Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 24

🌐 Location: Odawara, Kanagawa

nobori

The Jungyo is nearing its end, but this doesn’t mean that all troubles are over. Hakuho started the day in Kanagawa, but didn’t finish it there. His left ankle – an injury that accompanied his knee injury – started aching again, and he left the event for Tokyo, to have fluid drawn from it, and hopefully be able to return to action.

Even if he does return for the two remaining days, this is a worrying situation for him. Two days ago, he cranked up his training regime a little, adding some on-dohyo workout and a bout. And immediately, that ankle started acting up. The basho is approaching fast, and he needs to get himself in shape or be kyujo yet again.

He did notify the jungyo masters in time, so his name did not appear in today’s torikumi list.

So let’s go on with the event. First, a reminder that the Jungyo consists not only of rikishi, but also of many others – yobidashi, gyoji, tokoyama, shimpan, . So here is gyoji Kimura Kindayu:

Much fan attention was given to this foursome:

four-muscle-men

The calisthenics trio from a couple of days ago recruited a fourth member – Chiyonoumi. Here trying to strike a pose. The newcomer is still getting to know the ropes, but the others know the drill. Hokutofuji shows off his ginormous traps. And biceps. And pecs. Whoa. Enho also has nice shoulders but is a little more bashful about striking poses. And Tobizaru doesn’t miss an opportunity to show off.

And I do mean – doesn’t miss an opportunity:

The four continued their synchronized exercises with a form of fast shiko which I’m sure got all the demons and evil spirits in Kanagawa soil to pack up and seek asylum in some other prefecture:

I’m amused by the lonely tsukebito just ignoring them and doing his slow, standard shiko at his own pace.

The four also exercised in turns with a rubber band:

Hokutofuji supported by his tsukebito:

Tobizaru supported by Hokutofuji. I shuddered to think what would have happened if this was not Hokutofuji but Hakuho:

Which may explain why Enho looked so apprehensive when he tried it:

apprehensive-enho

Though I must say that he then trusted Tobizaru with the straps, which is something I wouldn’t do:

enho-trusting-tobizaru

Then again, if I were standing next to a stall selling Tendon, I wouldn’t be pulling any rubber band at all (unless they were preventing me from approaching the stall).

This troop was not the only combo exercising at the edges of the arena. Here are Takakeisho and Daieisho. Takakeisho seems to be in high spirits. Perhaps because he doesn’t have his stablemaster getting intimate with his mawashi knot anymore.

Things get serious (well, as serious as things can get when accompanied by a high school band playing “YMCA”) once Takakeisho slips Daieisho a slap to the face. Takakeisho also thinks it’s a good idea to smash his opponent against the door. Daieisho, however, seems to be enjoying himself immensely.

On the dohyo, Onosho is consulting with Aminishiki about something:

Takanosho got a really lengthy butsukari session from Goeido today. Not sure how he earned all that love:

It didn’t end there. At some point Goeido takes a break and gets a sip of water, and Akiseyama and Yago hurriedly wipe and tidy the exhausted Takanosho:

Kakuryu practiced with Shodai. Shodai looks pretty frustrated:

Here is a bit of today’s shokkiri. I’ve shown you a lot of shokkiri already, but I find it amusing when the gyoji gets deeply into “character”. Here you see the standard lead up to the “fists are forbidden”, and Kimura Satoshi starts to fan himself with his gunbai and turns his back to the pair as the fight breaks. They then start yelling at him to do his job already.

Let’s move on to some torikumi. Starting with the lower ranks:

Jonidan – Arikawa vs. Adachi. These two are amazingly tenacious for a Jungyo bout:

Here is Shinohara vs. Chiyootori at Makushita. Shinohara tries a hassotobi (a flying leap). Chiyootori makes him take a flying leap alright:

Two can play this game…

And this was not the last hassotobi of the day. You know who does it again… and again… and again… And by coincidence, it’s attempted against the other one of the Kinoshita brothers. This bout between Ishiura and Chiyomaru really needs the Yaketi Sax accompaniment. If it didn’t involve two sekitori in their shimekomi I’d have sworn this was shokkiri:

But it isn’t. Chiyomaru sees he is becoming the butt of a joke, so he uses his very formidable pair of glutei maximi. The joke is now on Ishiura. The kimarite, by the way, is ushiromotare – “Lean backwards”. It’s a fairly recent kimarite, which was introduced into the top division by Takamisakari (“Robocop”), though I don’t think he did it quite as comically.

