The Jungyo arrives at what has become a regular stop in the Haru Jungyo – fifth time in a row – Shizuoka city, where they call this event “Mount Fuji Shizuoka basho”, no less.
Along the walls we can see rikishi exercising and stretching. Enho, for example, is both stretching and diving:
Ichinojo is stomping shiko together with his Tsukebito. I believe this is Oka, formerly known as Minatoryu:
Ichinojo is not getting anywhere near the dohyo at this stage, but he is more than happy to pose for photos for the fans:
Much the same can be said about Yoshikaze, come to think of it.
Wakamotoharu is making good use of his remaining time as sekitori, also posing with the fans with his tsukebito – who is actually his big brother Wakatakamoto. Yes, all three Onami brothers are together this Jungyo:
The dohyo being occupied, Yago and Daieisho do their sumo away from (most) of the public eye:
So what is it that occupies the dohyo? For example, Chiyomaru vs. Azumaryu and Chiyomaru vs. Wakamotoharu:
Abi giving butsukari to Takanosho:
Abi has such long legs… as he stands at the edge to take the blow, his supporting left leg reaches almost to the shikiri-sen…
Tochinoshin is not taking any prisoners. Here he is vs. Mitakeumi, Kagayaki and Asanoyama:
Asanoyama surprisingly got him there. But the soon-to-be Ozekiwake is full of energy.
Practice over, and it’s time to hit the bath. And of course, on the way back the fans demand attention. Toyonoshima is among those most sought after, though he is not a local man in any way:
Dohyo-Iri in Jungyo is a lot more relaxed, even on the dohyo itself. Here is the Juryo dohyo-iri. Gagamaru is making faces at some kid in the crowd:
Makuuchi bouts about to start. Wrestlers waiting outside for their turn, practicing their favorite facial expressions:
Terutsuyoshi – his salty face. Daishoho – his kawaii face. Tomokaze – his puzzled face. And Ishiura just shows off his fine… traps. That’s it… traps…
So here is a summary video from the Japanese TV. You can see some of the local boy of the day, Tochikodai from Kasugano beya, in his bout vs. Tennozan. And there are the bouts between Takakeisho and Tochinoshin, and between Goeido and Kakuryu.
Finally we see the Yokozuna win.
As for that bout between Takakeisho and Tochinoshin… ahem… ahem. Takakeisho is still not practicing on the dohyo but he said he will start doing so soon.
And to seal this day, here is Asanoyama in the pin-up corner:
Today was the second day in Hyogo prefecture – but right on the opposite side of it than Day 4’s event. Early morning, the dohyo is already consecrated from the day before.
And… what’s this parking right in front of the entrance to the venue?
Why, it’s Ryota Hama’s Chanko Nabe bus!
While in Tokyo or Osaka honbasho you rely either on the food supply inside the venue or the regular restaurants around it, events in small towns rely on mobile stalls. So as yobidashi Hiromasa calls the townspeople with his drum, a little matsuri is being set up around the venue.
And early-bird Hama got the most lucrative location, right at the entrance! Mmmm… chanko!
But not yet, the stalls are just being set up. First, it’s time to shake hands with some favorite rikishi. For example, Hyogo local Terutsuyoshi.
Ah, the contrast between the beautiful kimono of those ladies gathering around him, and his own ratty yukata…
Yokozuna in the house!
Low-ranking rikishi practice on the dohyo, while around it some sekitori are starting to stretch and exercise:
Very entertaining squats on the left side there.
On the sidelines, Sadanoumi practices his oshi:
Ando is doing suri-ashi:
And so does Aoiyama, though in a totally different style:
It’s time for the Juryo rikishi’s practice on the dohyo. We have Kyokushuho with Wakamotoharu, then Kyokushuho with Azumaryu:
And in the session’s closure, Takakeisho gives butsukari to Wakamotoharu:
Then Makuuchi gets into the picture. Aoiyama faces Meisei, then Okinoumi, then Asanoyama, then the latter takes over and faces Ryuden.
This is not the end of the road for Ryuden, who later gets Mitakeumi (for some reason this bout appears twice in this video). Then we can see Mitakeumi vs. Tochinoshin:
Practice time is over, and we can relax and enjoy Shokkiri. Here is the full performance.
