After going as far south as Osaka yesterday, the tour heads back slightly north to Kusatsu, near Kyoto, on a trail that will eventually lead it to the true Japanese north. But in the meantime, it’s hot.
Hello readers. This Jungyo I am going to adopt a different format for my Jungyo reports.
The truth is, posting a full Jungyo report every day is beyond my capabilities at the moment. Curating the various photos and tweets takes hours. So I will only be able to do the full ones on weekends (by which I mean Friday and Saturday, possibly Thursday as well). I’ll try to bring some news every day as and if they surface, but it will be in short format.
Today was the first day. The event took place at Gifu city, Gifu prefecture. The tour left Nagoya yesterday, and arrived at Gifu today.
The rikishi were briefed by the Jungyo master, Kasugano, who warned them to be careful what they do in their time off – because they might get caught on some fan’s camera in a compromising situation. As usual, it’s “make sure you’re not caught”, rather than “make sure you don’t do idiotic stuff”.
Bruce has already mentioned the absences from the Jungyo, but here is the full list again: Goeido, Tochinoshin, Takayasu, Takakeisho, Yoshikaze, Kaisei, Takagenji and Mitoryu.
Ikioi, despite his troubles, is not absent. The Hakkaku and Isenoumi sekitori, with the full staff of their heyas, actually had a short training camp at Okinoshima in Shimane prefecture, Okinoumi’s home town. Okinoumi, Hokutofuji, Nishikigi and Ikioi, together with their designated tsukebito had an early departure back to Nagoya to join the Jungyo.
Another one who is injured and yet present at the Jungyo is Enho – both his shoulder and his ankle are still far from great. He says he will give priority to healing them – but still, he showed up today, including having a (rather entertaining) bout with Toyonoshima. I’ll have that in my weekend collection for sure.
Kakuryu spent a few days in Mongolia following his yusho. He has been away from home for two years – in part because foreign rikishi who are kyujo are not allowed to travel, and he had long periods of kyujo in those two years. He went there accompanied by his… okami san. Yes, that’s his heya-master’s wife. He came back two days ago, refreshed, and said he ate too much mutton and needed some light Japanese summer food.
Regarding all the absences, Hakuho announced he will be pulling everybody behind him. He said in general he wants to do more coaching this Jungyo. Which means, of course, lots of kawaigari. I will, of course, keep you posted if he actually does anything that’s actually educational, the way Harumafuji used to do. In the meantime, he already latched on to poor Kotonowaka, and gave him five minutes of kawaigari. By the way, if you are new here or don’t remember what kawaigari is, I refer you to a previous post where I described it at length. Look for the part starting with “Butsukari is a drill…”
Kotonowaka is the son of the former Kotonowaka, currently Sadogatake oyakata, and the grandson of Yokozuna Kotozakura, the former owner of the same heya. Hakuho picked him because “He has Yokozuna DNA”. Which should signal to Hoshoryu and Naya that they may want to consider postponing becoming sekitori, at least until Hakuho retires.
Kotonowaka was actually very thankful for the experience. The victims usually are. But he was using words like “It was like being in a different dimension” and so on, and “He just absorbed my body slams like a sponge” (he’s not the first one to notice this about Hakuho).
So untypically for Hakuho, he is on the dohyo from day 1 of the Jungyo (usually, at least in recent times, he has been starting the Jungyo on the sidelines, only starting on-dohyo activities after a couple of weeks). He is also on the torikumi list, though I’m sure neither he nor Kakuryu are going to take the “official” bouts too seriously.
Kakuryu, on the other hand, sticks to his usual plan. He has a very exact training regime and I expect he will stick to it through this Jungyo as he always does.
That’s it for today, and I hope to have some news for you tomorrow.
We start with a look at the Naruto beya guys down at Jonokuchi. I have three of them today for you, all at 3-0 at the start of the day.
We have seen Marusho yesterday,. Here he is again on the left, facing Shimakaze from Oguruma beya on the right.
Blink and you have missed it. 4-0. Kachi koshi.
We have also met Motobayashi. Here on the left, facing Tomiyutaka from Tokitsukaze beya on the right:
Moving forward like a road roller, Motobayashi is also 4-0 and kachi-koshi.
