Aki Day 14 Highlights

Probably one of the most consequential days of sumo I have seen in the last 10 years. Many questions were resolved, and many disappointments were realized. Firstly, we know that the yusho will be won with a 12-3 record. One of the three (or more) remaining leaders will have that score, and they will take home the hardware. To ensure that they only have one possible playoff match, Okinoumi will face Takakeisho. The chances are better than even that we will see a playoff between the winner of that match and Mitakeumi. This configuration is clouded with controversy, which we will cover below.

We also can now sadly realize that injured Ozeki Tochinoshin will lose his rank and occupy a Sekiwake position for November. He took his 8th loss not in a blaze of glory, but with a simple and frustrating mistake.

Elsewhere on the dohyo, it was henka-madness. I know there are legions of readers who are fine or even love the henka. I think it is normally a sign of weak sumo, and in the top division this kind of tactic should be seldom seen. Not today, as many rikishi in perilous positions resorted to the henka to try and save their record or keep in the hunt.

Last but not least, the gyoji and shimpan are once again a focus, and in crucial matches to boot. I think the NSK might need to think through how they want to handle sloppy calls and sloppy officiating, the fans do notice.

Highlight Matches

Wakatakakage defeats Ishiura – Ishiura had a whole bucket of nothing against the lead Onami brother, and his 7-7 record leaves him prime for a Darwin match. Enjoy.

Shohozan defeats Azumaryu – Shohozan opens strong, and Azumaryu finds himself in trouble, and moving in reverse. He tries a pull at the bales, but does not get Shohozan to drop before he himself steps out.

Onosho defeats Yutakayama – Onosho gets the inside position while Yutakayama goes for an armpit grip / attack. Onosho seems to not care, and is double-arm pushing against Yutakayama’s chest. Yutakayama is getting better thrusts, but Onosho is moves forward, absorbing the blows. Onosho kachi-koshi.

Enho defeats Tochiozan – Enho side steps to his left at the tachiai, disrupting any attack Tochiozan may have planned. Enho continues to try to drive inside and get to Tochiozan’s chest, and eventually finds his mark. Thought they fight for grip and hand placement for several seconds, Enho consolidates his position and drives Tochiozan out and to the clay. Enho kachi-koshi, and Tochiozan make-koshi. Another one for the barge to Juryo?

Takagenji defeats Terutsuyoshi – We finally get to see some strong sumo from Takagenji, and it’s against the injured and only partially functional Terutsuyoshi. Takagenji is headed back to the deeper ranks of Juryo, but I am glad he at least got to fight with vigor again today. If you want to see two rikishi battle it out with all they can muster, this is your match. Great effort by both men.

Kotoyuki defeats Tsurugisho – The fierce version of Kotoyuki was back again today, and his match today is a good study in body mechanics for oshi-zumo. Note how he focuses everything against the center of Tsurugisho’s chest, and drives forward with each blow. Tsurugisho has no time, and no means to respond. Kotoyuki kachi-koshi.

Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki got the better of the tachiai, and drove strongly forward. But Kotoeko deftly side-stepped at the tawara and send Kagayaki face first towards chikara-mizu bucket. Kotoeko improves to 7-7, another Darwin match candidate.

Sadanoumi defeats Shimanoumi – They stalemate at the tachiai, but Sadanoumi shifts and turns to get behind Shimanoumi and drive him out from behind. Experience and agility secure Sadanoumi his 8th win and a move up the banzuke for November.

Daishoho defeats Chiyotairyu – Annnnd. HENKA! You can see Chiyotairyu’s frustration at the end of this match, and you have to feel for the guy. He manages his big tachiai, but Daishoho is faster and inside before Chiyotairyu can impact, he moves to charge again and Daishoho steps to the side. Chiyotairyu now an alarming 2-12.

Shodai defeats Nishikigi – So, where has this version of Shodai been? That looked like real sumo, and even though Nishikigi beat him by a league at the tachiai, he kept his cool, wrapped up Nishikigi and kept moving forward. Nishikigi is now make-koshi.

Daieisho defeats Meisei – Excellent tachiai from Meisei, getting him an inside position and the start of a left hand inside grip. But Daieisho rallied and launched a pushing attack that Meisei could not endure. A last minute attempt to side-step at the tawara failed, and the one time yusho leader took his 5th defeat.

