Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 17

🌐 Location: Rikuzentakata, Iwate

venue
Dream Arena Takata – spiffy new building, shiny parking lot

The Jungyo headed East on August 15th (yes, I’m late again), and landed in the coastal town of Rikuzentakata, holding the event at the brand new Dream Arena Takata which was opened this spring.

There is good reason both the building and everything around it is brand new. Rikuzentakata was virtually wiped off the face of the Earth in the tsunami of 2011. It was one of the hardest hit towns, with death toll nearing 2000 people – around 10% of its population. This is the first time in 63 years a Jungyo event takes place at this small town, but Hakuho is actually returning to it 7 years and 5 months after his previous visit – doing Yokozuna-dohyo-iri to encourage the survivors after that devastating natural disaster. “I was the sole yokozuna then”, he recalls. “I did a dohyo-iri twice a day”.

The memory of the disaster was not the only reason for solemnity, though. August 15th is the day Japan announced its surrender in WWII, and it’s designated as a memorial day for those who lost their lives in war. The Jungyo officials held a moment of silence:

moment-of-silence

As such, there were fewer goofs and frolics documented today.

The Makushita-and-below rikishi had their practice first as usual. Tamawashi was there as the head torturer, er, generously offered chest owner:

low-rank-practice-with-tamawashi

Tochinoshin started with light practice:

So light that he did it without his brace.

Hakuho still confined himself to basic drills:

As usual, when he showed up and started to warm up, everybody stood in line to greet him. But what’s this, is Terutsuyoshi sneaking away without a bow?

No, he is not. Quite the opposite – he goes and gets the ladle to offer water to the Yokozuna.

Takayasu has taken a shine to Onosho, and Onosho is making good use of his quality time with the Ozeki:

Attaboy. But Takayasu is not going to stay a loser for long:

Ah… Onosho’s typical overcommitment. Takayasu seems amused – and makes sure the audience is as well.

We are still in Iwate prefecture, so Nishikigi is still very much the center of attention. As such, he is getting some more love from Kakuryu:

He is lucky it’s Kakuryu rather than Hakuho. Hakuho doesn’t settle for slaps on the tush. He likes to kick.

Goeido started doing serious san-ban and upping his pace heading for Aki. At Oshu, he had 9 bouts with Yutakayama and won all. Today he continued with the same rival:

Here are some bouts for you. First – rather rarely for this Jungyo – we have a video for non-sekitori action. Well, former sekitori – Chiyootori vs. Ohata:

Moving up, we have Enho vs. Churanoumi:

Aaaagh… too bad. But rather entertaining for the spectators.

Nishikigi, star of the day, vs. Yutakayama.

Yutakayama gets the upper had on the tachiai, but Nishikigi manages a makikae (change from overarm to underarm grip) and takes control of the bout.

As Kisenosato is back on the torikumi list, today we had the Ozeki facing each other (Tochinoshin not doing bouts as yet):

This one was all Goeido. Poor Mitakeumi who sits by the dohyo as kachi-nokori (winner staying around to give chikara-mizu if needed) is hit by an incoming bear, and it takes him a while to come around and get to the bucket.

Finally, the musubi-no-ichiban really looks like the battle of two Yokozuna.

Kakuryu’s foot seems to be much better.

Signing off with the not-too-happy Enho of the day:

enho
Totally photobombed by Emmet “Doc” Brown there

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 16

🌐 Location: Oshu, Iwate

oshu-preparing-dohyo
Preparing the dohyo at Oshu

Today, as the Jungyo hit the Iwate prefecture, two major comebacks have been accomplished.

First, the Ozeki ranks have been completed, with the return of Mr. Georgia, Tochinoshin:

tochinoshin

Tochinoshin said his injured toe still hurts somewhat. He noted that he lost about 10kg since he went kyujo, and wishes to put a few of those back on by banzuke day.

He didn’t get much practice other than basics at his heya, but made himself busy giving butsukari to low-rankers as well as Tobizaru and even Goeido. He did not participate in the torikumi as yet.

Goeido, by the way, was back in business. In addition to that butsukari with Tochinoshin, he was also on the torikumi. His ear is getting better, apparently.

The other comeback was the glacial sekiwake, Ichinojo:

ichinojo

He settled for off-dohyo workout, but was thrown into the torikumi anyway, as you’ll see in the video clips below. His injury was in the lower back – an existing injury that made a return as his weight jumped from 220 to 230 kg just before the Nagoya basho.

He did some physiotherapy back in his heya and it’s “mostly better” now, but he wants to get back down to 220kg. Nevertheless, he wants to have a Genghis Khan when the Jungyo hits Hokkaido, and he may not be able to resist the temptation.

A Genghis Khan, or Jengisukan in its Japanese rendition, is a Hokkaido specialty, the Japanese idea of what Mongolian food is supposed to be: Lamb grilled in metal helmets.

jingisukan

This thing is basically protein and veggies, much like Chanko, and is completely Japanese. I don’t think eating this will hurt Ichinojo much. He should just lay off the sweets and the white rice.

There are several rikishi in the sumo world who hail from Iwate. No less than three of them are members of Isenoumi beya:

sazanami-nishikigi-tokio
Nishikigi, with Sazanami and Tokio

Sazanami hails not just from the prefecture in general, but from the city of Oshu itself, so he got a lot of attention, given that he is merely a Sandanme rikishi. And by “attention” I mean he was tortured pampered by a sekitori:

ryuden-sazanami
Ryuden doing the honors

Kotorikisen of Sadogatake beya and Wagurayama from Musashigawa beya also got a share of the local boy limelight, but really, the star of the day was Nishikigi. This means he also got to wallow in dirt – but unlike his low-ranked ototo-deshi (rikishi from the same heya who joined later), he got to use the chest of a Yokozuna:

Kisenosato, like Goeido, got himself busy on the dohyo for the first time in about a week. He didn’t look too bad. Here is Kisenosato vs. Sadanoumi:

And some bouts vs. Mitakeumi:

All in all, he had 11 matches with these two: 9 wins, 2 losses.

