Jungyo T-Shirt Promotion

Do you want $100 worth of Tachiai merch? If you wear one of these new Tachiai Jungyo map T-shirts at a jungyo event and share pics of yourself there during the event with our accounts on Twitter or Instagram, I’ll buy you $100 of Tachiai swag. This is open to Team Tachiai, too! So far, I think Josh is the only person I know who has been to one. Re-read his account of his visit to the Koshigaya jungyo event. More new designs to come but I’ve wanted a map of Japan on a shirt for a while…and just couldn’t wait for the Kyokai to announce its winter jungyo schedule. So, I really want to try to encourage readers to go to either the Aki or Fuyu tours. (I’m leaving this open to the first 10 readers so I don’t broke if 1000 of y’all somehow show up at jungyo events.)

 

I am massive fan of Herouth’s coverage of sumo jungyo. I find it to be a fascinating side of the sport. These promotional tours provide a more intimate look at some of the ceremony and symbolism, some light-hearted moments, a glimpse into rikishi conditioning and health, and has also provided the scene for a few unfortunate scandals over the past year. They also offer a chance for sumo fans from outside Japan’s major cities an opportunity to heap praise on local sekitori.

Tachiai encourages fans to visit these outlying sites and tour events, especially as it becomes more difficult to find tickets to honbasho events. As we saw in Nagoya, many places in Japan can be uncomfortably hot during the summer. So these tours also allow sumo fans a chance to enjoy sumo in these off-the-beaten-path locations and with more favorable seasons…like Kyushu, which will host several jungyo events this winter.

Natsu Jungyo Summary

Thanks again to Herouth for her reporting on the Natsu Jungyo! Not only does it help mitigate sumo withdrawal symptoms, I feel like I learn something new about the sport every time, making it much more accessible. From the different forms of practice (keiko) to what the wrestlers do to kill time and horse around, to the way the yokozuna rope (tsuna) is tied and how their hair gets done. These jungyo reports are always something special so I wanted to call it out. I want to make it to at least one of these jungyo events next time I am in Japan.

If you want to re-visit the jungyo tour, you will find it in the “Features” menu along with past tours. I’ll also re-blog this next week in the lead-up to the tournament. It’s great to glean what we can of the fitness of our favorite rikishi. I am hoping all of our Yokozuna and Ozeki are able to compete this basho!

Natsu Jungyo 2018 – Final Report

Yes, we made it! Day 26 of this long-long-long Jungyo is here. Sit back and fasten your seatbelts, because today there is a lot of sumo action.

🌐 Location: KITTE, Tokyo

venue

This Jungyo event is different than the rest of the events we have been covering. KITTE is a chain of malls in Japan. This one in particular takes place in the KITTE mall at Tokyo Station. And it takes place on the last day of every Natsu Jungyo (for the past 5 years).

In addition to being a fixed location on the schedule, the order of the day is different than a Jungyo day. For one, there is no keiko, only bouts and “okonomi” performances. And a “talk show” (on-stage interview) with selected rikishi – in this case, Tochinoshin and Mitakeumi.

In fact, the Juryo wrestlers did not participate in this event at all – except for Akiseyama who had a Makuuchi bout.

But this doesn’t mean there was no goofing around. Here you see Chiyomaru, Daieisho and Takakeisho. They got a huge fan, and play rock-paper-scissors to see who is “it” – the one who has to cool off the other two.

Turns out, Takakeisho sucks at rock-paper-scissors:

The event started with sumo Jinku, followed by an oicho-mage tying demonstration, featuring both Endo and Yutakayama – so that spectators in all directions can enjoy the view.

As you can see, a large part of the oicho-mage preparation process is actually getting the pomade (“suki-abura” – apparently binzuke-abura is no longer used) evenly spread in the hair.

Next, Sandanme and Makushita had bouts in the form of an elimination tournament. The Makushita brackets were:

  • Enho-Tochiseiryu
  • Chiyootori-Nakazono
  • Chiyoarashi-Kyokusoten
  • Ikegawa-Ichiyamamoto

Here is the tournament itself.

I’m very disappointed in Enho there. He really shouldn’t be imitating Ishiura, for crying out loud. Tochiseiryu takes care of him very quickly.

