Kisenosato Restarts Training with Pectoral Injury


There’s more bad news on Kisenosato. His stable revealed new details of the extent of his injuries which include a previously undisclosed injury to his left major pectoral muscle. He also restarted training on April 3. We can only wonder why he’s begun training again but I hope his injury is allowed to heal completely. Maybe he’s being allowed to throw a ball against the wall to stave off boredom?

This news comes via Nikkei. The headline we’ll discuss today is below:

稀勢の里、新たに左大胸筋損傷が判明 非公開で稽古再開

By now, we know the kanji for Kisenosato’s shikona, so we all know who we’re talking about. So let’s move on and parse the six kanji characters in the middle, right before the hiragana “GA.” This is usually the subject. These six go together as, “left (左) major (大) pectoral (胸) muscle (筋) injury (損傷).”

Going back to the kanji and two hiragana characters after the comma, we’ve also previously seen the kanji for “new”. With the hiragana -tani, we get the adverbial form, so this yields, “newly.” Japanese usually puts the verb at the end of the phrase. In this case we get, hanmei, or reveal (判明) right before the break in the headline. So, we basically have “a newly revealed left pectoral muscle injury.”

非公開で稽古再開

It’s this last bit which is the startling revelation, in my book. Let’s start at the end. The last two characters (再開) mean restart. Immediately before that, we see what he restarted. Keiko (稽古) means “training.” Hikōkai (非公開) means “private,” and with the hiragana -de, we can take that as “privately.” So, all together, Kisenosato has privately restarted training with a previously undisclosed left pectoral injury. Surely the big guy was not going to sit on the couch watching Cowboy Bebop all day. And he has pulled out of the Spring Jungyo exhibition tour. They are taking his injury seriously and I hope he will be healed and ready in May.

Lastly, I thought I’d show the translations we get from our three translation engines. Google didn’t do too poorly but the use of the word “unpublished” rather than “private” does change the meaning of the headline pretty significantly. Rather than saying he has already restarted, that would seem to imply it may start again at a future date. Excite takes the other tack of making it explicit that “practice resumes.” Yahoo’s regurgitated brekkie sausage (wonderful term, Dana!) brings to mind those fancy restaurants that smear sugar, cocoa and honey on a plate, calling it a “deconstructed S’more.” Completely unintelligible.

According to Google Translate: “Rare village, newly revealed left major pectoral muscle damage Unpublished training restart”
According to Yahoo! Japan: “Revelation is closed and takes a lesson, and, Kisenosato, the left pectoralis major muscle damage reopens newly”
According to Excite: “The left greater pectoral muscle damage is revealing closure again, and a practice resumes Sato of rare momentum.”

Kisenosato’s Left Shoulder / Arm Injury


Kise-Arm

Recovery Time: 1 Month

One of the biggest elements to the grand story of the Haru basho was Yokozuna Kisenosato’s unlikely and, to some, unbelievable win following a significant injury on day 13 in his match against Yokozuna Harumafuji. Harumafuji has a couple of very fierce match templates. One of them is to pack overwhelming force into a huge tachiai, blasting his opponent at least off balance and possibly clean off the dohyo.

Harumafuji has been nursing injuries himself for the past year, and decided “Atomic Tachiai” would be his approach to Kisenosato. It worked, and in a tragic misfortune, Kisenosato fell badly and damaged his left upper body. The sumo press, his coach, his stable and everyone were very tight lipped about the nature of his injury, and the severity. Speculation was amplified by the silence, and there was serious talk of his withdrawing from the basho. However he found the tenacity to appear for his day 14 match against Yokozuna Kakuryu. It was clear that he had no strength, and was in a great deal of pain.

Now word comes that Kisenosato will require at least one month to recover from damage to the muscles in his left upper arm and chest. It should be noted that reports still don’t discuss the nature or extent of his injury, only that he will be recovering for month, and will not participate in the spring sumo PR tour know as Jungyo.

The Osaka tournament champion was quoted as saying: “I’m not really in any pain now, so I think I should be able to join the tour (Jungyo) as soon as my doctor allows it”. His stable master was also quoted as saying “It’s important for him to rest now. The Yokozuna (Kisenosato) wants to go on the tour, but his injury must be completely healed. I won’t give permission without an exam to confirm it”.