Another comeback – at least to the torikumi – was Takekaze. He was hanging around the Jungyo, but didn’t get a chance to wear his shimekomi. Here he is waiting expectantly for his first performance in a while:

But let’s see some sumo action. Though I have to apologize in advance: some of these are low quality, others filmed from a mile away.

Star of the day Nishikigi, vs. Takakeisho:

 

Next came Ikioi vs. Kaisei:

Shodai vs. Daishomaru:

Kagayaki vs. Shohozan:

Unfortunately, no video of Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi. But next is Takayasu vs. Ichinojo:

And the musubi, Kakuryu vs. Goeido:

That’s it. Kasugaryu got his bow back from Hokutoo, by the way.

Wait, no Enho? Don’t the sumo ladies in Iwate like Enho?

Sigh. You’ll have to settle for Tobizaru, then:

tobizaru

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”). 💕

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 14

 

🌐 Location: Nanyo, Yamagata

nobori

The Jungyo continues to make its way north, and stopped this time at cloudy Nanyo.

Like the Nobori in the above picture, the rikishi were all over town – not just inside the venue. Onosho was appointed Chief of Police for the day:

onosho-chief-of-police
Break the law on my watch, I dare you!

Ikioi went to a local charitable facility to cheer the residents. No pics – modest guy, I guess.

August 11th is a public holiday called “Mountain day” – “Yama no hi”. And some rikishi were showing appreciation for mountains, or rather, for slopes:

playful-rikishi

This quickly turned into this:

roll-me-over-in-the-clover

Note that in Japanese, practice outdoors is called “mountain practice” (yama-geiko). But this looks suspiciously more like fun than like practice.

Inside the venue, two Yokozuna who missed the previous day’s keiko reported for duty today:

kisenosato-back
He can smile!

Kisenosato apparently hurt his heel a couple of days ago. Yesterday he was excused from all activities and didn’t show up in the venue at all. Today he was doing some basics around the dohyo, and his dohyo-iri. No torikumi. He says the heel is improving.

hakuho

Hakuho gave a more detailed report of his injury. Apparently no cartilage was found found out of place in his knee, only some soft tissue “lump” which he’ll be treating with medication. He has already begun, and will have to take it easy for a few days. He says it’s like “having a bomb”, which I guess means he wants to be very careful about returning to activity. In addition, he also received some treatment for his other knee, where he had an old injury.

He returned to his routine so far, which included light off-dohyo practice:

And also a rope-tying demonstration and dohyo-iri. Again, no torikumi. The only Yokozuna participating in the bouts was Kakuryu.

The star of the day was Hakuyozan, the Makushita yusho winner who is about to return to Juryo. He hails from Yamagata. This made him the chosen victim partner for Goeido for some butsukari:

hakuyozan-butsukari-goeido

Yes, Goeido seems to be back as well. I didn’t see any explanation of the nature of his absence.

Hakuyozan also became very sought after for fansa:

And the reason you see him wearing an oicho-mage in this video is because he had a Juryo torikumi as well, facing Homarefuji:

hakuyozan-homarefuji

Here is another moshi-ai photo for you. Takakeisho is going all out to be chosen:

moshiai
Look into my eyes… there’s only me… you cannot choose another…

Chiyomaru’s torikumi with Myogiryu. Apparently, Chiyomaru belly-bumps the veteran over the tawara. It’s called a yori-kiri, but only because the name hara-kiri is already taken:

chiyomaru-myogiryu

But fear not, I shall not leave you with just stills of bouts. Here is a video which includes:

  • Sanyaku soroi-bumi (synchronized shiko of the participants of the last three bouts)
  • Tamawashi vs. Shohozan. Whoa, where are they going?
  • Takayasu vs. Mitakeumi. Takayasu continues his quick tsuppari barrange. This seems to be very effective against Mitakeumi.
  • Kakuryu vs. Goeido.
  • Yumi-tori, which was performed again today by the young Hokutoo. So you have a chance to get a first impression of him.

By the way, those makeshift kensho flags are another one of the duties of gyoji in the Jungyo:

writing-signs-gyoji
Gyoji Kimura Satoshi

To wrap things up, here is Enho, this time with guest stars Terutsuyoshi and Chiyonoo:

enho-terutsuyoshi-chiyonoo

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 13

🌐 Location: Shirakawa, Fukushima

Today’s newsreel is going to be short, as little material floated my way from that location.

shirakawa

First, for those who worry when they hear the name “Fukushima”, let me assure you that Shirakawa is not really anywhere near the unfortunate nuclear disaster area. You can verify on the Japan Radiation Map. The latest reading from Shirakawa is 115nSv/h.

The star of the day – appearing for the first time in his home prefecture as a sekitori – was Wakatakakage. As such, he was trying to give a good show during morning practice, but when he was about to do some butsukari with yusho winner Mitakeumi, the oyakata around the dohyo stopped him. “What’s that on your forehead? Having issues adjusting to the Jungyo?” (It’s his first).

wakatakakage-cold-sore

As it turns out, a big fat cold sore found the worst timing to make an appearance on the young wrestler’s forehead. He was told to take it easy and rest a bit.

But he did participate in the torikumi and enthusiastically answered fan requests for photos and autographs.

There have been reports that Kisenosato was also absent from keiko this day – he was definitely not in the torikumi, and visitors reported not seeing him anywhere, though he was not officially reported as absent.

Absent stars did not disrupt the usual energetic flow of keiko:

moshi-ai

This is moshi-ai. Or rather, the part of it where somebody just won and every wrestler tries to be picked as the next opponent. You snooze – you lose.

After practice was done, Takayasu and Onosho found a spot suitable for more practice in a publc park:

See, doing sumo is very simple. Find a clear spot of hardened earth, mark a circle and two lines with a stick, and off you go. Of course, no tawara tricks are available.

