Kyushu Honbasho Wrap-up

The tournament is over but we know that the Makuuchi yusho is not the final sumo thing for the year. There was still quite a bit of news coming out of Fukuoka this week and I wanted to take a moment to cover that in this news brief. Yes, we had the final tournament results and top division special prizes but we also had a group of retirements, Juryo promotions, and we now turn to Winter Jungyo!

Kyushu Hardware Distribution

As far as the yusho, we got a thrilling showdown between Kirishima and Atamifuji on Day 14, which Kirishima won, convincingly. Then he defeated Takakeisho on Senshuraku to seal his 13-2 title and claim the Golden Macaron. Ichiyamamoto, Kotonowaka, and Atamifuji won Fighting Spirit prizes. No technique prize was awarded and only Atamifuji had a shot at Outstanding Performance but he would have had to win the yusho.

In the lower divisions, we have an interesting group of yusho winners. As Leonid covered previously, the Juryo title was claimed by Kotoshoho. He had a tough go of things in the top division but has surely reclaimed a spot there with an exciting victory over Onosato (actually two). The video below has a replay from their playoff, as well as footage from the yusho award ceremony. As Leonid also covered, Satorufuji won the Makushita yusho. Daishoryu, Dairinzan, and Aonishiki won the Sandanme, Jonidan, and Jonokuchi titles, respectively.


The Kyokai announced seven wrestlers who retired during the tournament.

Daijo debuted in 2007 and reached Makushita for the first time in 2013 before falling back into Sandanme. He climbed back into Makushita two more times, in 2017 and 2018, peaking at Makushita 43. Kototakuya debuted in 2018 and cracked into Makushita in the summer of last year, spending much of his career in Sandanme, and much of that career in the wild pandemic era. Kirizakura called “time” on a career that began in the Spring of 1999. At 176cm and 92kg, he fought his entire career in the lower divisions, peaking at Sandanme 69 in May of 2011 (a rather contentious time).

Chiyoshishi‘s retirement was known prior to the basho as a result of the unfortunate underage drinking scandal during the Aki Jungyo. Tamanowaka began his career in 2018, peaking in Jonidan. Young Itoga had a short sumo career, starting in May of this year, and retiring after clinching his first kachi-koshi in September, and promotion to Jonidan. Similarly, Raikisho made a short effort, spending much time banzuke-gai and peaking in Jonidan.

Juryo Promotions

Leonid was spot on with his predictions for the Juryo promotions. Takerufuji and Oshoumi have earned their first-time promotions while Hakuyozan and Tochimusashi return.

Winter Jungyo Preparations

The winter jungyo tour kicks off tomorrow in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto. This first week of the tour will hop around Kyushu with dates in Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Oita, and Fukuoka prefectures before spending next weekend in Nagasaki. Afterwards, they will pop over to Shikoku in Ehime, before going back to Honshu at Hiroshima and spending a few days around Osaka, Hyogo, and finally closing out the tour on Christmas Eve in Tochigi. From there, we’ll surely see a lot of New Year holiday events back in Tokyo. I’ll give weekly updates of the tour events and the holiday happenings leading into Hatsu basho!

Off-season Events Coming Up

The sound of drums has died down around Kokugikan but that doesn’t mean sumo action is “Gone Till November.” This week we will get a bit of a peek at the upcoming November banzuke when we learn about those all-important Juryo promotions. And this weekend, Okinoumi will celebrate his career in a retirement ceremony at Kokugikan. October is chock-full of jungyo dates from October 4 to the 29th, when the banzuke will be finally revealed to the public. So, stay tuned as we try to wipe our minds of what just happened last night.

Ishiura Retires, Becomes Magaki-Oyakata

You weren’t expecting that news this morning, were you? Neither was I, frankly. We’d known Ishiura’s retirement was going to happen fairly soon but the fact that he would stay on with the Kyokai has taken us by surprise. Even more surprising is that the Magaki kabu has been occupied by the former Chikubayama, Hakuho’s former stable-master. So he’s out. As Ishiura’s kesho mawashi says, “Carpe Diem.”

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the fact that all of these kabu are in use and questions about various succession timelines. I imagine it works the same as any equity. If you own stock in Root Beer, Inc., (I like Root Beer), and more people want your stock, the value of that stock goes up. Root Beer, Inc. to the moon, baby!! But if you issue more stock, it dilutes the value of the equity you have and the price goes down. If we start handing out Kabu to every Hakuho, Terunofuji, and Harry, it will decrease the value of those already in circulation. So I presume these are the conversations that are going on among the oyakata — and may have even factored into the choice not to create a new Hakuho kabu but that’s speculation. The big difference is that I can’t be aged out of my ownership of Root Beer, Inc. when I hit 70 — and I can also buy it back if I’m full of regerts.

What does this mean? Well, ex-Magaki — I’m talking about Chikubayama, not Hakuho here — is out of the Kyokai. He’d had sanyo status where he was a retired advisor attached to Hakuho’s Miyagino-beya. The Kyokai’s profile page for Miyagino-beya has already been updated to reflect the change. So I need to look somewhere else to show you an example. Recently, Irumagawa-oyakata retired and Ikazuchi-oyakata took over. Irumagawa is still attached to Ikazuchi-beya as sanyo, and he can stay there for five years, collecting income. It’s not a big leap to presume Ishiura would have paid a premium to buy Chikubayama out early, or that this timeline was the reason for Ishiura’s delayed retirement announcement (we’ve kind of known he wouldn’t return to the dohyo for a while). Cash out before being forced out? It’s a sensible choice. Carpe Pay Day-um?

Tochinoshin Retires

Yesterday afternoon rumors started to spread that Tochinoshin had retired. The only news I was finding at that time were a few social media posts and an article out of his native Georgia but nothing seemed to be official, so I wanted to hold off on the report until I got more concrete word. I fell asleep sometime during Jonidan action but when I woke up, I woke up to images of Tochinoshin in a blue kimono in front of the purple and white Sumo Kyokai press-conference backdrop. It’s official. Former Ozeki, Tochinoshin, has retired.

Perhaps it’s fitting that the end of his career comes on the heels of Ichinojo’s retirement because during their heyday, their bouts were always a highlight bout featuring Tochinoshin’s strength versus Ichinojo’s size. That sky-crane strength catapulted Tochinoshin to a top-division title in 2018 which precipitated his successful Ozeki-tori, which was really the pinnacle of his career.

Injuries had hindered his initial, rapid, rise up the banzuke, forcing him to miss several tournaments in 2013 and fall into Makushita. He came back, though, and barnstormed his way to consecutive Makushita titles, then consecutive Juryo titles, on his way back to the top division and eventually, the sport’s second-highest rank. But he, and the sumo world, knew that he was fighting on borrowed time. He had a short reign as Ozeki and his performance declined during the pandemic years as he slid, agonizingly, into Juryo. Winless in Tokyo, and with demotion from sekitori status a greater possibility, he has called it quits.

Tochinoshin does not have a kabu and will likely return to Georgia. His influence there, along with Gagamaru, will hopefully continue to spark interest in the sport and hopefully a new generation of recruits to compete at the highest levels.