The new Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, whose enthronement ushered in the Reiwa Era, will make his first official appearance at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on Day 14. Based on previous visits to the Kokugikan by his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, we can expect Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to arrive at the mid-point of the Makuuchi Division to what I anticipate will be great fanfare. The attendance of the Emperor and Empress will certainly make what was already an exciting day of sumo that much better.
The Nihon Sumo Kyokai has reported that Yokozuna Hakuho has pulled out of the Hatsu Basho. This withdrawal comes on the heels of consecutive losses to Endo and Myogiryu. While the reasoning for Hakuho going kyujo is unknown at this time, the Yokozuna has had a recent history of nagging injuries to his toes and arm which may have been aggravated during his early losses to the aforementioned Maegashira Rikishi. Tachiai will continue to update this story as news develops.
As a result of Hakuho going Kyujo, his Day 4 opponent Hokutofuji will receive a fusensho win.
Update: According to Miyagino Oyakata, the reason for Hakuho’s withdrawal is cellulitis in his right heel. Miyagino stated that Hakuho suffered damage to his heel prior to the banzuke announcement, which subsequently became infected, causing a fever last night. This cellulitis infection is coupled with an injury to his hip/lower back area that he sustained during his match with Endo on Day 2.
Last year we saw the first Honbasho of a new Imperial era, and now we are a few days away from the first Honbasho of a new decade. What hasn’t changed, however, is my commitment to bringing you scorecards for each and every tournament. Here’s hoping we ring in the new year with another amazing Hatsu Basho!