Asanoyama defeats Tomokaze – Take a look at the tachiai in this match, it’s a great example of where Asanoyama is headed over the next few years, if he can stay healthy. You can see him a half-step faster than Tomokaze, who is caught hazardously far forward, with poor body position. What does Tomokaze do? Why try to pull Asanoyama down, of course. How’s that working out for you? Oh? Not at all? Well, good job, now you have Asanoyama at your chest, and your weight is still too far forward. As Asanoyama loads up the throw, Tomokaze amazingly thinks he can try another pull. The shift in weight unceremoniously drops him onto his back in front of the time keeper, earning him his first ever make-koshi. I think Tomokaze has a great future, but he needs to fight in a forward gear as his standard mechanic. Asanoyama is headed higher next year, his sumo mechanics are very good, and he keeps getting stronger.

Hokutofuji defeats Tamawashi – Hokutofuji beats Tamawashi off the line, and gets his nodowa, raising Tamawashi up. Hokutofuji knows what’s coming and widens his stance as Tamawashi attacks in force. But that odd Hokutofuji upper / lower body action comes into play again, he starts moving forward almost independently of the force his upper body is enduring. But Hokutofuji finds his opening and attacks center-mass, and its more than Tamawashi can withstand. Great effort by Hokutofuji to get his 8th win and a come-from-behind kachi-koshi, winning 7 in a row, along with his kinboshi on day 1.

Aoiyama defeats Kotoshogiku – Annnnd. HENKA!

Abi defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji wants to set up some kind of sumo, but once Abi-zumo starts, most people’s plans go out the window and all you want to do is get the guy to knock it off. Sorry! It only stops when you hit the clay or go visit the fans in the front row. Abi improves to 9-5, and I must say he is surprising me by enduring in San’yaku.

Okinoumi defeats Endo – The rikishi executed a masterful bout, but the shimpan and the gyoji blew this one to hell. If Okinoumi should prevail and take the cup, what would be a marvelous cinderella story will be forever marred by this nonsense. Okinoumi got the better of the tachiai, and started driving Endo to the SouthWest corner, and Kimura is in the way, ok – this crap happens. The two lock up on the mawashi and are really fighting it out, again Kimura gets in the way in the SouthWest corner. Endo steps on the bales, and his fighting back with everything he has as Okinoumi goes for the yorikiri. The shimpan’s hand goes up, the gyoji points the gumbo to the east, but the contestants are fighting on. They both move for a throw, but what the hell is happening? Alright, Endo fell last, but according to the referee and the judges, the match was over long before. Replays showed Endo’s heel never getting close to the janome, and there was no mark. WHAT THE HELL. So, sure – call a monoii, review the tape and figure out what is what. Well, not going to work well because the gyoji sorta interfered with the rikishi after the shimpan’s hand went up. This one is screwed up beyond repair, so it looks like they just do the “yeah, we meant to do that” routine and move on. Even Okinoumi does not think he won. Horrific own-goal for the NSK.

Takakeisho defeats Ryuden – Any thoughts that the Grand Tadpole would throttle back were completely wrong, as we see Takakeisho deliver a blast wave out of the tachiai, the first time I think he has done that this basho. Ryuden is generating considerable forward pressure, and has his usual excellent foot placement, but is pushed back by the force of it. He never has a chance to recover or even try to mount any offense as Takakeisho picks up win 11, and punches his ticket to the yusho party. Ryuden is make-koshi, picking up his 8th loss.

Mitakeumi defeats Goeido – Annnnd. HENKA!

Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin – A heartbreaking match, as Tochinoshin secures his make-koshi and demotion to Ozekiwake for November. Sadly it did not come as a result of a flat-out, sacrifice everything battle, but rather an inadvertent step out by the Ozeki. The two were fighting strongly, with Myogiryu taking the initiative while Tochinoshin struggled to set up his grip. But as Tochinoshin consolidated his hold and shifted to attack, his foot slipped on the tawara and struck the janome, the match was over, and the gyoji stopped the fight. Sorry to see it end this way. Tochinoshin’s injuries are not something that can be addressed in the next few weeks before Kyushu, and I am not optimistic about his options at this point.

48 thoughts on “Aki Day 14 Highlights

  1. I agree with you about henkas, Bruce, but unless the YSK harrumphs a lot about them, then the rikishi are going to do that more often. Also, your statement of “henka” for three rikishi (Aoiyama is the glaring example obviously) and Enho’s “sidestep” shows that this stuff is in a grey area. Mitakeumi did a “hit and shift” instead of crying “OLE!” and acting like a matador. Considering a Yokozuna was well known for that “good strategy”, I can’t complain much there.
    I feel bad for Chiotairyu and Kotoshogiku, but if they don’t prep for a henka and just rush forward they’re pretty much asking for it from someone at this point.

