Kyushu Day 3 – A Kise Crisis, A Tadpole Dance

How long is Kisenosato going to keep that hair?

It’s day three, and it’s clear that this basho is taking a completely different direction than the previous one. The Yusho question should, perhaps, be kept for a later part of the basho, as anybody with 0-3 at the moment can still theoretically win 12 and take the cup. But it’s already clear that the dominance of the upper echelon, which caused the entire banzuke to flip over last time around, has evaporated, and we have early signs of a free-for-all.

But we start at the bottom. The first bout of the day was between two hapless and winless rikishi. One of them had to take a white star from this bout, and Chiyomaru, starting with a morotezuki (double handed push) followed by a quick hatakikomi was the lucky man. Arawashi‘s legs simply can’t move forward. He couldn’t cope with the quick change in the position of his center of gravity, and dropped like a stone.

Daiamami and Meisei, the next pair, both hail from the Amami Oshima island in Kagoshima prefecture. That island is actually closer to Okinawa than to mainland Kagoshima. And yes, Daiamami is named after it. Meisei is fighting fiercely this basho, but although he had his right hand inside first Daiamami managed to insert his as well, lifted Meisei’s left arm high and neutralized him, then pushed him out. Meisei looked rather frustrated at the end of the bout. Yoritaoshi.

The bout between Daishomaru and Chiyoshoma was a bit odd. Daishomaru gets Chiyoshoma’s back and pushes him down pretty quickly, but although Chiyoshoma touches the ground quite clearly, the bout continues and Daishomaru chases him outside the ring, confusing the Japanese announcer – and myself. It was a tsukiotoshi – that hand touch is what counted, not the following exit. I guess Chiyoshoma’s copy of “1001 Sneaky, Dirty, Devious Sumo Moves Which Are Not Actually Cheating” (thank you for that, Tigerboy) also has an appendix about “Moves Which Are Cheating But Worth Trying Anyway”.

Onosho clashes into Takanosho, then quickly pulls and tries to pull Takanosho down. The Chiganoura man is stable on his feet. Onosho tries again. Fails. At this point Takanosho has got a better positioning and starts to attack and lift Onosho, including a nodowa which was more of a face-hugger. Takanosho gets his first win by yoritaoshi.

Aoiyama tries the same tactic Onosho has – starts with some tsuki-oshi, then attempts to pull Endo down. But he doesn’t make the mistake of trying it again. Instead he goes forward and paws Endo until it looks like he volunteers to step over the bales rather than have his pretty face redesigned. Tsukidashi.

Okinoumi is the faster off the Tachiai, enveloping Chiyonokuni almost immediately. Chiyonokuni would have preferred a tsuki-oshi bout but he does have yotsu abilities and even attempts a gaburi-yori, kotoshogiku-style. At this point Okinoumi lifts him by the belt and neatly performs a shitatenage.

Sadanoumi tries to get a migi-yotsu on Yutakayama, but Yutakayama manages to slip out of his “sashi” (arm insertion) and the two go into serious windmill action. Sadanoumi nearly loses balance and compensate by lifting a leg – it almost looks like an attempt at a forbidden high kick, but it isn’t aimed at Yutakayama. Yutakayama tries to use that loss of balance and gets Sadanoumi to the bales, but Sadanoumi recovers, and somehow manages to turn the tables, push Yutakayama to the same exact bale, and yori-kiri him without a belt hold.

Kotoshogiku gets Daieisho into his favorite hold and is ready to start the pump action. Daieisho, however, lifts the former Ozeki. Not the kind of construction crane lift Tochinoshin lives by, but enough to prevent Kotoshogiku from having any traction with his feet. Kotoshogiku’s gaburi may seem to be powered by his pelvis, but it is in fact his legs that transfer all the power, and with his feet barely touching the ground, Daieisho is the one who ends with the yori-kiri.

In yet another meeting between winless rikishi, Ikioi smartly crashes into Takarafuji. However, despite Ikioi’s attempt to lock his armpit, takarafuji manages to slip in his left hand and find his mawashi. At this point it’s just a question of how much power Takarafuji has. The legs – not so much. So he gives up the attempt at a force-out and instead goes for a shitatenage and his first win.

Abi, alas, is not showing us any of those mawashi skills he supposedly tried to develop during the Jungyo. He goes for his usual morotezuki. Shohozan also starts with a tsuppari attack, but Abi’s reach is greater, and so he has the upper hand – literally, as this ends with him pulling and slamming Shohozan with an uwatenage.

There is not much to say about the TakanoiwaKagayaki bout. Takanoiwa throws himself into Kagayaki and successfully defends against Kagayaki’s left – but then Kagayaki, who is a little too forward, simply slips. Slippiotoshi, officially tsukiotoshi. And yet another Chiganoura sekitori wins the day – first win for Takanoiwa.

Chiyotairyu, starts his bout with Asanoyama with his usual booming clash. Asanoyama is a yotsu man and tries to get inside on the big Kokonoe man, but Chiyotairyu’s tsuki attack blocks him again and again – until he finds himself out. Oshidashi.

