Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Days 5 and 6

I didn’t have enough time to post yesterday, but no matter. As we have seen, in the lower divisions, “rounds” are split over two days each, so I will just cover the whole “round 3”, days 5 and 6, together. So lots of matches today. The matches will be mixed, and the order haphazard, but no worries, it’s sumo!

Jonokuchi

So we start with our usual appetizer, contradicting myself. I said “it’s sumo”, but Hattorizakura isn’t, really. He is just there to remind us what most of us would look like if we tried to do sumo against professionals who weren’t letting us win.

Lucky winner of the day, on the left, Chiyotensho.

Now, if the Shikihide beya star had only let his hips drop a bit, he may just have made this look a bit more sumo-ish.

I covered the unfortunately-named Isegahama recruit, but so far I didn’t cover their other one of the same generation, Kazunofuji. So on the left we have Nagahara from Shibatayama, and on the right, Kazunofuji.

Unlike Yaotsufuji, who has the sumo size, Kazunofuji seems to be the next link in the Isegahama chain of talented pixies.

Last, we continue with Yutakanami, the Tatsunami guy who is coming back from a long kyujo. He won his first two matches, and stands on the left, facing Kotokino, with the same standing.

Yutakanami is not taking any prisoners, and gives Kotokino the Darth Vader death choke, keeping himself in the run for a second attempt at a Jonokuchi yusho.

Jonidan

We start with Satonofuji, the 43 years old. His opponent today is just over a third of his age, at 15. He is Matsumoto, from Shikoroyama beya, and his single ranked basho so far was pretty good (5-2). Matsumoto on the left, Satonofuji on the right, both 1-1.

“Hello, my name is Satonofuji Hisashi. You made me crouch twice. Prepare to die.”

In the next match, we have Ayaminato from, yes, Minato beya, on the left. On the right, we have the stick insect from Kokonoe beya, the wrestler who is thinner than Hattorizakura, Chiyotaiyo. Both are 1-1.

And I hope now you understand why I like this guy despite the fact that he won’t be graduating from Jonidan, or Sandanme at most, as long as he doesn’t stuff at least half the amount of food consumed by the other two Kinoshitas*  from Kokonoe beya into his belly every day. That was a wonderful display of both technique and stamina, and with just 10kg more, it would have ended differently.

(* Chiyootori and Chiyomaru’s real surname is Kinoshita. So is Chiyotaiyo’s. But they are not related)

Now we pay a visit to Hakuho’s uchi-deshi clan. This time, Senho, on the right, vs. Asahijo, from Asahiyama beya, on the left. They are both 1-1.

He still has a long way to go, but I don’t think Jonidan is his final resting place.

Next we move to the ancient Hanakaze. This time he meets Hokutosato from Hakkaku beya. Hanakaze’s initial win came through a rather obliging inexperienced opponent. This time, he meets a more seasoned rikishi. Hanakaze is on the left. Both 1-1.

No consideration for the elderly, I tell you. Hokutosato made Hanakaze really work for that one.

The last in the 1-1 bracket is Kirameki, the future president, whose backbone seems to have miraculously survived that bout with Shishi in the second round. He is meeting Tochinoshima, from Kasugano beya.

Ah, that was a rookie mistake. Rikishi are usually trained not to use their hands to block falls or re-balance. Following instincts is not a sumo survival trait. Kirameki now 1-2 and will need to rally. The kimarite, by the way, is hatakikomi.

As a side note, I suspect that some rookie mistakes, rikishi bloopers…

…and even things like dame-oshi and inappropriate celebrations etc. may be due to the fact that Sumo School is not taking place at this time. Normally, Rikishi have to go to sumo school every day in their first half year, but due to the COVID regulations, they don’t. That’s exactly the place where you learn this stuff (as well as calligraphy, kimono folding, interaction with fans, and… sex education?)

OK, let’s move on to the 2-0 bracket, and we have a lot of familiar names here. First up, Hagiwara, the half-Turkish pianist of Naruto beya, on the left, vs. Wakaikki (no, it’s not a Hawaiian name, I wish) from Nishonoseki beya.

It takes him two seconds to realize there is no challenge here. Hagiwara 3-0.

Up next, Hozan, the eldest Naya (technically, they have a fourth, older brother, who is in pro wrestling, and actually calls himself “Big Prince Naya”), on the left, vs. Miyakojima from Minezaki beya.

Miyakojima is doing backwards sumo. Hozan now 3-0.

So how is our Ukrainian, Shishi? On the left, he faces Chiyotaiho (not to be mistaken with Chiyotaiyo, Chiyotaiko, or Chiyotaisei… Jeez, Kokonoe oyakata, Japanese has 40-something syllables, use them!)

It’s a bit strange to see Shishi stick his head into his opponent’s body, which is usually a technique only done by wrestlers who judge themselves weaker than their opponent, and also looks a bit strained when you’re much taller than your opponent. But Shishi is now 3-0.

