Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 10 (Oct 12)

Yes, indeed, the Jungyo reports are lagging heavily behind schedule, but I did tell you that life may catch up to me. Mostly the fact that the European Basketball season began last week. It’s hard to keep up with two different favorite sports!

venue

🌐 Location: Yokkaichi, Mie
🚫 Scandal level: 0

Today’s is a short report – the small town in Mie prefecture did not produce many visuals. The famous representative of Mie prefecture is Chiyonokuni. But believe me or not, I could not find one fan photo of the man.

In the handshake line, the fans were treated to the two extremes of human aesthetics:

extremes-enho-akiseyama
Enho vs. Akiseyama

…OK. Now that I had my right eye surgically removed, let’s look at Asanoyama stretching:

asanoyama

Nope. That’s not 180º. They should at least have given us Chiyonokuni stretching – as he is really capable of those 180º (and probably has the second best shiko in Makuuchi).

Generally speaking, it seems that everybody was pretty tired this day. Take a look at Yoshikaze:

tired-yoshikaze
“I’m bored. When does the berserking start?”

Now let’s try Mitakeumi:

tired-mitakeumi
“Thanks goodness I have a fluffy tsukebito”

And Hokutofuji is just bummed:

hokutofuji-bummed
“When are we going back home?”

This photo was taken by Asanoyama, by the way, who started a new Twitter account.

Another green-room shot shows us Kisenosato, who also has a colorful towel:

kisenosato-as-budha

Note that the “Yokozuna zone” in the shitakubeya gets padded with foldable tatami (well, technically tatami should all be foldable, because that’s what the name means, but in reality they are pretty stiff boards rather than actual mats).

OK, let’s look at some practice on the dohyo. I’m sure most of you haven’t seen Takekaze for a while. Here he is vs. Meisei:

The old man still has it. Here is Mitakeumi vs. Aoiyama:

Mitakeumi gets that morozashi pretty quickly.

Here is our first glimpse of the man of the day, Chiyonokuni, taking on Sadanoumi:

With that brace on his knee, I think maybe Sadanoumi should have joined the growing number of absent rikishi. Sheesh.

Here’s Shodai, facing Tochiozan, who joined the Jungyo just the day before:

We tend to forget that Shodai is actually a good wrestler, because of his ridiculous Tachiai and his not being quite up to joi level. But he did not become sekitori just because of his beautiful eyes.

Onosho vs. Kagayaki.

Kagayaki doesn’t look too brilliant this jungyo, I have to say. I think he is in a period of transition between his former slap-happy sumo and something else, but not there yet.

Abi vs. Ichinojo:

Yeah, Abi is definitely adding some variation to his sumo. Smart of him not to engage in a belt battle with Ichinojo, though.

Finally, of course Kakuryu will be doing the honors of making the local hero suffer:

Speaking of Kakuryu, in the previous post I mentioned that Gokushindo is his tsukebito and about to “graduate” as he is becoming sekitori. His replacement is Shohoryu, who has already joined the Kakuryu team, so he is in this Jungyo:

shohoryu

As Kakuryu’s team seems to be a prep school for sekitori, we may be seeing this guy in Juryo soon. By the way, I checked, and to my disappointment, he does not wear his hula-skirt sagari during honbasho. 🙁

shohoryu-hula-skirt
(Photo from previous Jungyo)

So to compensate for the long wait, I’m giving you two helpings of Tobizaru today!

tobizaru-2
Tobizaru for dudes
tobizaru
Tobizaru for the ladies

(Did he get caught in that nipple game? 😱)

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 9 (Oct 11)

🌐 Location: Kasugai, Aichi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

yokozuna-face-each-other
Time to wake up, Kandayu!

The tour reaches Aichi. Many active rikishi hail from Aichi, but most of them are in Makushita and below and are not present in the Jungyo. But there is one sekitori who gets all the glory when the Jungyo hits Aichi-ken. I give you… Akiseyama!

akiseyama

Aren’t you glad that I couldn’t find any other pictures or videos of the star of the day?