In addition to Wakatakakage and Terunohana (Terutsuyoshi’s tsukebito), who also happens to be from Fukushima, there was a third Fukushima man who caught some limelight:

hokutoo-yumi
Hokutoo, the backup yumi-tori performer

Introducing the backup performer of the yumi-tori. This is Hokutoo, 25 years old, from Hakkaku beya. And he is no less than 196cm tall, which could make for a very impressive performance. That’s taller than Ikioi, believe it or not.

Being a local boy, he got to do the duty today rather than Kasugaryu.

This probably means that, alas, the chances of us ever seeing Satonofuji holding a bow again are getting extremely slim. I have a feeling that Harumafuji’s retirement ceremony may well be his last performance, and may be the reason he has not retired as yet.

At the end of the day, Hakuho re-joined the Jungyo, just in time to catch the bus as everybody was leaving for the next destination. Apparently, he will need neither arthroscopy nor surgery.

Signing off this short report, here is your Enho. With the Yokozuna back, Enho will stay with us for the rest of the Jungyo. Yay!

enho

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 11

🌐 Location: Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo

takayasu
Welcome back, big bear

The Jungyo made its way back to Tokyo on day 11, and in the middle of a typhoon, took place at the Aoyama university campus in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Tokyo is a convenient places for rikishi to join or leave the Jungyo. Joining today was Ozeki Takayasu – just in time for the next event, which takes place in his home prefecture of Ibaraki.

But though it would have been understandable if he took it easy in Tokyo which served as a convenient convergence point, he decided all of a sudden to go up the dohyo and have san-ban with Asanoyama and Onosho. The results were less than spectacular – at least as far as the Ozeki was concerned:

The Ozeki’s shoulder is still not quite right?

Ah, finally, a win:

So, although he managed 4 wins and 1 loss to Asanoyama, he was completely smashed by Onosho, 3 wins and 12 losses.

In between, Nishikigi-mama and his assistant, Takanosho, wiped what little dirt Takayasu managed to put on Onosho.

Ryuden: “you missed a spot!” 🙂

So that was the man joining. But there were also men leaving. First, the whole Arashio gang which went to Suwa lake with Sokokurai disappeared. I thought they were joining to be there in time for Fukushima – especially the two elder Onamis – but no, they just made an appearance on that particular day. Special sponsor request, I guess. Perhaps specifically an Arashio beya sponsor.

But that’s a minor disappearance. The major one was, of course, Hakuho, who announce that he will go kyujo as of the next day. He did make an appearance as usual, and worked out lightly below the dohyo:

hakuho

But he informed the press that his knee was bothering him more than he let on at first. A few days ago he said that his knee was “feeling odd” but “there was no pain”, but today he qualified that to “I’m taking strong painkillers, so there is no pain”. Ouch.

He will be re-examined, and while he expressed his hope that he’ll be able to re-join the Jungyo at some point, he said there was a possibility he’ll need surgery or at least an arthroscopy. This may well mean he’ll be absent from Aki.

The Yokozuna is going to stay at Tokyo, but not with his full entourage. Kasugaryu will be needed to perform the yumi-tori, as there is no backup currently at the Jungyo (Satonofuji stayed home this time). And what will be the fate of our  daily Enho photos?

Hakuho is not the only worry – two notable participants were off the torikumi this day: Takekaze and Goeido. I believe they did participate in the keiko session, but can’t find evidence of any on-dohyo activity of these two.

But the show must go on! Yokozuna Kakuryu is still around, and probably slept at home, so he didn’t have time to get a decent shave in the morning:

unshaven-kakuryu

But later in the day he became pretty to celebrate his birthday – although that’s actually on the 10th. That’s probably because it’s easier to get those cakes in Tokyo:

kakuryu-early-birthday
Soccer cake to celebrate his unofficial soccer analyst position in the recent World Cup?

Aoiyama lent his chest to a lower ranked rikishi (I would guess his tsukebito). Interestingly, his usual bracing is not used for this exercise:

aoiyama-butsukari

Ryuden was using his tsukebito for weight training. Version one:

 

And version two:

The ever rounder Chiyomaru was doing some fansa right before his bout. His brother-come-tsukebito was fanning himself:

chiyomaru-chiyootori

Onosho continued to goof around just before the dohyo-iri, and got a bit of shoulder massage:

So here are some bouts for you:

Kagayaki vs. Ikioi:

Shodai not only serves as padding for the fall but also politely folds Ikioi’s sagari.

With Goeido off the bouts, Takayasu faced yusho winner Mitakeumi. The bout is part of the following news report:

Sigh. Mitakeumi should watch the Hakuho-Tochinoshin bout from Natsu to learn how to deal with tsuri-yori. That leg wriggling – not helpful!

The musubi:

And here is your Enho. I think this photo ranks pretty high on the heart throb Richter scale:

enho

So let’s hope he didn’t leave the Jungyo together with Hakuho…

PS: more synchronized workout by Enho and Tobizaru:

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 10

🌐 Location: Tokorozawa, Saitama

The Jungyo took us today to rainy Saitama.

venue

There are many rikishi hailing from Saitama, with three current sekitori – Abi, Daieisho and Hokutofuji. In the nobori in the above picture you can see many Hokutofuji flags, one for the absent Abi, one for Daieisho (and one for the… NSK’s Jungyo department? OK…). Hokutofuji comes not just from Saitama, but specifically from Tokorozawa, which made him king of the day.

And as befits a king, he arrived an nothing less than a Corvette:

And his driver was wearing a matching outfit, no less. Remember that rikishi are not allowed to drive (remember Osunaarashi?).

Even before this, he had a pep rally sponsored by his personal support group:

hokutofuji-support-group

Note the guy in the audience who is wearing a shirt made of that same Hokutofuji yukata cloth.

On the dohyo, Kakuryu decided to give him no less that 8 minutes of butsukari:

hokutofuji-kawaigari

No footage of the deed itself, but you can see the results of it in this little clip:

Kudos for still being a nice guy and shaking that spectator’s hand.