Kyokusoten is an example of an underachieving foreigner. He is a nice guy, has many friends, has decent English and a very nice shiko. But his sumo is meh.

The deciding battle is between members of the same heya (which can happen in elimination format bouts) – Chiyootori and Chiyoarashi

The winner of the Sandanme tournament won ¥50,000. The winner of the Makushita tournament won ¥70,000.

This was followed by the aforesaid “Talk Show”, whose highlight seems to be that while Tochinoshin’s favorite animal is the wolf, Mitakeumi actually likes pigs.

By the way, take a look at what Tochinoshin was wearing:

Do you think that he’ll get the same kind of flack that Hakuho got for wearing that “Mongolian Team” jersey in the Fuyu Jungyo?

(I don’t think so. First, those deadbeats probably wouldn’t recognize the Georgian flag if it spat in their eye. If Hakuho had a flag on his back rather than a phrase in English, they would probably have never caught on. Second – there’s no semi-organized effort to get Tochinoshin out of the sport. He is perceived as harmless, I guess).

After the Shokkiri, Hakuho had his rope tied. Note the symmetrical Shiranui rope:

Then came the Makuuchi and Yokozuna dohyo-iri. And then…

Sumo! Sumo! Sumo!

  • Hoktofuji – Akiseyama
  • Kotoeko – Okinoumi
  • Sadanoumi – Tochiozan
  • Ryuden – Onosho
  • Aoiyama – Ishiura
  • Nishikigi – Yutakayama

Onosho is here to win. Aoiyama is not even slightly surprised by Ishiura, catches him in mid air, and gives him the potato-sack lift. Tsuri-dashi, and Ishiura is frustrated. Please don’t do that in honbasho, Ishiura – you’ll find yourself in Juryo before you can say “hassotobi”.

And that was an impressive Nodowa Yutakayama applied to Nishikigi.

  • Myogiryu – Chiyomaru
  • Kyokutaisei – Daieisho
  • Endo – Chiyotairyu
  • Daishomaru – Takakeisho

Chiyomaru uses his famous stomach push. Daieisho with a mighty tsuppari. Daishomaru not even putting up a fight.

Now, the next set starts with Kaisei vs. Ikioi. Here is this bout in another video first – watch what happens when Kaisei lands on Shodai:

Poor Shodai. After being abused by Kaisei he is being further abused by the shimpan (not sure – is that Onomatsu oyakata?)

So here is the set of bouts:

  • Ikioi – Kaisei
  • Kagayaki – Kotoshogiku
  • Shodai – Shohozan
  • Tamawashi – Mitakeumi

I think there should have been a monoii on that Ikioi-Kaisei bout, but the shimpan’s attention was drawn elsewhere…

Did you see Kagayaki beating Kotoshogiku by… gaburi yori?

Shohozan continues his bar brawl style, and Shodai finishes this day very very frustrated.

Tamawashi has a really scary nodowa.

Finally, we have:

  • San-yaku soroi-bumi
  • Ichinojo vs. Tochinoshin
  • Kisenosato vs. Goeido
  • Kakuryu vs. Hakuho
  • Yumi-tori shiki

Ichinojo must have heard that Tochinoshin likes wolves. He came ready for the kill. Please, please, Ichinojo – that’s the Ichinojo we want to see in Aki. Not the Leaning Tower of Pizza.

Hakuho is back on the torikumi – well, it’s just the one last day. I have a hunch he’ll need to be kyujo again in Aki. Those legs don’t carry him, despite having lost a couple of kilos since Natsu.

Kasugaryu’s technique with the bow has improved! His behind-the-back passes are getting smoother.

Here is your final Enho in a black mawashi. May he never wear one again in his long, healthy sumo career:

enho

By the way, this is what he looks like today – with his newly assigned tsukebito (Takemaru and Kenyu) and white mawashi:

enho-with-tsukebito

Did Miyagino oyakata manage to find Enho a tsukebito who’s shorter than he is? Apparently so… but Takemaru is actually only 17, so this may actually change.

Jungyo over – and out!