With sekitori dropping like flies, this day brings some replenishment, as several sekitori catch a train to Nagoya and join the jungyo. We have Tochiozan:

tochiozan

accompanied by his heya-mate, Aoiyama:

aoiyama

And we had this guy:

Yeah, we now have a complete set of Ozeki. Nominally, we also have a complete set of Yokozuna, but we already know one of them is not in the best condition:

hakuho-stretching

Hakuho does not skip work, but he is in a bad way. You can see him limping:

But he was very diligent about his fansa:

Good bye, Yokozuna. This is the last we will see of him in this Jungyo.

Going back inside the venue, Tamawashi was having a conversation with Mitakeumi, who still seems to be fascinated with the Eagle’s nipples:

Eventually he tries to trip Tamawashi. And Tamawashi is all like “You want to trip a Mongolian wrestler? You’ll have to do better than that”.

Nishikigi was prowling the grounds, lurking, waiting for anything wearing a mawashi:

Chiyonokuni was his usual enthusiastic self, in a moshiai session with Ryuden.

But enthusiasm was not enough to win.

Since Nishikigi seemed bored, Kisenosato decided to have a sanban session with him:

Nishikigi quite comfortably manages the makikae there, and the Yokozuna does not take advantage of that to push him out of the ring. Odd. Also, he can’t defend against the makikae itself by locking his armpit.

OK, this looks more like Kisenosato.

Oops. Slippiotoshi. The yokozuna is not happy to win other than by his own power, and expresses his opinion to Nishikigi’s tush.

OK, now he’s a happy Yokozuna.

Yet another loss of balance from Nishikigi, who seems to have his ass in the stratosphere. Kisenosato gives it yet another hearty slap. At this point Nishikigi must be wishing hard he did not do so well in the previous basho, because he might actually get to meet Kisenosato and all the rest of the sanyaku in the next one.

Keiko is over. Everybody is going to get cleaned, but Kotoshogiku goes for something special:

kotoshogiku-in-onsen

It’s an onsen. In fact, this onsen:

I think that’s quite a nice way to get yourself cleaned up for the torikumi.

In the mean time we have the low ranking torikumi, and surprisingly, the only torikumi I have for the day is Arikawa’s. Arikawa, whom the fans call “Arikawa dai-sensei”, is Kisenosato’s tsukebito:

Not half-bad! Nice tawara dance.

It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And apparently, Enho changed his kesho-mawashi back to the one he received from his alma mater.

enho-changed-mawashi

My guess would be that this is in preparation for the jungyo event in Kanazawa, where that university is located (and where he comes from).

He is followed there by Wakatakakage. So where is Terutsuyoshi?

terutsuyoshi-gokushindo

Apparently, he has to touch someone, so why not Gokushindo?

Gokushindo, by the way, travels the Jungyo as one of Kakuryu’s team of tsukebito. But he is about to graduate from it, like Abi did, as he turned sekitori. The Yokozuna informed him that he will not be allowed back once he “graduated” – so stick to Juryo, pal! His replacement is Shohoryu (not Hoshoryu – Shohoryu, the guy with the hula sagari). So watch out for Shohoryu from now on.

Well, here is your Tobizaru of the day:

tobizaru

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 7 (Oct 9)

🌐 Location: Higashiizu, Shizuoka
🚫 Scandal level: 0

venue
Heavy-duty rural atmosphere

The Jungyo tours between small towns and villages. But this time they really hit a tiny rural place with a population of about 12,000, famous mostly for its onsen and fisheries.

And the rikishi seem to have started gathering just about the same time the fishermen get up for work:

good-morning
Guys, sleepwalking is detrimental to one’s health!

The day started with the usual handshake parade.

tamawashi-shodai-kaisei
Tamawashi is up to something, and Shodai knows it.