    The Endo/Okinoumi match was definitely botched and I agree that the YSK needs to get its act together on this front. There’s a lot of sloppiness across the board right now that needs to be fixed.

    On a more positive note, it’s good to see the rikishi still fighting across all of the ranks of the banzuke right now. I think we’re going to see a lot more churn as older rikishi go intai and lower ranked rikishi step up to the plate and gain higher ranks. It says a lot that Tomokaze got his first make-koshi this basho and that there’s no space in the Sanyaku for a bunch of Megashira with 10 or more wins.

    • The examples you specified are exactly why henka will never become a “banned move”. It simply can’t be defined properly. Put another way – the Japanese never base rules on “intentions” (I remember there used to be an “intentional foul” in basketball, later replaced by an “unsporting foul” – how do you judge that?). A hairpull is forbidden, and its judgement is not dependent on whether the rikishi intended to pull the hair, only on whether the fingers are inside the hair and bent. A harite to the face is forbidden in amateur sumo. One can easily judge whether a slap hits the face or not. Whether the wrestler intended for it to hit the face is irrelevant. But a henka? That’s more a question of intention. Did the rikishi intend to get a tactical advantage, or did he intend to avoid the conflict? My intuition says that Mitakeumi was intending to avoid the conflict, while Enho was getting a tactical advantage and intended to engage. But they can’t make a rule for that.

      Henka is really about what kind of feeling you are left with as a fan after the bout. It may be important for the NSK to educate about them and the impact they have on attendance, kensho money, etc, but they will never be able to legislate against them.

  2. The okinoumi vs endo result felt a lot like asanoyama vs tochinoshin in May.. Which may be a good omen for Okinoumi :-)

  3. I first stumbled upon Tachiai a few years back when I was trying to research Okinoumi’s medical problems. The mood then was that he was on the way out, but he hasn’t done too badly has he?

    Nine years in maku’uchi, 3 jun-yusho, a few appearances in sanyaku and a fair sprinkling of prizes and kinboshi. He’s a good example of a very talented, dedicated wrestler who achieved a great deal but never made it to the top. And he’s done nothing wrong this time, just done his blend of big man power sumo and technical savvy to rack up the wins. It’s not his fault that the officials got it wrong.

    I wonder what he’s thinking tonight… last best chance… beaten this guy before… just do your thing… come on, let’s bring it home.

    • This is what bothers me – if Okinoumi wins the yusho tomorrow, and there is a solid chance he will, there will be this silly nonsense about his day 14 match that folks will throw around. The guy has really put it all into sumo, and this would be a fantastic triumph for him.

      • That is so true. The only thing that made it at least entertaining for me though was listening to Hiro get almost hysterical. I would say that he is definitely on the same page.

  4. I have read a bit of speculative chat about whether an extra Komusubi slot might open up if Hokutofuji finishes with a 9-6 record at M1 and/or Asanoyama finishes with 11-4 at M2. My understanding is that this sort of thing may have happened in the past, but not recently? (11-4 at M1 might do it though?)
    And equally if my beloved Abi finishes with 10-5 at Komusubui – might a 3rd sekiwake slot open up? (Again, my dim and sketchy understanding is that the answer is: ‘No’. 11-4 would be the minimum to force a 3rd slot.)
    But so what I am wondering is whether the promotion committee would take into account the fact that Hokutofuji got a 9-6 last time at M1 and only received a West to East promotion? And likewise that Abi was KK last time at K1e and got no promotion whatever?
    I feel like both Hokutofuji and Abi would deserve something more than just holding rank if they managed 9-6 and/or 10-5 respectively, especially in view of the meagre rewards they got for their efforts last time.

    • If we ask nicely, I am guessing lksumo may share his wisdom later in the day. But I think we may see a San’yaku log jam deluxe this time around. It certainly is shaping up to be that way.

      • Tochinoshin won 10 at K with no available spaces and didn’t get it so Abi probably wouldn’t either.

        There’s little, but more precedent for Asanoyama jumping up to Komusubi with 11 even from M2, it’s happened a few times – though not for 20 years (moto-Kotonowaka did it with 10). Hokutofuji surely wouldn’t move up with just 9 IMHO. But I guess nothing can be ruled out.