Natsu 2018 Jungyo – penultimate report

Now, the Jungyo is over, the banzuke has already been published, and the rikishi are lining up for their health checkups. But there are still two Jungyo days left unreported! I shall not shirk my duty just because I’m a little late! Day 25, the penultimate event, here we go!

🌐 Location: Kasukabe, Saitama

venue

Of course, the important news to many of our readers is that Hakuho was back after only one day of hiatus. However, he was off the torikumi and off the dohyo in general – back to square one, so to speak.

hakuho-coaching
With Chiyonoumi. Rare moment coaching a wrestler other than his own uchi-deshi

The merry foursome from yesterday broke up somewhat, and only Hokutofuji and Tobizaru were still working out on the sidelines:

Hokutofuji definitely stronger than Tobizaru.

Ichinojo was practicing again with his less-than-enthusiastic tsukebito.

Well, it’s a known fact that practicing with Ichinojo can leech all of one’s stamina, and being a Saitama man, Minatoryu needed all his strength to show off to the spectators.

Here we have Wakatakakage and Gokushindo doing their stretches while exchanging combinations of moves. “Hatakikomi!”. “Hatakikomi and kachiage!”. “Hatakikomi, kachiage, harizashi!”.

But who is the evil criminal who pulls Gokushindo back like that?

criminal-nishikigi

It’s… Nishikigi’s evil twin???

Now, let’s meet Shohoryu. No, he is not Hoshoryu, he is Shohoryu. And he is wearing….

shohoryu-hula-skirt

A hula skirt?

A little bit about the sagari worn by wrestlers in Makushita and below.

While sekitori’s sagari match their silk shimekomi (bout mawashi) and are made from a partially unwoven piece of cloth with the strands stiffened, low-ranking sagari is much simpler. It’s made of a stiff insert into which plain cheap-ass nylon cords are sewn. These have various colors – but usually only just one color per sagari. And an odd number of strands – 13 is a good number.

What Shohoryu is wearing is definitely not a standard sagari. It’s a fashion statement. Probably made by a loving hand (heavy strands, too!) I wonder if he’ll wear it for honbasho as well. He certainly didn’t in the previous basho – though this sagari may be new.

Shohoryu actually got quite some attention in this event, although he is not a Saitama man. He got some butsukari from an Ozeki. Seriously?

Of the bouts of the day, I have one pic and one vid. The pic is of Aoiyama getting fed up with Ishiura’s shticks:

aoiyama-tired-of-hassotobi

And the vid is of the musubi-no-ichiban. Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato:

Here is your Enho, expect the last report tomorrow!

enho
🔥🔥🔥

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 24

🌐 Location: Odawara, Kanagawa

nobori

The Jungyo is nearing its end, but this doesn’t mean that all troubles are over. Hakuho started the day in Kanagawa, but didn’t finish it there. His left ankle – an injury that accompanied his knee injury – started aching again, and he left the event for Tokyo, to have fluid drawn from it, and hopefully be able to return to action.

Even if he does return for the two remaining days, this is a worrying situation for him. Two days ago, he cranked up his training regime a little, adding some on-dohyo workout and a bout. And immediately, that ankle started acting up. The basho is approaching fast, and he needs to get himself in shape or be kyujo yet again.

He did notify the jungyo masters in time, so his name did not appear in today’s torikumi list.

So let’s go on with the event. First, a reminder that the Jungyo consists not only of rikishi, but also of many others – yobidashi, gyoji, tokoyama, shimpan, . So here is gyoji Kimura Kindayu:

Much fan attention was given to this foursome:

four-muscle-men

The calisthenics trio from a couple of days ago recruited a fourth member – Chiyonoumi. Here trying to strike a pose. The newcomer is still getting to know the ropes, but the others know the drill. Hokutofuji shows off his ginormous traps. And biceps. And pecs. Whoa. Enho also has nice shoulders but is a little more bashful about striking poses. And Tobizaru doesn’t miss an opportunity to show off.

And I do mean – doesn’t miss an opportunity:

The four continued their synchronized exercises with a form of fast shiko which I’m sure got all the demons and evil spirits in Kanagawa soil to pack up and seek asylum in some other prefecture:

I’m amused by the lonely tsukebito just ignoring them and doing his slow, standard shiko at his own pace.

