Jungyo Newsreel – Day 11

Isn’t that a punch, boss?

🌐 Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture

After a day of hiatus spent in their homes or heyas, the rikishi get back together for an event at Kawasaki. The locals have used that day to prepare the dohyo:

Interestingly, this video shows the venue with normal lighting, but for some reason, on the day itself, the lighting was changed such that most of the stadium was shrouded in darkness, with spotlights on the dohyo. Although perfectly normal for performances, this is a bit unusual for a Jungyo event, and it caused sideline photos to come out… not exactly pleasing:

Hey Wilt, pass me the ball, I’m open!

On the other hand, photos taken on or around the dohyo tended to be artistic or dramatic, like this Abi shot, showing him preparing for Showdown:

Draw!

Still, there was action both near and away from the dohyo. Shohozan was trying to do suri-ashi, and got a bit flustered by the presence of the NSK camera:

Enho was trying to help Onosho with his seiza.

But it seems like this drove Onosho to stop doing seiza and do something to the poor suddenly alarmed pixie. I’m not sure whatever follows is fit for the consumption of children.

Off to the side Nishikigi is doing Nishikigi things to a low-ranked rikishi.

I would feel a lot more sympathy for his victim, if that victim wasn’t Hikarugenji, Arawashi’s tsukebito, who has beaten up a younger rikishi in his heya last year, who left the world of sumo because of that. So go right ahead, yay Nishikigi!

Not far away from them, Ichinojo is practicing with Chiyoshoma (and yes, it’s the lighting again):

Quite brave of Chiyoshoma to attempt that.

Gagamaru was wrapping himself up:

Every sekitori has a taping kit. Some of them need quite a lot.

Kakuryu… is upgrading from the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy to Alien:

Still a little low on the fangs, though.

At the dohyo, Toyonoshima and Goeido are enjoying each other’s company:

Tomokaze is preparing for a big day. He is the local boy here at Kawasaki. And this means lots of butsukari, and a special extra bout (we’ll get to that).

Endo is doing proper suri-ashi:

Ichinojo gets up on the dohyo:

Though he seems a bit puzzled as to what he is supposed to do on it. We’ll, he’ll remember eventually. Oh yes, Ichinojo and Takakeisho both resumed on-dohyo practice.

In fact, both Ichinojo and Yoshikaze are back on the torikumi as of today. On the other hand, Chiyonoumi is off the Torikumi. I don’t know what the nature of his injury is, though.

Let’s take a look at some practice bouts. Here are Mitoryu and Takanosho:

Kiribayama vs. Daiseido:

Nice leg muscles, Daiseido.

Okinoumi vs. Meisei:

Meisei and local-boy Tomokaze:

Kaisei and Asanoyama:

Practice over! The sekitori hit the baths, and only a lonely mawashi and lonelier leg brace remain at the venue to tell the tale:

But of course, they’ll be back. In fact, it’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And guess who is being bumped from behind?

Enho is getting groped and rubbed against so much in this Jungyo, I heard that JR East is preparing a specially designated “Enho Car” on applicable train lines, as part of its harassment prevention efforts.

Chiyomaru is using his belly to great effect, also to get attention from the ladies as he awaits his bout:

“I’m due around August. Ooh, did she just kick? Did you feel that?”

With the Juryo bouts in the background, a Yokozuna prepares for his rope-tying demonstration, just like yesterday. Today it’s Hakuho’s turn:

Note that a Yokozuna wears his kesho-mawashi differently than other rikishi – the top of the apron is tucked into the mawashi rather than covering the Yokozuna’s belly.

By the way, Hakuho was asked what he thought about the US President’s plan to come watch sumo on Senshuraku of the Natsu basho. He said “I’m grateful. It’s still not clear if it will happen or not, but I plan to do my best”.

Time for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, and Yago is using Ryuden as a sock-puppet:

“See, Ryuden is happily waving at you, dear fans”

Terutsuyoshi and Shohozan are practicing their nirami-ai. That is, the dreaded stare-down. And those two are really good at it. You’d think they are actually angry at each other:

Following the dohyo-iri, but before the regular Makuuchi matches, a very special match took place – one that you’re probably never going to see in honbasho.