Yoshikaze hits Shodai low and seems to have the better Tachiai – which is not surprising with Shodai – but as he tries to get inside Shodai again and again gets his arm away and secure his own hold, but then realizes that he has moved far enough forward that he can simply shove Yoshikaze powerfully, and that would be enough to get him out. Yet another oshidashi.

The smallest of the tadpoles, Takakeisho, faces no challenge in Ryuden, after downing a Yokozuna and an Ozeki. Ryuden is quickly dispatched by the angry bowling ball. Another Chiganoura win – by tsukidashi this time.

A little trivia item about Takakeisho: When he received his first kensho, he was asked by the press what he intends to do with it. He said “I’ll give it to my tsukebito, who has been supporting me all this time – though I have to give some to my oyakata”. His dissimilarity with Takayoshitoshi is not only in their outward appearance.

Tamawashi lands a nodowashi on Ichinojo right out of the tachiai, and doesn’t his hand off the Sekiwake’s throat until Ichinojo – who isn’t giving up easily this time – simply can’t go anywhere but across the tawara. I’m sure Ichinojo will not be able to sing for at least a week – which may not be a bad thing:

Ichinojo’s Singing Voice

Most of the next bout is actually Mitakeumi sliding his arms under Nishikigi‘s valiantly locked armpits. This takes a few seconds, and then with the morozashi thus achieved he quickly dispatches of the Isenoumi man. A reminder to you: Nishikigi said in his pre-basho interview that he is aiming to be a Yokozuna. Having challenging goals is important.

Welcome back, Kaisei. You have three seconds to spend on the dohyo, because it’s getting late and all. Clash. Push. A half-hearted pat on the back, and Kaisei finds himself eating dirt. Hatakikomi. I don’t think Takayasu broke even one bead of sweat. Takayasu now the only one in the top two ranks with a 3-0 record.

By rights, Tochiozan should not have been much of a challenge for Goeido. But as Goeido charges into and sweeps him to the tawara as Goeido does, Tochiozan sidesteps, lifts a leg ballerina-style, then just hangs there on tip-toe, while Goeido tries to rebalance and fails. I’m not good at kimarite, so I have no idea why this was called a sukuinage. I guess there is just no official kimarite for winning by sidestep.

Myogiryu proves himself a dangerous opponent this basho – considering how long ago it was that he was in the joi. His tactic is, quite sensibly, to keep Tochinoshin away from his mawashi. He keeps the Ozeki high by leaning against him diagonally, and having his arms right under Tochinoshin’s armpit, shortening their reach. With his left he is having a fumbling battle which he rather wins. However, the downside of this tactic is that, as I said, he is leaning on Tochinoshin. Eventually the Georgian takes a few steps backwards, Myogiryu has his legs trailing behind him, and Tochinoshin survives by letting him drop down.

What’s next? The musubi-no-ichiban, Kisenosato vs. Hokutofuji. We had most of the tadpole corps win by now (with the exception of Onosho). Can Hokutofuji join the rest? He is facing a Yokozuna with two losses already and dignity on the line.

Well, it seems that the Yokozuna is trying to attack with the left side that he no longer has. It may be the pressure causing him to revert to what’s familiar to his body. I don’t know. But a weak ottsuke against Hokutofuji’s strong right – it’s not working. The Yokozuna is too high. Hokutofuji keeps low and keeps pushing at Kise’s left chest with his strong right, making sure he stays high. He even attempts a tottari for a fraction of a second there. By the time the Yokozuna starts attacking with his right, it’s too little and too late. Hokutofuji plants his head in his chest. Adding a nodowa with his left hand. He manages to get the Yokozuna’s right side away from him again, and has his right under the Yokozuna’s left arm, and then – well, to me it looked like a kotenage, but the shimpan call it a tsukiotoshi, so what do I know. All I know is that the Yokozuna is rolling on the dohyo, with his third consecutive loss. He is only the seventh Yokozuna to start a basho with three straight losses. And the last one who did so was Asahifuji (the current Isegahama oyakata) in 1992, and he retired the next day.


There is a lot of speculation going on as to what Kisenosato is going to do now. Clearly, in the past this would be a reason for immediate retirement – that’s what Chiyonofuji did (with only two losses) and that’s what Asahifuji did.

But in recent times it has become a matter of norm that Yokozuna find a hitherto-unknown injury (it’s not as if they don’t have enough real ones for the doctor to be honest – they just usually keep them from public knowledge), and go kyujo.

Only, earlier this year the YDC warned Kisenosato against exactly this sort of thing. “If you are not absolutely 100%, don’t start the basho. We do not want to see you go kyujo in mid-basho again”.

I believe this warning to Kisenosato is also the reason why Kakuryu opted not to start the basho at all, rather than try anyway. It seems the rules have slightly changed. So what are the options?