Later he starred in the hair styling show:

hokutofuji-oicho

And had a bout with Endo. I mean, the torikumi guys seem to always assign the star of the day to Endo. Kill two birds with one stone, I guess. Which means that Endo has been losing a lot of bouts lately. This one Hokutofuji won by Yori-Kiri.

hokutofuji-endo-wardrobe-malfunction

OK, wait a second. This is like Groundhog Day. A wardrobe malfunction again? This is the third time I see one (and I haven’t seen all of Endo’s bouts). I think Konosuke is starting to get a little exasperated. Endo is growing too thick for his own shimekomi? Or his tsukebito is due for a lesson in knot tying from some seasoned sailor (I recommend Aminishiki).

In non-Hokutofuji news, Hidenoumi decided to go get some health boost. Rikishi seem to believe in all sorts of weird health claims and alternative treatments. And this visit was to a “cryo sauna”, or “Whole body cryotherapy”:

Those are degrees celsius. This footage was taken by Churanoumi, BTW.

In addition to the famous sekitori from Saitama, Baraki from Shikihide beya and his brother, Rao from Tatsunami beya, made an appearance in this Jungyo event. I think they just came in for the day, as Saitama is not far from Tokyo:

baraki-rao

Kisenosato continued to do san-ban with exactly the same results as yesterday – 12 wins, 2 losses, mostly against Daieisho, yet another local boy. Far from perfect yet, the papers say. When his rival gets a right hand inside, the Yokozuna is still helpless.

The goofy part of the day included Terutsuyoshi getting very intimate with Yago. You do remember who Yago is, right? 🙂

terutsuyoshi-yago

But the pixie’s aim was not to get his face caressed, but rather to lift Yago. And here are the results:

terutsuyoshi-lifting-yago
“Whoa, this is not actually happening!”

Mitakeumi decided to give Kaisei a pretty hairdo. Only… he wasn’t doing the hair on his head:

mitakeumi-brushes-kaisei
“Can you braid them for me?”

Fine, fine, you want to see some sumo. Here is today’s Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato:

That’s it for the day in Saitama. Here is your Enho du jour:

enho

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 9

This post was originally intended to be bundled together with the main Nagano event of day 8, as I wasn’t expecting a small town event in the same prefecture to produce much material. Turns out I was wrong. Lots of unique footage and amazing scenery. Enjoy!

🌐 Location: Shimosuwa, Nagano

picture-perfect-exercise

Shimosugawa lies right on the edge of Lake Suwa. This means that today’s event involved the most gorgeous picturesque scenes you can even imagine.

The view towards the mountains was not bad, either:

hidenoumi-shimanoumi-tsurugisho
Hidenoumi, Shimanoumi, Tsurugisho

Hokutofuji made Tobizaru look like a flabby couch potato:

hokutofuji-makes-tobizaru-look-flabby

And… I mean… Sunflower field? This place is like a pamphlet!

sunflowers

Wait a second, why is everybody outside? It’s a work day. Where is the venue?

Ah, this is the venue:

venue-at-shimosuwa

The sky could make René Magritte cry… But it’s a freaking tent. You know – a place without air conditioning. And the electric fans you see – they just help move hot hair from side to side.

Yes, electric fans and ice, again:

ice-again

Yes, indeed, that’s Tamawashi with Sokokurai. Sokokurai is apparently out of kyujo and back in the Jungyo, together with Gagamaru and Takekaze who joined at Niigata.

Sokokurai brought with him a full entourage of Makushita rikishi:

fukugoriki-kotokuzan-onami
Fukugoriki, Kotokuzan, Wakatakakage, Wakatakamoto, Wakamotoharu

Suddenly, four additional Arashio beya wrestlers materialized. About half of Arashio beya is at the Jungyo. I’m not really sure what this is all about. Well, I can understand why the Onami brothers (in addition to sekitori little brother Wakatakakage, big brother Wakatakamoto and middle brother Wakamotoharu) would be there – the Jungyo is going to pass through Fukushima soon, and they are the hot thing in their home prefecture. Fukugoriki also hails from Fukushima. But I’m not really sure what Kotokuzan is doing here.

The Onami brothers seem to be popular not just in Fukushima, though. For some reason, both of the elder ones were assigned Juryo bouts today – hence their oicho-mage, which their little brother, who is the one who should be wearing one by rights, still doesn’t have enough hair to have.

Shimosuwa is in Nagano prefecture. This means the Mitakeumi worship has still been going strong:

more-mitakeumi-worship

If you notice, he has been getting cupped again. Or again had a date with the M-113 creature. He had moshi-ai with aoiyama:

mitakeumi-cupped-again

And this time, Goeido decided to give him his full attention. Here is a a complete butsukari session for you – seven minutes of TLC.

I’m not really sure why the spectators are so enthusiastic about seeing their local hero wallowing in dirt, gasping for air, but that’s sumo for you. At least there were no kicks.

Note Nishikigi-Mama cleaning dirt from Mitakeumi’s hair. 🙂

Earlier in the day, Mitakeumi and Sokokurai went on a shrine visit at the Suwa Taisha shrine. Here is a bit of Japanese culture for you. They went to get a purification and offered a sakaki branch to the gods. And apparently, the gods also like autographs.

Aside from Mitakeumi, there was also sumo jinku:

I must say the heat is affecting the poor jinku performers’ voices. Or maybe it’s the acoustics.

A summary of the day’s events, including the Mitakeumi-Goeido and Kakuryu-Kisenosato bouts:

Speaking of Kisenosato, he switched gears in his dohyo practice today, and started having real bouts. He had bouts with Daieisho, Shodai and Sadanoumi, totalling 14, of which he won 12. The newspapers clearly say that Aki is going to be his “make or break” basho.