Apparently, in this Jungyo, the gyoji is getting creative. When the two performers fall down together, he leaves the dohyo, and consults with some spectator – preferably a child: “I should call that dotai, right?”.
“Dotai” is when both rikishi touch ground at the same time. In a normal bout, the gyoji doesn’t call it – the gyoji always has to point the gunbai one side or the other – and this is settled with a monoii and a torinaoshi. In shokkiri, of course, the gyoji makes all the decisions himself. Or with the help of a child, as it turns out.
Next up is the Jinku performance. And once again I have the full version:
But hey, aren’t you hungry? It’s nearly noon and we haven’t tasted that chanko, yet!
Apparently they also serve Udon. But who cares? Chanko!
There is also a mobile Takoyaki stall if you’re tired of Chanko, as some rikishi are
Both lunch and Jinku over, it’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And Sokokurai is arguing some point with Gagamaru:
Skipping the Makuuchi and Yokozuna dohyo-iri, right before Makuuchi, Takakeisho, the local hero, receives a bale of rice as a gift – and apparently, a large amount of beef.
The area of Toyooka is known for its stork-friendly rice. Apparently, Japanese storks have been on the decline, and the city of Toyooka is making an effort to bring them back, by raising rice that coexists with the creatures that storks feed on to sustain themselves. So Takakeisho got a bale of stork-friendly rice. I don’t know how stork-friendly the beef is, though.
So let’s see some bouts! Here we have a series of bouts from Juryo:
This is followed by bouts from Makuuchi:
Tochiozan vs. Endo:
Sanyaku-soroi-bumi, and Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi
Tamawashi’s killer nodowa does it again.
Takakeisho vs. Tochinoshin:
I think Tochinoshin forgot that he was supposed to let the local boy win.
Finally, Musubi-no-ichiban, Kakuryu vs. Goeido.
I think I have yet to see Kakuryu win a bout this basho.
Finishing with our pin-up… How about Nishikigi for a change?
This is the penultimate day of the 2018 Fuyu Jungyo. Before we begin, a health check:
Absence since mid-Jungyo: Yutakayama, Kotoyuki
Off the torikumi but present: Kotoshogiku, Kakuryu
Started off the torikumi but now participating: Hakuho, Goeido, Yoshikaze.
While Terutsuyoshi gets over his morning blues, rikishi are already exercising with vigor around the venue. Asanoyama is stretching:
And Takayasu is stretching while trimming his fingernails:
Who said men can’t do two things at the same time?
Takayasu doesn’t settle for just the pedicure and flex. He also lifts his weight – Tagonofuji.
OK, I’ll go off at a tangent here for a second. There are lots of fujis in the sumo world. We are used to seeing fujis at Isegahama beya, but they don’t have an exclusive hold on that suffix. Hokutofuji is from Hakkaku beya, for example. Most of those fujis end with 富士 – the same as the kanji for Mt. Fuji. Many of them are “no-fuji”. The “no” is a particle that indicates possession or characterization. The most common ways to write the “no” are の, ノ and 乃. So the other day, it was announced that Takayoshitoshi, Takagenji’s more evil twin, is going to be renamed “Takanofuji”, and some Terunofuji fans got really pissed off, because that name was chosen by Takanohana, and he used the same “no” as “Terunofuji” – ノ- and they really don’t want the unfortunate former Ozeki from Isegahama to have anything in common with the tsukebito-beating brat from Takanohana beya (now Chiganoura).
But not all fujis are even 富士. In this case, the “fuji” in “Tagonofuji” is 藤 – “Wisteria”, which is a lovely plant with lilac-colored flowers. He also has that ノ – but nobody seems to have any issue with that.
OK, back from our tangent, let’s continue our round around the walls. Ikioi and Chiyoshoma want to have a practice bout, and go for the full monty, including the sonkyo (ceremonial crouch):
But the actual execution is a little less impressive:
The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal must be roaming the Jungyo grounds again, because Aoiyama is doing his best to hide from it:
See how useful towels are?
Guess who the rikishi stretching near the wall is?
Hint: he is considered about as ravenous as that beast of Traal. Look at those thighs!
And I can’t really move on to the on-dohyo exercise without showing you Takanosho and his Mickey-Mouse towel:
Now that Kakuryu has joined the Jungyo, he also practices with his tsukebito. So we can get reacquainted with Shohoryu. Who is not Hoshoryu.
