Nagoya Day 14 Highlights

Day 14 was a tumultuous day of sumo, with many story lines tied up by the time they gave out the final stack of kensho. There will be three men who vie for the Emperor’s Cup on Sunday, and surprisingly enough, only a single Darwin match, as nearly all of the rikishi who could have ended day 14 with 7-7 scores are make-koshi instead.

Much of the sumo today was very work-a-day, which maybe should not have been a surprise. These guys ha ve been going full throttle for two weeks in an uncomfortably hot and humid setting, and frankly may be tired out, and just ready to get it over with. I am especially disappointed that two of the three Sekiwake chose to employ a henka today. What kind of poor excuse for fighting is that?

But day 14 had it where it counted, and the stage is set to finish things off in grand style tomorrow.

Highlight Matches

Tamashoho defeats Bushozan – Juryo visitor Tamashoho dispatches Bushozan with a fast tsukiotoshi on the second step. If you blink, you will miss it. Tamashoho now 9-5.

Kotoshoho defeats Takarafuji – I like how immobile Takarafuji was against Kotoshoho’s opening attacks, it was if here were fighting one of his children. Kotoshoho’s yotsu attacks had much more success, and Takarafuji found himself needing to actively counter each of the times Kotoshoho rallied. Kotoshoho was able to consolidate his grip, walking Takarafuji over the bales for a yorikiri, improving his score to 6-8.

Kinbozan defeats Shonannoumi – A very evenly balanced fight, where the two spent mosts of the match locked chest to chest with a right hand inside grip. Shonannoumi surged forward to try and break the stalemate, providing the weight shift that Kinbozan needed to power the pivot into a shitatenage, winning the match. Kinbozan advances to 7-7.

Endo defeats Myogiryu – Endo focuses his initial attacks center mass, and is able to move Myogiryu back, where a brief body hold is enough for the yorikiri. Endo now 9-5, Myogiryu make-koshi at 6-8.

Gonoyama defeats Takanosho – Gonoyama’s approach was to stand Takanosho up, keep him from attacking, and eventually swat him down. It took three tries, but the tsukiotoshi eventually found its mark, bringing Takanosho down. Gonoyama now 9-5.

Hakuoho defeats Hokutofuji – At last, some sizzle! Hokutofuji looks like he chose a yotsu battle, left hand inside and Hakuoho followed. This is the same configuration that took care of Nishikigi on day 13, so I was concerned from the start. Again Hakuoho left himself wide open for a throw by keeping is hips square and his feet aligned, but Hokutofuji made no move to try and capitalize on that. Hokutofuji was able to withstand the uchigake attempt, and waited Hakuoho out. Shortly after that, Hakuoho broke contact to try and set up a throw, and Hokutofuji was on the attack. He had excellent hand placement, his feet were solid, and Hakuoho was going out. But true genius is revealed when such things happen. With no space to execute, Hakuoho finds the ability to step to his right, pivot and thrust Hokutofuji forward and down, impossibly keeping one foot on the tawara while the other has completely left the clay. Hokutofuji rolls into the salt basket, as Hakuoho improves to 11-3, and will vie for the Emperor’s Cup on Sunday.

Aoiyama defeats Nishikifuji – Aoiyama reaches kachi-koshi with a traditional “stand him up, pull him down” combo. After an ice-cold start, Aoiyama won 6 in a row to rescue himself from the bottom of the banzuke and near certain demotion to Juryo. Well done! He is 8-6.

Daishoho defeats Takayasu – A clearly injured Takayasu struggles to endure much of any forward pressure that is not coming from straight ahead, he goes soft and steps across the tawara under gentle guidance from Daishoho, Takayasu make-koshi at 6-8, Daishoho improves to 5-9.

Kotoeko defeats Tamawashi – Kotoeko wanted a belt grip, and battled forward to re-establish it even after Tamawashi broke contact and delivered a potent face slap. The second grab of the belt worked, allowing Kotoeko to carry Tamawashi out at an angle, giving Kotoeko his 8th win and kachi-koshi for July at 8-6.

Tsurugisho defeats Midorifuji – To me it looked like Midorifuji got himself in a tight spot, getting a double inside grip on Tsurugisho, but then finding that Tsurugisho’s double arm lock kept him from doing much other than being a practice weight. Tsurugisho was able to lift Midorifuji, and almost had a kimidashi, but had to settle for okuridashi instead after Midorifuji partially escaped. Tsurugisho improves to 5-9.

