Kyushu 2023, Day 5: “Gaze Into My Eyes”

Great action so far in this tournament. Today offered up some more great action and some weird and wild scenes. So, let’s get straight to it.


Tohakuryu (2-3) defeated Roga (1-4). Roga quickly gets his hand underneath for a grip on Tohakuryu’s maemitsu but Tohakuryu pulls while forcing Roga all the way to the floor. He was half-way there already, crouched over like that. That’s a close one but Roga fell first while Tohakuryu was still on the bales. Hatakikomi.

Ichiyamamoto (5-0) defeated Kitanowaka (3-2). Ichiyamamoto, head down and locked on his target, full steam ahead! Ichiyamamoto drove Kitanowaka over the edge quickly. Impressive. Oshidashi.

Nishikifuji (2-3) defeated Tsurugisho (1-4). Nishikifuji henka’d a dude who can barely move. Not very effective. Tsurugisho turned, slowly, to face Nishikifuji head-on. But when Nishikifuji responded, Tsurugisho braced with the wrong knee and immediately crumpled to the floor. Find a couch and stay there, please. Oshitaoshi.

Churanoumi (4-1) defeated Takarafuji (1-4). Churanoumi met Takarafuji head on at the tachiai but quickly wrapped up his arm and stepped to the side. It looked like he was trying to go for a kotenage but ended up getting in completely behind Takarafuji, instead. From here, it was just an easy force out from behind. Okuridashi.

Tomokaze (3-2) defeated Tom O’washi (4-1). Tomokaze forgot that he had to get both hands down. Too much 80s music will do that to a man. Matta. Tamawashi hit Tomokaze hard at the tachiai with bruising nodowa but Tomokaze stood his ground. When Tamawashi reared forward for another attack, Tomokaze shifted and helped Tamawashi tumble off the dohyo. Hikiotoshi.

Hiradoumi (2-3) defeated Ryuden (3-2). Straight-forward yotsu-zumo. Ryuden offered a bit of resistance at the edge so Hiradoumi used forceful gabburi-yotsu to thrust him over the bales. Little offensive maneuvering from Ryuden today. Maybe he just got caught on a bad day or is still gassed from yesterday’s bout with Atamifuji? Yorikiri.

Mitakeumi (2-3) defeated Sadanoumi (2-3). We saw some offensive drive from Mitakeumi but he wasn’t able to finish the deal and Sadanoumi pressed back. Mitakeumi pulled as Sadanoumi pressed forward and both tumbled from the dohyo. Gunbai to Mitakeumi. Mono-ii. Too close to call, boys, do it again! In the rematch, Mitakeumi pressed forward into Sadanoumi but Sadanoumi pivoted. Mitakeumi went with the rotation and rolled Sadanoumi completely over. Interesting. Tsukiotoshi.

Oho (2-3) defeated Myogiryu (2-3). Solid tachiai, Oho was able to get his hand up on Myogiryu’s head and drive him down to the floor. Rather than a dramatic pull where the wrestler goes engines full reverse (like we saw from Mitakeumi, previously) this was a simple shift to the left. Effective. Frankly, that’s how it (the pull) should be done. Subtle. Hatakikomi.

Atamifuji (5-0) defeated Kotoeko (2-3). Kotoeko locked horns but none of his throw or trip attempts worked. Patiently, Atamifuji used his great footwork and guided Kotoeko slowly to the edge, and then over. Yorikiri.

Shonannoumi (4-1) defeated Endo (0-5). Shonannoumi nearly got Endo with a slapdown attempt but Endo saved himself by grabbing a handful of Shonannoumi’s sagari. Thus enraged, like pulling a bull’s tail, Shonannoumi pursued Endo and blasted him from the playing surface. Yorikiri.

Midorifuji (4-1) defeated Kinbozan (2-3). Henka! A pretty one at that. Full “Olé” on that. Hikiotoshi.

Onosho (2-3) defeated Hokuseiho (2-3). Bowling ball meets bowling pin and slams him out the back. Oshidashi.

Nishikigi (3-2) defeated Takanosho (2-3). Takanosho launched into Nishikigi with a fierce nodowa. But Nishikigi countered by shifting left and wrapping up Takanosho’s arm and driving him down. Kotenage.

Tobizaru (2-3) defeated Shodai (1-4). The first bout, Shodai had Tobizaru in his sights and probably could have done a better job finishing him off. But he tumbled out, too. Gunbai to Shodai. Mono-ii. The Shimpan say, “we need more action,” so a redo is called. In the redo, Shodai works up a full head of steam and Tobizaru shifted left, letting Shodai fly by. Tobizaru then gave Shodai a gentle nudge to finish him off. Oshidashi.

