Projected Makushita Promotions

Welcome Justin (Hōchiyama)

Justin is a current resident of the DC area. Like Andy, I do my best to avoid visiting the downtown DC area. I “adopted” the rikishi Hōchiyama (active 2000-2016) in one of the early Sumo Forum’s games to “adopt a rikishi”, and was proud that he was the first of the original adoptees to make the top division. Now, I “adopt” him again as my writer’s shikona.
I first saw sumo in the summer of 1993 and fell in love. In 1994, I lived in Nerima-ku as a poor student, spending most of my time in a local izakaya and learning as much as I could. I got a black belt in Kōdōkan jūdō and learned shōgi. I cultivated my passion for sumo just as Takanohana made Yokozuna and enjoyed the Ake-Taka jidai and sumo boom. I have followed sumo since, and have become a “sumo otaku”.

Favorite sumo moments in my life are acting as gyōji for a young Ama and Hakuhō in the pool at Mandalay Bay during the Las Vegas kōen and climbing into the dōhyō at the DC Sumo and Sushi event! And pulling out a win against moto-Chiyonoshin, aka Enya in Sanctary!

Projected Makushita Promotions

Permit us to introduce the rikishi who are projected to join Makushita (Division 3) for the first time when the banzuke for the November tournament is released.

I anticipate that five rikishi will receive their first promotion to Makushita:  Satorufuji, Haruyama, Asashinjō, Kenshin, and Gōnoumi.

Satorufuji (聖富士) is another Isegahama prodigy out of Hiryū High School (like stablemates Midorifuji, Atamifuji and Hayatefuji)1. Satorufuji is a 19 year old,  5’9”” (178cm)/ 351 lbs (160kg) wrestler out of Shizuoka prefecture. In his four tournaments on the banzuke, he has a career record of 23-5, with a Jonidan Yūshō in the Natsu 2023 bashō – where he defeated ex-college Ōshōryū in a playoff.  His only losses are to prospects Asahakuryū (twice), Gōnoumi (see below), Tanji, and to the veteran Kitaharima. He has a variety of skills – winning by yorikiri almost 40% of the time and oshidashi about 25 perent of the time.  He also has won by various throwing techniques and a few times by Katatsukashi (possibly an influence from his elder stablemate).   He started sumo at Yaizu boy’s Sumo Klub and Kanehira Dojo when he was in second grade.  In his second year of junior high, he was part of the team that won the National Junior High School Sumo Tournament, winning a team championship with Yoshii.  In his third year of junior high, he won third place in the National Prefectural Junior High School Tournament. In the second hear of high school, he was on the team that won a national team championship and he also has won many various tournaments. He clearly has the size and skills to succeed in makushita and is still young enough to develop into another Isegahama-beya sekitori.  His has won a divisional playoff bout and has not yet reached his peak.  He will be an interesting prospect to watch develop in the near future.

Haruyama (春山) is one of Onoe-beya’s recruits from its pipeline at Nihon University.  He was recruited to Onoe-beya along with his Nihon U teammate and last bashō’s Jonokuchi division winner Shiroma.  He was also part of powerhouse Saitama Sakae High School’s sumo team prior to joining the university.  He is a 23 year old, 5’11’’ (181cm)/310 lbs (141kg) wrestler out of Kagoshima Japan and fights under his own name. He has a career record of 19-2, including a jonokuchi championship in Natsu 2023. He has only lost to high school prospects (and kohai of his from Saitama Sakae) Wakaikari and Gōnoumi (see below).  In his short career he is also showing he can use mixed techniques – Oshidashi (around 25%), yorikiri (around 25%), and some nage techniques.  He blasted his way through jonokuchi (mostly oshidashi and tsukidashi) and has relied more on the belt as he rose through jonidan and sandanme in one tournament each.  He has already done a lot of development at the high school and university level, and although he has not won any university titles, he finished in the top 16 in the All Japan Championships, and was in the top 16 in the National Student Championships, and achieved third place in the Kariya Tournament. He was team captain of the club at Nihon University. He is the cousin of Fujishima-beya’s Kainoshima.  As he was not a top-tier university wrestler, he started in mae-zumo.  He has potential to reach sekitori.