I don’t have the video, but I’m informed that Aoiyama has beaten Ryuden by a very decisive tsuridashi. He’s immitating his heya mate?

Here is Shodai vs. Kaisei:

Now, when they pair Tamawashi with Shohozan, you know you’re not going to get any comedy. What you get is a saloon brawl, including defiant stares and whatnot:

Ooh, there’s some fight club action going on there. And it ends in a monoii. It’s not clear who got out first, and the shimpan do not have the benefit of a video room in the Jungyo. So it’s a torinaoshi:

Ooh, the brawl continues! By this time, the Yokozuna and Ozeki arrive for the kore-yori-sanyaku, and you can see they, too, are being well entertained by this bout:

amused-tochinoshin

Apropos Tochinoshin, he got into the news coverage of this event.

You can see him doing fansa for the children on summer vacation who came to the event (instead of doing their homework). He says that his toe is improving, but still hurts, and adds that he is full of spirits for the coming basho. He later adds that because of his kadoban his first aim is a kachi-koshi, of course, but then he aims at reaching double figures again.

In this same video you can also see his bout with Goeido. Yet another tsuridashi.

Finally, here is your musubi-no-ichiban, and Kakuryu seems to have shifted his gear into Yokozuna drive:

OK, just in case you didn’t get your fill of Enho with those earlier exercises:

enho

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 15

🌐 Location: Sendai, Miyagi

arena-inside

Today’s event… well, honestly, it’s not today’s event. It took place on the 12th. But anyway, day 15th event took place at Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. Sendai has been one of the places hit most severely in the 2011 Tohoku disaster, and sever years later, it’s still seeking revival. Accordingly, two Yokozuna with their entourages reported in to perform a ceremonial dohyo-iri for the revival of Sendai:

If you’re wondering about the absence of Hakuho, just remember that in 2011 he did the rounds as lone Yokozuna to perform dohyo-iri all over Tohoku, including Sendai. The other Yokozuna get to be in the spotlight this time.

The event also included some solemn sumo jinku:

jinku-for-restoration-of-sendai
Tochigidake, Mutsukaze, Motokiyama

Back in the venue, Hakuho continued his off-dohyo workout routine. Though who knows what he was exercising here:

hakuho

If you think that looks silly, that’s one Hakuho record easily broken by Kakuryu, who seems to be really creative when it comes to looking silly:

kakuryu-silly-exercise

Other than that, most practice was sane. Takakeisho was doing butsukari with Daieisho:

takakeisho-butsukari-daieisho

And Takayasu was doing san-ban with Yutakayama:

takayasu-sanban-yutakayama

Goeido also had gave butsukari, but was still off the torikumi. Apparently, he has an ear infection. Takekaze, by the way, is back in the bouts.

Just before the Juryo torikumi, a drum exhibition took place:

Here is another duty performed by gyoji: the announcer in the venue is always a gyoji. In this case, Kimura Ryosuke:

ryosuke-chiyootori

Here accompanied by Chiyootori, who seems never to let go of that portable mini-fan.

It’s the announcer’s duty to explain what is going on on the dohyo – who is coming up for sanban or butsukari, what performance is about to take place and what it means. He gives the audience the kimarite at the end of each bout, reads out the names of kensho sponsors, and also gives general guidelines such as what to do in case of earthquake.

Dohyo-iri time is goof time. Chiyomaru decided to make sure all the photos taken by the sumo ladies were decent:

chiyomaru-self-censored
I wonder how he got those removed (cringe)

Tamawashi and Chiyomaru bullied poor Shodai so badly he ran away:

Tamawashi didn’t settle just with that. He also pestered Ikioi:

tamawashi-annoys-ikioi

…and bothered Kagayaki:

tamawashi-annoys-kagayaki

I guess somebody forgot his Ritalin today?