And an update to the Ikioi fans who have been following his fiancee the past few days: he was asked about her by the press. He said she has always been a very hard working athlete, and that she never thinks “Great, Done!”, but rather focuses on her next goal. He said that both being busy athletes, they have very little time to meet, but that whenever she is able, she flies over to see him, wherever she is. “I’m a lucky man” he summarized with a big smile.

To wrap up, there was no Enho photo today, so instead I give you Kyokusoten meditating under a tree like a little buddha:

kyokusoten
OK, the laughing tokoyama doesn’t fit in with the Buddha thing

Who is Kyokusoten, you ask? Well, he is Tamawashi’s brother-in-law. And I think he serves as his tsukebito as well in this Jungyo, as Kataonami beya is a little short on wrestlers who are over 20 years old and can serve as tsukebito (in fact, it has only three wrestlers all told – including Tamawashi).

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 8

🌐 Location: Nagano city, Nagano

olympic-stadium

The event at Nagano might have well been called “The Mitakeumi Basho”. It was held at the White Ring, the stadium that hosted the ice skating events during the Nagano Winter Olympics of 1998 – a very fancy venue. And no less than 6,000 spectators – twice as many as a usual Jungyo event – went there to cheer for their favorite yusho winner.

Mitakeumi T-Shirts, Mitakeumi Nobori, Mitakeumi everywhere!

The mayor even led everybody in Banzai for Mitakeumi:

But wait, what is the Mitakeumi fan club doing being photographed with… Hakuho?

mitakeumi-fan-club-with-hakuho

Some explanation is in order. The lady in the middle, hanging on Hakuho’s right shoulder, is Margarita, Mitakeumi’s mom. Turns out she is a huge Hakuho fan, as this other news video will show you:

She is running around screaming because Hakuho shook her hand and said “congratulations for the Yusho”.

The photo above, by the way, was taken by non other than her dutiful son.

Speaking of Hakuho, I wondered in the past if he is still staying flexible, given the nature of his current injury. Well, this is his answer:

flexible-yokozuna

A nice sum of money will go to anybody who gets me an authentic photo of this scene taken from the seat right behind him. 🙂

Goeido gave all his love to Wakatakakage:

goeido-butsukari-wakatakakage

Kisenosato didn’t just watch, but did the same for Chiyonoumi:

kisenosato-butsukari-chiyonoumi

By the way, you know that when a Yokozuna shows up for practice, everybody has to greet him. This is how it looks when Kakuryu is the Yokozuna in question:

That ladle of chikara-mizu Ikioi is pringing the Yokozuna (the out-of-focus part, sorry) is also a show of respect. But seriously, Ikioi, you’re holding up everybody else.

The same ceremony when Hakuho is in the building:

Which Yokozuna is politer?

There was kiddie Sumo:

And a demonstration of oicho-mage construction, featuring you-know-who:

mitakeumi-oicho

And… guess what move Ishiura used for his bout?

ishiura

Finally, the Musubi-no-ichiban:

Another angle:

Signing out, you know what’s coming. Enho! Doing some synchronized workout with Tobizaru:

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Days 6 and 7

Today I’m wrapping two Jungyo days into one post, because frankly, materials about the visit to Yuzawa were scarce. Both events took place in Niigata prefecture, so they fit together anyway.

Edit:

  • Turns out Gagamaru and Takekaze have joined the Jungyo at Niigata
  • The full bout between Yutakayama and Endo turned up. See below.

🌐 Location: Yuzawa-machi, Uonuma-gun, Niigata

In a small, sleepy ski resort, Churanoumi, who is soon to lose his sekitori status, is nevertheless diligently working out. The surprising aspect of this is the guy he is using for weight lifting:

We have seen several sekitori lifting their tsukebito or their trainer. Or in the case of the Taka twins, their brother. But in this case, Churanoumi is lifting a man who outranks him a whole division. Yes, that’s Ishiura on his back.

And we have good news – a second Yokozuna mounts the dohyo for practice. This involves giving Yutakayama, the local boy, some TLC, Yokozuna-style:

Hakuho was practicing with a rubber band. And the Yokozuna can’t finish this rubber band practice without targeting his tsukebito’s sensitive parts:

He does it every single time. This time he was even a little merciful, letting it loosen a bit before letting go. I suspect his partner had a stiff insert inside his mawashi in anticipation of this. Here is Enho (who, you may recall, is also one of the Yokozuna’s tsukebito, so he has to do this thing from time to time) in the training camp before the Nagoya basho. His face tells of anticipated pain.

enho-waiting-for-the-inevitable
Enho knows what’s coming. And that towel won’t help a bit.

🌐 Location: Niigata city, Niigata prefecture

Now, this was a whole different thing as far as coverage is concerned. As I said, Yutakayama hails from this city, and he was the star of the day:

The second lady there wants Yutakayama to become Yokozuna. Well, time will tell. In the meantime, Kakuryu again gave him a butsukari session:

A slightly longer video of this is here:

Yutakayama at least fared better than Daiamami did two Jungyos ago – he finished up on his own two feet. You can also see that as usual, Kakuryu does away with much of the Alpha Male bravado part of the butsukari. The usual way to complete a butsukari session is with the receiver knocking on the giver’s chest, who in turn rolls him one last time in the dirt. Kakuryu here is all like – “OK, we’re done. I get it, I got a knock on my chest. But really, do you like rolling in the dirt? Just go…”

That bout between Yutakayama and Endo of which you saw a glimpse in the video, in fact included a wardrobe malfunction. Konosuke did not let it go this time, and had a mawashi-matta:

wardrobe-malfunction-1

Endo seems to have lost both front and back there. And something about this amuses him very much. Maybe the prolonged hug with Yutakayama:

wardrobe-malfunction-2

That’s not an expression you’re likely to see on anybody’s face during honbasho – even in the middle of a wardrobe malfunction.