Asashinjō (朝心誠) arrives in makushita after seven years in sumo, having started in the Haru 2016 tournament. He fights out of Takasago-beya, is 25 years old and 5’7’’ (170cm)/256lbs (116kg).  He hails from Aichi Japan (Nagoya), and is a product of Tokai Industrial College Atsuta high school. He was a jūdōka in high school and was in the top 16 in the over 100kg weight class at the Aichi Prefecture General Championships.  At that time, his specialty was ippon-seoi throw, He has a career record of 154-143-11.  He spent most of 2018-early 2022 bouncing between jonidan and sandanme and has only recently taken a big step forward, attaining four kachi-koshi in a row. He is undersized and light weight, and likely at the peak of his skills, achieving a 6-1 record in upper sandanme last tournament, only his second career 6-1 tournament.  He may not achieve much longevity in makushita. He mainly wins by yorikiri and uwatenage (35% of wins). He works as one of the chankoban in Takasago-beya.

Kenshin (謙信) reaches makushita after eight years in the lower divisions, having started in the Hatsu 2015 tournament. He wrestles out of Sakaigawa-beya, is 27 years old, and is 5’7’’ (172cm)/285lbs (129kg).  He hails from Niigata Japan and is a product of Takada Agricultural High School. In his sophomore year, he placed second in a national team competition. He has a 174-151-32 career record.  He was given the name “Kenshin” by Sakaigawa Oyakata in honor of Kenshin Uesugi, a famous local general. He is a cousin of Sekinoto Oyakata (former Iwakiyama). He has been a solid sandanme wrestler since Aki 2017, spending all but one basho in the 4th division in the past six years – only dropping due to injury.  He has flirted with a third division debut for the past two years, and finally makes it after a 5-2 record. He is mainly a pusher/thruster (63% of wins by oshidashi or tsukidashi) and is not against the slapdown (11 percent of wins). He likely is at the peak of his career and not likely to rise much further than the lower part of makushita.

We return to a discussion of a prospect with Gōnoumi (豪ノ湖). He comes out of former Gōeidō’s Takekuma-beya and will rise to makushita after only four tournaments on the banzuke and with a career record of 23-5.  He hails from Shiga Prefecture, is 19 years old, and is 5’10’’ (178cm)/282lbs (128kg).   He started Sumo with the Nagahama Sumo Club when he was in 6th grade. In his third year of junior high school, he won second place in the National Junior High School Sumo Tournament and second place in the team competition. He joined the Saitama Sakae High School sumo team, where he won the National Semba Yurikai Individual Championship and became a High School Yokozuna), as well as many other tournaments. He has rapidly moved up the banzuke.  He has fought a lot of prospects, defeating Satorufuji and Kazeeidai, and losing to Wakaikari and a rematch with Satorufuji. He was in the run for the sandanme championship, going 6-0 and only losing to former top-division veteran Kitaharima by oshitaoshi on day 13. His shikona receives the “Gō” from his stablemaster, Gōeidō, and the umi (lake) from Lake Biwa in Shiga, as well as deference to the late-yokozuna Kitanoumi. He feels he is under a lot of pressure to perform up to the expectations of a former high-school Yokozuna. In July of his senior year, he and three other club members received a letter of appreciation from the Omiya-Nishi Police Station of the Saitama Prefectural Police for protecting an elementary school boy who gotten lost.

1  Hiryū High School has been assembling quality prospects and is turning itself into a top-tier high school club.  Its non-Isegahama wrestlers include Tochikōdai, Fujinoyama, Tendōzan, Daiseizan, Nagata, Ryūtsukasa and Nagamura.

Lower Division Highlights: Kyushu 2022, Day 1

That is a long, hideous title. I’ll think of something better as the basho rolls on. This series of posts is for those who are sick of the “hawt mess” in sanyaku. I’ll just say that sumo deserves an Ozeki who doesn’t tuck-tail and run from Tobizaru. That was utter capitulation. I’m looking forward to reading Bruce’s take on it. Anyway, as I’ve done in the last few tournaments, I’d like to look at the developing talent in the lower divisions. Lately, the recruiting classes have been small so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to just focus on Jonokuchi as I had been doing, so I thought I’d provide some updates across the lower divisions.