Meisei defeats Hokuseiho – With any luck, Hokuseiho’s first professional sumo make-koshi will come to motivate him to hone his sumo skill. Guys who are big and sort of naturally can best their opponents through sheer size seem to have atrophied skills – a great example would be Ichinojo. Hopefully Hokuseiho can instead be huge, and skilled. We get to see Hokuseiho set up his traditional over the shoulder “Samsonite” grip on Meisei, but it does not seem to discourage Meisei one bit. They stand around chest to chest for a time, then Meisei throws just about anything he can think of into the mix to get Hokuseiho off balance, moving and then out by yorikiri. Meisei advances to 7-7.

Shodai defeats Oho – Oho was the attacker for nearly all of this match, but by the time he got around to trying to bring Shodai down, he was at least two steps out of the ring. Not sure how he lost track of that. Shodai picks up the win and is now 6-8.

Sadanoumi defeats Mitakeumi – Everyone is scoring wins on Mitakeumi this month. His sumo is lacking any power, and seemingly composed of random moves cobbled together. It’s really quite sad, which is probably Mitakeumi’s frame of mind. Sadanoumi scores a much needed win, and is 5-9.

Ryuden defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi’s yotsu-zumo remains potent, but the finishing move was off balance, causing him to hit the clay first. The loss eliminates Nishikigi from the yusho race, which is a tremendous shame. Both end the day 10-4.

Tobizaru defeats Chiyoshoma – Ha! The super defensive tachiai from both of them underscores that they worried the other was about to throw a henka. They clashed after that, and it was rapid fire combo after combo from both rikishi. Once they locked up with Chiyoshoma getting a left hand inside grip, they jostled for any advantage, circling each other throwing kicks and pulls back and forth. Chiyoshoma’s loose mawashi prompted a halt, which I think probably ruined an otherwise awesome match, and once again we see a gyoji struggle to adjust a mawashi knot. When they resumed, Tobizaru immediately went on the attack, driving Chiyoshoma out. That’s an 8th loss for Chiyoshoma, and make-koshi, but an 8th win at 8-6 for Tobizaru, and kachi-koshi for July.

Kotonowaka defeats Ura – Ura finds himself too low, and his arms captured by Kotonowaka. Unable to produce much of any offense from that position, he works out a way to break contact. But Kotonowaka is ready, and rushes Ura out as he is trying to regain his footing. Make-koshi loss for Ura at 6-8, double digits for Kotonowaka at 10-4.

Abi defeats Hiradoumi – Abi executes a volley of double arm thrusts, into a pull down combo, dropping Hiradoumi by hatakikomi. Both end the day 5-9.

Hoshoryu defeats Wakamotoharu – Oh, Wakamotoharu. It was painfully obvious you are not the kind of rikishi who should be using a henka. You more or less threw that match away. A counter note, please someone help Hoshoryu reign in that attitude. Wakamotoharu’s failed henka robs him of any offense or defensive sumo, and Hoshoryu finishes him with a quickly assembled kotenage to improve to 11-3, giving him a share of the lead going into the final day.

Daieisho defeats Onosho – Another Sekiwake tries a henka, and I am genuinely unhappy. What should have been a maximum power of the big thrusters is not to be. Take your 9-5 and go back to the heya, Daieisho.

Asanoyama defeats Kirishima – The cherry on top of today was the brutal elimination match. Either former Ozeki Asanoyama was going to be make-koshi, or shin-Ozeki Kirishima was going to be make-koshi and kadoban for September. Kirishima got the first combo in, but a choice to break contact and shift right probably cost him the match, as it opened up his left side for Asanoyama to find a grip. Asanoyama’s right landed a moment later, and he had both the body position and the grip for an immediate sukuinage. With a thunderous pivot he hurled Kirishima to the clay. Kirishima make-koshi, Asanoyama improves to 7-7.

28 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 14 Highlights

  1. I don’t get the fixation on Hoshoryu’s “attitude”. He’s in the yusho race on final Saturday plus on an ozeki run and a guy on an ozeki run pulls a henna? I get why he’d be pissed off and sneering at that failed attempt.

    • Exactly. Wakamotoharu is supposed to be his equal, if not his superior, by the reckoning of some and then he goes out there and pulled what can only be called a cowards move. That wasn’t just a henka, that was some Looney Tunes type stuff; you could add in a boing sound effect, and it would fit.

      I don’t get the fixation on his attitude. So, he looks pissed off all the time? So what? People make fun of the stock “My brand of sumo” answers and attitude sumo wrestlers are forced to have all the time. But Hoshoryu looks pissed/self-confident and it’s somehow a big issue?

      For some reason people have had it out for Hoshoryu in the Sumo fandom from day one of him in the top division. I can only think it’s because he’s the nephew of Asashoryu and people won’t let that go; like he doesn’t deserve his success or something. He’s the #3 guy in Sumo right now and for some reason that bugs the hell out of people.

    • What’s even more egregious is that Wakamotoharu, whose ozeki run is stalled, did it. Completely understand that Hoshoryu was pissed and gave Wakamotoharu the glare that his tactic deserved.

