Tokyo July Basho Day 5 Highlights

We’ve had some nerves and sloppy sumo to start the tournament but we’ve also had some great sumo as four yusho winners lead the pack coming into Day 5. By now at the end of Act One, that rust should be brushed away. Asanoyama has proven to be stainless steel and Hakuho must have been bathing in WD-40 since March because he’s dominant and he’s winning without the tricks, dame-oshi or dirty play that had earned him a bit of derision over the past year. These two are at the top of the heap and the top of their game. Will they close out the first third of the tournament still in the lead? This day is one to stay until the end, that’s for sure.

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko (4-1) defeated Tobizaru: The flying monkey visits from Juryo to take on Kotoeko. A bit too nervous and outmatched by Kotoeko, who’s on a hot streak. Kotoeko got under his armpits and looked to drive him back and out. Tobizaru wriggled free from Kotoeko’s grip but Kotoeko was able to use his right arm to execute a throw.  Sukuinage.

Nishikigi (2-3) defeated Chiyomaru (0-5): Winless Chiyomaru got the advantage on the initial charge, thrusting Nishikigi back to the edge. The tawara gave Nishikigi the resistance he needed and Chiyomaru tried a pull but Nishikigi used the change in direction to charge forward and force Chiyomaru out. Oshidashi.

Wakatakakage (2-3) defeated Kotoyuki (1-4): Wakatakakage defeated Kotoyuki at his own game. A strong charge at the outset earned the youngster superior position in the center of the dohyo. He kept up the pressure on Kotoyuki who countered with his own thrusts but Kotoyuki was never able to get enough power in those thrusts to back Wakatakakage out. Instead, Wakatakakage wore out the penguin and pushed him out. Oshidashi.

Takayasu (3-2) defeated Terunofuji (4-1): Yesterday, Takayasu faced Kotoshogiku. Today, the former Ozeki got another former Ozeki in Terunofuji and again came out victorious. At the charge, Terunofuji tried reaching in for that belt but Takayasu fought against it and shoved Terunofuji away. Takayasu re-engaged, securing both hands on Terunofuji’s belt. While Terunofuji tried to get purchase with his left hand, Takayasu began backing him up until he was fully stood against the tawara. Terunofuji recognized that he was done and stepped out. Yorikiri.

Kotoshoho (5-0) defeated Shohozan (0-5): Shohozan baited Kotoshoho into a false start. Shohozan charged fiercely at the tachiai and added a slap for good measure. Kotoshoho was unphased, however. He pivoted and used Shohozan’s hard charging ways against him with a well-executed throw. Kotenage.

Tochinoshin (3-2) defeated Sadanoumi (2-3): Tochinoshin drove forward into Sadanoumi but Sadanoumi stayed composed, got a solid grip and started forcing the Georgian Giant back. Tochinoshin pivoted and brought the action to the edge of the ring where he grabbed Sadanoumi by the butt cheek and forced him over the edge. Tsukiotoshi.

Kotoshogiku (4-1) defeated Shimanoumi (1-4): A strong showing from Kotoshogiku today. A quick blast driving Shimanoumi back and wrapping him up. He attempted a throw which Shimanoumi resisted but some strong gabburi action got Shimanoumi stumbling backwards and out. Yoritaoshi.

Myogiryu (5-0) defeated Kotonowaka (3-2): Myogiryu charged forward, always the aggressor. He kept Kotonowaka at arms length, never allowing access to his mawashi and driving action. Kotonowaka briefly slipped to the side and had a chance but Myogiryu recovered at the edge, turned back around, and drove Kotonowaka back and out. Oshidashi.

Ikioi (2-3) defeated Kaisei (2-3): A slim Ikioi drove forward into Kaisei with both arms under his armpits. Kaisei resisted with his own grip but Ikioi charged again. At the edge it seemed Kaisei’s leg gave but the official call was an underarm throw but I couldn’t see what that right arm was doing. Anyone have the opposite view? Shitatenage.

Tamawashi (4-1) defeated Ishiura (1-4): Ishiura’s predictable henka attempt put him halfway toward the edge of the dohyo and Tamawashi was more than happy to give him a single shove out. Ishiura needs a new schtick. There are plenty of other successful pixies who aren’t afraid to bring the action to their opponent. Oshidashi.

Chiyotairyu (3-2) defeated Terutsuyoshi (2-3): What did I say about successful pixies? Chiyotairyu gave a beautiful demonstration of how the Non-henka is supposed to work. One hand securing the belt, the other hand on the top of aite’s head. A strong pull with that right hand, in this case, and Terutsuyoshi was whipped around and thrown down. Uwatenage.