Looks like Shohoryu’s servitude is rather intense. I assure you, though – Kakuryu is not the type to give his tsukebito bitter memories. Hard work – sure. In fact, the one who gets to practice in this photo is the tsukebito, not the Yokozuna:
His former tsukebita all respect the Yokozuna very much.
Another tsukebito who is being respectful is the American delegate to the Jungyo, Musashikuni:
Actually, judging from their positions, Takayasu is on the dohyo. So I’m guessing this is not just a show of respect, but the cup of water Ozeki enjoy when they do san-ban. There is probably another tsukebito with some towels around as well.
At one corner, we have a nice show of rhythmic gymnastics:
These guys take their exercise seriously. Here is Tobizaru doing a wheelbarrow exercise:
Enho is not allowing himself to trail behind:
It’s actually very rare to see Enho practice together with his heya-mate, Ishiura, in Jungyo.
So here is some on-dohyo practice. We have Azumaryu with Chiyomaru and with Ishiura:
Jokoryu with Akiseyama, then Jokoryu with Hakuyozan:
The on-dohyo exercise that really drew attention this day was this:
Yes, for the first time in this Jungyo, Yokozuna Hakuho is practicing actual sumo, not just giving butsukari/kawaigari. In fact, it’s the first time in the past 3 months!
Hakuho took Shodai for 8 san-ban matches, and won all of them.
He said at first he was a bit hesitant about doing actual sumo (interestingly, he doesn’t consider the “wari” bouts to be actual sumo), but as the bouts flowed, he was relieved to find himself in satisfactory shape.
The practice part of the day gone, the sekitori went to shower and have their hair done. Then some relaxed in the shitaku-beya and… what are you reading, exactly, Mitakeumi?
It’s a magzine. And it appears that it’s a magazine about very poor women, who can’t afford to buy much in the way of clothing. I’m sure he is reading this magazine out of warm empathy with the poor women who need to go through the winter wearing no more than three square centimeters of cloth each.
OK… outside the shitakubeya, Juryo wrestlers were getting ready for their dohyo-iri. And that means Enho. And that means a bunch of guys vying for Enho skin:
In this very short clip we have Terutsuyoshi who, as usual, has the pixie in his arms. Then as the pixie cuts loose, it gets groped by Jokoryu, and then, although Terutsuyoshi tries to get some attention, Tobizaru also lays a paw on the tiny Miyagino man. Twice! And how about that hand fan the fan hands him? It’s bigger than his head! And it has “Enho” on one side and an element from his Kesho-mawashi on the other.
Seriously, everybody loves Enho.
Juryo bouts are performed, Kakuryu demonstrates rope tying, and so Yago has to wait his turn patiently (when there is a rope tying demonstration, it takes place before the last three Juryo bouts). Yago is lonely, and needs a hug:
And then it’s time for Makuuchi dohyo-iri. And of course… it’s boring to wait for dohyo-iri… so let’s play a game!
For those who have not seen it in previous Jungyo, this game is a Japanese children’s game called Atchi-Muite-Hoi. The two players do rock-papers-scissors. The one who wins moves his finger in any of four directions – up, down, left or right, and the loser has to move his head in one of the same four directions. If he moves his head in a different direction than the winner’s finger, he is safe, and the game begins again. But if he moves his head in the same direction – he loses the game. And in this case, he receives a punishment – a dekopin. The second dekopin is so painful, that Tamawashi immediately decides he wants to play, too. 🙄
The dohyo-iri is followed by the Yokozuna dohyo-iri. It seems Hakuho is working on straightening his arms:
But Kakuryu’s are still straighter:
And then it’s time for Makuuchi bouts. And if you thought for a second that Tamawashi would leave off at the dohyo-iri, you are dead wrong:
Poor Kagayaki. Definitely got the cooties there
Tamawashi has been on his best behavior as long as he was on the Island of Kyushu. He has a reputation to maintain in Fukuoka. But as soon as he is back in Honshu… rikishi beware!
Later (because Nishikigi is in a surprisingly high position on the banzuke) we also get the good old “where are Nishikigi’s glasses?” game:
Glasses make you look smarter!