Josh kicked things off with a great tournament preview for all of the guys in the second division. In an effort to keep that going, let’s track a few of the highlight bouts:

Tsurugisho started things off with a good ‘ole slap to the face (harite) of Bushozan but he quickly found himself in danger as Bushozan drove forward, forcing Tsurugisho to the edge. At the edge, Tsurugisho found leverage along the tawara and slapped Bushozan down. They called it a kotenage but I found it could have been more likely a katasukashi. (Oooo, look at you, Mr. FancyPants, challenging the kimarite!)

Hidenoumi demonstrated power, endurance, and superior position as he eventually forced Mitoryu out over the bales. Mitoryu found himself attacking Hidenoumi from above which immediately put him on the defensive. While Hidenoumi found himself a win, stablemate Kinbozan wasn’t quite so fortunate. Kotokuzan roughed him up pretty good before winning with a well executed pull-down. Hokuseiho showed a bit of patience, overpowering Chiyonokuni. Chiyonokuni’s gameplan was to be as wild and mobile and disruptive as possible but Hokuseiho wore him down; Chiyonokuni made the first mistake by stepping out.

The best bout, in my humble opinion, was Enho’s shitatedashinage win over Kaisho. First of all, I love to see Enho take someone on head-to-head, fighting big man sumo. He went right at Kaisho and didn’t get discouraged when his initial pull-down attempt failed. He re-engaged but as he couldn’t quite muster the strength to drive Kaisho back, he instead frustrated him with a solid left-hand belt grip which he used to pull down. Kaisho barely maintained his balance and tried to free himself from the pixie’s grasp. But as he stood tall to wrench Enho’s arm free, Enho drove forward forcing Kaisho to the bales. Enho then finished him off with a last, quick, hard pull on the mawashi.

Schedulers pitted the two Juryo division rookies, Tsushimanada and Roga, against each other on Day 1. Tsushimanada was raring to go and launched out at his opponent. Roga countered by slowing things down and forcing a belt battle. However, Tsushimanada proved too powerful today as he pivoted and threw Roga into the waiting gyoji. I’m eager to see this rivalry take off. Let’s hope both men have good tournaments and work their way up the banzuke in 2023.


The big story in Makushita for this tournament will again be Asanoyama. He came just short of the division title in the last tournament but his otherwise dominant performance catapulted him into the Makushita joi, where his competition will be the most fierce since his return from suspension. Here, he’s going to face a potpourri of fading former top division wrestlers, borderline sekitori, and more recent hopefuls. Last night he took his first step to likely re-promotion by cautiously wrapping up Daiseiryu and walking him back over the bales. Slow and steady.

Ishizaki weathered Tochimaru’s tsuppari storm and won with a quick shift and thrust down at the edge. Up-and-comer Hayatefuji had a strong showing against Makuuchi veteran Akiseyama. He displayed excellent speed and power but Akiseyama’s wiles turned the tables on the youngster, pivoting at the edge for a hard fought win. Fujitoshi used his head, literally, to knock out Nabatame. Nabatame met Fujitoshi’s fiery tachiai head on, but when the crown of Fujitoshi’s head met Nabatame’s jaw the Futagoyama youngster crumpled to the dohyo. We’ll see if he has to go kyujo.

Setonoumi won his first bout against Kainoshima. Readers may remember Setonoumi from his lower division yusho as he came back from a neck injury. He’s now reached his highest-ever rank at Makushita 26. With the hay-makers he was throwing last night, he’s aiming higher. He charged out at Kainoshima from the word, “jump,” with aggressive harite and a high-energy, free-wheeling oshi-tsuki style.

Nihonyanagi pancaked Miyagi and Mukainakano greeted Wakatakamoto with similar treatment. Both Miyagi and Wakatakamoto bounced back up and neither appeared to be injured despite rather scary falls. Lastly, Mudoho met his match in Okinofuji. Okinofuji was too big and powerful to drive back so Mudoho tried a poorly executed pull/throw-thing at the edge. Yeah, I’m not too clear on what he was doing, and it seemed neither was he. When he ended up with his back to Okinofuji, it was over in the most ignominious way possible, okuridashi.