Alas, I do not have any torikumi videos. I can inform you that Aminishiki, who is very popular in Sendai, won his bout vs. Takanoiwa:

aminishiki
That’s a pretty determined face for a mere Jungyo bout

Apparently, Chiyomaru lost to Arawashi, while Mitakeumi beat Takayasu. And honestly, I don’t know who won, but Endo seems to be really enjoying his bouts:

endo-enjoys-himself-too-much

Now, in our Enho corner, I wanted to give you yet another solo dreamy prince photo. Or maybe one of him doing his shiko. But I have been informed that there are still a few people not trained enough to recognize Yago on the spot. So I give you Enho – accompanied by Yago:

enho-with-yago

Easily recognizable by having his center of gravity in his jaw.

And so as not to diminish Enho, here is a little clip from Instagram, which shows you why people love the little prince to bits. He recognizes the lady fan who is filming this from a previous occasion, and turns to greet her. She: “Hey, you remember me?”, He: “Yes, I remember”. She “Oh… thank you!!!” 😍

That guy waiting for Enho there is Kyokusoten, who has also fallen under the spell of the little pixie prince. Just today I saw a tweet in which he refers to him as “Uchi no Enho” (“My Enho”). 💕

 

Hatsu Day 1 – New hairdos, old problems

Troubles at the top

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the rather embarrassing error made by the substitute gyoji, Shikimori Kandayu, who pointed his Gunbai to Kisenosato’s side in his bout vs. Takakeisho.

kandayu-monoii
That feeling when you just made a boo-boo in front of 127,000,000 people.

A gyoji-gunbai-sashi-chigae – 行司軍配差し違え – is when the gyoji points to one wrestler, a monoii is called, and the shimpan reverse the gyoji’s decision. These things happen. Only, they are not supposed to happen at the top levels. The suspended tate-gyoji, Shikimori Inosuke, was suspended once before, and his promotion to Shonosuke never materialized, exactly because of a series of sashi-chigae. A tate-gyoji is not supposed to have those. That’s what the short sword is for.

Now Kandayu, based on seniority, is supposed to be promoted to tate-gyoji once the Inosuke position is officially vacant. His judgement in this basho and the ones that follow is supposed to prove that he is worthy of that promotion. So then, the first bout he referees, what does he do?

Yes, a gyoji-gunbai-sashi-chigae.

To say nothing of the poor Kisenosato who for a moment thought he managed to somehow snatch this win. The Yokozuna was very unhappy at the end of that event.

By the way, I think what’s killed Kisenosato in this bout was not his missing left pec or any of his injuries. He is mobile, and Takakeisho didn’t really force him to use his left side. I think what kills him is his lack of confidence. If he can’t dominate from the beginning he loses his nerve.

Hakuho faired only slightly better. I agree with Kintamayama and Sankei Shinbun as well as our reader Coreyyanofski’s comment on Bruce’s post: Hakuho was one step away from starting Hatsu with a black star.

Hakuho committed himself to adhering to the criticism the YDC made at him in their last meeting. No harite, no kachiage to the face area. Only, he committed himself a little too late, with too little time to find and refine a winning tachiai. He himself said, after his final pre-basho keiko: “I’ll have to see what the results will be”. If he wants his kachiage to hit a man’s chest or shoulder, he needs to have a very low tachiai, especially with rivals who are 20cm shorter than he is. It’s not his style of tachiai.

Onosho had Hakuho at the tawara in the blink of an eye. Hakuho becomes very quick when he smells straw, and he managed to move and pull Onosho, and then to get himself out of the way before being taken down together with the loser. Happy – he wasn’t.

Miyagino oyakata also divulges that in his morning practice, Hakuho aggravated his old problematic toe. It got swollen and had to be iced. This may be a cause for concern as the basho continues.

Good Hair Day

But I said I’ll talk about hairdos! OK, so ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new version of Torakio, straight up with a new miniature chon-mage. I must say it looks much better on him than his original zanbara:

The rival is Terunohana from Isegahama beya. Torakio starts to look like a rikishi.

Here is Terutsuyoshi for you. In the previous tournament he wore an oicho-mage. Alas, he dropped to Makushita, and now wears a chon-mage. But he is still Terutsuyoshi:

(C/O SumoSoul)

The rival is Asabenkei, Makushita #2, who also looks to return to Juryo. Enjoyed Terutsuyoshi’s dogged tenacity? Well, here is someone we all know and love, who still wears a zanbara. I think his hair looks long enough but perhaps he doesn’t want to have to endure a dekopin from Hakuho just yet.