    • Pretty sure 10 at Komusubi is not enough. 11 at M2 is unclear. We know based on Hokutofuji that 11 at M3 won’t do it, and we’re pretty sure 11 at M1 would, but there’s no precedent for the current situation.

  5. If you go to live sumo then the real frustration of a henka hits home – there’s a lot of waiting and anticipation for a bout and the henka takes a lot of the momentum out of the day.

    • E-x-a-c-t-l-y.

      More than being disrespectful to your opponent, it’s disrespectful to the paying customers.

      (And yes, I know some of the rikishi I support have been known for doing it).

    • For me, the worst as a fan is NOT the henka. It’s the listless straight-back-and-out. Henkas are beautiful. Daishoho did not henka.

      • I don’t understand where anyone got the idea that Daishoho henka’d. He met the tachiai head-on, and then side-stepped Chiyotairyu’s next charge after they broke the initial contact. If that’s a henka, so are most of the bouts decided by pulldown or by a sidestep at the tawara. Henka applies at the tachiai, and only at the tachiai.

  6. At this point, Tochinoshin is better off taking as much time as needed to heal up – if he can – his knee is the main issue and it’s quite possible any other injuries are a result of attempting to compensate for the knee. If he misses a Basho so he can truly heal then what has he to lose?
    Tochinoshin’s sumo isn’t as refined as Hakuho or Kakuryu but when he’s healthy he’s a real honest to goodness Beast. I hope he returns healthy – really healthy.

  7. I disagree with you about the Endo/Okinoumi bout. Whatever it was, the replays show nothing at all. Seriously, there is no way to look at a shadow and make a decision that the foot ends at line x, and the shadow starts beyond that line, hence no touch. It’s a dark blob. You can’t see the outline of the sole, and at the resolution and color definition the cameras are offering, you don’t really know what’s happening or if there is a slight change in the janome covered by compression artifacts.

    Was the shimpan looking in another direction? Was he away from the scene and just guessing what’s happening? No and no. That heel was right in front of his face, and his eyes were almost level with the janome, unlike the cameras. He is wearing his glasses and looking directly at the feet. He is doing his job as he should.

    Yes, this case is very similar to the Tochinoshin case. Only in this case, one can’t even say that the shimpan is mis-remembering something that happened several minutes before. He raises his hand as soon as he sees the problem (or rather, as soon as he takes a good look at the janome).

    https://twitter.com/kuru2obake/status/1175333681424023552

    There is a definite moment there where there is a black blob with no light coming through which means we can’t judge this. That’s what the shimpan is for.

    Also, there is no way to call a monoii in this situation, not because Tamajiro interfered, but because a judge decision is final. Tamajiro was merely doing his job.

    I’m sure judges make mistakes, it’s just that unless they are glaringly obvious – which this one isn’t – we can’t presume we know better than they do. I think it’s safer to always make the assumption that the judge is not a “half blind old man who doesn’t know what he does”, but rather, an experienced former top-level rikishi – many times actively coaching – who concentrates on technical details while we are enjoying the bout.

      • “I think the NSK might need to think through how they want to handle sloppy calls and sloppy officiating, the fans do notice. “ – I disagree with it being a sloppy call, sloppy officiating, or that what the fans notice here is of consequence.

        • As a fan, helping to run a site made by fans, for fans, I would say that in the context of this site, the fans do matter.

          As far as the shimpan and gyoji – they were all within their purview the entire time. As far as I know, they can do whatever they want in this situation and it’s legit and legal. The entire NSK is more or less a private company putting on a show for the public, and as a private enterprise, they are free to do as they see fit.

          As a fan, I can say it was chaotic, and less than awesome. There has been a lot more of this in the past 12 months than there has been in my prior years of watching sumo. As a fan, I have noticed this, and I am concerned. As a fan, I am allowed to be concerned. As a blogger, I am given voice to publish my concern and share it with other fans. The trend in this matter is not in a good direction, and I would urge the NSK to get it together.

          As an American, in America, writing about a private enterprise putting on a show, in Japan for Japanese people living in Japan, my opinion has zero bearing on anything other than to share it with our readers.

          I hope that helps.

          • To us, yes, but to the NSK? Only to the extent that fans may decide to stop supporting the game. However, in any sport in the world, there is a limit to how much you let the fans run the business. They should make sure they do the best job they can, but if fans are unhappy just because someone they liked did not win, should they just make sure he wins next time? In this way lies danger.

