Natsu 2020 Cancelled, Kyokai Aims for July Basho in Tokyo

The government’s state of emergency declaration is being extended until the end of the month. Inhabitants are encouraged to stay home, and that includes sumo wrestlers. With multiple wrestlers positive for the Coronavirus, containment is key to stopping the spread of the virus. Tachiai hopes for their speedy recovery.

The official Kyokai announcement for the Natsu Basho is available on their website. The tournament is officially cancelled. As JC called in the comments on our previous post, they aim to hold a tournament in July in TOKYO instead of Nagoya, without spectators. Further, the Fall Jungyo is also cancelled.

The prospect of hundreds of Kyokai staff crowding onto public transport to head to Nagoya was daunting and very risky. If one wrestlers picked up the virus in that trip, it is exceedingly likely that the virus would spread like wildfire throughout the heya. The resumption of physical competition at a Nagoya-hosted basho would then spread the illness further. This is the right move.

24 thoughts on “Natsu 2020 Cancelled, Kyokai Aims for July Basho in Tokyo

  1. I was just thinking that, their bodies will finally be well rested, for better or for worse.

  2. On bugger it, I may have to renew my WoW subscription to avoid going mad with boredom. And I’m going to charge it to the NSK.

    A couple of points. Nagoya is a tight, sweaty, badly ventilated arena which has a great atmosphere but which must be party central for infectious agents. It seems sensible to bring the July basho back to Tokyo.

    What will happen to the banzuke for July. I believe that the May banzuke will carried over, but what will happen if people retire? Will the lads hoping to start maezumo in July have to wait till September or will we have a double helping of newbies in the Notnagoya basho?

    • I like the Notnagoya moniker. Great question about retirees and maezumo. I assume they will just have to wait. Toyonoshima will still be on the banzuke but he, and anyone else who quits beforehand, will not compete.

    • I haven’t been to Nagoya basho and while I was originally looking to go there this year, that won’t happen now;) However I think due to the general weather conditions any basho in July or August will be sweaty, unless maybe they move it to Sapporo ;)

      • It’s generally a bit strange that they choose the venue without air conditioning for the basho in the hottest month!

      • You bring up a good point. Will this be a one-time change (likely) or will they use the opportunity to modify the schedule long term?

        • Can they modify the venue? (Weren’t they more or less considering their options re that a year or so ago?)

          • I don’t think they can do it so easily. Pretty sure it’s owned by someone else and they book the venue for the tournament.

    • The banzuke will definitely stay as it is. People retire between basho and even as it is the banzuke includes Sokokurai and Toyonoshima, so a few more retired guys are not going to cause any changes. If any sekitori retires it may cause pangs of “dammit, I could have been promoted” for the next in line on the heaven/hell border, but I think it’s not very likely, and I think it it won’t be unprecedented.

      The guys who were supposed to do their shin-deshi kensa will do it for July, and that’s when they’ll do their maezumo, and I think if there are any new recruits by then, they will just join in. It’s not as if the typical number of recruits for May and July together exceeds the number for March, and they still all end up ranked in the end.

    • Dude, I literally re-downloaded WOW like 5 days ago. I stopped playing in like 05-07.

      Desperate times indeed.

  3. The kyokai are oft-criticised but I think they got the decisions spot on around Osaka and they have made another good call for natsu and the basho formerly known as Nagoya

  4. Can someone explain the logic behind cancelling aki? We’re OK to fight in July but we won’t be three months later?

    • They didn’t cancel the tournament, they cancelled the jungyo tour. I don’t think any sport really has a plan for when they can have fans attend events quite yet.

    • They don’t want the rikishi and staff travelling around the country, potentially picking up the virus or bringing it to new regions. They probably also want to provide these locally-organised events some clarity and certainty, so they don’t start selling their tickets now and then have to recall them all and give refunds if the Kyokai has to pull the plug in August or September. It’s terrible being stuck with uncertainty and not knowing how to proceed, now they know. There has been no announcement made about the Aki basho in September, because tickets won’t go on sale until August and they handle the operation themselves. As long as they don’t sell tickets, they could cancel it the day before without really troubling anybody outside of their organisation except NHK.

      • To add, there is no point in a jungyo without fans in attendance. It isn’t on TV and the results don’t count, so if they aren’t sure if there can be people in the stands, just cancel it now before any more preparation goes ahead. They have also not determined that they will be fighting in July in Tokyo, but as I wrote above, now that they’ve declared it will be closed to the public with no tickets sold, they can cancel it even the day before without too much trouble. July’s basho is still very much threatened, don’t think that it’s confirmed to go.

  5. Could they hold the July basho outdoors? Go back to sumo roots? Do these locations have a dohyo or room for one?
    Ekoin Temple
    Tomioka Hachimango Shrine

    • They (used to) do some outdoor “basho” during jungyo but without fans, might as well hold it inside.

    • You specifically want to torture the rekishi? In July/August it can easily hit 35-40 degrees and thats in the shadow. The rikishi will be sweaty as hell long before they enter the dohyo and the poor judges who sit there for hours …

    • Considering the point will be to get a honbasho in the books in July with the least fuss possible, I’m not quite sure what objective would be fulfilled by having it anywhere but the Kokugikan…

    • Hmm, I didn’t consider the heat. Maybe start at 6am, take a break from 12-3 and end an hour later. Have a pop-up canopy ready for rain and A/C East and West tents with misting fans. It’s probably years of playing fighting video games that has me hoping for an interesting ‘stage’ background. A dohyo on a beach with Mt. Fuji in the background?

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