And here is the full bout:

Anyway, Yutakayama may have been the main course in this meal, but there were many other activities going on around the venue. For example, Kotoeko joined a calisthenics class:

The sekitori were doing moshi-ai. Here we have Endo and Myogiryu:

endo-myogiryu

And Shohozan vs. Okinoumi:

shohozan-okinoumi

Tochiozan was trying to hide from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal:

tochiozan-bugblatter-beast-of-traal

You see, knowing where your towel is is very important!

Tamawashi shook off his murderous ways and instead taught Kyokushuho a resistance training drill:

tamawashi-kyokushuho-1
You wrap the rubber band around your arms like so…
tamawashi-kyokushuho-2
And then pull those arms together.

As the sekitori were getting ready for the dohyo-iri… OK, we interrupt our programming for the following message. This is Yago:

introduction-to-yago

Kintamayama claims that only 3 out of 10 fans would recognize this man. I’m here to rectify this. I have a soft spot for Yago, as my very first post on Tachiai was about Yago. He was amateur Yokozuna, got a Makushita tsuke-dashi position, and struggled a bit to find his place in Juryo at first. He is now one of the mainstays with a good chance of making it to Makuuchi soon. Yago is his real name – his stablemaster said he will not give him a shikona until he matures from a “yago” (different spelling, a dragonfly nymph) to a full-fledged dragonfly. Dragonflies, by the way, are symbolic in sumo – they can only fly forward, so they are a symbol for forward-moving, no-retreat attitude.

Oh, and Osunaarashi in his day nicknamed Yago “Ago”. Which is Japanese for “chin” or “jaw”. Yago is very highly recognizable by his substantial jawline. No, he is not a pretty boy like Enho or Tobizaru, but he is a friendly guy with great potential.

So now I hope you all know who Yago is and how to recognize him, and we shall now proceed with the our planned programming.

Speaking of Enho and Tobizaru, Enho was pulling the oldest prank in the book on Tobuzaru today:

This involve mixing a good amount of the dohyo salt in the ladle of chikara-mizu before handing it over to the awaiting wrestler. The yobidashi usually sees what’s happening but keeps his mouth shut. This is not something you ever do in honbasho, but there is not a single jungyo where this is not done – several times, if possible.

I won’t be surprised if revenge awaits Enho in tomorrow’s event. As Enho always fights first in the Juryo bouts, he will be receiving the water from the wrestler that follows him… which is very likely to be the same Tobizaru.

Goofing around in the Jungyo is not reserved just to Juryo. Take a look at Onosho in the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, as Mitakeumi ascends the dohyo:

So here is the musubi-no-ichiban. And finally, it seems that Kakuryu is able to produce some forward motion:

This is it for today. But I can’t finish without the obligatory Enho photo!

enho-shohozan

Ah yes, Shohozan is in it, too. 😀

And there is even a “the making of” version of this picture:

enho-shohozan-the-making-of

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 5

🌐 Location: Uozu, Toyama

dohyo-iri-ouzu

Day 5 of the Jungyo was Asanoyama Appreciation Day. Asanoyama is the hero of Toyama Prefecture. In fact, a documentary about him is about to be aired in a few days in a local TV station. And this day, Asanoyama worship reached new heights. There was a large Asanoyama panel at the entrance:

asanoyama-panel

A few days ago the Toyama Post Office issued a special set of Asanoyama postcards an stamps, which the man himself presented this day:

asanoyama-stamps

The man was flooded with fan requests for autographs:

And Kisenosato gave him butsukari to the cheers of the 3000 fans who filled the Ariso Dome:

And a local news outlet’s summary of the Jungyo event was also rather Asanoyama-centered:

Asanoyama says there he will work hard and try to achieve double digits in the next basho as well, and that he wants to become a superstar.

However, there were other people in this Jungyo event, too. Hokutofuji was doing suri-ashi:

Watched over by… Asanoyama.

Tamawashi was lending his chest to the low rankers, in what looked like a combination of butsukari and moshi-ai:

By which I mean that he didn’t stick with one victim until exhaustion in a full-fledged “kawaigari”, but rather quickly finished with one and replaced him with one from a group of eager boys.

Hakuho did not ascend the dohyo as yet, and used one of his tsukebito as a Teppo pole:

And Kakuryu exercised Harumafuji-style, with weights on his wrists:

Nishikigi was stretching, and for some reason felt he needed to cushion his hands. And by “cushion” I mean use the fluffiest, softest cushion available: Chiyomaru!

nishikigi-chiyomaru
Practicing for the role of Sisyphus in a movie, perhaps?

Tamawashi was doing fansa and using Shodai for his writing desk:

shodai-writing-desk
“If you’re good and let me use your chest, I won’t break any of your arms in our next bout. Deal?”

Mitakeumi learned to clap the hyoshigi – those wooden clappers the Yobidashi use to punctuate the ceremonial parts of Grand Sumo events. There is a certain art to producing the right sound from these things. Hakuho learned that in the past from the now-retired Yobidashi Hideo.

mitakeumi-hyoshigi

We haven’t seen many Yokozuna dohyo-iri since this Jungyo started, right? So here are the three Yokozuna for you:

Kakuryu:

Hakuho:

And Kisenosato. Since it’s more or less the same angle, you can compare Kisenosato’s Unryu-style rope tie and dohyo-iri to Hakuho’s Shiranui-style above:

There was a bit of the Musubi-no-ichiban in the above “Asanoyama Appreciation Day” video, but here is the full thing:

Kakuryu is still drawing circles with his left food, but not as badly as in the first three days.

That’s it. Take a look at the Komatsu post, where I added the full opening drum roll which turned up in YouTube.

And instead of an Enho photo, I give you his “mystery rikishi” video by the NSK. Guys, the teleprompter should go above the camera!

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 3

🌐 Location: Katsuyama, Fukui

Today, the sumo nobori flags were flapping in the wind in Katsuyama city.front-image-katsuyama

Those of you with sharp eyes (and Kanji skills) will note some flags that one doesn’t normally see in honbasho. For example, a flag for Kimura Ginjuro – the gyoji, and a flag for… Naruto beya, which is certainly not participating in the Jungyo due to having as yet no sekitori whatsoever.