Well… unless you’re Shodai. In his case, glasses make him look ridiculous. But then, many things tend to make Shodai look ridiculous.
Eventually Nishikigi gets back from his bout and wins his glasses back:
Ooh, somebody is getting confident (much to the amusement of Narutaki).
Ah, yes. I have no bouts whatsoever. Sorry… Here is a cogitating monkey for you instead:
Having completed the tour through the traditional region for the Fuyu Jungyo, that is, Kyushu and Okinawa, the rikishi returned to Tokyo. But the Jungyo is not ended yet – some towns in the Kanto region requested winter visits, and the NSK obliged. So we get to enjoy three additional events following a few days’ break.
That break didn’t include any particular plans at first, but the Takanoiwa scandal caused it to be a bit more eventful. First, Takakeisho had a yusho parade at his high school, which was put off and then moved ahead again. Then, the rikishi received a lecture about the treatment of tsukebito which was supposed to be given in February. And third, the NSK board had a meeting to set the standards of punishment for violence, and for some reason, focused on violent Yokozuna despite the fact that there were four known violent events in the past year that did not involve a Yokozuna in any way.
So I’m pretty sure the rikishi were really glad to get on their busses and get out of Tokyo again:
Indeed, that’s a lot of busses!
And we have two important faces show up again! First, there is this guy:
Yep, Goeido is back and giving butsukari to Chiyonoumi here.
Then, there is this guy:
Kakuryu is back! We’ve missed you!
One face that’s conspicuously still missing is that of Kisenosato, the third Yokozuna. All the signs are that he is in a bad state. The knee injury, which was the reason for him pulling out from the last basho, and not showing up for the Jungyo, is still bothering him. Most of the Japanese press interpreted the YDC’s “Encouragement” decision about him as meaning that he cannot go kyujo in Hatsu basho. So an injury that has not healed yet and reports that his practice so far includes only shiko and suri-ashi are not encouraging. He said at first that he will join the Jungyo at this stage, especially the event in his home turf of Ibaraki, but he can’t, and his fans have every reason to worry.
So we have a Jungyo day with three Ozeki and two Yokozuna. Who else showed up?
Takanosho sure did, and has pulling at a rubber tube held by a slightly anxious Taichiyama
The oyakata showed up together with their mini-brooms:
Kokonoe oyakata, who took this picture, informs us that the mini-brooms are there to shake off any dirt flying from the dohyo.
Takakeisho was there for the handshake part. He got to meet a baby. The baby was not so happy to meet him and expressed his opinion at a very high volume. So Takakeisho made this face:
I think somebody is absorbing the true Chiganoura spirit.
Don’t worry, unlike what your grandmother would tell you, he didn’t get stuck in with this face forever. Here he is a while later, with his bestie, Daieisho:
See? No long-term damage to facial features!
Another pair of besties were engaging in mock bouts in one of the corners:
That’s Abi and Wakamotoharu. Wakamotoharu was asked the other day what he would take with him to a desert island. His answer was “I guess I’d take Abi”. These two are pretty tight.
At the side of the dohyo, we once again have a line forming to greet the Yokozuna. Only, it’s another Yokozuna:
Note how Kakuryu takes care to acknowledge each one’s greeting.
And if that doesn’t give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, how about these two practicing together?
Yep, that’s Kotoshogiku and Toyonoshima. And they seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.
Tochinoshin also received an occasional morning greeting:
Not the same thing as a Yokozuna, but it’s still good to be an Ozeki.
Here are a couple of practice bouts. We have Chiyonoumi vs. Gokushindo, and Chiyomaru vs. Azumaryu:
Chiyomaru definitely concentrates on practicing with Juryo wrestlers. He has no illusions about his position on the next banzuke.
As for Hakuho, he must have been very bored today. He took up both Takayasu and Tochinoshin for butsukari. There is not much about his session with Takayasu, but with Tochinoshin he had no less than 10 minutes of kawaigari:
Ten minutes! A six-minute kawaigari is considered tough. I have been covering Jungyo for almost two years and I don’t recall a 10 minute kawaigari.
I’m pretty sure Hakuho was giving him a repeat performance because last time he didn’t seem exhausted enough. So ten minutes this time. And yet the Ozeki rose again and again and kept going. I’m sure the Yokozuna took a mental note: “In a bout with Tochinoshin, don’t rely on being able to wear him down. Find a way to end it quickly”.