After 26 years, Dairaido is still plugging away and finding wins. Today he powered his way to a win over Ryutsukasa…who was born a year after Dairaido joined the sumo world. Takeoka chased Ishii around the ring, forcing the Miyagino-beya hopeful out. Hitoshi started off with a quick, dominating win over Ebisumaru. I can’t help but reminisce whenever I see Ebisumaru’s name about the great times I had in Ebisu in Tokyo. And shrimp. Especially the Cajun shrimp I used to get in New Orleans when we’d visit from Biloxi, Mississippi. But I digress… Hitoshi will find his way up the banzuke quickly. Ishii needs a bit of a rethink as his strategy against Takeoka looked more like a retreat, from the beginning.


Our Jonokuchi yusho winner, Otani, started Kyushu off with a win as Terutaka’s henka attempt went awry. I don’t think Terutaka’s heart was really in the henka but he sure didn’t want to take Otani head-on. That’s like playing chicken with a dump truck — whose driver’s blind. Anyway, Otani’s my favorite for the Jonidan yusho.


This tournament, there are two wrestlers making their debuts but the big story is the return of Kyokutaisei from injury. Newcomers may not know him but while he’s had a few appearances in the top division, he’s really been a solid Juryo mainstay for a good six years. Needless to say, he put away the outmatched Fujinonami with 1 and 1/2 good shoves. Of the two debutantes, Takerufuji will hope to challenge Kyokutaisei for the Jonokuchi yusho. His Nihon University pedigree gave zero f***s about his opponent, the hapless Higohikari, tossing him unceremoniously off the dohyo. The eventual highlight bout between Kyokutaisei and Takerufuji will likely be all she wrote for this yusho race, hence the scope creep for my posts this tournament.

Why does Higohikari never have a chonmage? He always wears his hair in the free, zambara-style. He debuted nearly 20 years ago and his official Kyokai profile shows a picture of him with a chonmage. If anyone knows, feel free to share in the comments. It’s just one of those curiosities that I don’t seem to find an answer for.

Bouts from the lower divisions: Match Day 1

With a few asterisks, we’ve concluded Match Day 1 for rikishi from the lower four divisions. The men from these divisions only fight seven times during the tournament, so the first half fought on opening night and most of the rest (who aren’t kyujo) fought last night. So on the first night we got to see the return of Wakaichiro and Ura’s first bout was last night.


I figure I’ll start here with the rookies, Mudoho, Nihonyanagi, and Dewanoryu.

Mudoho, grandson of the legendary Yokozuna Taiho, kicked off the tournament under his own shikona, drawn from the characters used by his Grampa. The Kyokai started the whole tournament early Sunday morning with this decisive win over Iwata from Naruto beya, who is returning from kyujo and his second round of maezumo. You can find more of his backstory and Herouth’s coverage of his maezumo debut here and introductions for our Jonokuchi debutants.

Two willow trees, Nihonyanagi was next, (“Over the oka and through the mori, to Roppongi we go”). Conveniently, he fought against our other debutant, Dewanoryu. Both were introduced by Herouth in the article link above.

Nihonyanagi secured a morozashi quickly after a rather defensive (oshi-minded) tachiai. Once he secured that left hand inside, right hand outside, he began to yank Dewanoryu around at will. to the side of the dohyo. Dewanoryu’s next match is scheduled tomorrow against Hattorizakura, one of our asterisks, in that he has not fought yet. Taiga is also kyujo to start this tournament and he will likely compete once to stay on the banzuke. Ryuden did this several times before storming back and becoming the Maegashira mainstay we know and love today. May Taiga be so blessed.