The rikishi practiced. Not only on the dohyo, but all over the venue. Take a look at Ryuden lifting weights. Well, the sort of weights that are available in abundance in the Jungyo:

ryuden-lifting-weights

The towel, by the way, is a point of courtesy. Keeps your sweat away from your partner.

Ishiura was busy… nail gazing? I thought that was reserved only for yokozuna.

ishiura-nail-gazing

So… maybe this is not actually a practice photo. It seems there is a line forming (that’s Homarefuji behind him), which probably means they are waiting to greet one of the Yokozuna.

But here is some actual practice. Wakatakakage seems to be doing an off-dohyo reverse butsukari for Mitakeumi. Just a reminder – a butsukari practice is when a low-ranking rikishi has to push a high-ranking one again and again until he dies, or at least feels as if he did. A reverse butsukari is when a high ranking rikishi feels he needs the exercise, but only has someone ranked lower than himself available to push. It’s basically the same thing, but since the high ranking one calls the shots, it’s usually a lot less like a torture and a lot more like an actual practice.

wakatakakage-reverse-butsukari-mitakeumi

Mitakeumi later switched to the dohyo and gave straight butsukari to youngsters, much like yesterday:

mitakeumi-butsukari

And yes, that’s Kisenosato on the dohyo. This is the first time in this Jungyo a Yokozuna practiced on-dohyo, and that it should be Kisenosato only tells you how badly banged up the other Yokozuna are.

Kisenosato was giving butsukari as well – first to Nakazono, a low ranker (I’m not sure, but I think he is one of his tsukebito):

nakazono-butsukari-kisenosato
The Yokozuna has a lot of chest, but very little of it is muscle

Then he switched to Takanosho:

kisenosato-with-takanosho

And you can see a bit of this action here:

The Yokozuna doesn’t have to do anything, really. Just be heavy.

In addition to practicing, the various sekitori also did a lot of fansa. This included, for example, Shohozan volunteering as a photographer:

shohozan-assistant-photographer

And also Tamawashi signing autographs and having his photo taken with fans. Which for some reason, Kaisei was doing everything in his capability to prevent:

Relax, Kaisei! I’m sure Tamawashi has no intention of applying a kotenage to any of the fans!

Between the practice and the torikumi, the tokoyama re-arranged the hairdos for the rikishi:

tokoyama-working

Just before the Juryo dohyo-iri, the Shokkiri took place. Surprise – we have reverted back to the Shokkiri team from Takadagawa beya, rather than the Kasugano pair from yesterday. And just to show you that each pair has unique features in their act, they went and got what looks suspiciously like an Acme-branded hammer:

shokkiri-team-hammer

Moving on to the Torikumi, it seems that Enho is the regular fill-in in Juryo. That makes sense, but why not just let the guy wear his shimekomi, and be done with it?

enho-vs-tobizaru

Short stop here for beginners: Low ranking rikishi practice and compete in the same black cotton mawashi. When they compete, they insert loose sagari (those cords hanging down from it) into it. Sekitori, on the other hand, practice in a white cotton mawashi which is folded at the front like a roll of toilet paper. When they compete, however, they wear a silk mawashi in the color of their choice, with matching, stiffened sagari. This silk mawashi is called “shimekomi”.

So in the picture above Tobizaru is the sekitori wearing his off-white shimekomi and you can see the stiff sagari protruding to his sides. Enho is a Makushita fill-in, so he wears his black cotton mawashi and you can see his loose sagari hanging down his hips.

Enho has a shimekomi stored somewhere in his heya, from the Haru basho this year, in which he participated as a sekitori. Since he is going to be a sekitori again next basho, he will be putting it back into use.

So let’s move on.

Actually, again, there is not much information about the day’s torikumi, other than the fact that Kagayaki has beaten Ikioi by yori-kiri. And this was only mentioned because Ikioi was doing the duties of “local boy” today, on the premise that his… grandmother hails from a nearby town. 😀

But there is a video of the musubi-no-ichiban:

At this point I’m really getting worried about Kakuryu. Three wins in a row for Kisenosato against the man who won two yusho in a row only a couple of months back? What the heck is going on with Kakuryu’s foot? He looks like he is doing laundry with it, not sumo.

That’s it for today, and since, for some unknown reason, the sumo ladies did not take any Enho photos other than that one against Tobizaru, I’ll have to settle for Arawashi instead:

arawashi

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 1

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to our series of Jungyo Newsreels, in which I’ll try to provide a taste of what is going on in the Jungyo and keep us all from getting Sumo Withdrawal Chills (a very dangerous symptom of Sumo addiction!)

kisenosato-kakuryu-ogaki

I can’t promise to be able to post every day, and sometimes I’ll have to wait at least a day for any news to turn up if any, especially in remote places where sumo ladies are not of the smartphone-bearing age.

🌐 Location: Ogaki, Gifu

Let’s start with the bad news: many wrestlers are absent from this Jungyo due to unspecified injuries and maladies. Some have already been absent during the Nagoya basho, and some not:

Makunouchi absentees:

  • Takayasu (left elbow injury)
  • Tochinoshin (Toe injury)
  • Ichinojo
  • Kotoshogiku
  • Chiyonokuni
  • Abi
  • Yoshikaze
  • Takarafuji
  • Chiyoshoma
  • Meisei

Juryo absentees:

  • Kotoyuki
  • (edit) Takagenji
  • Gagamaru
  • Sokokurai
  • Kizenryu

The good news is that all three Yokozuna participate. Well, kinda sorta. They all did their dohyo-iri, but they are all pretty banged up. None of them did any keiko on-dohyo, and Hakuho was not even in the torikumi (bouts of the day).

Kisenosato was sort of working out his left arm:

Hakuho was doing mostly shiko and suri-ashi etc.

Turns out that he hurt his ankle in addition to the knee we already knew about. He said the doctor drew four syringe-fulls of fluid from his ankle, and that he received shots to both his ankle and his knee, but now “there is no pain, just discomfort”.