After practice, the usual shows took place. There was Shokkiri, with my favorite part in which a toothpick of a gyoji somehow overpowers a big rikishi who was trying to grab his gunbai:
That’s Shikimori Tomokazu rescuing his gunbai.
And there was an oicho-mage demonstration, with the Yusho winner as the model:
This was followed, as usual, with the Juryo dohyo-iri and bouts, and then we had Yokozuna dohyo-iri. So I give you one we haven’t seen for a while:
The city of Kumagaya is supposed to host a rugby event next year. So they set up a contraption to take promotion pictures with rikishi. The concept was simple: a vertical piece of fake turf with a background that allows anybody who touches a rugby ball to the “grass” to look like he just scored a flying try… if the photo is rotated by 90º.
Good concept, but it had a few difficulties. For example, take a look at Tochiozan “scoring his try”:
Umm… besides the problems with the viewing angle, his sagari is a dead giveaway. Here is the much better actor, Abi:
He succeeds in working around the obvious issue of the yukata sleeves by pretending to hold his sleeve up. But the angle really kills the illusion.
Enho also got photographed. And they really tried their best here:
Yeah, cut away the pesky ceiling and avoid the sagari. If only there wasn’t a gap between the turf and the background panel… or the turf didn’t look like it was held by scaffolding… or the white line didn’t look like a piece of tape…
But hey, it’s the cutest try attempt ever.
So it seems I have more “rugby” photos than I have any sumo bouts. There is absolutely no material about the bouts in this event, other than a report on the musubi-no-ichiban: Hakuho beat Goeido by yori-kiri. Which tells us that Kakuryu was off the torikumi.
And so we arrive at the pin-up corner of this post, and I’ll bid you adieu with Tomokaze:
We are still in Kagoshima. Our local heros are Chiyomaru, Meisei and Daiamami. Today’s event is held in a bigger city and a bigger venue in front of 4000 spectators. So what do our heros do?
Daiamami is doing his shiko:
Are you serious, Daiamami? You call that Shiko? Last year in the Jungyo, Kakuryu gave him serious kawaigari, and Daiamami actually ended it unconscious, which infuriated the Yokozuna: “Not enough stamina! You should be diligent about your keiko”. I guess the lesson has not been learned.
Meisei is trying to teach Tennozan something:
Umm… apparently the Boogie-Woogie?
The Yokozuna is in the house, and everybody is coming to say their good-mornings:
Mitoryu is obsequious to the point of embarrassment.
Did Ikioi slip away? No, he didn’t. He went to get a ladle of water for a more serious greeting. And got poked in the belly in exchange.
But note Kotoshogiku greeting the Yokozuna’s back and going away. As long as he is seen greeting, that’s good enough, I guess.
Last one there is Takarafuji, also greeting the Yokozuna with a respectful ladle of power-water.
Sekitori around the venue practice with their tsukebito. And, well, they all have their different styles:
On the dohyo, Chiyonoumi practices with Jokoryu:
While Azumaryu takes on both Chiyomaru and Chiyonoumi:
Practice over, and Takayasu feels he has not had enough. He finds a public park outside the venue, and just keeps on practicing – much to the delight of the neighbors who get a free show:
Here Takayasu and Mitakeumi continue bout from Kyushu senshuraku. But Takayasu also took on Ryuden in this improvised keiko session.
Inside, Meisei was doing his “local boy” duties being the model of the oicho-mage demonstration:
The time comes for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. Notice something strange?
The local boys, Meisei and Daiamami, get a lot less love from the audience than, say, Endo or Yoshikaze. My guess is that this is because, although they are from Kagoshima prefecture, they are actually from Amami-Oshima, an island much closer to Okinawa than it is to mainland Kagoshima.
So my guess is that there weren’t many people from their actual home town in this Jungyo event.
Here is Takayasu getting ready for his turn in the sanyaku-soroi-bumi. On the other side you can see Hakuho waiting for the same:
Finally, here is a video from NHK summing up the events of the day, including the bouts of the three local – or not so local – rikishi:
To wrap up, in our pin-up corner, today we feature an oyakata!