Word from Japan today that in the wake of the decision to hold Osaka’s Haru Basho with no spectators, the spring jungyo has been canceled. The public relations director, Shibatayama oyakata (the former Onokuni) announced earlier on Thursday that the spring jungyo tour dates would be delayed until next year. While this is a disappointment for fans across Japan, the spread of the corona virus is becoming a fact of daily life. With it come cancelations to public gatherings and ceremonies of all types.
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.
During the week after a tournament, sumo withdrawal symptoms usually begin to set in. Goeido’s retirement has dampened that a bit with his dramatic impacts on the March banzuke. Takekaze’s intai and the Hakuho Cup will give us a bit of a fix this weekend.
Well, mark another sumo event on your calendars! The Kokugikan will host Fiji TV’s 44th Annual Sumo Tournament on February 9. This tournament is a one day, single-elimination tournament, featuring our top Makuuchi and Juryo wrestlers. If you’re planning to be in Tokyo that Sunday, tickets are available at this site. Tickets in the upper deck start at about $10 and run upwards of $400+ for a box of four cushions down in front. Zabuton Naganaide Kudasai! Enjoy chanko and Shokkiri, as well!
Takayasu won last year’s event and Tochinoshin won the year before though I will be surprised if either participates. It will be interesting to see how well our Ozeki prospects perform as a warm up for Osaka. In the Juryo event, Azumaryu beat out Tokushoryu and Daieisho.
Tokushoryu will obviously be eligible for the Makuuchi tournament this time around. Participation in this event, and no Jungyo tour may help keep him focused, but some yusho winners have done poorly in the subsequent tournaments, like Tamawashi’s 5-10 last March. Tamawashi defeated Kaisei but lost to Ryuden in the third round. Might Tokushoryu pull off another yusho? (No, this will not make him a Yokozuna.)
While the tournament is over, there are still sumo-related events happening over at Kokugikan! If you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo, on Feb 1, Takekaze…excuse me, Oshiogawa-oyakata, will be having his danpatsushiki (ceremonial haircut). On the 2nd, Hakuho will host the 10th Annual Hakuho Cup. This is a kid’s sumo tournament, from elementary to middle school levels. The video above is from the Official Hakuho Cup website.