            • Sorry if I gave that impression. My only desire for that match was that there should be a clear winner, and in my opinion the actions of the officials made circumstances of that win unclear.

              To me, that reduces the magnitude of Okinoumi’s accomplishment, through no fault of his own.

              Do keep in mind, only my opinion here, and I have no influence on anyone in Japan or even in the NSK. In fact, looking around my house at the family, I can only state that I occasionally have influence over my cat. But only when he is in a mood to cooperate.

              • Yeah, well, sometimes there is no clear winner. Was it a charge or a block? An offside or not an offside? Not calling anything is also unacceptable. Someone is going to feel cheated. Some of these cases can be covered by technology, but some require an expert to resolve them, and the fans have to settle for what he or she comes up with.

              • “To me, that reduces the magnitude of Okinoumi’s accomplishment, through no fault of his own.”
                I don’t agree. From my own fan viewpoint, I’m well aware that what goes around, comes around. Every rikishi out there has had calls go there way…and against them.

        • While I don’t argue with what you wrote, Herouth, I wonder if the shimpan who made the call really is best positioned for that call. Given the lighting in the arena, he is going to see a shadow. The shimpan to his right, while more distant from the action, likely has the better angle to determine whether the foot actually touched clay. Of course, if that latter shimpan offers no objection, then — apart from requiring a look at video instant replays — there’s really nothing that can be done.

          The other big issue with this bout was the manner in which the gyoji kept putting himself directly in the path of the action. It is one thing to be unable to get out of the way when Enho unexpectedly comes flying at great speed in your direction; this was something else — it showed poor judgment of the flow of the action.

          I’m rooting for Takakeisho to decisively win out and take this yusho, thus leaving no bitter aftertaste.

          • I am not arguing about Tamajiro’s positioning. I can’t really tell if he is in the way or not.

            About the shimpan, I think that’s why he waited for Endo’s foot to lift up so he can see the janome before he raised his hand.

            I’m also rooting for Takakeisho, but not for this reason, but simply that he has been consistent and good the entire basho, and Okinoumi seemed less stable to me. So Takakeisho “deserves” it. But of course, there is no “deserves” in sports…

    • Was waiting for you to come along and give this take. Didn’t want to steal it from you! But for sure that looked like a totally reasonable call…I’m not even sure it’s wrong.

    • Showing nothing at all indicates, to me, that nothing at all happened. Endo’s foot did not touch the sand. If it had, we would have seen a mark (as we saw when Tochinoshin stepped out). The camera angle, in real time, was right there…and showed Endo’s foot over (and on) the tawara but above the sand.

      • Take a look at the link I added. There is a black blob. You can’t say whether the foot is above the sand or on the sand. It’s all a blob of dark pixels. Any attempt to say where the outline of the foot is is just wishful thinking. The same is true for the Janome. A big disruption would leave enough of a mark for the camera to discern, but a small one will be covered by compression artifacts, noise reduction algorithms, etc.

        Digital video is not a reliable technology for discerning such minute details, especially not the kind of consumer-level video that is resampled, compressed and optimized for high-speed delivery rather than definition and accuracy.

          • Ahahaha. Cultural issue here: Always add a “to omoimasu” to your sentences to be polite. You constantly hear Japanese people saying things like “I think I want to win this yusho”. Note that the newspaper adds “…said the shimpan assertively” (“In a strong tone of voice”).

        • I’ll look at your video but I don’t think that black blob is the point. There wasn’t a puff of sand or a mark left from a foot. And I’m quite certain I could clearly see his raised foot. It wasn’t hard to see.

    • I’ll say it once, and won’t get into an argument, but cameras are better than human eyewitnesses. And, tellingly, the judge hesitates before raising his hand.

      • I agree. If the judges are going to make a call, which they know is orb consequential and controversial, all the more reason to tell the public what happened and make sure that NHK roving camera goes to the spot and shows the clay disturbed. If the judge was so sure from 7-8 feet away the foot touched the ground, there would be a visible mark.

    • I don’t agree with your opinion in this case and I don’t think the video you linked supports it either. It’s not really necessary to look into the “dark blob”, if you can kinda follow the outline of the feet which suggests that it’s pretty impossible for the feet to hit the ground outside. Your video shows a guy staring at untouched sand for a few seconds before raising his hand.
      However, whatever it was, the worst thing watching it live on tv was that no one understood whats happened.

