Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 4

We are off to the second day of the second round. And in addition to the matches themselves, we also have a few bloopers. Kind of. Let’s begin at the beginning.


No visit in Jonokuchi will be complete without Hattorizakura, right? So today, the lucky opponent is Mabuchi, from Musashigawa beya. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which one is which.

Surprise, surprise, Mabuchi wins by yori-kiri.

OK, on to actual sumo wrestlers. The unfortunately-named Yaotsufuji from Isegahama beya (right), meets Taniguchi from Tagonoura beya. Both won in their respective first matches.

This is good sumo, especially given that this is Jonokuchi. Yaotsufuji seems frustrated.

Next, we have Yutakanami from Tatsunami beya. Quick reminder: first ranked basho November 2019. Was tied with the yusho winner. Went kyujo for two straight basho, had to redo his maezumo in July. Won his first match. On the right, Chiyoyamato, one of the fresh recruits for Kokonoe beya.

Yutakanami is definitely “one to watch”.


We start with 50 years old Hanakaze. This time his opponent is not some youngster, but 38 years old Shinzan, from Takasago beya, who is known as Kakuryu’s head tsukebito (and was Asashoryu’s tsukebito in his day). Hanakaze on the left, Shinzan on the right.

A mere youth compared to Hanakaze, Shinzan still has enough mobility for this to be a non-contest.

But actually, the interesting part about this match was what happened before it. 19 year old yobidashi Yuma was calling the names of the wrestlers. The problem with Hanakaze’s shikona is that the “kaze” is actually written with the kanji for “blow”  (吹 – as in wind blowing). Most Japanese wouldn’t read that as “kaze”, but as “fuku”, or “fuki” or some sort of “fu”. It’s rare to see it in kanji combinations.

Hanakaze found it hard to suppress his laughter (nice pic here).

Hey, I did promise bloopers.

On we go to our half-Turkish pianist, Hagiwara from Naruto beya (left), who met Asadoji from Takasago beya today.

Hagiwara is not beating about the bush.

One of my favorite wrestlers is Chiyotaiyo from Kokonoe beya. But he lingers in Jonidan, despite his agility and good technique. The reason will be clear as soon as you play the video. Chiyotaiyo is the one on the left. On the right, Yukiamami from Tatsunami beya. Both won their respective first matches.

Yes, that’s right. Chiyotaiyo is thin. Very thin. Emaciated, even. I swear he is thinner than Hattorizakura at the moment. I wonder if Kokonoe oyakata can borrow Kakuryu for a while, so that he can sit near the boy and puppy-eye him into eating 3 bowls of rice per meal, like he did with Kiribayama.

Next, we have a Naya. His two younger brothers did their second round matches yesterday, and it’s Hozan’s turn today. With one win under his belt, he faces Hatachijo, from Yamahibiki beya.

I swear any rikishi whose shikona ends in “jo” is huge. We’ll see an even bigger one when we get to Sandanme. But anyway, Hozan is unperturbed. He is now 2-0.

Jonidan Highlight Match

This match pits the Ukrainian Shishi on the left, with several years of international amateur sumo under his mawashi, against the future president of Bolivia, Kirameki, who has experience as a Greco-Roman wrestler. Both 1-0 at this point. Who will prevail?

Ouch. That looked painful. In fact, Kirameki should not have tried to wrap his knees around Shishi. This is not pro-wrestling. There are other ways to make it hard to carry you around. It’s this attempt that caused him to fall in this unhealthy way.

This match also followed a blooper. The two were so eager to get on with it, they forgot to do their sonkyo (ceremonial crouch), and the gyoji had to remind them.

Next up, Hokuseiho, Hakuho’s new prodigy. On the left, Asahanshin (Takasago beya).

