While in the upper divisions, Makuuchi and Juryo, we normally expect the yusho to be decided on day 14, or preferably 15, in the lower divisions day 13 is usually the day of decisions. Some playoffs will still take place on senshuraku, but either the yusho itself or the participants in that playoff are determined on day 13.
We’ll start, however, on day 12, with a few matches of interest.
We start with a kachi-koshi bout. In fact, this video is a triple-header. It shows us the good old Hanakaze, and I do mean “old”, the 49 years old Sumo Methuselah. He started with a win, followed by two losses, and here are his last three bouts. In all of them, he starts on the right. The first bout is with Nishikiryu, who is 16 years old, the second with Fukui, 15 years old, and the last, with Andozakura, another 16 years old.
And if your arithmetic is sound (or your Japanese), you’ll realize that if you add up the ages of all his opponents in this video, he’ll still be ahead.
Also, this 49 years old is now kachi-koshi. Seriously.
The next two bouts may have some bearing on the Jonokuchi yusho. Should the sole Jonokuchi leader, Tosamidori, lose his Day 13 match, everybody with a single loss will be back in the fray, which makes the matches between 4-1 wrestlers significant. Start with Oju, Naruto beya, on the left, and Otsuji, Takadagawa, on the right:
Oju is the oldest rikishi in Naruto beya at 23 (Motobayashi is slightly younger), and for a man without former sumo experienced, joined at a very late age. So kudos to him for the kachi-koshi, but it’s Otsuji who keeps the single loss and hopes for an Ura win on day 13.
The other pair of hopefuls are Yutakanami, the Tatsunami beya recruit we have been following in these posts, who will try to beat Akinishiki from Asahiyama beya, whose only loss is to Senho. Yutakanami on the left.
Akinishiki is defeated by oshidashi, and Yutakanami joins the list of 5-1 wrestlers who await the results of the Tosamidori/Ura bout on Day 13. The others are Chida, Chiyotaiko and Senho. Chida will have a bout in Jonidan, while the others will face each other for elimination.
We have a kachi-koshi bout between Hokutoizumi, Hakkaku beya, on the left, and Garyu, Futagoyama, on the right. Both 3-2. I’m showing this video mainly because it’s nice sumo.
いい相撲だったので立合いから撮りなおしました！— Lulit (@OneLoveLulit) November 21, 2019
Garyu wins by yori-kiri, and I’m sure he won’t hear any complaints from Futagoyama oyakata. The former Miyabiyama has been relatively reserved about Roga’s bout yesterday: “All the wrestlers from the heya, even in their losses, showed good sumo. Except Roga”, he tweeted (he is apparently the only member of the NSK who is still tweeting).
We have a kachi-koshi bout between Kayatoiwa from Minato beya, left, and our wily Kaishu, of Musashigawa beya. Both are 3-2, winner is kachi-koshi.
And that, readers, was a shitatehinery, and a kachi-koshi for the tiny Kaishu. That man is a pleasure.
Another Sandanme bout features two familiar faces. Marusho, on the left, is the second-in-command at Naruto beya, while Toma, on the right, is the heavy Okinawan from Miyagino beya, Toma. Both already kachi-koshi, at 4-1, and looking to extend their score difference.
Marusho, unbelievably, tries to henka Toma. This seems to light a fire in the young man from Okinawa, and not only does he not oblige Marusho with a roll, he basically crucifies him in a double kime and topples him off the dohyo, kaiju-style. I am guessing Marusho will never try that trick again on Toma.
Fending off make-koshi are Chiyonoumi and Kyokusoten. Chiyonoumi is on the left, and Kyokusoten on the right. Personally, it’s one of those bouts in which you want neither to lose and both to win. Anyway, the score for both is 2-3 as they mount the dohyo.
Chiyonoumi has the more experience. Kyokusoten needs to find a way to learn how to eat, as he is now make-koshi.
In the same situation are Wakatakamoto, the eldest Onami brother, and Masutoo, sumo’s favorite Hungarian, who is on the right.
The decision in the monoii is “Wakatakamoto’s body stayed in”. I don’t know. I guess they didn’t consider Masutoo’s toe inside to be towish enough. If they said that Masutoo touched first, fine, but the “body still inside” puzzles me. But it’s their decision, and Masutoo is make-koshi.
Another pair of familiar faces shows up, but this time both are already kachi-koshi. On the left, Shiraishi, and on the right Shohoryu, the Academy member.
Yeah, it’s a “proper” tachiai, but Shiraishi is back to pulling sumo. Too bad, we already know he can do better.
Your digest of the day:
- Kotoshoho railroads Mitoryu for his kachi-koshi. This is the old Kototebakari we knew and respected.
- Gagamaru nearly manages something, but fails. This is Gagamaru’s last bout this basho, and I have a hunch it may be his last bout, period. On day 13 he went kyujo, for the first time in his career, after showing up for 1050 consecutive bouts.
- Kiribayama’s sumo is all over the place in this match. He can’t seem to do anything but keep his balance. But keep it he does, and eventually sidesteps to give Kizakiumi the old olè. I’ve seen him do better sumo. But he is kachi-koshi.
- I have no idea what Akua had in mind. It wasn’t sumo, apparently. Hidenoumi also strangely rolls Akua in the dust like a piece of schnitzel.
- Hoshoryu’s pre-bout is yokozuna-level, but it seems that he can’t walk the walk. Ikioi finishes him up before he can say “uncle”.
