size, kaishu is doing great. He is kachi-koshi now, and will climb up the Sandanme ladder.
Another pair in this bracket is Amakaze, whom we have been following for a while in his attempts to regain his form, facing Matsuda from Minezaki beya. Amakaze is on the left.
One asks oneself how he came to lose two bouts if he can do this sumo. It’s not entirely clear, but Amakaze is kachi-koshi, and Matsuda will have to wait for his one last chance.
Four of our matches from Makushita today are in that 3-2 bracket where they look for their kachi-koshi. The first features Kairyu, from Dewanoumi beya, vs. Genki, who is very entertaining to watch, on the right.
He is all over the place. Can’t imagine how they picked him a shikona whose literal meaning is “Former Tortoise”. However, it’s not Genki’s day today, and the kachi-koshi goes to Kairyu.
Now we have a series of ones-to-watch. Shiraishi, from Tamanoi beya, is the first of them, facing Amanoshima from Hakkaku beya. Shiraishi is on the left. Both 3-2.
Hahaha. Here is your order, Mr. Shiraishi. The main dish is crow, with complimentary just desserts. I love to see a henka foiled. And you can see from the expression on Amanoshima’s face there in the end that he loves to do the foiling.
Most of this basho Shiraishi didn’t resort to henka. Too bad he reverted to that. He won’t collect many fans along the way if he keeps doing this.
Next “one to watch” is Roga, the former high-school yokozuna, vs. Okinofuji from Hakkaku beya (yeah, yeah, Oki Islands). Who gets the kachi-koshi?
Roga is kachi-koshi, with a rather soft uwatenage. So far, no angry tweets from Futagoyama oyakata, so that must be good.
Our last “one-to-watch” looking for a kachi-koshi is Naya. Prince Naya on the right is facing Kotodaigo on the left. Kachi-koshi is on the line.
Most of the bout is controlled by Naya, but something happens as they reach the west tawara. Naya loses balance, manages to recover, but this gives Kotodaigo an opportunity to slash in, and reverse the direction of the bout. Just as we thought Naya was regaining his confidence, he suffers a setback again. Kotodaigo is kachi-koshi, Naya still has one opportunity left.
Our next bout is in the luxurious 4-1 score bracket. It’s a battle of Sakaes. Tomisakae on the left, from Isegahama, is doing well this basho, with his knees keeping up with his energy. Chiyosakae from Kokonoe beya is also in good form.
Quick and decisive. And as usual for Tomisakae, rather bouncy. The Isegahama bouncing ball extends his line to 5-1.
Gagamaru – I’m sure you’ll know which one he is in the video – is 4-7 and can’t afford another loss. Kiribayama is at 5-6. So it’s Mongolia vs. Georgia today.
I saw the score for this match before I watched the bout itself, and I thought “What? Shitatenage? Kiribayama managed to throw 200kg Gagamaru? Did he bring a crane?” – as it turns out, you don’t actually have to throw your opponent for this to be considered a “nage”. I’d call it a “shitatemage” (inside bend rather than inside throw) but I guess that’s not an official kimarite yet.
Finally, let’s take a look at Ikioi, on the right, against Daishomaru. Ikioi is 9-2, Daishomaru wants his kachi-koshi at 7-4.
Earlier, Kotonowaka lost his match, which means that Ikioi is the sole leader of the Juryo yusho arasoi.