  • He can still try the old trick of going kyujo and hope that the YDC will be forgiving, as they don’t have a spare Japanese Yokozuna. This seems to me to be beneath his dignity, but I don’t know how much pressure he will be under.
  • He can injure himself purposefully. Nobody is going to say he can’t leave in the middle if he actually breaks a bone. This is, of course, very risky.
  • He may choose the old-fashioned mid-basho retirement.
  • He may choose to stay the entire basho – there are still enough days for him to get a kachi-koshi, and even if he doesn’t, it may not be the end. Wakanohana Masaru, Takanohana’s brother, once stayed through a basho despite injury and had a make-koshi. He handed his resignation after the basho, but the NSK decided not to accept it, and he lingered as Yokozuna – but not for long. So Kisenosato may do the same, especially given that he is sole Yokozuna and it will be considered a show of responsibility.

I personally think the last option is the most sensible. He may yet win 8 bouts. That’s not a Yokozuna kachi-koshi, but it will be tolerated if it is done in the name of responsibility to the spectators. And if he has a make-koshi – he’ll have to hand in his resignation. And then it’s not up to him – the pressure will be on the shoulders of the NSK.


Note: I do not have the time for two posts today, so I will have to forego the lower division report. I leave you the Juryo digest, though. If you haven’t seen Enho’s bout on Kintamayama’s reel, don’t miss it! Also Gokushindo’s first win, Toyonoshima, Tobizaru… Juryo is great!

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Final Day (Oct 28)

Here it is, the final chapter of this Jungyo series. I hope you have a lot of free time this weekend, because I stumbled across a treasure trove of raw footage. Usually I give you short bouts or scenes from the side lines. But this person has what seems like the entire event uploaded to YouTube, and that is bound to give you a whole different perspective of what going to a Jungyo event must be like.

So hang on to your coat tails, here we go.

the-jungyo-is-over
The Jungyo is over!

🌐 Location: Shunan, Yamaguchi
🚫 Scandal level: depends how you look at moob groping

I’m skipping the videos that show the venue from outside, the sekitori arriving and the concession stands. Also the handshake part. Let’s start with some still photos from the side lines instead. Here are Chiyonoumi, Hokutofuji and Tomokaze. All graduates of the Nippon Sports Science University. Which, apparently, has its own not-so-secret hand gesture. Demonstration:

university-grads

And that’s the only wholesome sidelines picture you’ll see today. Because the Tamawashi bug seems to have taken in everybody. Here is Gokushindo with Dewanojo:

gokushindo-dewanojo-boobies

But Gokushindo himself does not escape abuse. From our university graduate, Tomokaze, both front:

tomokaze-gokushindo-boobies-front

and back:

tomokaze-gokushindo-boobies-back

Kagayaki is lifting his tsukebito as a form of weight. And that’s no problem. But what is Wakatakakage looking at?

what-is-wakatakakage-looking-at

OK, OK, better get on with those videos, shall I?

There aren’t any sekitori from Yamaguchi prefercture at the moment. So attention was focused on the lower-ranking wrestlers from that prefecture. This video starts with Harada, who is one of those Yamaguchi wrestlers, receiving butsukari. The chest is offered by none other than Enho.

The video then moves on to some moshi-ai among the Jonidan and Sandanme wrestlers.

I must say seeing Enho as the dominant in butsukari is rather comical. Harada is taller than him, and although light, Enho doesn’t seem to offer much of a stamina challenge for him.

No wonder, then, that the exercise is soon over. Moving on to the moshi-ai session. Remember, moshi-ai is a series of bouts in which the winner gets to stick around and chooses his next opponent. Therefore, the wrestlers who want to get some exercise vie for the winner’s attention as soon as the match is decided.

I didn’t like the first winner (sorry, at this level, I really can’t recall names from faces. If you know, please let me know) too much. He is prone to dame-oshi. The second one sticks around for quite a while – but you see his stamina seeping out with every bout until at last he is ousted.

I didn’t think that Mr. Huge there would be called by anybody, but I guess some rikishi like a challenge. So he was.

The attention wars are also quite amazing. Wrestlers are not shy of hanging on to the winner’s neck or poking his cheek or whatever it takes.

And all the while, Aoiyama and Tochiozan stand on the sides and do their shiko.

In the following video, the Sandanme-and-below moshi-ai continues, when sekitori start mounting the dohyo, and give short butsukari sessions to the low-ranking rikishi. You’ll see Akiseyama, Jokoryu, Enho (again) and Abi.

When no sekitori offers, the lower ranking wrestlers just continue on their own. Each butsukari session ends with a tap on the dominant’s chest and, answered with a throw for a korogari (roll).

In the next video, we start with some yobidashi activity on the dohyo – pouring new sand, watering, and sweeping. Then the moshi-ai starts again, with Makushita and some more rikishi joining in. You can see Kyokusoten and Musashikuni.

Kyokusoten is doing the typical Mongolian mawashi sumo. And despite winning, he just gives the right-of-way to a new pair and rests. Musashikuni’s koshi-daka is still unresolved and he isn’t likely to get a second chance quickly.

Apart from what’s going on on the dohyo, though, it’s interesting to watch the opposite corner where a little Mongolian clique is gathered to do some stretches, and apparently, joke around: Kyokushuho, Chiyoshoma and Azumaryu. Also, watch the lower left part of the screen for Tamawashi. Shodai shows something on his smartphone. Smartphone? In keiko? Anyway, that exchange of course evolves into Tamawashi slapping Shodai around.

