Here we are again, nearing the half-way line, many rikishi have completed their fourth match in the lower divisions, and some of them even collected their kachi-koshi or make-koshi already.Continue reading
Today was a bit of a hectic day at the Kokugikan, with a serious typhoon hitting Tokyo, and all public transport being in disarray. The matches usually start at 8:40AM, but the scheduled was changed, and they only started at 9:10AM. And still, as many as 15 of the lower-division wrestlers showed up late, and their bouts had to be rescheduled at a later time. Some Jonokuchi matches took place in between Sandanme bouts. Curiously, of the 15 late comers, 11 won and 4 lost, lending a new meaning to the phrase “late bloomers”.
My report will proceed as usual, from lower division to upper, regardless of the time of the actual match.
Remember Chiyotaiyo, the stick insect Kokonoe recruited back in Nagoya 2018? He looked promising when he started, then seemed to have had a bad turn, going only 1-6 in Natsu, and being fully kyujo in Nagoya. This dropped him back to Jonokuchi. He is back this basho, lean and mean. And I do mean lean. He is on the left with Yamamoto, from Asahiyama beya, on the right:
The kimarite here is uchigake. You can see why I like this little guy, I hope he can keep away from injury and put on a kilo or so.
Yesterday we saw how green Hakuho’s latest recruit, Senho, was. How about the second latest, gigantic Toma? He is up to Jonidan 29 by now. On the left, he faces Takakurayama from Onoe beya.
He seems to move better than last basho, but still, he has many kilos to drop. Can he drop them on Enho?
(Actually, Enho said he no longer aims to gain weight, and Hakuho says he won’t make him. ‘His size is his weapon’).
Next we follow up on Roman from Tatsunami beya, one of the guys who, apparently, did a runner from that heya, and had their hair cut, and were then somehow convinced to return. His hair still hasn’t even gained even the minimal length to be called “zanbara”.
Roman is on the left. His opponent is Mori from Tamanoi beya.
Roman didn’t escape from the heya due to weak performance on the dohyo, it seems. That guy has good potential.
Baraki from Shikihide beya, the “heyagashira” (leading rikishi in his heya), was over an hour late for his match. Shikihide beya, like Tatsunami beya, is located in Ibaraki prefecture. They need to take several trains to reach the Kokugikan.
Eventually little Baraki made it, and faced Kotokino from sadogatako, who attacks from the left:
Yeah, he is one of those 11 winners.
Today my selection includes mainly Mongolians. I’ll start with Kyokusoten, the under-achieving Mongolian from Nakagawa beya. It has to be said that he is at his highest rank ever at Ms19, and he is his heya’s head honcho (though Kasugaryu is probably more famous). And he is a nice guy. So here he is facing Tochimaru from Kasugano beya. The footage starts in the middle of the bout – Kyokusoten is on the right and facing us, and Tochimaru has his back to us.
Roga from Futagoyama beya is wearing chon-mage for the first time! here he is on the right, with Keitenkai on the left:
Keitenkai seems to have Roga’s number. Two matches, and the Onomatsu man won both. The previous one was also on day 1. Poor Roga. I hope he doesn’t get publicly shamed by his stablemaster again over this.
Next up, the slowly recovering former Ozeki, Terunofuji. He got some advice from Ajigawa oyakata – the former Aminishiki – about his sumo style. Ajigawa told him that if he catches the mawashi, he can trust to his sumo because he is strong there. But that he has to think about what to do if he can’t grab it, as his body is not going to move in the way he expects it to. Meaning, he can’t rely on improvisation.
So today we have Terunofuji on the left, vs. Higonojo from Kise beya on the right. Higonojo has some sekitori experience, but he only ever made it as far as Juryo.
Following the Tachiai it seems that Higonojo is gaining momentum, but the former Ozeki rallies, and sweeps him outside.
Up at the top we have the sharp Hoshoryu looking to bounce back up from the make-koshi that kept him away from Juryo last basho. His opponent is Akiseyama, who just dropped from Juryo. It’s a rather dangerous opponent. Hoshoryu is on the left, if any of you has a hard time telling him apart from Akiseyama.
Akiseyama goes for a standard tsuki-oshi tactic of thrusting a while and then trying a pull. Hoshoryu keeps on his feet and proves that he also has serious pulling capabilities.
The first bout features Arawashi, a guest from Makushita (shudder), vs. Asagyokusei, the newcomer to Juryo.
Arawashi looks much better in a proper oicho-mage than he looked yesterday in a lame chon-mage. He also looks better sumo-wise. He wins by sukuinage. Juryo bouts are an important factor in promotion decisions at the end of the basho.
Next we have Irodori, the returnee, facing Kaisho, the other shin-Juryo. Irodori is on the left:
Don’t you just love last-second reversals?