In Jonidan, we’ve got Senho who jumped from Jonokuchi into the midst of the division at Jd74 (of 108 ranks). Unfortunately for him, he lost against the more experienced, dedicated pusher-thruster in Harada. And unfortunately for us, I’ve not been able to find video anywhere because Harada won by yoritaoshi and I’m very curious about how that worked out. But the headliner in Jonidan is former maegashira Ura in his second tournament back. He dominated Sorakaze from the outset, with an oshidashi win. After a good tachiai, he worked his left hand inside Sorakaze’s right arm, grabbed him by the armpit, and ejected him from the dohyo. All of his wins last tournament were of the oshi-tsuki variety.


Unfortunately, in Sandanme we have the late-timed intai of Kaishu for personal reasons. He was still on the banzuke and his retirement came as quite the surprise. He’s been active on Instagram, where he’s been updating his story from what looks like the Philippines? Yesterday Kobayashi-san was riding along a road as an apparent passenger on one of those hire-bikes. The day before he was at a water park. We wish him well in his post-sumo endeavors and we’ll keep people filled in on his future successes.

Wakaichiro fought against Baraki on Day 1 and unfortunately came away with a loss. He was a bit off balance for a lot of the bout and it looked like he’d recovered well for a moment but Baraki was able to finish him off. Sadly, I can’t find video. This is surely a lamentable predicament for the former American Footballer since studying one’s past games and those of one’s opponents is such a crucial part of practice in that sport, and he’ll need it for his next fight against Fujinowaka. Both men are Oshizumo specialists, so it will likely be a strength vs strength bout.

Hokutenkai on the West, or left side, of this video faced off against the appropriately named Azumasho. The Mongolian has had an exceptional start to his career with a 6-1 debut followed by the Jonidan yusho in Kyushu. He’s proven himself comfortable with oshizumo but he is able to win on the belt as well. The strong blast at the tachiai pressed the bigger Azumasho back on the defensive. Azumasho hunkers down and forces a shift to a belt battle. Hokutenkai is not shy about it and starts to get to work. Just as Azumasho’s foot gets to the bales (and I’m sure he could have withstood a yorikiri attempt) Hokutenkai executes a great uwatenage overarm throw.


Up in Makushita, we got another great uwatenage from Kitanowaka against Narutaki.

Roga battled Onami Jr, sorry, Wakatakamoto but I can’t find video. Sorry.

A bit further up we get a humdinger of a bout between a former Makuuchi regular, Chiyonokuni, and Mudoho’s big brother Naya. Chiyonokuni wound up and tried to deliver a whopper of a slap to Naya but landed two – rather ineffectively – at his shoulder/armpit instead. The younger man forced the issue and kept bringing the oshi-battle to the grizzled veteran. As Chiyonokuni ducked away, Naya pursued, and thrust his prey out with a forceful final blast. I may be over-stating this point but that’s the kind of power I’d like to see Abi develop behind his attack to get to the Ozeki level.

Well, action has already started for Match Day 2, so I bid y’all adieu.

Ones to Watch: Hatsu 18 Wrap-up

With the New Years basho having concluded this past weekend with a wonderful and unexpected result, it’s now time to take a look down the banzuke and check on the overall performances of this tournament’s Tachiai Ones to Watch™. Last time out, we posted a 17-3 kachi-koshi record and collected 2 yusho from the 4 lower divisions.


So, how did our picks do this time?

Kachi-koshi: 1️⃣2️⃣
Make-koshi: 8️⃣
Yusho: 🏆
Juryo promotions: 1️⃣
Hattorizakura-watch: ⚫️⚫️⚫️⚫️⚫️⚫️⚫️


Ms6 Enho (Miyagino) – One of our dear favorites locked in his kachi-koshi at the last chance, posting a 4-3 record. We are unabashed fans of Enho, he is exciting and amazing to watch. However, that he was even in the promotion conversation with this record at this rank is a testament to the mess at the bottom of Juryo. He has now been receiving (semi) daily stern tests against rikishi of similar pedigree and veterans who have seen the promised land and do not appreciate being exiled from it. On the face of it, the trip to Juryo may be extremely challenging to him so let’s hope he can gain some good pounds in the right places.