Terutsuyoshi seems to be cultivating a little goatee:

terutsuyoshi

Inside, while low-ranking wrestlers were taking the dohyo, some sekitori were exercising around the perimeter. Here is Enho:

enho-exercises
Sleepwalking, OK. But sleep-exercising?

If you want to have the Abi Shiko, you have to be able to do the Abi splits:

abi-splits
Distance between big toes: 2km. Shuttle busses leave every half hour.

Abi was back in the torikumi this day, as was Tsurugisho.

Moving forward, the sekitori started to practice on-dohyo:

Nishikigi vs. Shohozan in Moshiai. Awaiting the winner are Sadanoumi and Ryuden:

Asanoyama vs. Tochinoshin, with Shodai on the sideline:

Asanoyama beats Tochinoshin? That’s not something you see every day.

There was also a practice bout between Ichinojo and Kaisei. The dohyo remained stable – which is remarkable for something made of polystyrene.

Here is the full Shokkiri of the day (by the Kasugano pair), taken by a very lucky fella who got a ticket in the front row:

This was followed by the Juryo dohyo-iri and Juryo bouts, and before the last three of those, Kisenosato demonstrated rope tying:

kisenosato-rope-tying

Note that stick thing stuck in the front tsukebito’s mawashi? No, it’s not a wand. This is used to adjust the “shide” – those zig-zag pieces of folded paper hanging from the Yokozuna’s rope. If any of them hangs too loosely or is bent, that stick has a flat head that helps push the straps of paper between the tight strands of the rope.

At this point of the Jungyo, all Yokozuna were still present and accounted for:

three-yokozuna

By the way, I read a post today where someone criticized Hakuho (or his team of tsukebito?) for having shide that were too short. “They used to reach all the way down to the fringe of the kesho-mawashi” he said. What do you think? I’m thinking they are about the same length as everybody else’s, only the dai-Yokozuna is rather taller than average.

I only got still photos from the Makuuchi bouts. So here is Ichinojo vs. Takakeisho:

ichinojo-take-1

What do you mean, you don’t recognize Ichinojo? He is very recognizable. His cheeks are his most prominent feature… OK… OK… Let’s try that again. Ichinojo vs. Takakeisho:

ichinojo-take-2

Ichinojo won that one.

I can give you a photo of Goeido-Kisenosato, but really, it’s from the same angle, so you may wish to skip that. Kisenosato won.

Let’s hope that the next destination sports more video-equipped phones.

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

 

Of Gold Stars and Straight Wins

Most of you may know that a wrestler who earns a gold star, “kinboshi”, awarded when a maegashira beats a Yokozuna in an official bout, earns money for it. But how exactly does that work? Are there other ways to earn extra money? How long does the bonus last?

Ura’s Kinboshi – can he treat his friends to a drink with it?

The money for a gold star – and other achievements, which we will get to shortly – is called Rikishi Hōshōkin or Mochi-kyūkin. It can be viewed as a savings account. When a rikishi first appears on the banzuke, he is awarded ¥3. Then, he earns a small sum for each achievement. The money accumulates. Every time he completes a basho as a sekitori, he receives that saved money as bonus – multiplied by a factor which changes from time to time. Currently the multiplier is 4000.

So the answer to the question in the photo caption is “no”. Although Ura does have his “mochi-kyukin” account, which includes his gold star, and continues to earn small sums, he will not receive the cash until he climbs up all the way from Sandanme back to Juryo and completes a basho there.

What earns the rikishi credits?

The achievements that can earn rikishi mochi-kyukin are:

  • Kachi-koshi. For each point difference in a kachi-koshi, the wrestler earns 50 sen, or half a yen. So, if you were 4-3 kachi-koshi in Makushita, like Hoshoryu, you earned half a yen. But if you were 6-1, like Toyonoshima, you earned 2.5 yen. There is no credit deduction for make-koshi.
  • Kinboshi – earns ¥10.
  • Makuuchi yusho. If you win the Emperor’s cup, you get ¥30, unless it’s a…
  • Makuuchi zensho-yusho. If you win all fifteen bouts in Makuuchi and win the yusho, you get ¥50.
Zensho yusho. That’s ¥50, multiplied by 4000.