Hokutofuji (2-3) defeated Abi (1-4). Hokutofuji bulled through Abi’s thrusts. Oshidashi.

Kotonowaka (5-0) defeated Daieisho (4-1). Daieisho pitched forward a bit too far as he pressed full on into Kotonowaka. So Kotonowaka pulled him down. Katasukashi.

Wakamotoharu (3-2) defeated Ura (0-5). A wild cat-and-mouse chase where the mouse almost pulls off something spectacular but falls to the floor and gets eaten. I meant, “beaten.” Yoritaoshi.

Takakeisho (4-1) defeated Takayasu (2-3). Henkakeisho henka’d Papa Bear. Takayasu tried to recover but Henkakeisho pressed forward, driving Takayasu into the salt basket. Big mess. Oshidashi.

Hoshoryu (5-0) defeated Gonoyama (1-4). Gonoyama seemed ready to go but hoshoryu just wanted to gaze into his big brown eyes. Gonoyama was like, “what the hell? let’s go.” So they reset. Gonoyama heit Hoshoryu hard and drove him back with a nodowa. He couldn’t finish him, so he pulled backward…all engines, full reverse…And Hoshoryu followed and threw him out. Oshidashi.

Kirishima (4-1) defeated Meisei (1-4). Meisei pressed forward into Kirishima and twice Kirishima shifted. The second shift worked and Meisei fell to the floor. Hatakikomi.

28 thoughts on “Kyushu 2023, Day 5: “Gaze Into My Eyes”

  1. After today’s performance, my sympathy for Takakeisho and Hoshoryu has been reduced to two-digit negative numbers on a scale from -10 to 10…

  2. Tomokaze’s Hikiotoshi was superb.
    Atamifuji solid, I want him to get double digit.
    It’s disappointing to have 3 henkas in a single day.
    Most disappointing is Nishikifuji’s Henka to injured Tsurugisho.
    Hoshoryu and his mind games funny but unnecessary, just loses his respect. But as a nephew of Asashoryu, these things are expected.
    Taka disappointing, Henka by an Ozeki. He has atleast one Henka from past few bashos. May be because of injury, but still, it hurts to see Henka from Sanyaku rikishis.

    • Re Nishikifuji’s henka, I think that sometimes a henka can be a mercy move. It saved Tsurugisho from a knee punishing tachiai.

  3. Dude … How can you even remotely consider Takakeisho’s charge a henka or the stare-down as Hoshoryu’s doing? Gonoyama was the instigator as well as the reseter here, and it was clearly visible from mailes away.

    • Lateral movement, pre-contact = henka, IMHO. If you look at T-Rex when he makes contact with Takayasu, it’s from the side, at Takayasu’s right shoulder.

      Gonoyama had his right hand down. Hoshoryu made no effort to put either hand down or move forward. He was keen to sit there all day until Gonoyama got up.

      • Firstly, no, not any lateral movement pre-charge is a henka, and secondly, Takakeisho did not make a lateral movement pre-charge.

        Yes, Gonoyama had only his right hand down, that’s the point. And it’s not even like he looked close to put the second one. Of course you always need to people not lowering their hands to have a stare-down, but it is expected of the lower-ranked fighter put his hands down first, so if you have to pick an instigator, I don’t see any way you can say it’s Hoshoryu.

    • Yeah, my understanding is that it’s on the lower-ranking rikishi to place his hands down first. It wasn’t just Hoshoryu flexing, Gonoyama was stubbornly keeping one hand up to show that he wasn’t intimidated by Hoshoryu’s stare. It went on maybe a little bit long but that sort of posturing doesn’t happen very often in sumo so, fine!

      • I don’t agree. We get guys putting one hand down and waiting for some indication from the opponent that they’re going to put their hand down so that they can time the launch. Gonoyama’s actions were, in no way that I could tell, anything out of the ordinary.

        • I think we can blame the first reset on Hoshoryu for sure, but the 2nd reset seemed like Gonoyama’s doing. Fair is fair though I guess.

    • Maybe you can try and make a case that Takakeisho’s first move wasn’t a henka — but the real point is that there shouldn’t even be any doubt. He’s an Ozeki on the verge of Yokozuna. Given how he finished the last tournament, he should be going full out to prove that he can beat anybody mano a mano.