- The last bout is, of course, a Makuuchi bout. Yago is in no state to do any Makuuchi bouts, though.
So this is the big day. In Jonokuchi, we have elimination rounds between the 5-1 rikishi, which may or may not lead the winners back to the yusho race, depending on the results in Jonidan.
We start with Otsuji, on the left, and Chiyotaiko on the right.
Chiyotaiko is out of the race with a second loss, by uwatedashinage. Otsuji waits for the verdict.
Next, we have Senho, our Miyagino man, and Yutakanami, the Tatsunami guy. Senho is on the left.
Is it me or does Senho look like he has some lower back issue? Whatever it is, he is not getting any part in the yusho, going 5-2. He will definitely be in Jonidan next basho, and I can’t wait to see how much more he can improve. It’s Yutakanami, though, who keeps his chance at the yusho alive.
One bout in Jonidan is still about eliminating Jonokuchi men from the 5-1 bracket. So we have the Jonidan wrestler, Sawayaka from Shikihide beya, on the left, and Chida, a guest from Jonokuchi, on the right. Chida needs to win to keep up with Yutakanami and Otsuji.
But Sawayaka is a very genki little man, also one of the more motivated ones in Shikihide beya. So Chida is out of the race.
The next bout is what will decide the fate of all of the above. If Tosamidori – a Jonokuchi wrestler, 6-0, wins this bout, then he is the sole yusho winner and all of the hopefuls above go home empty handed. However, if he loses it, he, too, will drop to the 6-1 bracket, and there will be a three-way playoff on Senshuraku in Jonokuchi.
The Jonidan opponent? This guy, Ura.
Tosamidori on the left, Ura on the right:
Nobody really thought a Jonokuchi wrestler will beat Ura, right? So Tosamidori, Otsuji and Yutakanami are going to have a three-way playoff on Senshuraku.
So far we have seen guest appearances. Now we come to the pure Jonidan yusho race. On the left, Hokutenkai, Takanoiwa’s nephew. On the right, Chiyotora, from Kokonoe beya.
Hokutenkai is 7-0. But he will also have a bit of waiting, because there is a third 6-0 rikishi, and he has a match up in Sandanme. If he loses, Hokutenkai is the yusho winner. If he wins, it’s another playoff.
We interrupt the yusho news to get one last peek at Kaishu from Musashigawa beya, here on the left. His foe is Matsuyama, from Dewanoumi beya. They are 4-2, so nothing desparate is needed.
Ah, too bad. But I think most of my readers will agree – Kaishu is a very entertaining wrestler and it will be a pleasure to keep up with him next basho.
We are now back to our usual programming… The bout we have been talking about, which decides whether the playoff on Senshuraku will be in Jonidan or Sandanme, is the bout between Murata, the Jonidan man from Takasago beya, who is the “other” 6-0 rikishi, and Awajiumi, the surprising 6-0 rikishi at the bottom of Sandanme.
It was plain to see that Murata is not going to lose this one. Awajiumi yields, and ends up 6-1. Which is the best record in his career.
Which has now ended. That’s it. This was Awajiumi’s last match in Grand Sumo. The man used to be Wakanosato’s tsukebito. Then Kisenosato’s. Then Takayasu’s. He performed the yumi-tori shiki at Kisenosato’s retirement ceremony. And this near-yusho performance has been his swan’s song.
So this means that the Jonidan yusho will be decided between Murata and Hokutenkai on Senshuraku. It also means that the winner of the following match is going to win the Sandanme yusho. On the left, Motobayashi, Naruto beya, the man who has not lost a single match since maezumo. On the right – Prince Charming, Kitanowaka, Hakkaku beya.
Truth is, I expected better from Kitanowaka. But Motobayashi is now officially a member of the 21 club, and the 6th man to win three consecutive yusho from his debut. The one before him, by the way, was Enho.
We start with a couple of Darwin matches. That’s when both wrestlers are 3-3, and the winner will be kachi-koshi, and the loser, make-koshi. The first pair is Churanoumi, on the left, Kise beya, vs. Tsukahara, Kasugano beya.
Tsukahara had high hopes for this basho, but he is now make-koshi, while Churanoumi may entertain dreams of returning to Juryo.
Next, we have Naya, our prince from Otake beya, going against Hokaho from Miyagino beya. Again, Darwin match at 3-3.
Darwin favors Taiho’s grandson, who finishes with yet another modest kachi-koshi.
Next, we have Roga (right), vs. Ryusei (left). They are both 4-2, so nothing in particular on stake.
Now that’s a performance that will not cause angry tweets from Futagoyama oyakata. Kudos to Roga.
Finally, the Makushita yusho decider. It’s the one you have all been waiting for. Or at least, the kaiju fans among you – Tsushimanada (Sakaigawa), with 6-0, vs. Terunofuji, Isegahama, 6-0. Winner takes yusho.
Tsushimanada comes with a plan, and attacks the former Ozeki’s lower bottom. Terunofuji survives. Attempts at a kekaeshi. Terunofuji survives. Then he takes the reigns, and drives the pesky Tsushimanada out.
Take a look at his hug with Teruya, the yobidashi who came with him from Magaki beya to Isegahama beya. I wish Shunba could have been there as well.
With this yusho, Terunofuji reserves himself a ticket for Juryo for Hatsu. We’ll be eagerly awaiting to see how he copes with the 15 day schedule again.
Your digest of the day: