Aki Day 5 Highlights

We had a pair of seldom seen kimarite today: okuritsuridashi when Ura bodily tossed 160 kg Daieisho over the bales, and ushiromotare; when Hidenoumi more or less butt bumped Kotoeko out after a failed throw attempt. I credit Japan for being the country on this planet that would name such a thing and catalog it.

There were a pair of kyujo for today, the first was Hokutofuji pulling out of the tournament, at least for now, with a knee injury that may have shown up thanks to his fight on day 4 with Terunofuji, giving Takanosho his second win. The next was the following match, where Hoshoryu is out with what is being reported as tonsillitis. if true, that’s going to be some minor surgery for him, and we will probably not see him back this month. But hey’ its sumo. Tatsunami okyakata will let it “heal naturally” for about 12 hours, and he will be back to fight tomorrow. This gave Takayasu his only win thus far for Aki, which is just a terrible thing to write, as a Takayasu fan.

Highlight Matches

Wakamotoharu defeats Ichiyamamoto – It looks like Ichiyamamoto did hurt himself in this day 4 match against Yutakayama. He was visible limping today, especially after Wakamotoharu responded to Ichiyamamoto’s pulling attempt by driving him out and over the dohyo. Wakamotoharu returns to Juryo tomorrow with a 2-3.

Yutakayama defeats Tokushoryu – Big forearm strike by Yutakayama to start the match, with Tokushoryu absorbing that and then driving forward. He had Yutakayama set to lose, but Yutakayama had a better idea, getting to the side, getting a left hand on Tokushoryu’s mawashi and sending him out with an okuridashi. Yutakayama improves to 3-2.

Chiyonokuni defeats Kaisei – Chiyonokuni finishes act 1 with a perfect 5-0 record, and as he is ranked at the bottom of the banzuke, he may not face too many big challenges. A combination of low rank and healthy Chiyonokuni could open a lot of promotion space from Juryo for November.

Tsurugisho defeats Chiyomaru – Tsurugisho pops a respectable fever, and was kyujo day 4 as he was tested for COVID. When the test came back negative, he went right back to competition. Because sumo. Whatever was ailing him, it seems to have improved his fortunes on the dohyo. He side-stepped a big post-tachiai charge from Chiyomaru and made quick work of the round one. Tsurugisho improves to 2-3.

Kagayaki defeats Chiyonoo – I am sure our readers sometime wonder why Bruce expounds on a good ottsuke (defensive elbow), so here is an example for everyone. Look at Kagayaki coming out of that tachiai. Chiyonoo puts everything into getting a left hand inside, but Kagayaki’s elbow is locked to his body, and that position is strong enough that there is no space for Chiyonoo to get that hand in. AT this point, Chiyonoo’s entire match plan falls apart, and Kagayaki is just left to clean up the debris. Kagayakai ends his ottsuke tutorial 3-2.

Chiyotairyu defeats Tochinoshin – Traditional Chiyotairyu sumo, but it all came about at about ⅓ its normal speed. High inside thrusting attack to stand Tochinoshin up, then a pull to bring him off balance and eventually down. I have to image that Tochinoshin’s knee is leaving him with no way to compete most of the last 5 days, as indicated by his 1-4 score. Chiyotairyu seems to be struggling as well, but improves to 2-3 today.

Hidenoumi defeats Kotoeko – Hidenoumi had complete control of this match, but struggled to finish Kotoeko. When a throw attempt fell to bits and transitioned into a one-legged hopping dance, Kotoeko stepped over the bales, resulting in an ushiromotare, a backward lean out. I think its been at least 5 years since the last time that kimarite was used in the top division. Hidenoumi improves to 2-3.

Aoiyama defeats Endo – Aoiyama has looked to be struggling this month, but that was traditional Aoiyama sumo, big tachiai, stand them up, knock them down. Endo was on all 4s before he could take a third step. Aoiyama improves to 2-3.