Ms6 Wakamotoharu, Ms17 Wakatakakage, Ms34 Wakatakamoto (Arashio) – The Arashio bros combined for a 15-6 record driven largely by Wakatakakage’s impressive zensho yusho, which should place him at or near the top of the division for Haru. Like Enho, Wakamotoharu found it tough in the insanely congested top of the Makushita division, falling to a 3-4 record, and should find himself near enough to Wakatakamoto whose 5 win basho should propel him near enough the top quarter of the division. Should those two post similar records next time out it might make things interesting for the schedulers! If we’re going to look at areas of improvement, Wakamotoharu may need the opposite plan as Enho going forward as he handled the veterans nicely but tended to struggle against the up and coming rikishi.

Ms8 Murata (Takasago) – Murata, who debuted at the same time with Wakatakakage and who had largely matched his progress, will fall back behind his rival having suffered the narrowest of make-koshi. In fairness, having come through a horrendous start, he recovered nicely in the last couple of matches to ensure his demotion will not be too extreme. If we’re going to look for a highlight, his second bout match against the triple lower division yusho winner and Kokonoe up-and-comer Chiyonoumi might provide a key for future success – he’s able to stand his ground against a composed opponent and use his mass and pushing/thrusting to keep moving forward and move him out (hat tip to One and Only for the video coverage):

Ms21 Ichiyamamoto (Nishonoseki) – It’s another solid kachi-koshi at 5-2 for Nishonoseki’s university man, who just continues to progress. Ichiyamamoto is an extreme pusher-thruster and it will be interesting to watch his results as he starts now to come up against rikishi with a better plan at the tachiai. Gochozan’s revenge win against him in this tournament was a case of a match that started as a pushing festival and ended up with Ichiyamamoto’s arms getting locked up and not really having much of a plan B. If someone’s going to lock up his arms he may struggle, but if he can establish his pushing attack he’s a difficult rikishi to beat at this level.

Ms23 Nishikifuji (Isegahama) – Owing to the flu circulating Isegahama-beya, we’re going to have to give Nishikifuji a pass on an awful 1-5-1 tournament that blighted an otherwise brilliant start to his career. The banzuke makers of course will not be so kind, but the last time that a 1 win tournament at his rank wasn’t enough to keep a rikishi in this division was 1948. He put up 6 wins at Ms52 last time out and that’s probably about where we’ll see him next time and will expect him to restart his progress.

Ms30 Ryuko (Onoe) – Another solid tournament for Ryuko who makes it three consecutive 5-2s to follow the three consecutive 6-1s to open his career. Intriguingly, he used a greater variety of winning techniques here than some of his contemporaries higher up on this post. While he certainly gets his share of oshi- wins, over the last two tournaments he has started mixing in throws. Only one of them seems to have been particularly well executed (in Kyushu against Ikeru) but that also may come down to the quality of opponent. It’s going to be interesting to see how he mixes and matches and whether his strategy will continue to develop as he reaches the higher levels.

Ms31 Tomokaze (Oguruma) – It’s another really solid start to Tomokaze’s career, and after 4 basho he should find himself placed solidly in the upper part of the division after putting up 5 more wins here. Had he not run into Wakatakamoto in the middle of the tournament, it would have been interesting to see if he could challenge for yet another yusho, but as it stands the Oguruma man (who dealt with Ryuko for the first time in the early stages of Hatsu) will be pleased with his progress as he develops into a large and physical rikishi. What happens to his mobility as his size increases will be an interesting watch.

Ms49 Musashikuni (Musashigawa) – I had picked Musashikuni almost more as a “draft and follow” kind of guy than an immediate one to watch. I thought he had a good chance this time out at handling the opposition at this rank, but it never really came together until the end of a 3-4 tournament that will leave him as very much an edge case for remaining in the division for Osaka. This is more of a long term choice and we’re going to stick with him next time out and, like his stablemate Wakaichiro, continue to bet on his potential.

Ms55 Tanabe (Kise) – Tanabe had absolutely coasted through the bottom 3 divisions and even started here with 2 wins from 3 but in truth I could tell after seeing him in person on Day 2 that this was not going to be his basho, and from the midway point he completely unraveled with 4 straight losses (to end 2-5), the lowlight of which was a shocking ashitori from Amanoshima on Day 11. He has “bouncebackability” to be sure, but he’s going to need some serious keiko to right the ship and prepare for another assault on promotion back to Makushita.