Next vid. The moshi-ai continues, and then, once again, sekitori mount the dohyo, and we get a series of butsukari: Yago, Kotoshogiku, Jokoryu, Yoshikaze, Ichinojo, You can see how Ichinojo’s submissive actually asks him to do it. Some guys like challenges, as I said.

And now it’s time for the sekitori to start their own practice. The moshi-ai is more relaxed at this point. There are three men on the dohyo and when one of the two wrestlers loses, the third goes in.

We start with Meisei-Tochiozan-Takanosho. In the background you can see Kisenosato doing his wobble exercise, and various rikishi coming to hand him some water. I assure you, in this ladle there is not even a single grain of salt. Nobody is suicidal.

Kisenosato switches to Shiko. On the opposite side you can see Goeido doing the same. Takayasu is not far away from his Yokozuna. From time to time the wrestlers on the dohyo take a towel break.

It’s nice to see Aoiyama and Ryuden move to save Meisei from a bad fall.

After Tochiozan leaves the field and only Meisei and Takanosho are left, again, as if by magic, other sekitori get on the dohyo and a sequence of butsukari follows. If you notice, the first session is always with the winner of the last moshi-ai. Endo lends his chest to Takanosho. Then Aoiyama-Tochiozan, and finally, Ryuden takes Meisei.

The next video continues in the same pattern. This time we have four men on the dohyo – Aoiyama, Ryuden, Daieisho and Myogiryu. This means the two “free” wrestlers have to vie for the winner’s favors.

This session, too, ends with a series of butsukari, though curiously, the first two are between the same four wrestlers. We then switch to Nishikigi-Onosho-Shodai.

I’m going to skip the next sequence, which is just a continuation of that trio, and go to the next one, which shows you a san-ban session. Goeido engages Shodai. Reminder: san-ban is a series of bouts between the same two wrestlers, who do as many bouts as the higher-ranked one wants.

As the session progresses, you can see the increasing frustration on Shodai’s face and in his body language. Goeido is relentless, and Shodai can’t stay in the ring for more than two seconds, let alone win.

Note how every time the Ozeki wants a rest he has his two tsukebito hurry up with a ladle of water and a couple of towels to service him. Shodai has to settle for Nishikigi-mama, who keeps handing him his towel, then folding it back neatly.

Eventually, after 16 minutes of this Goeido love, Shodai is saved by Tochinoshin. Again, the proper way to finish a session is with some butsukari, so poor Shodai, who is already out of juice, has to also push an ozeki for a while for his trouble. Tochinoshin doesn’t make a full-fledged kawaigari of this, though. So the nightmare is soon over.

What follows is reverse butsukari. Nishikigi offers his chest, Goeido pushes. But of course, Nishikigi runs around so as not to waste the Ozeki’s precious time, and there is no rolling in the mud. Finally, a short one between Onosho and Daieisho. Apparently, the etiquette here is that all participators in the moshi-ai or san-ban session (Remember this started with Nishikigi-Onosho-Shodai) get to do some butsukari.

This next one starts with a san-ban session between Asanoyama and Mitakeumi. Not as lengthy as the one between Goeido and Shodai, though. Then Asanoyama goes out and Tochinoshin engages Mitakeumi.

Earlier, in that butsukari session with Shodai, Tochinoshin only had taping on his knee. Now that he is about to engage in san-ban, he puts on his brace.

Of course, being Ozeki, he also gets serviced by his tsukebito. One for ladle, one for towels.

A few minutes later he switches to Asanoyama.

The session, of course, ends with butsukari. Reverse ones this time. Tochinoshin pushes Mitakeumi, and Mitakeumi pushes Tochiozan. Then, not to leave the third man out, Aoiyama takes Asanoyama.

In the background you can see Mitakeumi thanking Tochinoshin for his attention by offering him a ladle of chikara-mizu.

I’m going to skip the lower-ranks bouts, the Jinku, drum demo and shokkiri, and skip right to the Juryo bouts. By the way, here are Yago and Wakatakakage, waiting for their dohyo-iri. Yago seems to also be a man who loves to keep his hands on other people’s bodies:

yago-wakatakakage-love

But at least there doesn’t seem to be much fondling going on. So let’s see how these guys (and the rest of the rather miserable division) did in the bouts:

JokoryuChiyoarashiTsuridashi
TomokazeEnhoUwatenage
AzumaryuNakazonoTsuridashi
GokushindoChiyonoumiOshidashi
TobizaruGagamaruYorikiri
TsurugishoWakatakakageYorikiri
KotoekoTakekazeUtchari

Enho is fast!

Watch out for the faces Tobizaru makes at Gagamaru. 🙂

Note how the “fillers” from Makushita don’t have their rank called out. The gyoji announcer describes each Juryo wrestler by shikona, rank, shushin and heya. But the “fillers” only get shikona, shushin and heya.