  2. What is the fixation on hating on Hoshoryu? When he was new to the top division it was common to see complaints in both the commentary and editorials about his subpar sumo or how he wouldn’t achieve elite success with his skill set. In the lead up to this basho the attitude was Hoshoryu was the outsider of the three to get Ozeki. Now he gets called out for a non-henka yesterday and today when his opponent leaps to the moon against him, Hoshoryu is called out more for his attitude? Someone who is supposed to be his equal pulled a super mega henka against him, why shouldn’t he be dismissive if not outright insulted?

    Did Hoshoryu cost someone on the Tachiai team a bet?

    • Hoshoryu is a dick kinda like Hakuho wuz but he’s 2 young to b so proud tho he took huge step this tournament and is def 1 of top guys and I like him alot mor now than b4 cuz he’s gonna b awsum

    • Actually, yesterday I had commented about Hoshoryu’s henka and I am not from team Tachiai. But lksumo from team Tachiai defended Hoshoryu. So team Tachiai has nothing against Hoshoryu.

      Even I don’t hate Hoshoryu, in fact just two days back I had commented that Hoshoryu is unstoppable.
      I just hate Henka,nothing against any Rikishi.

    • My comment was all about the pre match stare down. Hoshoryu is not all that. He is fine to be a dominant rikishi, plenty of those around. But take a look at someone like Kisenosato who could crush just about anyone, but never pulled that kind of attitude. Or Yoshikaze who could and would make you bleed, but would take no crap from anyone.

      • Ah! I watched only the highlights so missed the stare down stuff. (Which I don’t like. It exudes arrogance and then, if the staring rikishi loses, looks pretty foolish. And odds are it doesn’t appeal to the typical sumo fan.)

      • Seems to me it doesn’t have to mean “I’m all that.” Can mean “I’m not scared of you, I’m not intimidated, I’m giving this all I’ve got.” Onosho pouts and swaggers, Hokutofuji stomps, Takayasu does some kind of gorilla/Hulk thing with his shoulders, Hoshoryu stares. It gets them ready. I don’t have a problem with it.

        • Should he be so fortunate as to receive a promotion to Ozeki, he will have a big effort ahead of him should he ever seek the last rung on the promotion ladder – Hinkaku. After the NSK’s experience with his uncle, they may be cautious with him, doubly so given some of his behavior.

          Many of us on this site are westerners, and some many not have spent more than a few days in Japan. I can share that to some extent, manners still matter in a majority of the country. Much more so if you are not Japanese. The basics of good manners in Japan are simple, pleasant and easy. It would be a shame if Hoshoryu limited his future because he could not accept a few cultural guidelines.

          • Yes, you are a westerner, and I expect your opinion about sumo etiquette is hardly representative of Japan. Manners are important in day-to-day life, but sumo is a sport of single-combat, not convincing a vehicle-services firm of the honor-giving performance of your new paint sprayer. No one daintily raises their pinkies at the shikiri-sen. Do you have reporting in Japan that states that Hoshoryu is widely seen as a disrespectable foreigner for looking too long in his opponent’s direction and having too-squinty eyes?

            I see your objection as projection your assumptions without grounds to do so. I don’t see it as attempted intimidation, but rather as summoning his focus and getting his mind on target. You’ll notice the stare is longer with the higher ranked opponents, who are much less likely to be susceptible to intimidation.

        • U cannot really compare the rituals U mentioned with Hoshoryu‘s staring. Only By-Far-Not-(Yet?)-Asa includes the opponent in his antics. Wouldn’t be surprised if that made him unpopular with the other rikishi. And maybe Wakamotoharu would have pulled that silly henka against noone else. Who knows?
          That said I really love to see Hoshoryu fight. He is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular fighters up on the dohyo right now.

          • He looks at his opponent before starting the contest. They all do it, but some sometimes take longer to move on to the tachiai. Build a bridge and get over it. You’re ascribing motives to him based on your own prejudices.

      • If the gyoji or his opponent have a problem with his tachiai they always have the option to either stand him up or start without him. Just because he’s a bad body language guy doesn’t mean he’s up himself, his face might naturally look like that.

    • Bit over the top? Commentary on this site is usually pretty balanced but maybe Hoshoryu fans are quick tempered too?

  3. I’ll jump in on behalf of Hoshoryu and his “take that” scornful, victorious look, too. Nothing inappropriate here, not against Wakamotoharu and his devious ploy.

    Hokuoho was fantastic today. I’m really looking forward to watching him in the coming years.

    Disappointments: Takayasu and Mitakeumi. It sure is hard being a fan of these two rikishi.