Hokutofuji (4-1) defeated Enho (2-3): Hokutofuji blasted Enho back at the tachiai. Enho seemed puzzled, not knowing how to attack. So Hokutofuji used that left oven mitt to decide for him. “Go back now.” He shoved Enho back to the tawara and down. Oshitaoshi.

Abi (3-2) defeated Tokushoryu (2-3): Classic Abi here. Right hand under the chin of Tokushoryu, forcing his head up and back. This gave Abi the clear advantage and he followed up with a convincing win, shoving Tokushoryu out quickly. Oshidashi.

Aoiyama (2-3) defeated Ryuden (1-4): Aoiyama with the advantage of a stronger tachiai, pushed Ryuden back to the straw bales. Ryuden tried his own shoves putting all of his might and weight into Aoiyama but getting no backward movement until…Aoiyama pulls beautifully and Ryuden rolls across the clay. Someone was asking about pulls after Takakeisho’s loss the other day. The timing is so crucial with a pull and Aoiyama timed it very well today. Hikiotoshi.

Takanosho (2-3) defeated Kagayaki (2-3): Kagayaki had the better force in the initial charge, moving forward strongly. Takanosho’s sidestep combined with Kagayaki’s slow recovery time allowed Takanosho to shift right and help Kagayaki out. Oshidashi.


Daieisho (3-2) defeated Yutakayama (0-5): This was an entertaining slapfest. Daieisho with the slight advantage but both wrestlers landed several haymakers. Daieisho’s were more effective, keeping Yutakayama on the ropes with slaps to the chin and the throat. Yutakayama pitched forward to counter and Daieisho landed a perfect left on Yutakayama’s shoulder, sending him tumbling across the dohyo. Tsukiotoshi.

Mitakeumi (5-0) defeated Endo (1-4): A great tachiai from both men, a nice blast. Endo tried to shove Mitakeumi back…it almost looked like he was going to try an oshi battle but got confused. While he tried to sort things out, Mitakeumi moved forward through the golden boy. Another Oshidashi. Oshidashi Day here in Tokyo.

Shodai (4-1) defeated Okinoumi (3-2): The best tachiai of the day? A Shodai bout? Na… Shodai slipped that left arm under Okinoumi’s armpit and whatever Okinoumi was trying to do was utterly irrelevant. Shodai continued turning while Okinoumi hopped along, trying to stay up but eventually hopping over the bales. Okinoumi didn’t meet clay but it was a throw. Sukuinage.

Asanoyama (5-0) defeated Kiribayama (1-4): Kiribayama slid to the side and channeled Harumafuji with his continued pressure. He wanted the spin of death to end things quickly but Asanoyama persevered. Twisting and turning, Kiribayama kept up a vigorous attack. Asanoyama was always able to maintain his balance and his composure. He countered by bringing the action back to the center and wearing Kiribayama down. Eventually, Asanoyama struck forcing Kiribayama out. The best sumo from Kiribayama this week. Sadly, not enough against the ozeki. The effort from both men combine for the bout of the day, enthusiastically appreciated by the crowd. Yorikiri.

Takakeisho (4-1) defeated Takarafuji (2-3): Another strong tachiai as skin-on-skin echoes through the Kokugikan. Takakeisho kept up the thrusts as Takarafuji was on the defensive, shifting about. Takakeisho worked Takarafuji back and several times tried the pull down. It wasn’t until the fourth attempt that his right hand found the top of Takarafuji’s head and pulled him down. Hatakikomi.

Hakuho (5-0) defeated Onosho (0-5): Onosho jumped the gun and the two reset. Hakuho got under there with both hands on the belt immediately. As he charged back Onosho got some resistance at the edge. Hakuho wasn’t having any of it and used that belt grip to throw Onosho forward to his doom. Uwatedashinage.

To follow on with Tim’s kimarite of the day, I’d have to go with that forceful yorikiri from Asanoyama. I know, yorikiri is the most common and therefore the dullest choice of kimarite of the day in the 1000-year history of sumo…but here we are. I liked it. He held on in a great battle and won. Boring technique? Not at all. Oshidashi’s the boring one.

29 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Day 5 Highlights

  1. Quality win by Takayasu today. Terunofuji wanted to brute force everything and Takayasu was having none of it.

    Tochinoshin is breaking out different tools from his toolbox to win and it’s great to see. It’ll mean that he’ll be competing for more bashos in the future.

    What a throw by Kotoshoho! Thunderous!

    I am intrigued by how little tape Kotoshogiku has on his knees this basho. He has support tape on both knees, but that’s it. It’s a stark contrast to how his knees have looked in the past and I’m betting the cancelled basho did him a world of good.

    Does Asanoyama have a checklist for the different types of sumo he’s going to feature in this basho? Good grief, what a defensive performance!