Tobizaru defeats Myogiryu – Tobizaru continues to out-perform my expectations for him this basho, and I am delighted. He was able to get in a rapid hikiotoshi against Myogiryu, handing him his first loss of the basho. Both men are now at 4-1.

Shimanoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi tried yet another hit and shift, which seems to be his preferred opening gambit now. Everyone is looking for it, and it does not disturb Shimanoumi at all. Shimanoumi keeps Terutsuyoshi in his front quarter, and attacks. Terutsuyoshi put everything into that mini-henka, and has no defense ready, and is quickly out. Shimanoumi improves to 3-2.

Onosho defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi looked to get two surprises in this match. The first came when Onosho got his hands inside at at Okinoumi’s chest so quickly, taking control and pushing the veteran back. He did what any reasonable sumotori would do in this position, assume Onosho was horribly front loaded on his balance, and all it would take was a little pull to send him tumbling. Surprise number two was when Onosho kept his feet and powered Okinoumi out. The junior tadpole improves to 4-1.

Takarafuji defeats Chiyoshoma – Its breaking my heart that Chiyoshoma can’t seem to buy a win, and ends act one with a dismal 0-5 score. Takarafuji on his sumo today, keeping his stance wide, his weight centered and knowing just when to get out of Chiyoshoma’s way. Takarafuji improves to 3-2.

Ura defeats Daieisho – Ok, good. We finally got some actual Ura sumo today, and I am feeling a bit more satisfied. Daieisho was careful at the tachiai, and Ura was incredibly low. Daieisho tried his thrusting sumo, but there was just so little surface area presented for attack, Daieisho was hard pressed to find a place to shove. A lucky hit got Ura upright, and Daieisho had just a brief moment to attack, as that fleeting opportunity evaporated, Ura took Daieisho in a grip across his body, and tossed him aside like a unwelcome house guest. Ura improves to 2-3 using the seldom seen okuritsuridashi, and it was glorious.

Ichinojo defeats Meisei – Meisei set up a win with a sharp step to the side against an Ichinojo forward lunge, but Ichinojo recovered, and attacked with renewed energy. Three steps later he applied a powerful thrust to the back of Meisei’s neck, sending him crashing to the clay. Ichinojo improves to 2-3.

Mitakeumi defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi got the better of the tachiai, and had all of the offensive power for most of the match. Twice Mitakeumi tried to get to the side and pull, with the second attempt connecting and sending Tamawashi down. Mitakeumi has won 16 of their last 17 matches, and improves to 4-1.

Takakeisho defeats Kotonowaka – I am starting to have a sliver of hope that Takakeisho might be able to piece together 8 wins. Its clear to me that he is struggling, and each day is more of a challenge than it should be for an Ozeki. We did get some wave action tsuppari today, and Kotonowaka had no way to answer that much power. Takakeisho improves 2-3.

Shodai defeats Wakatakakage – I have days where I look at Shodai and think this guy is a train wreck, and wonder what happened to the sumo that took him to Ozeki. Then things like today, where is looks like some kind of overwhelming sumo battle-bot that cannot be stopped by mortal man. Wakatakakage had nothing, not even token resistance to that thunderous charge from Shodai, he improves to 4-1.

Terunofuji defeats Kiribayama – I give high marks to Kiribayama for the huge, bold effort he brought to today’s match against Terunofuji. If he was intimidated because he was facing the kaiju, he did not let it show. I compare Terunofuji’s sumo to eveyone that Kiribayama has fought so far, Kiribayama put huge effort to getting Terunofuji off balance, but the Yokozuna has incredible poise right now, and opened his stance. There was little that Kiribayama could do but keep trying to chip away. If you look at that stalemate, note that Terunofuji had his feet on the shikiri-sen, he owned the center of the ring. I think Kiribayama realized he was not going to get anywhere in that configuration, and bet the match on a grip shift, which was what Terunofuji was waiting for, he wrapped Kiribayama up, and tossed him into the timekeeper for good measure. Perfect 5-0 for the Yokozuna.