      And thanks for citing me. That comment was obviously an exaggeration, but the officiating this basho is behind sloppy and inconsistent and has been detrimental to quite a few bouts. And I don’t say this because my favorite rikishi didn’t win. In many cases rikishi I have no particular relation to were affected. That would go for today’s bout too. I’m happy for both having a great tournament.

  8. Wakatakakage defeats Ishiura- I doubt Wakatakakage is going to get his Makuuchi promotion or his 9th win against Kaisei tomorrow, but good job for getting kachi-koshi after a very bad first week.

    Shohozan defeats Azumaryu- This is a sad one for me. I was invested in Azumaryu’s quest for his first Makuuchi kachi-koshi after 5 years of absence, even though he never looked especially strong even when he won. I’m still optimistic about his chances against the even shakier Kagayaki, so hopefully he can stay in the top division for Kyushu.

    Enho defeats Tochiozan- Another flashy win to post in Enho’s cap, wonderful to see him get kachi-koshi, and I’m actually looking forward quite a bit to seeing tochiozan compete in juryo next basho.

    Takagenji defeats Teutsuyoshi- Wow. This was easily in the top 3 matches of the whole basho for me. Super unexpected best match of the day. If these guys can work out their current problems they will be makuuchi mainstays.

    Kotoyuki defeats Tsurugisho- I honestly still feel like Tsurugisho was screwed out of yusho contention due to poor refereeing a few days ago. I’m really sad to see him lose here. Consider me a new fan of his.

    Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki- I like Kotoeko’s speedy style a lot, and my favourite thing about him is that many of his matches have comical moments like his jumping today. He did much better than I expected this basho.

    Sadanoumi defeats Shimanoumi- I find Sadanoumi’s style boring and he’s not a guy I especially care about but he has been very solid this tournament, I must admit. I would even say he has wrestled better than some of the people with higher scores than him.

    Daishoho defeats Chiyotairyu- I would consider myself a fan who enjoys seeing the henka at least 80% of the time and that is no exception today. Elvis did a big henka himself a few days ago so he maybe should have expected this. Good job to Daishoho, who is safe from demotion now.

    Asanoyama defeats Tomokaze- My feels go out on display again in this match. I really wanted to see Tomokaze meme hatakikomi into another one for his streak. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see more tears after this one.

    Hokutofuji defeats Tamawashi- Starting 1-5 and getting a kachi-koshi anyways? Sounds like Hokutofuji, all right.

    Aoiyama defeats Kotoshogiku- This was my favourite henka of the day, but they were all good fun to watch. Aoiyama’s agility was impressive ,but probably unnecessary against Kotoshogiku, who charges ahead every time.

    Abi defeats Takarafuji- My sadness continues. Keep in mind Abi has 2 free wins, so he’s actually only won 7. Of course, I’m very biased, so I will continue to doubt him either way.

    Okinoumi defeats Endo- No comment, LOL

    Takakeisho defeats Ryuden- More sadness with my man Ryuden getting make-koshi. I suppose Okinoumi has a better chance against Takakeisho than Mitakeumi, at least.

    Mitakeumi defeats Goeido- I was surprised and even though I normally don’t like Mitakeumi’s generic sumo I got a real kick out of this.
    Henka tier list: Aoiyama>Mitakeumi>Daishoho

    Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin- I wish I could say nothing about this match. But I cannot ignore the biggest despair to end the day of sadness. I can only imagine how Tochinoshin must feel.

  9. I won’t say I am suprised that things like that (henkas and dubious calls) are hapenning at this rate, with the top ranks that devastated. When the cat is away the mice will play. Happy to see that at least a few are building promissing and uncompromised career. At this point I really hope we don’t get a second “Asanoyama Special”, as the consequences of the first are still being felt.

  10. Your comments about the shimpan are spot on: he thought he saw Endo step out and therefore raised his hand. These things are very difficult to spot in real time, of course, and the real shame is that they didn’t call a mono-ii.

    I don’t blame the gyoji however – once a shimpan raises his hand the gyoji is suppose to declare the winner, which is what the gyoji did. It just happened that neither of the rikishi noticed him. (And that would have been a magnificent ending, with both Endo and Okkinoumi giving it their all with each having a grip on the other’s mawashi.)

    I’d say this sort of yusho-effecting embarrassment couldn’t happen again except it just did two basho ago, so clearly it can and almost certainly will.

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