YDC approves Terunofuji’s promotion to Yokozuna

In its regular post-basho meeting on July 19th, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council unanimously approved the promotion of Ozeki Terunofuji to the rank of Yokozuna.

Following an approval by the NSK board and banzuke meeting, an acceptance ceremony will be held for the 73rd Yokozuna.

The expected procedure is:

  • July 21st – special board meeting, banzuke meeting, acceptance ceremony.
  • July 22nd – “tsuna uchi” – braiding of the new Yokozuna’s rope, and training the new Yokozuna to do the dohyo-iri.
  • July 23rd – first dohyo-iri at Meiji Grand Shrine in Tokyo

The schedule may be subject to changes, however, as July 23rd is also when the Olympic Games opening ceremony is to be held, near Meiji Grand Shrine, and some parts of the area may be closed off. On the other hand, COVID restrictions may render this point moot. We’ll keep our readers posted.


28 thoughts on “YDC approves Terunofuji’s promotion to Yokozuna

  1. I am thrilled. This is awesome and will hopefully extend his career by allowing him to address his injuries by going kyujo, without going kadoban or impacting his rank.

    • Well, I’m sure you’re already noticed on Twitter that I’m in a very sour mood about Muckuho. This sort of thought just exemplifies it. Terunofuji becomes Yokozuna, and the first thought that comes to mind is that yay, now he can abuse the rank just like the other guy is always doing. Mmm… no. I think it’s great that he became Yokozuna, and I hope he can keep his knees safe as much as possible, but I hope he doesn’t abuse the kyujo privilege.

      • It’s not abuse. As you said, it’s a kyujo privilege, well earned. While Takakeisho is forced to go kadoban and has dropped to Sekiwake before, Terunofuji has earned the right to address his injuries. We’ve all grimaced at Ikioi and others as they gamberize and second guess Kisenosato’s choice to participate and then withdraw time and time again. Hopefully Terunofuji learned better. People are already openly wondering whether his arm was newly injured in that kotenage. I don’t want another Kisenosato. If he hurt it and can come back 100% in November, only a fool would gamberize and take unnecessary risks in September. He went through this before with his agonizing decline from Ozeki to Juryo. Why do that again?

        • It’s not an earned privileges. Nobody goes to Terunofuji and tells him “you have now earned the right to go kyujo at will”. Quite the contrary – it’s an explicit part of the YDC charter to ensure that Yokozuna do not overdo this. It’s just a byproduct of the fact that Yokozuna can’t be demoted. Now, if you go kyujo here and there, it’s not more abusive than kadoban. But saying that this is the reason why it’s good he became a Yokozuna? I don’t think so.

          • I didn’t say it was the reason it’s good he became Yokozuna. It will extend his career. And that is undeniably a good thing. We’ve been worried about his ticking timebomb knees as well as his diabetes. And now people wonder about the arm. Promotion is not the end of his story. He doesn’t have to push it or take unnecessary risks with his health. I sure as heck wouldn’t even worry about “abuse” of the privilege at this point. But with recent cautionary tales of Kisenosato, Kakuryu and even Hakuho demonstrate that it is an effective tool and should be managed well.

            • You’re both kind of arguing around each other. He’s right that it shouldn’t be an explicit earned privelege…but you’re right in the sense that in modern sumo it has become that.

              It boils down to that sumo as it is current in 2021 needs major overhauls on how it handles injuries and absences. Terunofuji was in a situation where if he didn’t get to Yokozuna he was going to burn out due to injuries. Now he can address them. It shouldn’t be that way and is the exact reason Kisenosato sat out pretty much two straight years in a desperate attempt to get his body back in shape before having to admit his body was broken beyond repair.

              They have access to doctors and modern medical equipment. If someone suffers a serious legitimate debilitating injury they should not face demotion and instead be “frozen” for a tournament or two. Or apply a sliding scale of demotion based on length out after a certain period. Extend the bansuke if you have to to compensate adding provisional new ranks as needed.

              As it is right now, so many rikishi are burning themselves up at both ends because as the rules are right now they can’t afford to take any time off. Some people have been (or were this tournament) basically competing with soft casts on their limbs and unable to actually use their limbs in matches. It’s costing the sport a lot of talent as guys like Yutakayama are so banged up they haven’t come close to reaching their potential not to mention the travesty that happened to Ura and how he’s still effected by the decisions he felt he had to do that led to his injuries.

