Jungyo Newsreel – Day 5

🌐 Location: Toyooka, Hyogo prefecture

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:

  • Daiseido-Kiribayama
  • Kyokushuho-Azumaryu
  • Daishomaru-Tokushoryu
  • Daiamami-Chiyomaru
  • Shimanoumi-Kotoyuki

This is followed by bouts from Makuuchi:

  • Ishiura-Yutakayama
  • Kotoeko-Toyonoshima
  • Tomokaze-Kagayaki
  • Shohozan-Yago
  • Sadanoumi-Terutsuyoshi
  • Aoiyama-Asanoyama
  • Chiyotairyu-Okinoumi
  • Kaisei-Nishikigi

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?

The arms are strong with this one

Jungyo Newsreel – Day 3

🌐 Location: Nara, Nara prefecture

The Jungyo continues through Nara prefecture, and I have to admit I’m disappointed that none of the photos and videos I collected for this report and the previous one contains any deer. 🦌☹️

So let’s get right inside the venue, and take a look at the rikishi practicing. Meisei is having a nice chat with onosho while taping his feet up.

Onosho himself is both taping and stretching.

Mitakeumi and Enho seem to be practicing or discussing moves or doing a mock fight, except…

…except, what is Enho doing rubbing his face against Mitakeumi like a cute little kitten? Is that some new kimarite we have never heard of before? “Kawaisugitaoshi” – “takedown by cute overload”?

Takanosho is doing… what? The tweet says he has been repeating this for 30 minutes!

Please don’t tell me that this is a yoga exercise like the one Daishoho did yesterday.

As Kakuryu arrives at the Dohyo, everybody stands in line to greet him. Terutsuyoshi, however, takes his sweet time chatting with the Yokozuna

Once left on his own, Kakuryu practices squats with a load. Very nice posture:

Midway he becomes conscious of being filmed. That yokozuna is too cute for his own good. You’re supposed to be stoic, and preferably scary, yokozuna!

Daiseido is doing butsukari, borrowing Tochinoshin’s furry chest:

Tokushoryu, who was born and raised in Nara city, got butsukari from a Yokozuna yesterday. So today he has to settle for… Gagamaru?

Poor Tokushoryu – doesn’t get the privilege of a Yokozuna or Ozeki pushing him around, and has to contend with Gagamaru’s weight.

By the way, although on the official web site Gagamaru is described as weighing 199kg, it’s a lie. He usually asks for his weight not to be published, but it did leak out last year and it was 212kg. Yep, he weighs more than Kaisei.

So here are some practice bouts: Tomokaze vs. Abi, Onosho vs. Nishikigi.

Yeah, once Nishikigi got his mawashi, Onosho was doomed.

Practice over, it’s time to hit the shower. Or, in Japan, the shower and then the bath. And this means going out of the venue and off to some sento or onsen. And that’s exactly when fans want attention, autographs or photos taken. Takakeisho obliges, but also poses and directs the photographer:


“The lighting is better from that angle”

Tamawashi is all in a hurry and will not respond to fan requests… except ones shorter than 100cm.

It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri, and a very freezing Uncle Sumo makes his way to the venue.

Nice shoes. Match the fringe of the kesho-mawashi.

In fact, everybody is cold. Well, maybe not Tsurugisho:

Interesting Paisley design there, Enho. Must be a hand-me-down from Hakuho… shortened by about half a meter.

Once the Juryo dohyo-iri and torikumi are done, it’s time for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. And listen to how Takakeisho is announced:

Makuuchi dohyo-iri usually ends with an Ozeki. “And last… shin-Ozeki, Takakeisho, comes from Hyogo, Chiganoura beya”.

Takakeisho said in an interview a couple of days ago that the Jungyo finally made him feel that he is an Ozeki for real. It’s not just the dohyo-iri. Look how he travels these days:

Yes. That’s a limousine. It’s good to be Ozeki.

That’s a mon-tsuki kimono he is wearing, so he is not just arriving from the hotel, though. He probably went on a shrine visit of some sort.

Time for the bouts! And what better time is there to goof around? We are back to our comedy duo from yesterday, Nishikigi and Shodai. This time, Shodai is the one fooling around with Nishikigi’s glasses while Nishikigi is busy signing autographs.

Nishikigi is off to face Onosho, and Shodai takes this opportunity to…

…smear some of the suki-abura from his head on Nishikigi’s glasses’ lenses. Nishikigi’s tsukebito, as you can see, is not going to refuse a sekitori.

When Nishikigi returned, by the way, he put on his glasses, and exclaimed the Japanese equivalent of WTF… then proceeded to wipe them on his tsukebito’s yukata. At that point, Shodai was already near the dohyo, so no way to take revenge… but karma prevails, and Shodai loses his bout with Daieisho. He returns all crestfallen and runs crying into mommy’s arms.

“Mommy” in this case being Tamawashi. “There, there, don’t cry, there’s a good boy”.

Now, this generous Twitter user (her nickname is “stomach ache” for some reason) who took most of the videos both of day 2 and day 3, took some bouts as well this time. We start with Yutakayama vs. Kotoeko. Inexplicably, three kensho flags are paraded for this bout.

As a result, this develops into one of the most gachinko (honest) matches in the Jungyo. Kotoeko gets the envelopes.

Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi

Whoa, whoa, what was that? Tamawashi grabs da mawashi? And wins?? This bout was very entertaining.

Takakeisho vs. Tochinoshin:


Tochinoshin lands his favorite grip and it’s all over for the shin-Ozeki, who must be tired from that limousine ride.

Finally, Kakuryu vs. Goeido.

Mmm. The Yokozuna is not in a great shape.

So here is the high-quality summary video from Nara TV:

Tokushoryu: “Nara is said to be the birthplace of Sumo, but as there seem to be many people yet who have no idea of it, I will work hard to change the perception”.

Tokushoryu was honored with a Makuuchi bout today (vs. Chiyoshoma, as you can see in that video).

Finally, we are in our pin-up corner. It was a hard choice today. Should I have gone with the standard, namely, Enho?

Still not participating in the matches, but that doesn’t stop him from spreading fairy dust all over the venue. But maybe I should have gone with Arawashi instead:

Cute crow’s-feet. Nice teeth. Definitely pin-up material.

But I want to introduce you instead to a rather anonymous guy from Nishikido beya, serving, apparently, as Mitoryu’s tsukebito. He’s 20 years old, and this must be his first or second Jungyo. His name is Toshonishiki.

Definitely not Takarafuji

Fuyu Jungyo 2018 – Day 15 (Dec 20)

Beam me up, Scotty… Oh damn, my communicator badge is on my yukata!

🌐 Location: Kumagaya, Saitama
😛 Goofometer: ◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️

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:

“Oh, I’m on camera…”

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:

Kaio enjoyed a good spectacle

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:

Yoisho!

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:

Fuyu Jungyo 2018 – Day 11 (Dec 12)

Dirty Mawashi drying – The Jungyo is here!

🌐 Location: Kagoshima, Kagoshima
😝 Goofometer: ◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️

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:

Ichinojo, Daiamami, spot the 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!

From the “I can’t believe this is a former rikishi” department: Tatsunami oyakata