Yoshikaze vs. Tomokaze.

The two are holding a gift of snacks from the city. Tomokaze was born is Kawasaki, as I mentioned. The reason that you are not going to see this in honbasho is that they are from the same heya (and very unlikely to be in a yusho playoff together). In fact, Tomokaze served as Yoshikaze’s tsukebito, and out of respect, continued to do so even when he became sekitori, only quitting once he reached Makuuchi.

So these two are very tight, in a mentor-apprentice kind of way. And they also swore they will do this bout completely “gachinko” (“honest”).

Another angle:

Time for the regular bouts. I do not have much in the way of video, but here is Hokutofuji who adopted Nishikigi and Shohozan’s idea of becoming a spectator:

With the lighting in the venue being what it is, you’d think somebody would take an artistic photo of Terutsuyoshi’s salt throw… ah… here it is:

Ryuden seems to enjoy his match with Shohozan, the other starer, quite a lot:

Also, it appears that Abi’s watch has made it to 5 minutes to 6!

But as for his bout itself… he must be the world’s worst yotsu wrestler. Get that ass down, Abi-long-legs!

Well, that’s Tomokaze he is engaging there. So maybe he knows he shouldn’t beat the local boy. Tomokaze wins this one, and marks his victory to all as he goes back to the dressing room:

Here is some news footage from this event, showing mostly Takakeisho – including his daily Tochinoshin bluff match.

As the sekitori all go home, we stop and admire Tsurugisho’s purse:

And while Ichinojo’s bag is rather plain, his weapon of choice is…

…a very stressed water bottle?

See you tomorrow, big boulder! And in our pin-up corner today, we have:

Chiyomaru! Because all body types are welcome!

❉ Except Akiseyama’s

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 4

🌐 Location: Kakogawa, Hyogo prefecture

The Jungyo takes us to the first of two locations in Hyogo prefecture. And Hyogo prefecture means Takakeisho is king.

Takakeisho interacting with the media

Of course, Takakeisho is not the only Hyogo man in the Jungyo. Myogiryu is also addressed by the media. Terutsuyoshi is also among the prefecture’s points of pride, but perhaps because of his make-koshi in the Haru basho, he seems to be less sought after. He gets a bit of attention in the opening part of the event – the handshake duty.

Terutsuyoshi and Enho, together again

As 4500 spectators slowly pour into the venue, sekitori start to practice here and there. Though it seems they are mostly busy chatting, like this pair of veterans:

“I remember, when I was your age, Ozeki-boy…”

or this Georgian conference:

By the way, Tochinoshin’s backside is still in ugly condition. For obvious reasons, I am not sharing the image that floated in my search results. It’s better than Ikioi’s legs, but still…

As Hakuho arrives at the Dohyo, the sekitori all form a line to greet him. Well, greet him through his chat with Yoshikaze. Enho wants to give his boss a respectful ladle of water, but has to wait:

…and wait…

Until he finally gets the Yokozuna’s attention.

All three people in this frame are still not doing any bouts (or any on-dohyo training, as far as I could gather). Hakuho concentrates on lower-body training and stretching. He is going to be the world’s most flexible Yokozuna come Natsu.

Some practice did take place, though. Here is Tochiozan instructing a low-ranker on how to keep his ass good and low:

Tochinoshin eventually stopped chewing the fat with Gagamaru and gave some butsukari to Wakamotoharu, Daiseido and Shimanoumi:

Wakamotoharu also got the butsukari from Kakuryu – quite an honor when one is not even a local boy.

Chiyomaru had some practice with Daiseido, then Gagamaru:

Time for lunch, and then Juryo dohyo-iri. But wait… who is going to do all the nipple tweaking, if Tamawashi is all the way up in Makuuchi, and not part of this dohyo-iri?

Arawashi looks way too happy about this

Why, it’s Sokokurai, who takes this serious duty upon himself. Somebody has to!