The other new Naruto beya hope, Ofukusawa, is here on the right, facing Wakaseido from Asahiyama beya.

Now, that was proper use of the head-plant tactic. But to no avail. Ofukusawa looks like somebody who has spent some time with Kotooshu.

And here are a bunch of 2-0 guys from Tatsunami beya:

Right: Shori. Left: Akiyama (Hakkaku):

Left: Yukiamami. Right – Onagaya (Shikoroyama):

That’s more challenging, but the Tatsunami man prevails.

Our next man is also from Tatsunami beya – where it seems they are not just settling for the success of Meisei, Hoshoryu and Akua, but also raise some serious youngsters. But unfortunately for Hitenryu, his opponent is Hokuseiho, the Miyagino beya deputy ogre. I think you’ll be able to tell which is which.

Surprise! Hokuseiho is actually able to finish a match without pushing his opponent off the dohyo or smashing his face!

Really, if he can keep it up and show some respect for his opponents, and improve that ridiculous tachiai, it would be nice to follow his career.

Sandanme

We are still at Miyagino beya, with Toma, who is 1-1, facing Kaorufuji from Kasugano beya.

Toma demonstrates the difference between a malicious extra shove and an unintended one. He also looks more like himself, and improves to 2-1.

Next we have Dewanoumi’s young Mongolian, Dewanoryu (left), who is 1-1 due to some ring rust on day 1. He faces Kaizen from Asakayama beya.

Flashy, but works.

Masunoyama, who is working hard at making a comeback “bigger than Terunofuji’s”, is here on the right, with 1-1, vs. Daikisho from Oitekaze beya.

Whoa, he is gasping for air there. And I don’t see any particular impact to his chest. The old heart issue?

Here is Kasugaryu, the second oldest bow twirler, and we are now into the 2-0 bracket. On the left, Taranami from Tatsunami beya.

Kasugaryu looks rejuvenated. Is it the transfer to Tomozuna beya? The long rest instead of doing the jungyo rounds with Hakuho? He is 3-0 now, and well, a yusho is not out of the question…

Highlight match

On the left, we have Takeoka, winner of last basho’s Jonidan yusho. On the right – Hayatefuji from Isegahama beya. Hayatefuji had a really challenging bout to earn the 2-0 score, and today he faces a challenge of talent rather than weight.

Hayatefuji is definitely happy about this one. An emphatic nod of the head and that little fist pump. 3-0. Takeoka won’t have back-to-back yusho.

Nihonyanagi, the man with the Jonokuchi yusho in his past, on the left, takes on Kotokiyama from Sadogatake beya.

Definite “get off my lawn” moment there.

Up next, Sakurai, of the famous Naruto beya trio, on the left. His opponent is Oka, from Minato beya. Some of you may remember him as Minatoryu, who used to serve as Ichinojo’s jungyo tsukebito, and his practice dummy (with marks on his throat to prove it).

As befits a man who practices daily witha kaibutsu, Oka gives Sakurai a run for his money. You see Sakurai employing the head plant tactic. Sakurai, BTW, is 184cm tall.

And if we are already at Naruto beya, here is Marusho, on the right. On the left we have Roman, from Tatsunami beya. He is a bit of an oddball – he has sumo, but not great sumo, and there was that strange kyujo he had from which he returned with shortened hair.

Ugh. Looks like Marusho got his eye. I hope it’s just a superficial scratch.

We’ve met Tosamidori already – the guy with almost more kyujo than career. Here he faces Saionji from Shikihide beya, one of the better performers of that heya. Tosamidori on the right.

And Tosamidori improves to 3-0. He is doing it again…

Finally, Hokutenkai, the Mongolian man with the not-Yokozuna uncle, on the left, opposite Chionokatsu.

Hokutenkai is generally a tsuki-oshi wrestler, and indeed this ends with an oshidashi, but as you can see, if he needs to grab a belt, he’ll do that.

Makushita

We start with the “losing bracket” – those who lost their two previous matches, and are still looking for their shonichi. One of those is Wakatakamoto, Wakatakakage’s and Wakamotoharu’s big brother. On the left, he meets Kawamoto from Kasugano beya.

Another one in the unfortunate bracket is Masutoo the man from Hungary. His opponent today is Hokutsubasa from Hakkaku beya, who attacks from the right.

Poor Attila. He had a nice comeback at the time he served as the evil twin’s tsukebito, and is probably one of the only two people to miss him at the heya.

The other one is Takagenji, here on the left. His opponent is Jokoryu. Those two occupy the top positions in Makushita. They need a kachi-koshi to get back to Juryo. But here they are, with 0-2 each.

He had to work at it, but finally Takagenji salvages a white star. Jokoryu, however, is 0-3, and can’t lose any of his remaining matches if he wants to feel silk against his skin any time soon.