15 thoughts on “Aki Day 5 Highlights

  1. I have a different perspective on the Daieisho vs. Ura bout. Way back in the day Takakeisho at maegashira used to pwn Ura constantly, and one day Murray Johnson in the commentary booth told us why: Ura’s low stance presents his shoulders as perfect targets for two-handed pushes. I recall hearing Daieisho and Takakeisho are good friends so I have no doubt Daieisho was perfectly aware of this weakness in Ura’s game. Daieisho starts out with three solid wave-action attacks; the third one took Ura’s back foot right to the tawara. When Ura moved forward to regain ground Daieisho tried the hatakikomi, but perhaps contrary to expectation this is actually a low percentage move against Ura’s low forward-bending stance; he’s generally nimble enough move his back foot forward in time to catch himself. Anyway, when they re-engaged Ura had good access to Daieisho’s left armpit which he proceeded to attack relentlessly until Daieisho got turned around, game over.

    Obviously Terunofuji has dominant sumo but I continue to be struck every bout by how careful he’s being with his footwork and how excellent it is; I think I see Takarafuji’s influence in Terunofuji’s patient approach.

  2. You’re right Bruce, who was that No-Dai guy today? Was it really him or did some alien take over his body. We haven’t seen that kind of domineering sumo from him in who knows how long.

    As for Butterball, he’s fortunate to be 2-3. He should be 1-4 but yesterday’s match against Hoshoryu was one of the clearest examples of yaocho I’ve ever seen. Every time Hosh had the advantage or got ahead of Butterball he refused to capitalize and waited for Butterball to catch up. Couple that with the fact that, as in all his matches thus far, Butterball keeps resorting to the head pull down very early in each match and it’s clear that even if his neck injury is healed he has no stamina.

    He’s looking for the exit as quickly as possible so the key to beating him is a strong initial charge to stand him up and back him off, good footwork, lateral movement, and making Butterball give chase. 4 to 5 seconds of that and he’s ripe for the picking.

    At 2-3 after act 1 he’s got tough sledding ahead and needs to go 6-4 down the stretch just to keep his Ozeki rank. He needs gifts and he and his oyakata are gonna have to spend some money because I suspect he’ll lose to both No-Dai and T-Rex. That leaves very little margin for error so buying gifts must be the order of the day because he’s in no shape to get it done on his own.

    • Whoa mama “He should be 1-4 but yesterday’s match against Hoshoryu was one of the clearest examples of yaocho I’ve ever seen”

      This is crazy. There’s a huge difference between a young rikishi not doing enough to put away a struggling, but skilled opponent, and insinuating that someone somewhere has paid Hoshoryu not to beat him. I can’t speak for the other writers but I don’t know that we as a site would even want to be associated with that kind of comment. Takakeisho has lost his rank before and probably will lose it again, but even when yaocho was actually a thing and there was a scandal that broke, it was a scandal in juryo matches where guys were trying to keep their rank.

      That’s a hell of an accusation to make given sumo’s history and one that seems a bit silly to make when the reality is than an inexperienced rikishi who regularly is not good enough to punish higher level opponents was again not good enough to punish a higher level opponent, despite getting himself in good positions to win.

      I think we’re really lucky actually in light of these kinds of comments that over the past few years when this site has been popular we haven’t seen so many “yaocho” conspiracy theories or comments.

        • Eh, I’m guilty of bringing some of that talk into the comments section very occasionally when it’s deserved. To me the allegation is off the wall because if they wanted to fix the match Hoshoryu would have fallen to the kotenage, not fought it off twice only to walk into Takakeisho’s famous left parry.

