Nagoya Story 2 – Ozeki Chaos & The New Kadoban Twins

Natsu was a brutal time for the Ozeki corps, out of the 3 men at this rank, 2 of them failed to secure a winning record. Mitakeumi finished with a 6-9, while Shodai did worse at 5-10. As a result there will be 2 of the 3 Ozeki kadoban for the July tournament in Nagoya, with Mitakeumi being the home town favorite. It has been several years since Tachiai was able to use the once common “Kadoban Twins” tag, and it does not herald fine days of sumo are at hand.

For Mitakeumi, I am going to guess he was injured. His prior two performances were a 12-2 yusho (his third!) that secured his promotion to Ozeki. He followed that with a blistering 11-4 in Osaka that saw him in contention for the up up until a very mild week 2 fade. In May, he never put two wins in on consecutive days, and struggled to defeat opponents such as Hoshoryu, who picked up his first career win against Mitakeumi, and Tamawashi, whom Mitakeumi has a 27-4 career advantage. This is not an indicator of a strong and genki Ozeki. Sadly there are some indications that whatever was plaguing him continues. During the past week or so, the Sumo Kyokai has permitted degeiko for the first time in a couple of years. Absent from inter-stable training was Mitakeumi, who has no sekitori in his home stable to train against. I would say he continues to be hurt and is worried about compounding his problems in a joint training session.

On the subject of Shodai, his performance has been poor since his 11-4 jun-yusho in January of 2021. It is true that he had COVID, and seems to have struggled to overcome some lingering effects. What happened to him in May is anyone’s guess. 2020 saw some outstanding sumo from this guy, but then the “bad version” came back with his kyujo in November of 2020, and he has not been even close to genki since. I know I tend to complain about Shodai quite a bit. It’s largely because I would like the 2019/2020 Shodai back, and he is clearly not up to that level of sumo now, and I worry he may never be again. This will be the 3rd time in his career that he starts a tournament as a kadoban Ozeki, and I hope the he can pull it together.

Much as with Natsu, the lower named ranks are especially sharp right now, and will prove to be a tough obstacle for both men looking to get to the safety of 8 wins as quickly as possible. This is especially true for the trio of Wakatakakage, Hoshoryu and Kiribayama. All three of them are expected to face the kadoban Ozeki in the early stages of the basho, and could be indicators of just how banged up Mitakeumi and Shodai are.

We will be keeping out fingers crossed, and hope for the best. It would be grim to lose an Ozeki this year.

6 thoughts on “Nagoya Story 2 – Ozeki Chaos & The New Kadoban Twins

  1. Unfortunately, the previous set of Kadoban twins, Tochinoshin and Takayasu, weren’t in office long enough to really get used to the moniker. If these twins stay around as long as Goeido and Kotoshogiku it will be an upgrade.

    • To be fair to both of them, Takayasu was never really kadoban all that often, and when he was it was usually due to kyūjō and injury. As for Tochinoshin, it was sort of clear from the earliest days of Tochinoshin’s tenure that he was never going to be long for the rank. When the only highlight of his reign as ōzeki is his ability to regain it after that horribly judged bout against Asanoyama, it says more about his mental than his physical fortitude at that point.

      I hate to flog “external” content but I recently wrote a rundown of ōzeki performance (, if you’re interested) over at the Sumo Forums, and while it confirms that the 2000s ōzeki up to Gōeidō and Kotoshōgiku were indeed quite bad, the ones from them onwards (Takayasu and Takakeishō) were actually not that bad.

  2. It was reported that Mitakeumi injured his shoulder in one of the early bouts and basically couldn’t use his right arm for much of the basho; according to the report, the injury has since healed (take that with however much salt you feel appropriate). A bit harsh to use the kadoban twin tag on him after a single bad basho at the rank.

    Re: degeiko, we have the following from Kintamayama on sumo forum: “Ozeki Mitakeumi is kadoban after his second basho as an Ozeki, yet is the only Ozeki not facing any sekitori in training so far. “What the &^%% is he thinking?? ” asked one Oyakata. His heya has no sekitori, but the neighboring Kasugano beya has plenty and saw some guys coming to train. “He was saying publicly that it’s too bad there is no degeiko and that he was looking forward to that, yet .. he is a far cry from Takakeishou who is returning from that neck injury and is going all out. It could be that he is used to going all out in training (???) close to the start of a basho and may be thinking it’s too early for this kind of effort.. It’s a local basho for him and his Oyakata is in charge of it. Many of his fans are expected to show up and root for him. I just hope he doesn’t embarrass himself in front of them,” added the anonymous Oyakata.”

    • Well, the “Kadoban twins” tag was not meant as derogatory, rather to note that we have a pair of Ozeki that need 8 wins to survive. With the strength in the rest of the san’yaku, it may come down to how genki Yokozuna Terunofuji is in week 2. I worry that with 2 men on the bubble, only one of them may survive.

  3. After Hatsu 2022 both Ozeki (Takakeisho and Shodai) were Kadoban. Injury to Takakeisho early and Nodai rearing his head made Haru 2022 just the first Kadoban Twins appearances this year.

  4. I remember someone in this forum noticing after the first day of the last basho, that Mitakeumi looked very fat, but Bruce gave the information he was 5 kilos less heavy. Throughout the whole tournament I had to think of this because me too had the feeling that M. was really very blobby.
    Don‘t want to put too much weight (!) on that observation, but maybe he was out of form (!) even before Natsu?


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