So, take Enho for example. How much money would he have earned in his debut in Juryo? He had one of the fastest advancements – three 7-0 tournaments, followed by one 5-2 and one 4-3, though the Juryo tournament he completed was a make-koshi, which doesn’t count. This should have earned him ¥12.5 in addition to his initial ¥3. So, did he get ¥62,000 at the end of that basho?

The answer is… no. There is a minimum amount for each new level that you reach. If your credits did not exceed that minimum amount, the difference is added to the account. However, if you drop back below that level, you lose the added difference.

  • Juryo: ¥40
  • Makuuchi: ¥60
  • Ozeki: ¥100
  • Yokozuna: ¥150

So, in fact, Enho received ¥160,000 for his debut Juryo basho. However, dropping right back to Makushita, he dropped back to ¥15.5 in his account. Back in Makushita he had two additional 5-2 basho, which earned him another ¥3, but that’s still below the Juryo minimum. So again, the account was set to ¥40 on his return to Juryo. With a 9-6 kachi-koshi in Juryo, that’s another ¥1.5, so this time, he got ¥166,000 in cash.

Should be enough to put some drinks in that belly

Yes, while sekitori salaries are paid using bank transfers, mochi-kyukin is paid in cash.

Who is the richest of them all?

At this point you can probably guess who the record holder for mochi-kyukin is. Yes, it’s Hakuho. Let’s take a look at his earnings so far.

  • Below Juryo, his kachi-koshi balance adds up to ¥18. Add that to his initial ¥3, and the sum is below the ¥40. So He started Juryo with ¥40.
  • Spending only two basho in Juryo, he earned ¥6 for a total of ¥46. That’s below the minimum of ¥60 for Makuuchi, so he starts Makuuchi with ¥60.
  • As a maegashira, he earns one kinboshi (¥10), and the total for his kachi-koshi up to and including sekiwake is ¥32.5. This puts him at ¥102.5 upon his promotion to Ozeki. That’s actually above the minimum for Ozeki, so he stays with ¥102.5.
  • As Ozeki, he has ¥28 for his kachi-koshi. Two “simple” yusho give him ¥60, and his first zensho-yusho another ¥50. So upon promotion to Yokozuna, he has ¥240.5, which is, of course, above the ¥150 minimum for a Yokozuna.
  • It is at this point that the man starts earning the big money:
    • Kachi-koshi as a yokozuna – all at large differences, of course – adds up to ¥350.
    • 24 simple yusho, each for ¥30, for a total of ¥720.
    • 14 zensho-yusho, each for ¥50, for a total of ¥700.
    So the dai-yokozuna’s current sum is ¥2010.5, for a whopping ¥8,042,000, bimonthly (and still increasing). As usual, nobody even comes close – the next in line is Taiho, ¥1489.5, and the multiplier in his time was a lot lower.

Summary

Rikishi may earn money in various ways, including salary, kensho envelopes, mochi-kyukin, sponsorships and senshuraku parties. Most of these avenues are only open to sekitori, or even only to Makuuchi wrestlers.

The mochi-kyukin system is a merit-based bonus system. Earnings are made at all levels, but actual payments are only made to sekitori. The system is heavily biased to benefit dai-yokozuna, who earn yusho and large-difference kachi-koshi by the score.

The calculation of a wrestler’s mochi-kyukin is complex, as it requires a look over his entire history of kachi-koshi and promotions to check whether he passed the required minimums for each level, in addition to the plain calculation of gold stars, yusho and zensho-yusho. The rikishi continue to receive their bonus as long as they are sekitori. No deductions are made for make-koshi, kyujo or even suspensions. But if a wrestler loses sekitori status – he is left only with the credits and stops receiving money.