Hanakaze’s Career in Context

Hiya. I was just playing around with some historical data and I created this little visual representation of Hanakaze’s sumo career. I’ve always been amazed at his longevity. Born in 1970, he joined the sumo world in 1986. These were the heady days of audio mix-tapes, featuring the Bangle’s “Walk Like An Egyptian” and such VHS classics as Jane Fonda’s “Low Impact Aerobic Workout.”

In a sumo context, he saw the end of the Chiyonofuji reign and rise of Takanohana and Akebono. He’s outlasted Asashoryu, Harumafuji, and Goeido. Feel free to play with the list of wrestlers, add your own favorites…maybe Abi or Terunofuji. Since the careers of the Yokozuna top out at the same place, it can be hard to make them out, so click on the names in the legend to highlight them one at a time.

Coronavirus Fears Affect Osaka Sumo Events

The Coronavirus precautions are starting to hit sumo events. Fan service or “Fansa” events are important forms of outreach in the sumo world. Many stables rely on them for fund-raising, as does the Kyokai itself. A baby holding photo event, scheduled for February 25, is being cancelled. As Herouth reports, a public practice involving the Nishinoseki Ichimon is being cancelled as well. There are some fears that the Osaka tournament itself — and even the Olympics — will be cut back or cancelled outright.

Worldwide, search interest in Corona Virus rose during the final week of Hatsubasho and peaked in the days just after senshuraku. Wuhan, the Chinese city at the heart of the outbreak, was subjected to severe travel restrictions on Wednesday the 23rd as the yusho race was heating up. This international interest in the topic hit its highest when the WHO declared a global health emergency (reversing their decision from the prior week) and many airlines cut revenue service to the Chinese mainland. However, the subsequent days have seen a swift decline in search interest.

This trend has not been replicated in Japan, however, as stories of taxi drivers testing positive for the virus hit the media and a quarantined cruise ship sits in its waters. The trend below is for Google searches of Corona Virus symptoms from Japan. As we see, that interest peaked within just the past few days so the issue is very present in Japan. February 5th corresponds to the start of the quarantine of the Diamond Princess. There’s a bit of a surge in the search popularity with that news with interest sustained over the subsequent days but really peaking with the first Coronavirus death in Japan and two taxi drivers testing positive for the virus on the 12th.

The Diamond Princess will being releasing passengers beginning today. No doubt that will lead to more stories and hyper vigilance in Japan, and perhaps another surge in searches. Passengers will get a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test in order to be released and the process will continue over several days as it will take days to get the results. Hopefully, that will assuage some fears about the outbreak.

One potential silver lining…could fewer fansa obligations improve Tokushoryu’s chances in Osaka? Tamawashi won Hatsu 2019 and followed that 13-2 performance with a 5-10 stinker. Both of his tournaments were fought at Sekiwake and the projected stronger schedule facing Tokushoryu will require him to be ready.

Consulate’s Cup: Austin, TX Amateur Sumo Tournament 6/13/2020

For fans of amateur sumo, especially those of you in Texas, mark your calendars for June 13, 2020. I’ll post reminders as the date comes closer but our friends at Dark Circle Sumo are hosting an Amateur Sumo Tournament with the Austin Japan Community. The tournament is sponsored by the Texas Sake Company. There will be multiple divisions for female and male competitors. They’ve got a great website with more information here. #TexasSumo

NHK Fukushi Sumo Event Tomorrow (2/11)

Fresh off the Fuji TV tournament, Kokugikan will host another sumo exhibition tomorrow (2/11) afternoon. This time the even is hosted by NHK. The program starts just after noon with some Taiko drumming. I have a video here of some Taiko drumming from the Shinshun matsuri (New Spring Festival) that was held here in DC two weekends ago.

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The Taiko drums are always a highlight.

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The program continues with a comedy sumo routine (Shokkiri), Jinku singing, the Makuuchi Dohyo-iri, and some exhibition bouts. A great sample of some Jinku singing is in the video below from Inside Sport Japan. *Update via Herouth below, the professional singers featured on the brochure and on the website will compete with makuuchi wrestlers in a singing competition. Your guess is probably better than mine as to who, other than Ikioi, will be participating.* There won’t be a tournament with a purse, and no shot at a Hakuho-Enho bout, but it should still be a fun, relaxed sumo event.