Haru Day 14 Preview


Kise-kak-14

Kisenosato Will Compete Day 14

The results from day 13 were catastrophic for the Japanese sumo industry. Their home-grown Yokozuna was hurt in a bout, many would say needlessly. Some my wonder why I label this a catastrophe, it’s because Kisenosato’s ascension led to a huge uptick in sumo’s popularity and cultural prominence. Any long term injury could lead to some very hard feelings between the Japanese public and some of sumo’s top performers. This would be an utter disaster for the sport.

As of the moment this is being written (and one of the reasons it’s so late), Kisenosato has decided he is going to show up and face Kakuryu on day 14. I fear that he is not at 100%, and may in fact risk a grave injury. But Kisenosato is so proud to be a Yokozuna now, he wants to show Japan that he is going to be there, no matter how much it hurts.

In other news from day 13 (most of you will have watched video by now). Terunofuji defeated Kakuryu in a fairly amazing bout. I am not sure what happened to bring “classic” kaiju mode Terunofuji back, but I think everyone (including myself) figured he was gone for good. Now he is back, and he is tied for the lead in the yusho race with an injured Kisenosato.

Takayasu continued his typical out of gas / collapse on day 13, losing to Yoshikaze. Yoshikaze is now kachi-koshi, which delights me, but I was hoping to see Takayasu set his defeat aside and charge ahead. Kotoshogiku also managed a win over Shodai, a convincing one, to keep his return to Ozeki status alive by the narrowest of margins.

Yusho Race – It’s either Terunofuji or Kisenosato. God help us, but they will face off on day 15.

Key Matches Day 14

Kisenosato vs Kakuryu – How injured is the Shin-Yokozuna? Time to find out. I doubt Kakuryu is going to give him any quarter. Kisenosato tends to beat Kakuryu, their career record is Kisenosato 31, Kakuryu 17. But this is going to be a tough match with Kisenosato’s left arm hurt. It’s also a must-win for Kakuryu, who only has 8 wins so far.

Kotoshogiku vs Terunofuji – Well, it’s been nice knowing you Kotoshogiku. Terunofuji seems only to be increasing in strength and intensity, where it’s clear the past few days the Kotoshogiku is on fumes. Terunofuji has gladly granted his opponents a double-inside “death grip” the past few days, and then proceeded to make them suffer. Given that Kotoshogiku will try for that same grip to start his hug-n-chug, the results could be ugly. Kotoshogiku must win all remaining bouts to return to his Ozeki rank.

Takarafuji vs Takayasu – Takayasu may be convincing himself that things are tougher than they should be. He needs to break above 10 to help his Ozeki push, and he needs to be able to recover from a disappointing loss like day 11 if he is to excel at sumo’s higher ranks. Takarafuji is fighting well this basho, so this is not an easy match.

Expected Day 15 Matches

  • Kakuryu vs Harumafuji
  • Kisenosato vs Terunofuji
  • Kotoshogiku vs Yoshikaze
  • Takayasu vs Tamawashi

Yokozuna Kisenosato Injured In First Loss


Kise-13

Shoulder Wounded Falling From Dohyo

There were a lot of developments in the basho over night, but the most significant is Harumafuji’s defeat of Kisenosato in the final match of the day. The match was a rapid brawl with Harumafuji taking control from the tachiai, driving him backwards on launching him off the dohyo.

While a loss for the undefeated Yokozuna was a major development, the crowd was stunned when Kisenosato did not mount the dohyo to complete the match, but instead collapsed in pain, clutching his left shoulder. Later it was reported:

Kisenosato was transported to an Osaka hospital after his bout in an ambulance. His right arm was in a sling; he apparently also has some sort of chest injury to go along with his shoulder injury. The dislocated shoulder was reportedly affixed [Sankei] but Kisenosato told the reporter (referring to his arm): ” 動かない。痛みがあって動かすのが怖い ” (Close enough translation: “I’m not moving it. It hurts and I’m too scared to move it.”)

Kisenosato’s sumo depends on his strong left hand grip, and the chances are very good that he as at least dislocated his left shoulder, and possibly suffered a more significant injury. Fans should expect that he will by kyujo for the remainder of the Haru basho, forfeiting a solid chance at yusho in his first tournament as Yokozuna.

Fans should note, if Kisenosato withdraws from Haru (as I expect), the yusho winner would be Terunofuji. With 2 matches left there is likely no way anyone can catch him. Terunofuji’s day 14 opponent is scheduled to be Kotoshogiku.

