It’s another hot day in the lower divisions, with many of the rikishi who competed yesterday competing again today. Let’s take a look.Continue reading
Yay, Aki basho is finally here! Here are some of the bouts that took place in the lower divisions on day 1.
We can’t start a basho or start the day without the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, Hattorizakura, here attacking, ahem, from the right, while his tiny opponent, Chiyotsurugi, attacks from the left:
Wow, he actually resists for a long while for Hattorizakura. Chiyotsurugi must be thinking “I was told it would be easier!”.
If you noticed in the background, a tall young man coming in and not exactly knowing what to do with himself and where to sit, that’s Senho, Hakuho’s latest recruit. And boy, is he green. He didn’t know when to mount the dohyo, and Kaio, er, Asakayama oyakata, had to explain it to him.
His bout is up next. Here we see him on the left side, and his tiny opponent, Urutora from Shikihide beya, is not exactly the cream of Jonokuchi. But…
Urutora wins by ashitori. The first “Ho” of the day suffers the same fate as the last “Ho” of the day.
Hakkaku’s prince charming, Kitanowaka (left), faces Shimomura, from Sakaigawa beya.
Round and round and round he goes, where he lands, nobody knows. Uwatenage, Kitanowaka (“The youngster of the North”) wins.
We have several bouts from Sandanme. First and foremost, Wakaichiro, here on the left, facing Fujitaisei from Fujishima beya:
Wakaichiro barely stops to blink.
Next we have some former sekitori who are looking for their way back up. First, Homarefuji, who was one of the proud lineup at Isegahama back in the day, starting from the left, facing Kasugakuni from Nakagawa beya.
Kasugakuni is out of his league against the veteran.
Then we have Amakaze, from Oguruma beya. For once, he is facing a rival bigger than he is, Dewanojo, whom we met during Jungyo as Mitakeumi’s tsukebito. He is about the same weight as Ichinojo. Amakaze on the left, Dewanojo on the right.
He may be Ichinojo-sized, but he is not Ichinojo-skilled. Amakaze deals with the giant without problem.
We start relatively low, with a face we haven’t seen on the dohyo in a long time: Chiyonokuni! On the left we have Ayanoumi from Yamahibiki beya.
Chiyonokuni’s mobility may not be Makuuchi-level, but it certainly suffices for Ayanoumi, who gets hatakikomied.
Shiraishi from Tamanoi beya, a strong man whom I didn’t quite like last basho, because he was doing too many henkas and really had an annoying match with Terunofuji, faces Okinofuji from Hakkaku beya (right):
This is more what I expect from an up-and-comer. That was proper windmill tsuppari.
Further up the Makushita chart, blue-blooded Naya, on the left, faces experienced Toyohibiki:
…and once again fails to deliver on all the hype that has been heaped upon him. Toyohibiki wins by tsukiotoshi.
Midorifuji (left) and Kototebakari (right) are right at the doorstep to heaven.
Kototebakari is a man on a mission. Isegahama’s deputy pixie can’t really do much here.
Finally, the last bout of Makushita, and who is this in a black cotton mawashi and a modest chon-mage? Oh dear, it’s Arawashi. How many of you failed to notice that Arawashi fell out of the salaried ranks? Here on the right, he faces Akua/Aqua from Tatsunami beya.
Whoa. This bout had a monoii, but it went gunbai-dori. That is, the decision was held, and it’s Akua’s win.
Makushita rikishi Wakamotoharu had a bout in Juryo today, and got to wear an oicho-mage again briefly. He is on the left, with fresh Juryo promotee Kaisho on the right:
Wakamotoharu is determined not to miss out on the opportunity to return to Juryo his rank gives him. He wins by yoritaoshi.
In a bout between two single-kanji, four-syllabled rikishi, Irodori, who is on his second stint in Juryo, on the left, faces Ikioi, who is trying to stay in Juryo:
This is the genkiest I have seen Ikioi in a while. He wins by tsukidashi.
I have a short report for you today. You all know that Enho finally got his kachi-koshi today. Let’s take a look at some of Hakuho’s other uchi-deshi.