I don’t have any Juryo bouts to show. But here is a nice photo of little brother Tobizaru handing the chikara-mizu to big brother Hidenoumi.

Alas, this means Aminishiki lost his bout with Tobizaru this day.

Near the end of the Juryo bouts, the rope-tying demonstration takes place. On rope duty: Hakuho.

And you can see his man Kasugaryu tying up the knot wearing his own oicho-mage (for the yumi-tori shiki that will come later in the day).

So it’s time for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri soon. And of course, everybody in the venue wants a piece of Takakeisho. So Daieisho decides to do a remake of “The Bodyguard”.

And I….. will always love you… 🎵🎶

What, isn’t Takakeisho the spitting image of Whitney Houston? Japanese Twitter is calling these two “A couple”.

Here is Kakuryu’s dohyo-iri for you:

For some reason, what drew my attention in this dohyo-iri is the gyoji, Kimura Konosuke’s outfit. Specifically, the pattern on it, spelling out “Kitanofuji” – though the former Yokozuna has been out of the sumo world for many years now.

Time for the bouts, and as usual, Abi’s clock says “10 minutes to six”:

Even the diagonal column behind him gasps in awe.

I only have one bout for you: Tochinoshin vs., you guessed it, Takakeisho:

I love the fact that there are kids there who are shouting “Tochinoshin!”.

Interesting approach by Takakeisho, though. Trying for a Tottari, then finally winning by yori-kiri.

So it’s time for our pin-up corner, and today we have the fine-looking Wakatakakage.

Honorable mention goes to Abi:

Nice portrait!

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

Hatsu Day 11 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Day 11 brings a full spread of our lower division “Ones to Watch” with 7 matches across Sandanme and Makushita, with many of today’s matches deciding make / kachi koshi. We are likely not going to see Ura again at Hatsu, following re-injury to his right knee. Wakamotoharu is looking likely to join his brother in Juryo for March, and Ichiyamamoto is on track to climb closer to the top of the Makushita “wall”.

Wakamotoharu vs Tochihiryu – Wakamotoharu is in the thick of the yusho race with a 5-0 record, and a likely promotion to Juryo in the balance. His opponent, Tochihiryu, is a former Juryo man himself, and is looking for a path back to the salaried ranks.

Akua vs Daiseido – The loser of this 2-3 bracket match will walk away with a make-koshi today. Akua’s hope to return to Juryo are likely on hold for now, but he still needs to overcome Daiseido to remain in the hunt for promotion after Osaka.

Ichiyamamoto vs Kairyu – A 4-1 bracket match, both rikishi already kachi-koshi, so this is all about fighting for rank in March. Kairyu is a former Makushita yusho winner, and a veteran of 52 basho at this rank. This will be a fierce match.

Hoshoryu vs Kizenryu – There are plenty of indications that Hoshoryu was rattled by the outcome of his match with Ura, that saw the fan favorite hauled away in a wheel chair after re-injuring his right knee. The winner of today’s match will lock in their kachi-koshi, so we hope that Hoshoryu can set aside his worries and gamberize.

Wakatakamoto vs Obamaumi – Another 3-2 bracket match with kachi-koshi on the line. The lowest ranked Onami brother faces off against Sakaigawa’s Obamaumi, who had to re-start his career after an injury.

Musashikuni vs Masutoo – A 2-3 bracket match, where the loser will be make-koshi for Hatsu. Musashikuni had a tough start, but has rallied and won his last 2 matches. If he can win out the rest of the tournament, he can still end Hatsu with a winning record.

Naya vs Amanoshima – Naya looked less than awesome day 10, and now he finds himself in the 2-3 bracket working to avoid make-koshi and a return to Sandanme. As the last man on the Makushita banzuke, he is most certainly on the bubble.

Shoji vs Tagonofuji – The second Musashigawa rikishi on our list today (Wakaichiro has the day off), Shoji is already kachi-koshi, and going for more promotion points today. His opponent is Tagonoura heya’s Tagonofuji, who has settled in to being a Sandanme mainstay.