Edit: better video from One And Only:

I declare Enho to be the new Ura. Jokoryu is no pushover, and he beat Enho in their previous match.

What else in the hairdo department? Yes! Finally, the two mountain boys get to wear oicho-mage:

oicho-mage
Left: Asanoyama, Right: Yutakayama. Big boys!

Asanoyama got to celebrate his oicho with a win. Yutakayama, on the other hand, suffered under the surprisingly active hands of Ishiura today.

Edit: Can’t finish the hairdo section without honorable mention of Wakaichiro, who also got his first chon-mage (though he did not participate in day 1):

Isegahama woes continue

The NHK highlight editors were very merciful. They did not include Terunofuji nor Aminishiki. But we had to face the harsh truth in Kintamayama’s summary.

Hmmm… Look at Terunohana and Terutsuyoshi’s videos above. Could it be that Isegahama oyakata stands with a baseball bat and crashes the knees of every rikishi who dares to join his heya? Seriously, it seems like nobody in that heya has a whole pair of knees to his name.

But Terunofuji’s problems go deeper than just his knees. He is still on a rampage of self-destruction. He put on so much weight that he can hardly move. His upper body muscles sag and he finds it hard to even hug his opponent as he used to. Twitter gossip says he has a fiancee. If so, she may find herself the sole breadwinner of their common household, should a wedding occur. For a man who answered the question “What do you like best in the world?” with “Money!”, he sure seems to be wrecking his main means for earning it.

But Terunofuji is not the only trouble at Isegahama. In fact, of 17 rikishi who participated in today’s bout, from Jonokuchi to Makuuchi, 9 came back empty-handed, including every single sekitori from Takarafuji through Homarefuji (who lost to Amakaze). We can only hope that Aminishiki’s slippiotoshi was accidental and that he will show us some of his good old Uncle Sumo stuff starting tomorrow.

But to finish on a high note, let’s mention that Shunba won his bout today vs. Fujisato by Okuridashi. If I find a video I’ll share.

Another lighter piece of news is that Satonofuji is still doing the yumitori shiki! I suppose that the Kyokai is waiting to see how many Yokozuna heyas it has left before it can appoint a new bow twirler. So for the time being, we can still glimpse Satonofuji’s serious face beside the dohyo while the winner of the musubi-no-ichiban accepts his kensho-kin.

Satonofuji
Satonofuji. Oh, and Hakuho.

Other quick notes

Ryuden wins his first Makuuchi bout. If you watched the NHK preview, you may have seen Raja Pradhan explain Uwatenage. Ryuden looked like a demonstration of “how this is done in real life”.

Abi has an amazing body. His legs are longer than Betty Grable’s. I think he is wasting that body on mere oshi-zumo. And I don’t think he is going to be Ozeki just yet. Young Peter Pan, you should use those legs to stabilize yourself. Take a look at some Bokh videos!

Chiyoshoma very impressive. I just hope he can grow a personality.

Mitakeumi beating Kotoshogiku by gaburi-yori. That’s not something you see every day. Also, the shimpan halting the fight and the gyoji having to tap the shoulders of both rikishi to signal that the bout is over.

I enjoyed seeing Ichinojo being active rather than lethargic. But he still gives in too early at the tawara. Even Terunofuji held up longer.

Kakuryu beat Hokutofuji at his own game. It’s usually the man from Hakkaku beya who neutralizes his rival with tsuppari and nodowa. But that was a mighty clash of skulls there, ending with Kakuryu bleeding.

Can’t wait for day 2!

Kisenosato Momentarily Engaged

kise-shimpan

Gyoji’s Gumbai Mishap Leads To Embarrassing Monoii

Kisenosto has had a fairly boring slate of opponents to open the Hatsu basho. Each day he looks lost in thoughts up to the tachiai, where he quickly dispatches the lesser rikishi, and goes back to his deep ruminations.

It was hoped that the muscular and rowdy Shohozan would liven up his day, but for the most part it was more of the same. But then gyoji Kimura Tamajiro pointed his gumbai west at the end of the match, incorrectly indicating that Shohozan had won.

The Shimpan quickly mounted the dobro, much to the embarrassment of the referee, and the decision was corrected.

On day 5 its Kisenosato’s turn with Mitakeumi, which should be a more engaging match.