      Sure, doing a henka is a valid move, I get it, and there are times when its completely justified. But when you seem to be developing a pattern of relying on it, and when you’re somebody who wants his name to be on the same list as only 73 other people who’ve ever been Yokozuna in the long history of Sumo… I think that’s a problem.

      Nobody should ever be able to back into the title of Yokozuna — you should be able to rip that title from the hands of the 42 wrestlers that make up Makuuchi by proving you can kick each and every one of their butts in a completely dominating fashion. You shouldn’t just have so many wins in so many tournaments to be a Yokozuna. You should completely terrify the opposition.

      Fighting a Yokozuna at his peak power should never be “Oh, if he hadn’t pulled that trick I would have a had a chance”, it should always be “Damn, he’s going to kick my butt unless I have the best match of my life — and, even then, it might not matter.”

      If you’re not afraid of the guy, if there’s a question of power, perhaps even a whiff of contempt, he’s not fit to be Yokozuna.

      Usual disclaimers, this is only my opinion, etc.

      • But there was no doubt! Andy is the only person I have seen calling that a henka. The word wasn’t even uttered once on the Reddit thread and even Jason said it wasn’t one in his vide lol.

        • I see people calling it one on Twitter, in English and in Japanese. (Since it’s a Japanese term to begin with, I lean towards giving that credence.)

          • I mean, you can find every random opinion on the internet if you search long enough, I just took some of the main discussion places for the international sumo audience.

        • With all due respect, when I saw the match, the first thought that went through my head was “was that a henka? That looked like a henka.” And after watching the replay a few times, I went around on the web to see what other people thought, and I found several comments saying yes, several comments saying no, and such, general chaos.

          Re-watching the match again, I think the most damning thing is that at the tachiai, his feet are set properly at the line, and then the next moment his feet are sideways pointing to the left, right foot outside the line, hips pointed left, and he’s shoving Takayasu from the side. There was no any indication he stepped forward first to contact and then stepped to the right in reaction.

          To repeat: he didn’t move forward to contact, he moved to the right to contact.

          Maybe that’s technically not a henka. But, the point is this bombur8 – if there is no doubt, then there should be no doubt! I admit I’m more of a casual fan of sumo, but after watching it fairly consistently for several years at this point, I like to think I’ve seen enough that I can look at some moves and go “that looked kinda weak.” And if you’re auditioning for Yokozuna, you should never, ever do anything that looks weak, to anybody.

          And if you’re heading to contact from the side, as opposed to head on — if you sidestep at the tachiai — and you don’t have a really good reason for doing so, that’s weak.

          But obviously we disagree. shrug YMMV. I’m willing to concede that maybe technically that wasn’t a henka. But whatever the hell it was, IMHO, it was not the type of move a Yokozuna should make.

      • But there was no doubt! The word “henka” wasn’t even uttered once on the Reddit thread and even Jason, who’s famously allergic to the move and hated the conclusion to the last basho, immediately said that wasn’t one in his video. Andy is the only reason we are currently having this conversation …
        Like, you don’t have to try and make the case this was a henka, you need to try and make the case it was one!

        • Reddit is dead to me. (I got banned for posting a gif of rabbits demonstrating tsuppari.) They can live their lives in ignorance.

  4. I would never consider what Takakeisho did today a henka. He moved forward, hit, and then stepped to the side. Serious “look at that bro eating crackers” vibe here.

    • The giant macaron is the only one that matters. Maybe the cow, too. Oh, and how could I forget the mushrooms?

  5. Sorry guys, Hoshoryu, BIG thumbs up!!! Big fan of his and Sumo needs someone with attitude and the talent/skills to back it up. Well done kid.

  6. I would call that half-henka.. so call him henkakeisho, not Henkakeisho.
    Hoshoryu actually summoned to the kyoji’s room later and warned.

  7. Ya’ll are ridiculous with calling Takakeishos move a Hneka. That is not a henka. It’s the exact same move Haramafuji, A YOKOZUNA, used quite commonly. Yes, he took one foot to the outside and used his arms to swat him to the side, but he did not jump completely out of the way. THAT is a henka. Geezus. Everyone so caught up in criticising. If you don’t want to lose to what ya’ll call a henka, then don’t lose to it. Tobizaru did a true henka today against Takakesiho and Keisho was able to win quite comfortably. Stop making excuses. Konishiki, the guy that has probably faced to most Henkas of anyone in the history of Sumo even says it’s a valid tactic anyway. Give it up already!


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