Osunaarashi (大砂嵐) Battling Back To Makuuchi


Image Courtesy of John Gunning and Inside Sport Japan

osunaarashi2a

Cannot Be Stopped, Will Not Be Stopped

Most of the time the Tachiai crew focuses on Makuuchi, as that’s the extent of what we US based fans get to watch on the NHK highlights. But there is a great story that has been unfolding in the next division down, Juryo.

We focus on Egyptian born Osunaarashi, who was a Makuuchi rikishi for some time, and then had a series of injuries that left him barely able to compete. In fact during the last few basho, he would at times hobble to and from the dohyo, yet somehow fight with great spirit and vigor, at times winning in spite of his pain and problems.

For the Hatsu basho, he was Maegashira 16, but could not eek out a winning record, and was sent back to Juryo to fight his way back to the upper division. Ranked as Juryo 7, he was likely to face at least 2 tournaments before he could make a bid to return to the top division. But perhaps not.

As of day 10, Osunaarashi has an 8-2 record, and is tied for the Juryo yusho. He has been absolutely dominating his matches, and appears healthy, healed and strong. As Osunaarashi is a favorite of the sumo fans, and Tachiai as well, we are cheering him on and hope he can win back his place in Makuuchi.

Video below of Osunaarashi (Large sand storm) blasting Hidenoumi on day 10.

Goeido Withdraws From Haru


Goeido

As reported on the NSK official web site, Ozeki Goeido has withdrawn from the March tournament in Osaka. This development should surprise no one, as Goeido was recovering form orthopedic surgery, and had only practiced for four days prior to the start of the basho. Frankly, he was putting his health and future at risk by trying to compete.

As reported in the Japanese sumo press: “about five weeks of treatment with right leg joint lateral ligament injury”

It has been obvious over the past few days that Goeido could not put power to ground through his damaged and re-constructed ankle. Tachiai is grateful that Goeido decided to withdraw before anything horrific took place on the dohyo, and we hope to see him back in action once he is fully recovered.

Haru Day 5 Results


Hakuho-5

Hakuho Kyujo, Kisenosato Undefeated

The first act of Haru is complete. At this point all rikishi should be warmed up, on their sumo and in the optimum form. During the middle third of the basho is when we find out who will have a chance at yusho, and who is been competing hurt.

This big news from day 5 is that Hakuho withdrew from competition on day 5, citing an injury to the big toe of his right foot. This is the same foot that was the subject of surgery in September of 2016, and it’s re-injury is an ominous sign for the Boss’s long-term viability. It was clear that something was wrong form day 2, but like most rikishi, Hakuho was trying to continue in spite of the pain and discomfort. This gave Mitakeumi a fusen win.

The rest of the Yokozuna corps won their matches, with Ikioi putting in a nice effort against Kisenosato, who is looking amazingly untouchable. The same cannot be said for Goeido who is on the Kadoban express after Takekaze dropped him.

Shodai offered little against Takayasu, who has clearly benefited from the non-stop “fight club” with Kisenosato since January. Both Tagonoura rikishi are unbeaten, and every match is smooth, confident, strong and in-control. Then there is Terunofuji, who is fighting like he really means it this time. We have not seen this aspect of him in a while. His matches are like some vengeful hero turned loose to reclaim his stolen valor.

The Kotoshogiku revival train missed a stop today, when Tamawashi was able to resist the one good leg power attack. It’s possible that now we have entered the middle act of Haru, everyone is warmed up, they have been watching the tapes, and they know how to circumvent Kotoshogiku’s modified attack forms.

Takarafuji will not be stopped, at least not any time soon. This is the best performance from Harumafuji’s stable mate that I can recall watching, and he is certainly cleaning up against any and all opponents. The same can be said about Tochiozan, who has had a string of lack-luster tournaments. Today Tochiozan dealt Chiyoshoma his first loss, and looked very much in control for the brief time the match lasted.

Endo handily defeated Ichinojo, who has been on a hot streak since the first of the year. Endo had Ichinojo’s excess height and weight to overcome, but his skill and technique carried the day. Endo has a lot of promise still, but his consistency has suffered greatly.

If you want to watch two rikishi really go after each other today, catch the Daieisho win over Takakeisho.

Late word from the NSK seems to indicate that we will see Kaisei return in the next few days, hopefully in working order and ready for battle. Readers will recall that his injury came in a practice bout with Hakuho, who is now himself out with injury.