      • A while ago I stumbled across this other sumo site where every post was obsessive match fixing theorising, sort of like hate-fanfiction with these involved stories about exactly how every match was fixed. It was a strange site. It was all written with this weird intensity like they hated sumo but were compelled to write screeds and screeds about how each and every match was fixed and who paid who and how much. Like every single post. I hope tachiai doesn’t catch the same brain worms

  3. Gutted Hoshoryu is out. Thanks to Ura for doing something exciting to pick things up a bit. Kiribayama made a really respectable go of it today, he’s so impressive this basho

  4. Very well, no more yaocho talk. Seems the subject is taboo so I’ll steer clear of it going forward. My sincere apologies for having offended you all.

    • All good, nobody’s offended. Given the sport’s history and also in general, it’s just a very serious accusation and IMHO probably not something worth being flippant over. I think if there’s a reason to discuss it, discuss it by all means, but the last thing anyone wants is for this to turn into a conspiracy theory site like the ones mentioned above or you-know-who’s youtube channels.

      One of the most meaningful conversations i’ve ever been able to have about sumo was with Murray Johnson (which you can read on this site), and I’m going to paraphrase what he said but he made an amazing point which is that the internet is full of what people “think” about sumo, whether right or wrong – and that’s all good – but there’s a big difference between that and saying what you “know.” Anyone can say they “think” something was yaocho, but without any proof, why? It’s just inferring something quite severe from what was more likely a poor performance. I think a lot of things about Hoshoryu but it’d be some leap to involve him or any rikishi in organised crime without any proof.

  5. I never thought of Ura as a muscle man, but after today ….

    Shodai, wow. Why can’t you do that every day?

  6. A question and a little bit of push back.

    Does anyone actually have a good source with an analysis or breakdown of the 2011 yaocho scandal?
    But Josh, I feel your comment here is a bit of revisionist history, “but even when yaocho was actually a thing and there was a scandal that broke, it was a scandal in juryo matches where guys were trying to keep their rank”
    First, it is my understanding that this was not confined strictly to juryo, and I am not sure why that actually matters. Did that basho get cancelled for a handful of “who-are-they” juyro dudes gone rogue?
    Also, I enjoy Murray Johnson’s take on sumo but in this case, I find his stance rather flippant. We don’t need to prove it, the proof exists in numerous text messages on over a dozen phones confiscated by the police and a bunch of official mea culpas. So as a famous conspiracy theorist said, “It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a fact.”

    As for the bout that started this discussion, that speculation has a home, it is called Sumotalk.

    I much prefer the banter and analysis here at Taichiai though.

    • I just want to clarify that point re: proof

      My point there is that there is a difference in talking about what we “think” and what we “know”

      With regards to the 2011 scandal, we can see who was ejected, and why, and what happened, and what was in the text messages, as you described. That’s the proof, that is “what we know.” When we talk about something like match-fixing, you can’t say you “know” anything more than what there is proof of having had happened. This is getting far away from the original commenters point (and that commenter feels we’re beating a dead horse as it is, haha).

      Anything beyond “what we know” is just speculation. It might be what we “think,” but we should question whether it’s appropriate to speculate over organised crime – that’s pretty serious, when there’s been no proof of it in ten years.

      To my above point, we have the proof of who was involved ten years ago, and it wasn’t a bunch of san’yaku guys. So the idea that san’yaku/joi-jin guys ten years later are clearly involved in “yaocho” would be an unprecedented claim to make based on even the proof of that time. The highest ranked guy to get tossed had been M4 in the previous tournament, and everyone else was either right on the makuuchi/juryo line or juryo or below.

      We can say with some confidence that “what we know” is that it hasn’t happened before in a match of this magnitude, it’s just idle – albeit destructive – speculation.

  7. I know I’m not the only one that thought it was a little interesting that they let Tsurugisho participate sick and with a fever so long as it wasn’t a COVID fever. And then just before the match starts, Tsurugisho lets out a big cough. That cough was just priceless.

    A lot was made on on this site of Hoshoryu’s day 4 failure to capitalize on multiple opportunities to get the upper hand on Takakeisho. I have to wonder if the tonsillitis was playing a factor in that.


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