    • Terenofuji is not up to speed yet. He is only 28 – about the same age as Takayasu. Terenofuji has a much higher sumo plateau than Takayasu.

    • Maybe Kotoshogiku doesn’t have a lot of tape on his knees but his tachiai stance this basho is peculiar — very straight-legged — not like it was at Haru, where he was taped up and was squatting with knees fully bent.

      • You’re right, Kotoshogiku’s stance is weirdly cantilevered, and he hasn’t been doing that annoying arm rotation just before the tachiai. He looks much healthier. I’d like to see him bust out his old back-bend, but I guess that would be asking a bit much of him at his advanced sumo age.

  2. Effort of the day belongs to Kiribayama. Asanoyama won, but Kiri made him work for it. Great bout!

    • I feel bad for all of the rikishi at M1 and M2. They’ve thrown themselves into their matches with gusto and have nothing to show for it.

  3. Act One of this basho (as Bruce would call it) has been loads of fun and very exciting. And it has set the stage for a really intense Act Two. I can’t wait. (BTW, excellent work on the reporting, Andy! Much appreciated.)

    • Thank you! I’m usually half asleep for the first few…really getting into it by the time sanyaku rolls around.

  4. Just watched juryo and I gotta say, for all that people hate on Chiyoshoma’s sneaky tricks, there was none of that to criticize in his sumo today — just solid, tenacious, forward-directed yotsu-zumo. A really entertaining match!

  5. Young Kotoshoho’s performance prompted me to ask if anyone has won the Makuuchi yusho in his division debut. Turns out it did happen once, but you have to go back to 1914, when M14e Ryogoku won with a 9-0-1 record. Yes, this is so far back that the basho lasted only 10 bouts, and ties existed!

    Of course, the most famous modern near-miss is Ichinojo’s 13-2 jun-yusho in 2014, when the new M10e defeated two Ozeki and one Yokozuna before finally being halted by Hakuho. This performance vaulted him all the way up to Sekiwake.

      • Unfortunatly, with all due respect to fans of Ichinojo, i still have on the contrary a bit of some sour memory on his performance from that basho. 😦

        I do recognize he did quite a good performance in that basho, for a shin-maegashira. It was commendable. When you look at his slate of opponent, he mostly ran over pretty much every rikishi who were ranked around his rank (M10) back then.

        To slow him down, they gave him 5 opponents really higher than his normal ranking. 1 M3, 2 Ozeki and 2 yokozuna. And he beated 4 out of 5 of those opponent ! Only Hakuho stopped him…
        But….when i remember at how he won againts Kisenosato and Kakuryu back then…..i can’t stop myself from cringing a little.

        Here was his match againts Kisenosato:

        and here was his match againts Kakuryu:

        I mean…i get it he was a maegashira green horn and was probably terribly nervous to fight such a great Ozeki as Kisenosato and a proud Yokozuna like Kakuryu in a basho at such a early stage of his career but…..come on ! If you are given such an honor and an opportinity like this in your first first division basho, you got to at least show some respect to them for their ranks and also prove to yourself that you have the courage to tackle/face them head on. Not by pulling this kind of…..(insert unpleasant word here), while also chaining crappy matta’s over matta’s to play in their minds. That was a bit distastefull for me.

        Anyway, because of that, i still think that this basho should really have instead ended with a 11-4. Because he would have probably surely have lost againts Kisenosato and Kakuryu if he would have faced them head on.
        Which is still noneless quite an incredible feat of strengh i still must admit. I still think he really did a really great first starting basho back then. Just…..not as incredible as some other people might think.

      • I wish I was following sumo at the time! I’m still waiting for *that* Ichinojo to show up again; I guess we got a glimpse last March…

        • I thought he looked a bit better this basho, though a little more weight loss is probably called for. Back in the day, that man was a force of nature.

  6. Ah, numbers. I found myself thinking this through after reading in the first paragraph that “four yusho winners lead the pack” — umm, I make it three, unless you include rikishi one win off the pace. But if you did that, there would be SIX! Things are getting very hard to keep a grip on. It doesn’t seem that long ago that basho after basho started with four former winners. Then Kotoshogiku broke the spell, and today there are NINE former champions in the mix, and we actually started with TEN. And it’s only an eyeblink ago that Goeido hung up his mawashi.
    It’s getting much trickier to keep track of the rascals, that’s for sure!

  7. Wait, why is no one talking about that blatant head knob grab by Takakeisho? He had his fingers in Takarafuji’s hair and everything.

    (Uh, I just reminded myself about that Tochinoshin decision a while ago. Man, if standards were always this high, like they ruled in that case…)

    • Oh heavens, now I’m thinking about it too. And I would prefer not. (I’m sure Tochinoshin feels very much the same, even now.)


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