The four also exercised in turns with a rubber band:

Hokutofuji supported by his tsukebito:

Tobizaru supported by Hokutofuji. I shuddered to think what would have happened if this was not Hokutofuji but Hakuho:

Which may explain why Enho looked so apprehensive when he tried it:

apprehensive-enho

Though I must say that he then trusted Tobizaru with the straps, which is something I wouldn’t do:

enho-trusting-tobizaru

Then again, if I were standing next to a stall selling Tendon, I wouldn’t be pulling any rubber band at all (unless they were preventing me from approaching the stall).

This troop was not the only combo exercising at the edges of the arena. Here are Takakeisho and Daieisho. Takakeisho seems to be in high spirits. Perhaps because he doesn’t have his stablemaster getting intimate with his mawashi knot anymore.

Things get serious (well, as serious as things can get when accompanied by a high school band playing “YMCA”) once Takakeisho slips Daieisho a slap to the face. Takakeisho also thinks it’s a good idea to smash his opponent against the door. Daieisho, however, seems to be enjoying himself immensely.

On the dohyo, Onosho is consulting with Aminishiki about something:

Takanosho got a really lengthy butsukari session from Goeido today. Not sure how he earned all that love:

It didn’t end there. At some point Goeido takes a break and gets a sip of water, and Akiseyama and Yago hurriedly wipe and tidy the exhausted Takanosho:

Kakuryu practiced with Shodai. Shodai looks pretty frustrated:

Here is a bit of today’s shokkiri. I’ve shown you a lot of shokkiri already, but I find it amusing when the gyoji gets deeply into “character”. Here you see the standard lead up to the “fists are forbidden”, and Kimura Satoshi starts to fan himself with his gunbai and turns his back to the pair as the fight breaks. They then start yelling at him to do his job already.

Let’s move on to some torikumi. Starting with the lower ranks:

Jonidan – Arikawa vs. Adachi. These two are amazingly tenacious for a Jungyo bout:

Here is Shinohara vs. Chiyootori at Makushita. Shinohara tries a hassotobi (a flying leap). Chiyootori makes him take a flying leap alright:

Two can play this game…

And this was not the last hassotobi of the day. You know who does it again… and again… and again… And by coincidence, it’s attempted against the other one of the Kinoshita brothers. This bout between Ishiura and Chiyomaru really needs the Yaketi Sax accompaniment. If it didn’t involve two sekitori in their shimekomi I’d have sworn this was shokkiri:

But it isn’t. Chiyomaru sees he is becoming the butt of a joke, so he uses his very formidable pair of glutei maximi. The joke is now on Ishiura. The kimarite, by the way, is ushiromotare – “Lean backwards”. It’s a fairly recent kimarite, which was introduced into the top division by Takamisakari (“Robocop”), though I don’t think he did it quite as comically.

I don’t have the video, but I’m informed that Aoiyama has beaten Ryuden by a very decisive tsuridashi. He’s immitating his heya mate?

Here is Shodai vs. Kaisei:

Now, when they pair Tamawashi with Shohozan, you know you’re not going to get any comedy. What you get is a saloon brawl, including defiant stares and whatnot:

Ooh, there’s some fight club action going on there. And it ends in a monoii. It’s not clear who got out first, and the shimpan do not have the benefit of a video room in the Jungyo. So it’s a torinaoshi:

Ooh, the brawl continues! By this time, the Yokozuna and Ozeki arrive for the kore-yori-sanyaku, and you can see they, too, are being well entertained by this bout:

amused-tochinoshin

Apropos Tochinoshin, he got into the news coverage of this event.

You can see him doing fansa for the children on summer vacation who came to the event (instead of doing their homework). He says that his toe is improving, but still hurts, and adds that he is full of spirits for the coming basho. He later adds that because of his kadoban his first aim is a kachi-koshi, of course, but then he aims at reaching double figures again.

In this same video you can also see his bout with Goeido. Yet another tsuridashi.

Finally, here is your musubi-no-ichiban, and Kakuryu seems to have shifted his gear into Yokozuna drive:

OK, just in case you didn’t get your fill of Enho with those earlier exercises:

enho