Natsu and Nagoya basho deferred by two weeks

In a meeting of the NSK board at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, a decision has been made to shift the next two basho by two weeks each.

Natsu basho will start May 24th, and Nagoya basho will start July 19th.

In the press conference that followed, chairman Hakkaku noted that the format is yet subject to change – the basho may be held in full format, behind closed doors, or cancelled entirely.

16 thoughts on “Natsu and Nagoya basho deferred by two weeks

  1. Whatever helps the odds of actually having a tournament. I hope things are better by then.

  2. It’s probably not going to happen. They are just delaying making a final decision for the moment.

    If I’m a betting man, I will bet that not only will Natsu be cancelled, but the bashos for the rest of the year.

    • I agree. This buys them time to sort out the situation for Natsu. The good thing is they don’t have to make a big move to a new city for Natsu. This gives me hope they will be able to hold the tournament with no spectators, at least.

    • Well, you need to see that Tokyo is basically in a lock down now. A lot of big chains are closing down till the 12th for now, so do many small shops. It’s not an official lockdown, because I think Japan actually doesn’t have laws to impose that, so they rely on public cooperation, but many companies cooperate.
      So in that sense the idea with postponing for two weeks might be that even if that is extended for the whole of april, that would give them the time to run the natsu basho.
      I’m no expert, but the underlying idea is that with the current lockdown they will get back to be able to tracing all cases and lock those down, which has been relatively successfull since January. The current influx is due to their fucked up airport checks. A lot of students thought it to be a good idea to celebrate the end of the school year with travels to europe or the US in march and came back with an infection, but were neither tested nor isolated. As off today however basically all non-japanese are barred from entrance. Everyone still allowed in will be quarantined for 2 weeks (or has to self isolate, but afaik the authorities take that choice). I don’t think those restrictions will be lowered any time soon.
      The main question will be if those meassures stop the spread before it gets out of control. The metro in Tokyo has been almost empty this week to the degree that you could get seats during rush hour.

      If there are no cases within the sumo stables I think the chances for a basho behind closed doors are not bad. I don’t think that even in a best case scenaria events with thousands of visitors will be allowed again in May already.

      • Yeah, I think that’s a good summary of the situation (though I think – not sure – they passed some laws a couple of weeks ago).

        There was also another option they mentioned last week or so – to open the basho with a limited number of spectators, such that they can sit far enough apart. I’m not sure if they can make that work, though, as people do have to pass through passages etc. and they have no control of them there.

  3. Countdown calendar updated to reflect the projected May 24th start date. I would wager if the the rikishi, the elders, the gyoji, the yobidashi and any other support staff are healthy in mid-May, I am going to guess they move ahead with the same format they used in Osaka.

    The Japanese penchant for persistence and almost British scale devotion to “muddle through” may carry the day with Natsu. We shall see.

    • Not if there is a state of emergency in place. Lockdowns apply to rikishi the same way as anybody else.

  4. There’s kind of a political stalemate in Japan right now. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says now is not the time to request an emergency act to give prefectural governors the authority to enact emergency measures. The other day he said Tokyo can’t be shut down like other cites in the world. His biggest adversary in this “debate” is Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said today she wants to close all event facilities.

    If that were to happen, more like when, I don’t see the basho happening next month.

    • If that were to happen soon, then it would probably be relaxed by mid-May. That would actually be good news for the basho. If they postpone it and the situation goes into a spiral at the second half of April, then all bets are off.

      • I agree. The fact that the start tentatively pushed back could be helpful.

        Very recently there was a large MMA event held in neighboring Saitama prefecture despite the conventional acceptance to hold without an audience.

        We’ll just see how it plays out. New COVID-19 cases were in the triple digits in Tokyo today.

    • I can just say that in my neighborhood literally all restaurants have closed down until 12th. There are very few remaining open, but they are empty. It’s probably not like that everywhere, but here most people and business follow koike-sans advice.
      Let’s hope Abe comes to reason too. Since everything is already basically shut down, it would be better to completely shut down for 2-3 weeks.

  5. To me the only good that would come from cancelling tournaments would be seeing Hakuho cruising his way to the Olympics.

  6. We saw in March that if the Sumo Association can stage a basho they will. The question seems to be whether they will be allowed to, and I don’t know nearly enough about the situation in Japan to comment on that.

    Seven weeks is a very long time at the moment. Remember what the world was like on Valentine’s Day? That was seven weeks ago. By the end of May we might be singing “ding dong the witch is dead” or be entering Mad Max 2 territory.

    Do we know if the banzuke will be released as scheduled on 27 April?

  7. I’ve seen pictures of Japan currently. People still taking trains, not crowded but still inside 6 feet. It’s like the country is more hesitant to shut down then Georgia. Given the General age of the population ( Japan’s has a decidedly older population ) and the fact this Virus can transmit A-symptomatically ( without showing signs you have it ) and their only real precaution is taking temperatures and asking about symptoms… I REALLY feel like Japan is headed for a massive outbreak and death toll that will make Italy, Spain U.S. and other countries look like a foot note. They need to back off before it’s to late.. which given this virus, it might be already.


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