Over on Twitter, Chiganoura-oyakata, pictured here in his traveling salesman days, had the brilliant idea to introduce all of his deshi and the staff of his stable. OK, let’s get going, we don’t want to keep him waiting any longer. Chop, chop!
First up, we’ve got a shot of all the wrestlers and the oyakata at the keiko-ba, where they’ve been practicing and working out since March. This crew is ready to get started and hoping for your support! He will introduce us to each one in turn, but first let’s start with the support staff.
First up, we’ve got the young yobidashi Hiroshi from Hiroshima Prefecture. Keep your eyes on the lookout for him during the Abema coverage. Let’s see if we can spot him and cheer him on.
Next up, I’m going to mix up Chiganoura’s order here and go for another on-doyho staff: the gyoji. Kimura Hideaki is from Hyogo Prefecture out near Kyoto. Pop Quiz: How does Kimura hold his gunbai? OK, I admit, old teachers’ trick. I made it a pop quiz because I forgot and I can cast my eye to the smart ones in the class to save me in the comments.
Now, for the behind-the-scenes support staff. We’ve got two hair dressers (床山) at Chiganoura. First up, the senior Tokoyama, Tokokatsu. Geez, Chiganoura, I must pass along a big thank you for the hiragana as a pronunciation guide. I’d have thought “Tokosho”. As we’ve discussed, shikona are crazy. Isn’t that right, Taiyo?
Back to business here. There are five ranks of hair dresser after the special tokuto (特等) at the top who handle the hair for Yokozuna. There is currently one. Tokokatsu is a first rank (一等) hair dresser and hails from Tokyo. First rank is actually at the top, so perhaps “First Class” is a better translation…I’m just not a big fan of class-based systems so I use “rank” instead. This is opposite of systems like those in martial arts that use “dan” with the first rank being the least experienced. Well, amazumo uses dan but let’s not go there. For hair dressers, we use “-tou.”
His junior partner, Tokosen, came from the other side of Tokyo Bay in Chiba. He is a third rank stylist. See, doesn’t that sound so much nicer than a “third class” stylist?
Chiganoura beya has two Sewanin. For an explanation of the two, I will point you to this article by John Gunning. To update that article, it looks like the current list only has ten sewanin filled and a full slate of eight wakaimonogashira.
As I mentioned, two of the sewanin are here in Chiganoura-beya. First up, we’ve got Rambo. Rambo Shosuke. Thanks again to Chiganoura for the pronunciation help there. Rambo is from Tokyo and fought for almost a quarter of a century. Almost 25 years of the heya life ended in 2013. His highest rank was makushita 13 but he did win two lower division yusho.
Hat-tip to the SumoDB and the fine work those contributors do to maintain that data. The Kyokai site shows the top ranks but it’s fantastic to see their career records.
Next, we’ve got Tochinoyama. He also comes from Tokyo. In his fighting days, Tochinoyama reached Makushita 2, on the cusp of becoming sekitori. That makushita joi is a beast. He got into the joi several times but finished on the edge with 3-4 records. His experience and Rambo’s are valuable for Chiganoura stable.
At his highest rank so far of Sandanme 42 West Wakahiroto has been in sumo for just over one year (an eventful year) and is charging up those ranks. Like Takakeisho, he’s an oshidashi specialist but he’s got something the Ozeki doesn’t…an ability to win some on the belt.
You may find the Banzuke Dashboard (under Data Tools) helpful for these. Click over onto the second tab and choose Chiganoura beya. Then you can click on the names of any of the wrestlers and the boxes at the bottom will reflect their wins and losses broken down by Kimarite.
Yuriki is another pusher-thruster, as you can likely tell from the photo. At Sandanme 55 West, he’s also at his highest rank. He comes from Tokyo and has been in sumo for a couple of years. He fell banzuke-gai shortly after joining but has stuck with it and looks to advance for a fourth straight tournament.
At Sandanme 46 East, we’ve got Taichiyama from Osaka. Another pusher-thruster with some ability to win on the belt, he has been as high as makushita 41 but had a rough streak at the end of last year. He turned it around back home in the silence. Can he start another push toward sekitori in Tokyo with the benefit of the extra time off?
At Jonidan 13 East we have Takataisho. Coming up on a decade in the game, Takataisho hails from the Chuo section of downtown Tokyo. He seems to favor fights the belt rather than bruising battles. His highest rank has been Sandanme 79.
Masunoyama is a talented and balanced wrestler from Chiba Prefecture. He’s a former sekitori who has unfortunately had injury troubles. He spent two years in the top division, even earning the fighting spirit prize. This tournament he will be at Sandanme 17 and a formidable challenge to any youngster hoping to advance.
Masutoo (hold onto that “oh” sound for another three beats) is from Hungary. He’s been as high as makushita 8 during his 15-year long career. He reached that peak just last year and will be hoping to claw his way back up toward the top of the division. This grappler has his eyes on sekitori status.
Takakento, or Mr. Thursday, has been close to the makushita joi but hasn’t quite cracked into it for a chance for promotion. He comes from hard-hit Kumamoto prefecture. At home as a pusher-thruster, another successful tournament may get him into the meat grinder.
Takagenji is quite the talent from Tochigi. He’s seen a lot in his young career: the dissolution of his former Takanohana beya in the aftermath of the Harumafuji/Takanoiwa drama, the banishment of his twin brother after another bullying scandal, and now the Coronavirus pandemic and shutdown. Can he get his head around these distractions and earn another trip into the top division? He’s won the Juryo yusho and may be the stable’s best grappler.
Takanosho is going places. He’s at his personal best rank at Maegashira 2 East after picking up a fighting spirit prize and jun-yusho in Osaka. He’s back close to home (Chiba prefecture) and he’ll be in the joi, battling all of the top talent. He lost to shinozeki Asanoyama but picked off my favorite, Shodai, on senshuraku. He’ll face Asanoyama in a rematch tomorrow and another contender in Mitakeumi on Day 2. How will the youngster do against Yokozuna? He’s had four months to ponder that question but no opportunities to prepare with the degeiko ban. You can be sure Hakuho and Kakuryu would have enjoyed making him roll around on the clay.
The Top Dog, the heyagashira, Ozeki Takakeisho comes from Hyogo Prefecture. Kadoban yet again due to injury, it will be a challenge to preserve his rank. He’s saved it once last week as Ozekiwake after having a kyujo tournament to rest. Can he go further this time and but together a yusho run? As Ozeki, the goal is not for a prolonged stint at the rank, you want to push for yusho and make it to Yokozuna. However, it’s far from certain whether such a one-dimensional pusher-thruster can make it there.
Lastly, I do want to give mention to the former Masudayama/former Chiganoura-oyakata who still serves as a consultant at Chiganoura beya as Tokiwayama-oyakata (left in the picture below).
I will try to compile a similar introduction for other stables. I see Naruto may have begun something similar.