I told you I don’t like this boy, and you can see why. That was a flagrant dame-oshi, and indeed, you can see the shimpan reprimanding him for it before he leaves. If only the guy could learn better things from Hakuho. Like, how to do a proper tachiai, how to penetrate his opponent’s arms quickly, and how to keep his mawashi lower than his opponent despite being taller than him…


We start with Kasugaryu, the former bow-twirler, who seems to be thriving at his new heya (Tomozuna). He is on the left, and Kiyota from Dewanoumi beya is on the right. Kiyota is slightly less than half Kasugaryu’s age at 17.

Whoa. Looks like serving Hakuho that long rubs off some technique on one.

I think we have met Takeoka, from Oguruma beya, who won the Jonidan yusho last basho. Today he faces Kotoryusei from – you know it – Sadogatake beya. Takeoka on the right.

Ungh. We have our first henka, ladies, gentlemen and others. And it’s not even one of those decisive ones that make you laugh and then feel ashamed of yourself.

Next, a talent who also won Jonokuchi yusho in his first ranked basho – Nihonyanagi, from Onomatsu beya. Unfortunately, he was kyujo through most of the July basho, so his progress was held back a bit. His opponent is Kakutaiki, one of the members of the former Izutsu beya who transferred to Michinoku when Izutsu died. Nihonyanagi on the left, Kakutaiki on the right.

Choo-choo… locomotive passing through…

Remember the three leaders of Naruto beya, Oshoryu, Marusho and Sakurai? We have seen Marusho yesterday, and today we have Sakurai. His progress through the ranks got delayed mostly due to an injury that sent him kyujo back in Kyushu 2019. He is on the right, and Musashiumi (from Fujishima beya, not Musashigawa beya – at least, not the current one) on the left.

Sakurai can still do good sumo, despite that evil-looking brace on his knee.

There are some wrestlers who never go kyujo, like Ikioi or Tamawashi. And then there are those, like Tosamidori, whom we are about to watch, who spend almost half their career kyujo. I was about to write a long description, but instead, take a look at his SumoDB page. When he is not off surfing the kyujo sea, he collects lower division yusho, or at least kachi-koshi. He has only been make-koshi twice when not kyujo.

We should really keep our fingers crossed that the pattern does not repeat, as he is in Sandanme again. He is on the right, and Mitotsukasa (Irumagawa beya, I kind of expected him to be from Nishikido with that shikona) is on the left.

Tosamidori now 2-0.

Finally, I did promise you an even bigger rikishi whose name ends in “jo”. This is Dewanojo. You may remember him as Mitakeumi’s tsukebito during jungyo (remember jungyo?).

Dewanojo, like Orora in the past, and several others, serves the part of an “immovable object”. They survive in Sandanme without much sumo skill other than good balance, because only talented rikishi are able to topple them. So today, Dewanojo serves as a touchstone for Hayatefuji’s talent. Will the Isegahama beya rising star be able to solve the puzzle?

The test took quite some time. I couldn’t find footage of the whole match except on Twitter, and since Twitter only allows up to 2:20 minute videos, the OP had to split this one in two.

Poor Hayatefuji ends up looking like he had an especially grueling kawaigari session. Which he kind of did. I hope somebody at the heya gave him something nice for this heroic effort, as life is not fair, and on the hoshitori, this only gave him one white star, same as any 5-second match.


With his brothers, Wakamotoharu and Wakatakakage, in Juryo and Makuuchi respectively, how close is Wakatakamoto, the eldest, to realizing the family dream and becoming a sekitori himself? Well, starting off with 0-1 was not a good foot forward, for sure. He is here on the right. His opponent is Suzuki, from Fujishima beya – a wrestler who never had a make-koshi so far.

Big brother Wakatakamoto seems to lack a certain something that his younger brothers possess. Sense of balance, perhaps, or strong legs. It’s Suzuki’s day.

We now come to the leader of Naruto beya, which we mentioned above – Oshoryu. Having lost his first match, he faces Daiseido from Kise beya. Oshoryu on the left. Remember, this guy believes he is in a rivalry with Takakeisho.