The third one is Sakurai, attacking from the right this time, vs. Garyu from Futagoyama beya:
I’m guessing the huge brace on the man’s leg at such an early stage in his career is something he brought from home (he is 22 years old), but it’s clear he also brought some sumo skills with him. Again, 4-0 and a kachi-koshi.
In fact, these three and one non-Naruto make up the leading pack of Jonokuchi, with Mishima, their heya mate, having his fourth bout in a few hours, hoping to join them there. Mishima is, in fact, going to wrestle with a 2-1 opponent, as the division ran out of potential 3-0. These guys can’t be matched against each other until the yusho playoffs, so if they keep winning, there is a distinct possibility of a big, fat, four-way playoff between members of the same heya at Jonokuchi. I bet that will draw some press to a normally forgotten division in senshuraku. I’m guessing the torikumi guys will start matching them against Jonidan wrestlers at some point to try to cull that down a bit.
Continuing our watch of Crew-Cut-Roman, here is the trimmed Tatsunami man on the right, facing Kiyota from Dewanoumi beya on the left. Both 3-0:
This time Roman’s skills fell a little short – see what I did there? – and Kiyota is the one stepping away with a kachi-koshi. Kiyota is 15 years old, it’s merely his second ranked tournament. He was a meh 4-3 in the previous tournament, but he actually looks like an interesting wrestler.
Another one we have been following through Jonidan is Kitanowaka, Prince Charming from Hakkaku beya. Here on the left, he faces Tokisakae on the right:
Tokisakae gets the kachi koshi. Kitanowaka suffers his first loss, and will not take the Jonidan yusho. Tokisakae had him in a morozashi he really didn’t know how to solve.
My only contribution from Sandanme today is Tachiai’s favorite Texan, other than Bruce, of course. Wakaichiro on the left is going against Narumi from Onomatsu beya on the right. Both 2-1 before this match.
Alas, though Wakaichiro was in control of most of the match, Narumi turns the tables on him at the end, and the boy from Texas is now 2-2.
Shiraishi, the henka man from Tamanoi beya, seems to have suffered some sort of shoulder injury since his last match. He is here on the left, facing Hatooka from Kise beya on the left. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because he won the Jonokuchi yusho last Kyushu, followed immediately with the Jonidan yusho this Hatsu.
Hatooka is kachi-koshi, and that injury seems to have been exacerbated in this bout. Ouch. Shiraishi will have to fight for his kachi-koshi through increasing pain.
Next up, Midorifuji, the Isegahama deputy pixie, who is tsukebito to the head pixie Terutsuyoshi. He attacks from the right, and Daishoryu from Oitekaze attacks from the left. This, too, is a 3-0 bout.
Midori does the push-me-pull-you dance, and gets his kachi-koshi. In fact, Terutsuyoshi has three tsukebito – Midorifuji, Hikarifuji and Isamufuji – and all of them won their bouts today, which is a rare event, as it turns out. He said that he felt pressure when he got up to his own match: “Imagine how it would feel if I were to be the only one in the car heading back home who had a loss today?”. He saved himself that humiliation with that, ahem, henka today, and there was much rejoicing in the “Team Terutsuyoshi” car.
Next up, we have two of our objects of attention facing each other today. On the left, we have Akua from Tatsunami beya. On the right, Kototebakari from Sadogatake.
Although Kototebakari opens aggressively, Akua twists around in a way that renders his attack ineffective, and then starts chasing him around. Akua is the one with the kachi-koshi and a leg in the yusho race, and Kototebakari is out.
I would be remiss if I didn’t bring you footage of this rare event: Ikioi winning his first match of the basho.
Yes, Ikioi is now 1-6, somehow scraping that win off of Kizakiumi, who may have been still celebrating his win against Hoshoryu of yesterday.
Finally, my new Juryo favorite, who keeps evoking memories of Harumafuji – Kiribayama, Michinoku beya’s Mongolian sekitori. Here on the right, he faces our friend Akiseyama:
This is a nice match, but Kiribayama is in fact 4-3. His hoshitori (win/loss standing, depicted as white and black stars respectively) looks like this:
There is a term for this kind of win-lose-win-lose hoshitori: “Nukenuke”.