It’s official. Balance has been restored to the banzuke. Kiribayama will debut as Shin-Ozeki in Nagoya.
*Update* He will also appear on the July banzuke with a new shikona: Kirishima, taken from his oyakata who was a former Ozeki.
The Japanese sumo press has been full of pictures of the new Ozeki as a young boy, and a young man, growing up in Mongolia. Nicola has several pictures of Kiribayama, the sumo wrestler, as he was coming up as a young sekitori and even a few from Makushita. Here, he had just defeated Akiseyama. He only faced Akiseyama four times, winning all of them. Nicola must have been a bit of a good luck charm because she has pictures of him defeating Ichiyamamoto in Makushita, the only time he was able to beat Ichiyamamoto on the dohyo.
I bring this up because with Terunofuji as Yokozuna, he sure needs a lucky charm. Kiribayama is so far winless against the Kaiju. This reminds me of the long, dominant streaks Hakuho had over Kotoshogiku. And if Kiribayama aspires to further promotion, he must figure out a way to defeat Terunofuji. Kotoshogiku had a distinguished career as Ozeki but it was Kisenosato who inspired much more discussion of Yokozuna, partly because he presented a challenge to the Great Hakuho. Maybe Kirishima will have better luck!