              If the next generation of sumos keep this up the sport is going to go into decline even further as more and more talent is bled off. Sport medicine has evolved tremendously and yet Sumo is archaic at best.

              • I agree that the whole injury management thing needs to be overhauled.

                But I think you have the wrong facts on Kisenosato. His problem was that he attempted, again and again, to get back on the dohyo, instead of actually getting surgery and taking whatever time it takes for rehab.

            • I agree that it is abuse. In the olden days, an injury meant that a Yokozuna was no longer able to fulfill his duties, which meant mandatory retirement, at least that was the ideal.
              While this has been given up and there is an ability to take a few off to heal, this is not a privilege but rather a special indulgence. One that should not be abused.

              A Yokozuna who is out for a longer long term should retire.

              • Until there’s a standard there for what is “a longer term,” I will contend it is a privilege that can, and should be managed to prevent another Kisenosato situation.

              • Well, Kisenaosato abused it – he went kyujo with no real healing. Hakuho is still abusing it – he is doing a one-on one-off and enjoying a lighter schedule than he should be, and he is not “returning to proper Yokozuna condition” (as in, after 6 months off, returning to a schedule of full basho every two months). Even Kakuryu abused it.

                Basically, if you have an injury that would drop you to Juryo – you shouldn’t be a Yokozuna, you should be an oyakata.

              • I would go with that standard. But since there is no understood standard, I think that’s why it’s not used properly. Kisenosato definitely mismanaged it by trying to compete when he had not healed. I think more than just eyebrows would be raised if either he or Terunofuji skipped their first tournament as Yokozuna to address the new injuries. And that’s a shame precisely because we saw what a farce that became. Time and time again, they compete, make it worse, and pull out. Hakuho proved he could come back in competitive condition. I want to make sure Terunofuji will be in the best form to compete.

      • Takanohana Ii went kyujo for 6 straight bashos. Once a precedent is established, it gets followed in trasition-conforming Japanese society. Hakuho didn’t invent the Yokozuna kyujo breaks. Before going overboard, please study Japanese society and its history.


    LONG MAY YOU REIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Apologies to Iksumo – I was REMISS – I didn’t include you in my “THANKS” yesterday to Tachiai contributors – I ALWAYS ENJOY YOUR INSIGHTS, COMMENTS, ETC.

  3. Happy for you, Herouth, that your favourite rikshi is to be promoted to the rope…
    … and as the rikishi in the standard interview says: I am happy!
    As to Grand Yokozuna Hakuho, call me weird, but I never liked the man; ‘c’est physique’, I suppose.

    Thank you for your translations, I do read Chinese/Japanese characters, but the grammar that links them escapes me. No patience for languages laden with grammar here.

    • Japanese grammar is actually not that difficult. It’s much more orderly than my own language (Hebrew). The great barriers for Japanese are Kanji and polite forms. Since you say you have no problem with the one, I’d encourage you to try to learn some Japanese. It’s a real boon to sumo fans to understand it.

  4. Grats to Teru, well deserverd.

    Btw, was it today that Hakuho carried the Olympic Torch around Sumida district?

    • It was today that he didn’t. The torch run is not allowed to go on public roads, to avoid crowding. Instead, a ceremony was held in an enclosed space, and only the Arakawa runners were symbolically touching torches. The runners from the other three cities were allowed as spectators, not participants.

      • Torch running in an enclosed space, events with no spectators, shows just how the Olympics have descended into absurdity. The cycle of lockdowns followed by reopenings when the infection rate was low has been mismanaged. Everyone knew the Olympic dates, it should have been possible to have them coincide with a low. But that would have required decisive action by the Japanese authorities, along with a much more aggressive vaccination campaign.
        I’m not gloating, I’m sad about it.

    • I’d rather not tarnish the Terunofuji achievement with this story. Will put up a separate post at some point.

      • I’ve no qualms waiting until more details/punishment is laid out. He may be set for the barge to Sandanme…or intai. But you are right, I would not want to take away from Terunofuji’s moment.


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