Well, he did win that one. But if he keeps pulling like that, he won’t be able to renew that rivalry for a long, long time.

Tsukahara, from Kasugano beya, lost to Yago on Day 1. Can he regroup? He is facing Tsushimanada from Sakaigawa beya. Tsukahara on the right.

One of my hobbies is to giggle at the TV announcers calling the wrong kimarite. This was a tsukidashi, not an oshidashi. Tsukahara now 1-1.

We once again meet Fukai, who won the Sandanme yusho in the July basho. The Takasago man is 1-0, and he faces Asahisho from Tomozuna beya. Asahisho has sekitori experience, and was even in Makuuchi for a bit. But he has stuck around in Makushita for ages, and is now known more for his singing in senshuraku parties than for his sekitori days (I think he even makes an appearance in Kyokutaisei’s movie). Fukai on the right, the venerable Asashisho on the left.

Newton’s laws cause Asahisho to bounce off and lose his own footing, but that doesn’t change the laws of sumo, and he still wins this one. Fukai is out of the Makushita yusho race (probably).

Finally, we have Yago, who won against Tsukahara on day 1, wanting to bounce back to Juryo. Standing in his way there is Takakento, Takakeisho’s lead tsukebito. Yago left, Takakento right.

One of the advantages of the ban on degeiko is that lower-ranking rikishi get to practice with sekitori from their heya, who would normally prefer to go on degeiko and practice against sekitori. This is especially true for decent Makushita rikishi, and even more so for those who serve as tsukebito, as part of a sekitori’s duties to his tsukebito is to assist in his training.

I think Takakento is making very good use of this high availability of Takakeisho. We may see him up in Juryo before Takagenji finds his bearings again.


  • Kitaharima has no shame.
  • Nishikifuji looks like he has no intention of going back to Makushita any time soon.
  • Each of Chiyonokuni’s matches is a wonderful show of sumo. This time, Hakuyozan matched with great sumo of his own.
  • Akiseyama is nobody’s fool. He made very good use of Midorifuji’s short lack of balance due to his attempt at a leg trip. But it was good work by the Isegahama deputy pixie.
  • Chiyootori seems to be past his sell-by date.
  • Veteran Kyokushuho seems to have lost steam.
  • Chiyootori’s brother also seems to be running out of stamina. Kotonowaka didn’t fall in any of the traps, and eventually won by youth. It wasn’t a good Kokonoe day in Juryo.
  • Wakamotoharu didn’t do his homework. He just fell into Nishikigi’s arms. In Makuuchi, everybody knows that Nishikigi can’t ottsuke, raise one of his arms with a deep sashi, and neutralize his strength. Wakamotoharu will have to learn.

3 thoughts on “Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 4

  1. I previously described Hattorizakura’s métier as performance art, but it might better be termed nonperformance art.

    You expressed my thoughts on Nishikifuji and Chiyonokuni well. Chiyonokuni threw everything at Hakuyozan, but the bigger man proved to be an immovable object.

  2. They made the yobidashi correct himself? That’s hilarious. “Na, dude. It’s HanaKAZE. Now, do it right. No, no, no. Not just him. From the top. C’mon, G. This is a professional outfit. Now make it look like you weren’t out with Abi last night.”

    I smell kyujo for Chiyotaiyo, sadly. That fall nearly snapped him in half…the hard way…like a wishbone with no winner.

    You called it on the Shishi/Kirameki bout. Wow. That was a great one with one hell of an ending.

    Tosamidori made the smart choice by changing his shikona. Invoking the greatness of Tosa (and awesome Kochi) will improve his fortune.

    Hayatefuji!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What are you doing in a yotsu battle with Dewanofuji??? Run and gun oshi, man! He’s won 100+ bouts with yorikiri, yoritaoshi, and kimedashi — which he was trying to do to you. He’s lost to oshidashi more than twice as many times as he’s won with it.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.