Michinoku-beya Keiko


Herouth found a gem posted by the Sumo Kyokai over on Youtube. Kakuryu is the top dog at this stable after he moved over after the death of Izutsu oyakata in September 2019. The yokozuna has taken up-and-comer Kiribayama under his wing, helping him crack into the joi at Maegashira 3 for the upcoming Tokyo tournament. Kiribayama and his development are also the subject of an interview from Nikkan sports in the thread below.

Underlying this is the issue of the degeiko ban and how many top wrestlers are unable to practice with their peers close to their ranks. As Herouth has also reported, both yokozuna have expressed their worries publicly about how that lack of degeiko will impact their performance. Hakuho has Enho and Ishiura to practice with but neither could really be called a peer to the greatest Yokozuna to have climbed the dohyo? For Kakuryu, the timing means that perhaps this is a perfect moment to take on a beefier Kiribayama.

Now that Kiribayama is in the joi he is able to have these practice bouts with the Yokozuna, who completely outclasses him so far winning all bouts. The bit about doing 300 shiko stomps each day tells me I need to up my game, 10-fold. We’ll see what this does to my legs. The interview also touches on COVID and how Kiribayama, and really many sumo wrestlers, have become virtual recluses, rarely going out but for the essentials and only if wearing a mask. The death of Shobushi still weighs on the Kyokai.

The video opens at the stable’s entrance with a close-up of the wood sign. When Tokyo opens back up, I hope to go visit and will take a selfie from out front. Once inside, the video zooms in to a wooden sign with the shikona of the staff and wrestlers, starting with Michinoku oyakata on the right. Next are the coaches Tatsutayama- and Urakaze-oyakata, yokozuna Kakuryu, makuuchi Kiribayama and makushita wrestler, Yuki. Then we see Michinoku-oyakata’s yusho banner from Hatsu 1991, when he was an Ozeki fighting under the shikona Kirishima.

In that title run he beat a young maegashira by the name of Akebono and finished things off with three yokozuna scalps in a row, Asahifuji (Isegahama), Onokuni (Shibatayama), and Hokutoumi (The Great Octogon, Hakkaku). Unfortunately Chiyonofuji and fellow Ozeki Konishiki were kyujo. (You’re damn straight I’d put that picture up on the wall by the front door. Shoot, I’d carry it with me to the grocery store.) Then we see the man himself, wearing a proper facemask, not one of the gov’t issue postage stamps, as he presides over keiko. The man in black appears regal on his floral zabuton. If Kiribayama wins a bout over Kakuryu will he throw it? I would. Enjoy!

Update (7/9/2020)

The Kyokai posted another practice video to Youtube! I will add further videos here, too if there are more updates…rather than create a new post for each one. Also, Herouth brings us more news in the degeiko-ban saga with Kakuryu’s appeal as the head of the players’ union. Lack of rigorous practice may increase injury risk, especially for those at small stables.

3 thoughts on “Michinoku-beya Keiko

  1. “ … only wearing a mask”

    I know these guys are used to being seen near naked, but they could at least put some underpants on when they go outside.

  2. I watched this last night, it was fascinating. It struck me how little actual instruction went on. I wonder if other sessions typically have more interaction between the rikishi/coaches, or do people just learn by observing?


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