Next we have Kisenosato’s rope tying demonstration, and then the rest of the Juryo bouts:

DaiamamiKyokushuhoYorikiri
DaishohoAkiseyamaYorikiri
MeiseiYagoYorikiri

Ah, the look of frustration on Yago’s face.

In the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, of course we have the continuing Mitakeumi-Tamawashi saga:

mitakeumi-loves-tamawashi

Skipping the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, the Yokozuna dohyo-iri and the mayor’s speech video, we move straight to the Makuuchi bouts.

The first bout is missing a few seconds.

ChiyoshomaYoshikazeTsuridashi
RyudenTakanoshoYorikiri
SadanoumiOkinoumiYorikiri
NishikigiDaieishoUtchari
HokutofujiAoiyamaYorikiri
TakarafujiKotoshogikuYorikiri
ShohozanTochiozanOkuridashi
OnoshoAsanoyamaTokkurinage
MyogiryuKagayakiYorikiri

Takanosho gets a fast morozashi there, and Ryuden can’t make the makikae.

Daieisho rains tsuppari on Nishikigi. Nishikigi doesn’t lose his cool – saves himself at the edge with a nice utchari. Speaking of Nishikigi, where are his glasses today?

nishikigi-glasses-1

Apparently, right on Shohozan’s nose.

nishikigi-glasses-2

Onosho steals Aminishiki’s tokkurinage (“sake bottle throw”). But hey, Aminishiki does that in honbasho.

Continuing right from Abi’s shiko:

ChiyonokuniAbiUwatenage
ShodaiEndoUtchari
YutakayamaChiyotairyuTsukidashi
KaiseiTakakeishoYorikiri

Chiyonokuni goes on a shiko match with Abi. He is a little shaky on the left side, but still pulls it off, much to the appreciation of the crowd. He also gives Abi a serious stare-down. All is well and good – but Abi finishes him off within half a second.

Kaisei yori-kiris Takakeisho, but has an inertia problem. Takakeisho flies off the dohyo straight onto Tomozuna oyakata (ouch), but then Kaisei falls on top of both of them. That’s… well, a real-life drop-bear (hi, Australians). He helps Takakeisho up, and poor Tomozuna oyakata also asks for a hand up. Everybody is still in one (albeit squashed) piece.

Finally, we have the last four Makuuchi bouts. This includes Tamawashi vs. Ichinojo. And of course, Goeido still has his tsukebito heckling Tamawashi:

goeido-still-heckles-tamawashi

Kakuryu doesn’t seem to approve. So what did Tamawashi (and Goeido, and Kakuryu) do?

Now, Tochinoshin’s leg has neither taping nor brace.

TamawashiIchinojoOshidashi
MitakeumiTochinoshinTsuridashi
GoeidoTakayasuUwatenage
KakuryuKisenosatoYorikiri

Tomozuna oyakata gets hit again! Luckily, Ichinojo’s brakes are better than Kaisei’s, so he didn’t get hit by yet another drop bear. And that is Ichinojo’s killer nodowa making an appearance again.

I have a feeling of déjà vu about Mitakeumi’s bout with Tochinoshin. Haven’t we seen this bout a few days ago? First Mitakeumi attacks, tries a couple of gaburi, then Tochinoshin takes over and forklifts him out?

Takayasu seems pretty amused about how his match turned out.

And Kakuryu’s left foot is once again doing circles in mid-air. I thought his problem was his right foot.

Here is a link to the complete YouTube playlist from which these clips were taken. It’s a bit of a mess, so if you want to watch in order, pay attention to the numbers.

And your final pin-up boy for this Jungyo, I give you Asanoyama:

asanoyama

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 23 (Oct 27)

early-morning
Early morning in Hiroshima

🌐 Location: Hiroshima, Hiroshima
🚫 Scandal level: 0

It’s the second day at Hiroshima prefecture, but this time we are at a huge stadium in Hiroshima city itself.

The sekitori arrive by bus, and seem rather sleepy:

For some reason, Enho arrives by taxi:

Going inside, first I would like to set your mind at ease. Remember Minatoryu’s bruised throat yesterday, after Ichinojo practiced his nodowa on him? Well, here he is the day after:

minatoryu-is-fine

No permanent damage, it seems. He smiles because the lady who took this photo is the same one who took the ones yesterday, and she specifically asked him if he was alright after yesterday’s tough practice. “I’m alright!” he beamed.

Let’s stroll around the arena to see what the rikishi are doing.

Asanoyama is stretching.

asanoyama-stretching

Not bad. Not Chiyonokuni or Abi level, but not bad.

Yutakayama uses Wakatakakage as a Teppo pole:

yutakayama-teppo-wakatakakage

Wakatakakage looks like he is resigned to suffering.

Takekaze is… posing for cute photos? Is this actually Takekaze?

cute-takekaze
Ribbit!

Here is Ichinojo doing (ouch!) Seiza again. He also does some fan service, but he doesn’t seem to be too concentrated on that. What is he looking at?

ichinojo-seiza

Apparently, he has been staring constantly at Wakatakakage, who was doing shiko next to him:

wakatakakage-shiko

Ah. That makes sense. I’d be ogling him too if I were there.