    Hokuseiho: Everyone has him figured out now as he allows all to work on their okuridashi technique.

  4. Count me with those who have no problem with Hoshoryu’s “attitude.” Where attitude bothers me is when a rikishi endangers others with dame-oshi, is indifferent when another is injured (looking at you, Ryuden, after Hokotofuji’s concussion years back), is known to be abusive (the thankfully gone twins), or challenges the gyoji (Hakuho that one time).

    Along with that group of inventive little guys (Ura, Tobizaru, Midorifuji), Hoshoryu is one of my favorite rikishi to watch. Elegant, powerful, fast, smart, wide range of skilled, interesting, beautiful moves. If he ends up scowling or looking intimidating or smug I don’t care.

    On another topic – “Samsonite” grip, ah Bruce I love your humor!

    It would be cool for any of the leaders to win, and I’m sorry Nishikigi lost his chance at a yusho, but I want Hoshoryu as Ozeki so I’ll be rooting for him.

  5. Bruce, I do take umbrage against your description of Ichinojo: To set the record straight: go to Jason’s archive and the September 2014 basho, day 14, Hakuho vs Ichinojo. The runner-up in the basho was top-knot less 21 year old Ichinojo. It was his first makuuchi basho, his fifth overall. He won the juryo championship after two basho in makushita, and was in a play-off for the next juryo yusho. In his first makuuchi basho as East maegashira 10 he beat two ozeki and yokozuna Kakuryu to finish at 13-2. Earned him a kinboshi, Fighting Spirit und Outstanding Performance Prizes plus promotion to sekiwake. …and then slowly something went very wrong.
    Hoshoryu is someone cut out for a career in the limelight, appears very full of himself.
    WMH, shame on you, like Takayasu you are not the henka-ing type, and both of you were duly punished for your shall I call it “misstep”?
    Sad for both Nishikigi and Kirishima, fingers crossed that they award Nishikigi a special prize tomorrow.

      • I am a great Harumafuji fan, and here is what Harumafuji told the Taipei Times in 2009 about his life in sumo:
        Maybe Ichinojo was not cut out for this lifestyle and maybe adapting too well to it was part of Harumafuji’s downfall. But that is water under the bridge.
        Here is my wishlist for tomorrow: Hokotofuji yusho, Hoshoryu ozeki, Hakuoho Fighting Spirit plus Technique Prize, perhaps, Nishikigi Outstanding Performance Prize.
        Thanks Bruce and Andy for excellent analysis as always (plus endearing typos).

  6. Stare down however you like, Hoshoryu. It didn’t affect your lethal sumo. Personally I didn’t see anything outrageous there.

    Psychologically I think it’s probably quite important for Hoshoryu to not fit the perfectly self-contained rikishi mould. Just made Kinesato look extremely sour and cold all the time.

    I mean, this guy’s from the lineage of Asashoryu, and more broadly guys like Harumafuji and Hakuoho who’s energy always overflowed the conservative model at times.

    If anyone wants to really complain about a stare down, check out Hakuoho entering the dohyo. Thunderous focussed rage. I love it.

  7. I for one love Hoshoryu’s swagger. We need more personalities in sumo, not fewer, and this has been missing since his uncle was forced out and Hakuho rode off into the sunset. There’s nothing wrong with a good niramiai (睨み合い). Many fans seem to agree, including Japanese ones.

  8. I was so disgusted by Wakamotoharu, that I had to sleep over it before commenting. Henka is a legit technique, but only if you know what you are doing. Trying it for the first time in your life in a high stakes match gets awfully close to match fixing. Not to mention that it’s not something a healthy rikishi from the top of the banzuke should resort to.

    This Hokutofuji bout was a phenomenon I often see. Rikishi have a bout completely bagged and then their brain goes in celebration mode or something before it’s official. Obviously Hakuoho was shifting to the side, but neither did he do it with lightning speed nor did he blink and was gone. Nothing wrong with adjusting your movement vector to stay with the Center of your opponent. Such a wasted opportunity. Then again. This opens the opportunity for a Shin-Makuuchi Yusho. According to my search on sumodb this has been achieved once before in 1914 by Ryogoku and that was his only Yusho. So maybe better not jinx Hakuoho;-)

    Another big disappointment was the Tobizaru Chiyoshoma match. Very exciting high tempo match until the gyoji had to intervene and bring it to a very anticlimactic finish.

    Kirishima vs. Asanoyama was short, but delivered. I still hope Asanoyama isn’t aggravating that injury.

    Down in Juryo Tomokaze was mentally somewhere, just not on the dohyo today. With Atamifuji losing as well this sets the stage for a big potential playoff. Visitor Onosato clinched his kachikoshi and a promotion to Juryo I think. Somewhat sluggish performance this tournament, but he looked good today.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.