In Jonidan, the biggish Toma suffered his first loss on Day 11, so he dropped out of the yusho race there, and today, with a balance of 5-1, engaged with Yoshii from Nakagawa beya. Toma is on the left (he is really hard to miss), and Yoshii on the right:
Yoshii turns out to be far from a pushover, and even managed to throw the humongous Toma with an uwatenage. Not exactly your Mongolian “roll’er-over-in-the-clover”, but still. I’m really hoping Toma will start losing some of that extra poundage, and show something better than Orora-zumo. In any case, he is 5-2, kachi-koshi, and will keep moving up.
At Sandanme, we meet Hakuho’s oldest – and apparently most damaged – uchi-deshi, Yamaguchi. He comes into this match with 3-3, so the winner is kachi-koshi and the loser, make-koshi. On the left we have Tochimitsuru, from Kasugano beya.
Yamaguchi doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance, and is make-koshi. He will drop further down in Sandanme.
Akua, our aquatic rikishi from Tatsunami beya meets Nishikifuji from Isegahama beya. Nishikifuji and Midorifuji are the biggest new hopes in Isegahama beya, a heya which two years ago sported six sekitori, including a Yokozuna and an Ozeki, and now only two of them remain.
Nishikifuji is ranked Ms8w, and he and Akua are both 5-1 as they stare at each other across the dohyo. Akua is on the left, Nishikifuji on the right:
Akua is very efficient this basho – a quick katasukashi in this case. He finishes it 6-1, while Nishikifuji will have to settle for 5-2 and will have a chance of ramming himself against the gateway to Heaven in Aki.
His heya mate, the tiny deputy pixie Midorifuji, is similarly 5-1 (though ranked a little lower, at Ms11w). He is facing our Hungarian friend, Masutoo, here on the left.
Mastoo is not letting Midorifuji try any pixie dust on him. The big Hungarian has his second 6-1 basho in a row, and will start smelling the heady perfume of silk mawashi across the barrier next basho. Midorifuji will settle for 5-2, and he, too, will be in that hot neighborhood.
The last Makushita bout (though not the last Makushita wrestler fighting) is between Tamaki and Hoshoryu. This is a life-or-death bout. The two are not just fighting for kachi-koshi vs. make-koshi, but also, at their rank, for a very probable ticket to Juryo, which only the winner can take. Hoshoryu is on the right, Tamaki on the left:
Hoshoryu’s hand touches the surface of the dohyo. The gyoji notices immediately and points his gunbai, but the two are not paying attention and keep fighting. But even if that finger did not touch the dohyo, Hoshoryu was completely out of balance for most of it, and would have lost anyway.
He suffers the first make-koshi of his career. The Japanese press tells us that he was still wearing his game face (he is really overdoing it in the staredowns, methinks) as he was walking down the hana-michi, but in the shitakubeya he broke out in tears, and the only thing he said to the reporters was “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”.
Kid’s 20 years old. This was his one chance to match his uncle’s speedy ascent from Jonokuchi to the sekitori ranks, and he blew it. He will get there, but it will probably take a couple of basho now that his make-koshi will send him a few ranks down. I’m sure it stings as hell.
Tamaki, on the other hand, enjoyed the limelight today, surrounded by press and media people.
Kaisho, Ms4w from Asakayama beya was sent into Juryo today to fight Arawashi. Kaisho was 3-3 and needed a kachi-koshi. Arawashi was already make-koshi, 5-8, but needs to tread carefully. Kaisho is on the left, Arawashi is nursing an eye injury, on the right.
Despite Arawashi’s efforts, Kaisho manages to get a good grip and yorikiri the veteran. Arawashi is 5-9, and is edging towards the danger zone. Kaisho, on the other hand, is kachi-koshi, and may be considered for promotion if there are enough demoted Juryo members, and Wakamotoharu doesn’t improve from his five wins tomorrow.
So tomorrow is the big day, senshuraku, with some exciting playoffs, and some familiar names like Wakamotoharu and, of course, Terunofuji, who will be facing the very dangerous henka artist Shiraishi.
We’re back on track! Today, although there were few “big names” on the torikumi list, there were many important matches. All the yusho deciders in Makushita or below were played today, resulting either in yusho winners, or in playoffs to take place on Senshuraku. We’ll go through these bouts, as well as some of our usual ones of interest.Continue reading