Chiyonokuni is having a bout with a mini-rikishi, complete with a plastic chon-mage:

chiyonokuni-mini-rikishi-1
Shikiri
chiyonokuni-mini-rikishi-2
Attack!

I think this is technically a matta.

Tochinoshin is practicing with Mitakeumi:

This seems to be a lot fiercer than their official bout the other day…

Tochinoshin also engages with Shodai:

Shodai circles and circles, but doesn’t seem to have any offensive plan.

What are the oyakata doing, you may ask?

Well, Futagoyama oyakata (ex Miyabiyama) seems to enjoy doing the duties of a yobidashi:

futagoyama-yobidashi

But Tomozuna oyakata just demonstrates what the Japanese word “kakkoii” means:

tomozuna-kakkoii

Tomozuna (ex Kyokutenho, of course) has complained on Twitter that he gained five kilos during the Jungyo. What is he talking about?

Here is a Jonidan bout for you: Takataisho (Takakeisho’s tsukebito) vs. Kotomanabe (probably Kotoshogiku’s):

Nice throw there. And a very energetic bout overall.

Time for Juryo bouts. And of course, time for the oldest prank in the book. Salt in the ladle. By the way, the other day somebody tried to pull that on Kagayaki. Kagayaki cooly took the ladle and emptied it directly into the spittoon. If they are breaking rules because it’s Jungyo, so can he. I guess that’s why you don’t see Kagayaki in any of the goofy pictures. He is just not the type to mess with.

But I wonder why nobody else realizes they don’t actually have to drink the stuff:

oldest-trick-1

Bravo, Gagamaru. Very original. And Wakatakakage… don’t put this photo on your resumé.

oldest-trick-2

Seriously, Enho, this trick is getting old. Even if you pull it on a newcomer like Gokushindo.

Not much material in the bouts today. We can only guess who is winning this one:

daiamami-takekaze
Put me down! Put me down! I have a fear of heights!

That’s Daiamami vs. Takekaze, by the way.

The only sekitori bout I have for you today is Takakeisho vs. Ichinojo:

Ichinojo shows up energetic. I guess all that Wakatakakage-gazing paid off.

The rikishi leave for the next destination, but Shohozan keeps up the fan service even when already on the bus:

shohozan-fansa-bus

And finally, your Tobizaru of the day, this time in full regalia:

tobizaru

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 5 (Oct 7)

🌐 Location: Chiba, Chiba
🚫 Scandal level: 0

venue

First, let’s all stop and bow as the king enters the building:

At Chiba, the Jungyo trail comes closer to Tokyo again. This was the opportunity for a few changes in kyujo status. I’m sad to tell you that Ikioi has left the Jungyo.

But the happier news is the return of this guy:

enho
Danger, measurements of Cute in Chiba are approaching critical level

The man most happy about this news seems to have been his fellow pixie, Terutsuyoshi:

Awwww… then, ewwww.

Anyway, it was really hard to peel Terutsuyoshi off Enho’s skin that entire day. Someone with an evil sense of humor decided to pit them against each other in the torikumi of the day. Terutsuyoshi won. And yes, he continued to hover around Enho even after they showered.

But we are still on the subject of kyujo. Tsurugisho continued off the torikumi (though still staying with the Jungyo), and Abi is also not in the wrestling list – although he did participate in the fan service:

abi-autographing

Aminishiki – not kyujo – was also giving autographs, though he looks very tired.

aminishiki-fansa

Inside the main hall, Shohozan was utilizing TRX to maintain his pythons:

Some moshi-ai sessions:

Yago-Wakatakakage, with Daishoho and Chiyonoumi:

Kaisei-Endo, with Asanoyama and Kagayaki:

Mitakeumi-Tochinoshin, with Shodai and Hokutofuji

Nice to see Mitakeumi practice. He also did some basics earlier on:

There was a series of quick butsukari on the dohyo:

While on the dohyo, Tochinoshin was offering his chest in butsukari to Takanosho (the high rankers love torturing the newcomers), some bored low-rankers engaged in arm wrestling. Well, kind of:

Here is part of the sumo jinku of the day:

This was followed by the Shokkiri (and yes, apparently they are alternating between the same two pairs of performers as in the previous Jungyo). Then came the Juryo dohyo-iri. With all the absences, this looked positively sad:

Many cheers for Aminishiki – who waves. It’s the Jungyo, after all.

Then there was taiko demonstration (only part is shown):

This was followed by the Juryo torikumi. Today, Nakazono was allowed to rest a bit, and Chiyoarashi joined the Juryo bouts instead, sporting an oicho for the first time in a long while (he last had an official one in 2013!):

chiyoarashi

This is, of course, because he is a local Chiba boy.

Daishoho tried to pull the old salt-in-the-ladle trick on Daiamami.

Crickets.

Nice display of self-control by Daiamami.

Here is Aminishiki vs. Meisei. Watch Meisei’s shiko, by the way. He doesn’t have Abi’s long legs but his shiko is top notch.

A lot of support for Uncle Sumo, but he still gets off the dohyo frustrated.