One bracket up, the next few matches are between wrestlers who are 1-1. The first of them is the Tokitsukaze (formerly Nakagawa) hope, Yoshii, on the right. His opponent is Yamatoarashi, from Shikoroyama beya.

Yamatoarashi seems very pleased with himself.

Fukai from Takasago beya, on the left, meets Keitenka, Onomatsu beya, on the right:

Fukai is not taking any prisoners.

Here is the third of the Naruto trio, Oshoryu, on the left. And we have also met Tsukahara, from Kasugano beya, on the right.

Splat goes Tsukahara, 2-1 goes Oshoryu.

So… we covered Hanakaze, we need to cover his apprentice, Kitadaichi. On the right, facing Genkaiho from Otake beya.

I guess his skills on the sewing machine are slightly better than those on the dohyo.

One guy we haven’t seen for a while is Amakaze, from Oguruma beya, on a long recovery from injury. His progress has been slow so far, but he finally made it back to Makushita, and he keeps at it. He is on the left, and Kaito, from Asakayama beya, is on the right.

Kaito doesn’t pose much of a problem for Amakaze, who is now 2-1.

I have introduced Suzuki, the man who was never make-koshi, from Fujishima beya, in a previous installment. This match is the last in the 1-1 bracket, and in it, he meets Amanoshima, one of the many Shimane prefecture rikishi at Hakkaku beya. Suzuki is on the left.

Suzuki improves to 2-1.

Up in the 2-0 bracket, another famous chanko chef… what do I mean “another”? The best chanko-cho in the sumo world, even better than Hanakaze, is Itadaki, from Isenoumi beya. Unlike Hanakaze, he is only 28 and has some sumo – which is why he is in Makushita. He is also half Canadian, but grew up in Japan. He is on the right, and Aozora (“Azure Sky”) from Kasugano beya on the left.

Aozora doesn’t care about great achievements in the kitchen, and goes 3-0 at the expense of Itadai.

And one of those who enjoy Itadaki’s meals is Narutaki, his heya-mate, who is known as a gregarious person, who is not afraid of speaking in English. His shikona, by the way, is the name of a famous tram station in the neighborhood he grew up in in Kyoto. It means “Singing Waterfall”. Well, the waterfall-cum-tram-station is on the left. Dewataikai is on the right.

Dewataikai tries to change direction at the edge, but Narutaki keeps the chase and is rewarded with a 3-0.

We are back to Asahisho, the singing old former sekitori from Tomozuna beya, on the left, and Terasawa, the rabitless rikishi from Takasago, on the right.

(Sorry, the video is missing the Tachiai)

Terasawa is 3-0. Could it be the leporine influence was only hindering him?

We are reaching the big guns of the division. Murata on the left, Kitanowaka on the right.

Murata mows Kitanowaka like he was a Jonidan wrestler. Kitanowaka out of the yusho race. Murata still in.

The youngest Naya, Mudoho, is on the left. His opponent is Tokunomusashi, from Musashigawa beya.

Is it the Takatoriki blood or the Taiho blood? Mudoho 3-0, also in the yusho race.

Our next Naya is on the right. He is facing my man from Kochi-ken, Chiyonoumi. (Video from VK. If it is not working for you, try turning off your ad blocker).

Chiyonoumi is going backwards, but this time the gambles pays off, and Prince Naya is the only Naya to lose this round. Chiyonoumi 3-0.

Finally, the match you have all been waiting for:

On the left, Takakento, first assistance to Ozeki Takakeisho. On the right, Ura, a guy who still has Harumafuji’s arm in a display cupboard somewhere in Kise beya.

There goes another limb… no? Well, an oshidashi then. Ura is 3-0, and will meet Chiyonoumi from the match above tomorrow.

Juryo

Sorry, I don’t have time for commentary on the Juryo matches, so I’ll just leave the embeds here for your enjoyment:

Day 5:

Day 6:

5 thoughts on “Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Days 5 and 6

  1. Honestly, someone managing to stay in a grapple with Mudoho for like 3 seconds is about as much as he’s been tested so far in this one.

  2. I’m assuming calling Chiyotensho lucky was his torikumi luck in getting drawn with everyone favorite hapless adult son Hattorizakura, because let’s face it, beating him doesn’t require luck.

    • Yes, indeed. In any stage of the competition, there are several rikishi with zero wins. One of them is has the fortune to be matched with Hattorizakura.

  3. Wow, that Chiyotaiyo fight was epic. Somebody needs to buy him a case of protein shakes…
    Shishi’s still lookign very promising!

  4. I really enjoy these. Thanks, Herouth! I’ve been watching Marusho for awhile (I keep an eye on Niigata rikishi, having lived there for 3 years). He’s still pretty young but he’s been really consistent in scoring strong kachi-koshi. I could see him making it up to sekitori in the next couple years.

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