Yesterday we saw a rather genki Ikioi take to the dohyo. Today the same Ikioi is facing Kizakiumi from Kise beya (left), and starts up as genki as yesterday.
Alas, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Ikioi’s feet just can’t keep up with him, and certainly not with the pirouetting Kizakiumi.
Finally, we have an all-Mongolian match, between Mitoryu (left) and Kiribayama (right). Kiribayama usually enjoys showing us sparks of Harumafujiness.
But not this time. Mitoryu’s armpits are every bit as hellish as Nishikigi’s. He simply crucifies his lithe countryman, in the same way he did to Enho a few basho back, and in this case, the cross carries the crucified – right outside the ring.
The kimarite is kimedashi. And in the same way that one shouldn’t get involved in a land war in Asia, one should also avoid a morozashi on Mitoryu.
Yay, Aki basho is finally here! Here are some of the bouts that took place in the lower divisions on day 1.
We can’t start a basho or start the day without the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, Hattorizakura, here attacking, ahem, from the right, while his tiny opponent, Chiyotsurugi, attacks from the left:
Wow, he actually resists for a long while for Hattorizakura. Chiyotsurugi must be thinking “I was told it would be easier!”.
If you noticed in the background, a tall young man coming in and not exactly knowing what to do with himself and where to sit, that’s Senho, Hakuho’s latest recruit. And boy, is he green. He didn’t know when to mount the dohyo, and Kaio, er, Asakayama oyakata, had to explain it to him.
His bout is up next. Here we see him on the left side, and his tiny opponent, Urutora from Shikihide beya, is not exactly the cream of Jonokuchi. But…
Urutora wins by ashitori. The first “Ho” of the day suffers the same fate as the last “Ho” of the day.
Hakkaku’s prince charming, Kitanowaka (left), faces Shimomura, from Sakaigawa beya.
Round and round and round he goes, where he lands, nobody knows. Uwatenage, Kitanowaka (“The youngster of the North”) wins.
We have several bouts from Sandanme. First and foremost, Wakaichiro, here on the left, facing Fujitaisei from Fujishima beya:
Wakaichiro barely stops to blink.
Next we have some former sekitori who are looking for their way back up. First, Homarefuji, who was one of the proud lineup at Isegahama back in the day, starting from the left, facing Kasugakuni from Nakagawa beya.
Kasugakuni is out of his league against the veteran.
Then we have Amakaze, from Oguruma beya. For once, he is facing a rival bigger than he is, Dewanojo, whom we met during Jungyo as Mitakeumi’s tsukebito. He is about the same weight as Ichinojo. Amakaze on the left, Dewanojo on the right.
He may be Ichinojo-sized, but he is not Ichinojo-skilled. Amakaze deals with the giant without problem.
We start relatively low, with a face we haven’t seen on the dohyo in a long time: Chiyonokuni! On the left we have Ayanoumi from Yamahibiki beya.
Chiyonokuni’s mobility may not be Makuuchi-level, but it certainly suffices for Ayanoumi, who gets hatakikomied.
Shiraishi from Tamanoi beya, a strong man whom I didn’t quite like last basho, because he was doing too many henkas and really had an annoying match with Terunofuji, faces Okinofuji from Hakkaku beya (right):
This is more what I expect from an up-and-comer. That was proper windmill tsuppari.
Further up the Makushita chart, blue-blooded Naya, on the left, faces experienced Toyohibiki:
…and once again fails to deliver on all the hype that has been heaped upon him. Toyohibiki wins by tsukiotoshi.
Midorifuji (left) and Kototebakari (right) are right at the doorstep to heaven.
Kototebakari is a man on a mission. Isegahama’s deputy pixie can’t really do much here.
Finally, the last bout of Makushita, and who is this in a black cotton mawashi and a modest chon-mage? Oh dear, it’s Arawashi. How many of you failed to notice that Arawashi fell out of the salaried ranks? Here on the right, he faces Akua/Aqua from Tatsunami beya.
Whoa. This bout had a monoii, but it went gunbai-dori. That is, the decision was held, and it’s Akua’s win.
Makushita rikishi Wakamotoharu had a bout in Juryo today, and got to wear an oicho-mage again briefly. He is on the left, with fresh Juryo promotee Kaisho on the right:
Wakamotoharu is determined not to miss out on the opportunity to return to Juryo his rank gives him. He wins by yoritaoshi.
In a bout between two single-kanji, four-syllabled rikishi, Irodori, who is on his second stint in Juryo, on the left, faces Ikioi, who is trying to stay in Juryo:
This is the genkiest I have seen Ikioi in a while. He wins by tsukidashi.
We’re back on track! Today, although there were few “big names” on the torikumi list, there were many important matches. All the yusho deciders in Makushita or below were played today, resulting either in yusho winners, or in playoffs to take place on Senshuraku. We’ll go through these bouts, as well as some of our usual ones of interest.Continue reading