On the way to the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, Tamawashi continues to make Mitakeumi’s life hard:

tamawashi-badgering-mitakeumi

Here’s Daieisho vs. Nishikigi:

For some reason, this is the only Makuuchi torikumi I found.

The only thing I have from any of the top-level wrestlers is this picture of Hakuho, flirting with the Yobidashi, as he always does just before the kore-yori-san-yaku:

hakuho-flirting-with-yobidashi

I would comment about the size proportions between the Yokozuna and the average Japanese man. Only, with Ichinojo in the background, Hakuho kind of loses the “huge” effect.

Finally, here is Tobizaru. Though maybe now I should revert back to “daily Enho”.

tobizaru

 

Bouts from the lower divisions – Days 6 and 7

Let’s proceed with the past two days, which were full of events in the lower divisions. You have already seen Ura and Wakaichiro. Here are some others.

happy-terutsuyoshi
Four men are leading Juryo. This is one of them. (Terutsuyoshi, accompanied by Midorifuji, his tsukebito for this basho)

Day 6

Tsukahara has won the Jonokuchi and the Jonidan yusho when he started out in Hatsu 2018 (Mae-zumo in 2017). But he got a little stuck in his next two basho. He is going for the Sandanme Yusho this time. In this bout he faces Seigo from Shikoroyama beya:

He also had a bout on day 7, and is currently 4-0.

Now we turn to the princes. First, the Duke of Tatsunami, Hoshoryu. Here facing Sasakiyama. At this point both are 2-0. Note that the torikumi committee regularly matches people with the same record – this helps separate the wheat from the chaff quickly and efficiently.

Sasakiyama returned after a long kyujo and went 6-1 in Jonidan and 7-0 in Sandanme (Jun-Yusho, with Kagamio winning the yusho).

Sasakiyama is not happy. But at least that kotenage left him in one piece.

The next is the Prince of Otake, scion of Taiho (and Takatoriki). He is already 1-1 at this point, and faces Sakigake with the same score.

Bad mistake there, and he finds himself facing outwards, and is respectfully led out. Serious setback, two losses in a row for a man with so many hopes pinned on him. If he doesn’t get a kachi-koshi, it’s back to Sandanme, as he is at the very bottom of Makushita.

I am not going to go through the entire Juryo, but I want you to watch two special bouts. The first is a mixed bout. Toyonoshima in Makushita is scheduled for a Juryo match. So he gets to wear an oicho-mage and throw some salt, which he hasn’t done for a while. It’s a bit unusual to be scheduled for the fourth time in six days, but hey, if he wants to be a sekitori, he has to be able to wrestle every day, right?

He is matched with Jokoryu – a former Sekiwake against a former komusubi. One striving to return to sekitori status, one just now having achieved that.

Since Toyonoshima is at Makushita #1, if he wins this bout, he is kachi-koshi and virtually ensures his return to Juryo for Kyushu.

With both falling about the same time, there is, of course a monoii. And a torinaoshi. Toyonoshima is full of fire. The second time around ends in a hearty uwatenage. Toyonoshima returns to Juryo.

toyonoshima-crying
After two years, Toyonoshima will finally be able to provide for his family

The next interesting day 6 bout is not quite as emotional, but still brilliant. Enho – who else – meets Tokushoryu.

Enho goes for the Hakuho slap-and-grab. The grab doesn’t quite work, but Enho is unfazed. He finds Tokushoryu’s mae-mitsu, and at the same time secures a hold on Tokushoryu’s mawashi knot. The kimarite is shitatenage. But if you look at the replays, you’ll see that enho actually throws him with both arms – he needs a lot of leverage on that hefty guy. With this, Enho is level again, 3-3. His game is much improved over his first Juryo visit.

Oh, and there was something very odd going on in the Day 6 Juryo dohyo-iri. Take a look:

Three wrestlers are missing from the dohyo-iri, and come running in just in time to delay Aminishiki, who looks rather outraged. Perhaps because one of the delinquents is his own ototo-deshi (member of the same heya who joined at a later date) – Terutsuyoshi, accompanied by Tsurugisho and Daishoho. I’m pretty sure Aminishiki had a little talk with Terutsuyoshi after that.

The gyoji-announcer, however, smoothly adds the names of the three late joiners without pause.

Interestingly, despite being late for the dohyo-iri, Terutsuyoshi’s tsukebito (Midorifuji, in the top picture) seems to have retained all of his teeth. I guess there are ways of dealing with one’s own tardiness without spilling the blood of one’s subordinates.

(Yeah, I am referring to the Bakayoshitoshi incident).

Anyway, here is the day 6 full Juryo digest for your pleasure:

Day 7

Jonokuchi

How can we pass up a Hattorizakura bout? Here vs. Kogitora:

In the previous basho it seemed that Hattorizakura has made a step forward, and started working on his staying power. Alas, this basho none of that seems to have remained. His stablemaster promised him a new shikona should he make kachi-koshi. I guess he likes “Hattorizakura”.