Sd2 Fukuyama (Fujishima) – Fukuyama pulls out a last ditch kachi-koshi which will secure his promotion up to Makushita. While he started his career strong with 3 straight 6 win tournaments, his progress has slowed and it will be interesting to see if he can better the results of his rival Tanabe, who he has never beaten, in his debut at the next level.

Sd21 Shoji (Musashigawa) – We doubted Shoji’s ability to pull off the third consecutive yusho on his Sandanme debut and that hesitation proved to be well-founded as he finished with his first career make-koshi at 3-4. That all being said, he improved in the latter half of the basho and won’t fall so far down that a good tournament next time won’t propel him forward, so the Musashigawa man will hope this is a minor setback. This is the first tournament where it could be argued Shoji didn’t face anyone of a similar pedigree or level of progression (and that may continue to be the case) so how he deals with more of a mixed bag of veteran opponents will determine his future.

Sd47 Kotokumazoe (Sadogatake) – Kotokumazoe’s hot comeback run was stopped dead in its tracks with 3 straight losses, but the Sadogatake man did well over the last week to finish 3-1 and end with a narrow make-koshi at what was his highest career posting to date. His thrust-heavy attack didn’t look especially inspired in either of the matches for which there is video footage but his persistence in his day 15 win against Tochikasuga at least gives some reason for optimism.

Sd83 Torakio (Naruto) – A tournament to forget for Torakio who started strong and ended injured. We thought he’d fare better than Shoji this time out, and he started strong at 2-0 but dropped 4 straight before going kyujo, the final two of which culminated in injury-inspiring and frankly very painful looking throws. However before this, what was clear from all 4 losses was that despite how strong we have seen Torakio to be, he suffered from a very weak tachiai which was beginning to be exploited even at the bottom of Sandanme. After his make-koshi clinching under-arm throw inflicted by Ryuki on day 12, he remained on the floor for a very long time. Obviously we wish the strong Torakio the best of health, and hope he can make a comeback in the upper reaches of Jonidan next time out.


Jd23 Wakaichiro (Musashigawa) – As has been covered extensively already on the site, Wakaichiro had a fantastic return to form at 5-2 (winning his first four) and one that will see him almost certainly repromoted to Sandanme for his second crack at the division in Osaka. The last time this record at this rank wasn’t good enough for a promotion was 1958, so it’s as close to a banker as you can get.

Jd41 Amatsu (Onomatsu) – The Amatsu comeback story continues as his 5-2 record keeps him on pace to return to the higher divisions after his years long layoff!

Jd42 Hayashi (Fujishima) – “Mike” Hayashi opened his Jonidan account with 4 straight wins, looking to grab the yusho that eluded him at the first time of asking on his banzuke debut at Kyushu. Despite nursing a heavily bandaged right knee, Hayashi looked pretty composed most of the time here en route to a 5-2 result that will place him alongside Amatsu in the top 10 ranks of Jonidan in Osaka as they continue their unlikely rivalry which Hayashi leads 2-0.


Jk18 Yoshoyama (Tokitsukaze) – The pre-tournament projections of the hyped Yoshoyama and his mae-zumo results made him feel like a bona-fide yusho challenger to us but we whiffed on that as he had to rally to secure a 4-3 kachi-koshi in which he did not particularly impress.

Jk19 Kototebakari (Sadogatake) – As noted in our mid-basho roundup, the Sadogatake debutant was winning with little effort owing to his size and strength differential. He ran into some trouble when pulled up to Jonidan for a match and ended up losing the playoff to finish with the jun-yusho, but it’s an encouraging start and one which should portend decent results in the bottom half of Jonidan next time out.

As for Hattorizakura… as Herouth noted he did show some improvement and some fight early on in the tournament before returning to his usual ways. The match he really should have won was his (actually quite lengthy) Day 8 match against the tiny Takita, whose two career victories to date both came against Hattorizakura. If he can at least be less afraid of the tachiai, he might be able to sneak one or two. We shall cheer for a victory in Osaka!