Ah, can you hear that clicking noise? Its the sound of Team Tachiai setting up rapid fire refresh on the Japan Sumo Association’s web page. Some time in the next few hours, they will publish the ranking sheet for this July’s sumo tournament, which will return to Nagoya. This marks the first basho since the early day’s of the pandemic to be held outside of Tokyo. In spite of strong political and cultural headwinds, Sumo is making an enormous effort to return to some semblance of normal, and I applaud them for it. Thus far the NSK has demonstrated that they can safely conduct a tournament without having them become super-spreader events.
The tournament in Nagoya will be a massive challenge to their track record. Lessons learned over the past 18 months indicate the little bastard that is SARS-COV-2 loves poorly ventilated, heavily populated indoor spaces. This describes the venue in Nagoya perfectly. I am hoping against hope they have found some way to lesson the risk.
Sumo fans are exceptionally excited for July, as it marks the return of Yokozuna Hakuho to competition, after taking an extended medical leave to have significant repair work done to his lower body. He and his oyakata have tabled this his “make or break” tournament. Lined up against that are potential Yokozuna promotions for both Terunofuji, and (if you squint and look at it out of the corner of your eye) Takakeisho. It has the ingredients for being a tumultuous tournament. I can’t wait.
Check back later today for all of the details around July’s ranks.