Let’s look at another Jonokuchi bout for a change. Here is one of the new recruits for Naruto beya, Oju, vs. Toya. Oju’s first basho in Jonokuchi has been a disaster, but take a look at this bout:

Oju looks pretty drained after the bout, but still goes over to try and help his opponent up (which Toya refuses). So he is a nice guy. But besides that, it was a good bout, and he kept his stance lower than his opponent and used his opening. He is now 2-2.

Jonidan

Tsushida, who was the Jonokuchi yusho winner in Nagoya, suffered a setback on day 6. So probably no Jonidan yusho. But can he come back? Here he is faced with Sakabayashi. Again, the torikumi masters match wrestlers with the same score:

So maybe no yusho, but Tsushida is still going strong.

Now, on day 1 I said Satonofuji looked tired and spent, and speculated that he may retire soon. But in fact he is having a lovely basho. And, oh, feast your eyes on this bout vs. Chiyotaiko:

In my opinion, that tachiai should have been a matta. But it wasn’t called, and Satonofuji finds himself in an awkward position. But if you think that the 41-years-old Isegahama man just accidentally came up with a clever kimarite, think again. This Izori is his 15th. The man has 36 distinct kimarite under his belt.

Sandanme

I still follow Torakio, but the man is starting to have a really disastrous basho, despite not being seriously injured this time. Take a look at this match vs. Yokoe. Both 1-2 coming into this match:

A lot of effort, but the Musashigawa man manages to unbalance the Bulgarian and Torakio is 1-3, very close to a make-koshi, and it’s not nakabi, yet!

Makushita

At the bottom, the struggling Naya meets Shosei. Both 1-2 coming into the match. Shosei is a veteran and Makushita regular.

Naya recovers from his two losses and is now 2-2.

Now here is a familiar face we haven’t seen in a while. Yet another one trying to make a return to sekitori status, Chiyootori. Here he faces Koba from Kise beya, both 2-1 coming into this match.

Despite that huge brace on his leg, Chiyootori seems full of genki. Bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce until the tachiai, and a yorikiri soon after. Chiyootori is now 3-1, and at Makushita 25, still has a way to go before he can start throwing salt again.

Finally, here is Sokokurai, who wants the yusho very badly, facing Gokushindo, who wants it quite as much (and there are other people in Makushita aiming for it):

This kind of bout is the reason why they invented tsuppari. Guys, stop circling around and tring to find an opening that doesn’t exist. Show some initiative. Sokokurai is very careful, tries not to expose himself in any way. This could go on forever, but Sokokurai makes the first mistake and loses his chance of a yusho.

Juryo

 

  • Chiyonoumi is having a real hard time this basho. His tsuppari attack is effective at first, but still, Hakuyozan is bigger and not easily moved by mere thrusts, and it’s the Kokonoe man who finds himself outside.
  • Akua with his back to the wall. His bouts in the past few days are very fierce, even desparate. Tokushoryu is the winner and Akua is 2-5.
  • Mitoryu started the basho strong, but weakened a bit as the days passed. Azumaryu wants to find his way back up.
  • Jokoryu manages to turn Tobizaru around, but the monkey somehow gets back around and they both fall outside. There is a monoii, but the decision holds – Jokoryu “nokotteori” – he still has a leg inside.
  • Enho tries to get inside, doesn’t find a way, but Seiro – back from kyujo – can’t unbalance the little pixie. Eventually, Enho achieves a straight oshi-dashi. This is the first time he manages two consecutive wins in Juryo.
  • Gagamaru lifts Tsurugisho easily over the bales.
  • Takekaze slams into Shimanoumi, but that doesn’t seem to impress his opponent much. He is soon sent out.
  • Terutsuyoshi – half henka, gets inside Hidenoumi’s belly, and sends him out. 5-2 for the Isegahama pixie.
  • Wakatakakage suffers a serious weight disadvantage in his bout with Takagenji. That was one fierce oshidashi.
  • Kotoeko requires some time before he succeeds in forcing Chiyonoo out.
  • Nice battle between Yago and Daishoho, which goes back and forth between the two. Daishoho tries a hatakikomi, but is driven out before Yago finds himself on his knees.
  • Akiseyama once again switches mawashi color to stop his losing streak. Alas, this time it doesn’t work. Meisei somehow manages to keep in the black, while Akiseyama is 1-6.
  • Kyokushuho doesn’t leave any opening for Uncle Sumo’s wiles. Aminishiki flies to the fourth row before the fans finish their first “Aminishiki” shout. Two consecutive losses for the Isegahama veteran, and he is now 4-3.
  • Finally, once again, Arawashi grabs the mawashi and throws at the edge. Daiamami is down before Arawashi’s legs leave ground.

Juryo is crazy this basho. It seems the level is very very even. No one is 7-0. No one is even 6-1. And there are four men with 5-2:

  1. J4E Daiamami
  2. J8W Terutsuyoshi
  3. J11E Tokushoryu
  4. J13E Azumaryu

If Terutsuyoshi, the pixie with the sodium fixation, who only secured his kachi-koshi in the previos basho in the last day, is in the Yusho arasoi in this one, then as far as Juryo is concerned, we are in a Wacky Aki.