Lower Division High Jinks: The Case of the Missing Shikirisen

Something was amiss from the very beginning of the action on Day 2 in Kyushu. Take a look for yourself. Does anything strike you as…off?

The eagle-eyed among you will notice there’s only one white line, instead of the customary two, at the middle of the dohyo. In Japanese, these lines are called shikirisen (仕切り線). You may ask yourself, “Is that dark spot a bit of loose dirt, just covering the West-side line?” No. Action commenced as per usual but no amount of scuffing ever revealed a hidden line.

For those who have always wondered what the lines are, John Gunning’s got a great little ‘splainer article about the dohyo which discusses how those lines are actually paint, and the paint is redone each day. Today, we got to see how. No, there’s no gyoji-cum-Michelangelo wearing a beret and smock and palette of varied shades of bright white. No one in overalls wielding a wide brush and paint can. It turns out that in this case at least, the repair job was done by a yobidashi, Banksy-style, with a stencil and spray paint! Hat tip to Lulit on Twitter for the thread. Link to her thread is below. I’ve just sorted them a bit differently here to show the process.

Originally tweeted by Lulit (@OneLoveLulit) on November 14, 2022.

Well, now that’s fixed, we can get on with the action! But sorry in advance for the abbreviated rundown. I wanted to get this out before Day 3 action started but couldn’t make it.


I realized this morning that Enho has been displaced as heyagashira (aka. top bloke) at Miyagino-beya by Hokuseiho (who got to celebrate his birthday with a really big shortcake). Maybe that’s lit a fire under the pixie because he was in “take no prisoners mode” again, this time against Chiyosakae. Chiyosakae tried his best to keep Enho at arms length but that likely led to his literal downfall when Enho slapped him down. Meanwhile, Hokuseiho lost his bout against Akua. Akua successfully pushed Hokuseiho up and importantly kept that right arm from reaching over and grabbing his belt. The off-balance Hokuseiho ended up off-dohyo.


Shishi persevered as both he and Tochikamayama tried to tip the other over the edge. Shishi picks up his first win of the tournament. Kototebakari fought through a torrent of tsuppari from Kairyu to get on the winner’s bracket. He first tried some tsuppari of his own but when that didn’t work, he went in for the belt. After an energetic tussle, he worked Kairyu to the edge and tried everything, including trips, before finally pushing the older veteran out. Osanai fended off an early slapdown and bowled Kototsubasa for a strike and a quick win.


Kazekeno may have gotten away with a hair pull in front of his shisho. He engaged Marusho in a frantic grapple. Each man had a solid hold of the others’ mawashi and wrenched each other from one side of the dohyo to the other. Kazekeno, though, started going for a pull-down and got his hand up in Marusho’s hair and it stayed for just long enough to start thinking hansoku. But Marusho was in full retreat mode and stepped out. Hayashiryu took a forehead straight to his face at the tachiai but stood his ground and forced Ryuseiyama out. Ouch. I hope he gets a steak dinner tonight, if nothing else than to hold it up against his face to keep the swelling down.


Toshunryu blasted Kototaisei into next week in a very strong performance. Suyama snuffed out Maenofuji’s henka and then weathered an aggressive onslaught from Maenofuji’s oshi attack. Backed to the edge, he threw Maenofuji off the dohyo for a hard-fought first win.

Hopefully I’ll have more for you tomorrow.


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