As for Kakuryu, we’ll get to him later, at the musubi-no-ichiban.

In addition to the many injured and banged-up wrestlers, there was a bit of an incident with four sekitori arriving late. As it turns out, Takanoiwa, Kyokushuho, Azumaryu and Daishoho took advantage of the small gap between the basho and the Jungyo, and went home to Mongolia for a bit of a vacation. The problem is that due to Typhoon Jongdari, the flight back to Japan was delayed.

The four sought an alternative flight through either Beijing or Seoul, but it wasn’t clear that any flights would be leaving for Japan from those cities, either. They were delayed for over 20 hours at Ulaan Baatar, and instead of arriving properly at Narita at noontime on the 28th, they landed there at morning 29th. They made their way to Ogaki by their own means using Shinkansen and trains – and arrived just barely in time for the Juryo dohyo-iri.

azumaryu-dohyo-iri
Kyokushuho, Azumaryu – made it in the nick of time

Their bouts for the day have already been canceled, and Japan being Japan, they were reprimanded by Kasugano oyakata, the head of the Jungyo department. Because of course work is work and they should be at work on time!

Enho and Ichiyamamoto were called in to fill the gaps in the dwindling Juryo ranks. Of course, Enho is a legitimate Juryo wrestler – but on the Jungyo he is still ranked according to the previous banzuke.

enho-with-buddies
Enho still in his black Mawashi

This was not the only mishap of the day – it turns out that there was no air-conditioning at the venue. Or if it was, it wasn’t making much impression on anybody.

turkish-bathhouse
Glistening Yokozuna and Ozeki

The Shokkiri team for this Jungyo: Shobushi and Ebisumaru from Takadagawa. Here is a bit of the action:

But you are here for the bouts, right?

  • Hokutofuji ☆ – Takekaze ★
  • Ryuden ☆ – Okinoumi ★
  • Kotoeko ★ – Ishiura ☆ (Flying henka, what else?)
  • Tochiozan ☆ – Asanoyama ★
  • Sadanoumi ? – Arawashi ? (No word)
  • Aoiyama ☆ – Onosho ★
  • Nishikigi ★ – Yutakayama ☆
  • Myogiryu ★ – Chiyomaru ☆
  • Kyokutaisei ★ – Daieisho ☆
  • Endo ☆ – Chiyotairyu ★
  • Daishomaru ★ – Takakeisho ☆
  • Ikioi ★ – Kagayaki ☆
  • Shodai ☆ – Kaisei ★

Kore yori sanyaku!

Tamawashi vs. Shohozan:

Goeido vs. Mitakeumi (Sorry for the quality):

And the Musubi-no-ichiban, Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato:

Now… it looks normal. But as Andy noted on Twitter, something is up with Kakuryu’s foot:

First, what’s up with that? Kakuryu has been kyujo because of his elbow, not his foot.

Second, this video was taken from TV as you can see. The caption on the top right says “The Yokozuna, who faces his make-or-break basho, makes his first move at the summer Jungyo”. So, despite the YDC and NSK saying nothing about Kisenosato, he is in a “make-or-break” situation, or so NHK thinks.

That’s it for today. Or wait a moment. I can’t really do without yet another Enho picture.

enho-modeling
Yep, he’s definitely put on some additional kilos. Good for him.

 

Jungyo Newsreel – Days 15 and 16

Day 15

return-of-the-satonofuji-2
Ohisashiburi, Yumi-chan

🌐 Location: Takasaki, Gunma prefecture

Kiddie sumo – Abi purifies a scalp:

abi-purifies-boys-head

Trust Abi to be more childish than his child rival.

Shodai had to go kyujo due to an inflammation. This meant Kakuryu was a tachimochi short. So, for the first time in his life, Yutakayama bore the sword for the Yokozuna dohyo-iri.

yutakayama-the-tachimochi

In his bout with Tochinoshin, Mitakeumi had a wardrobe malfunction:

You can see the two in a mawashi-matta. Explanation to newcomers: if a mawashi knot comes undone and reveals the wrestler’s family jewels, he loses immediately by disqualification. For this reason, if the gyoji or someone around the ring spots an undone knot, the gyoji calls a “mawashi-matta”, signals the rikishi to freeze, ties back the naughty knot, then slaps the backs of both rikishi to signal them to continue from the same position.

The only bout I have is actually Takayasu vs. Goeido, but I warn you in advance that you probably want to silence your speakers. This was shot by a very enthusiastic Philipino patriot who seems bent on embarrassing Takayasu very loudly:

The Gunma prefecture locals who came to watch this day’s event got a rare treat – they got to see Satonofuji perform the yumitori-shiki again. Satonofuji is a Gunma native.

Satonofuji also got many requests for photographs and autographs from his enthusiastic neighbors.

Day 16

 

three-yokozuna-backs
Unryu, Shiranui, Unryu

🌐 Location: Yasukuni shrine, Tokyo

Today’s honozumo event (a sumo event performed in the precincts of a shrine) marked the rikishi’s return to Tokyo after a very long while – those who participate in the Jungyo have been on the road since before the Haru basho.

Here come the entire Makuuchi – gathering at the main yard for a purification ceremony.

It’s really hard to have an elegant walk in a kesho-mawashi, isn’t it? Myogiryu manages it quite well, though.

This event marked the return of Hakuho to the Jungyo. The Yokozuna reported to the NSK board and expressed his appreciation for receiving permission to participate in his father’s funeral.

I’m not really sure what that new adornment to his right ankle is supposed to mean.

The main event took place at an outdoors, permanent dohyo by the side of the shrine. As usual, they started with some keiko. Enho got lots of wedgies practice.

enho-wedgie

Especially from this guy:

Looks like despite his recent kyujo, Terunofuji is gaining some of his physical strength back. Aminishiki, by the way, is still MIA.

Kakuryu performed his dohyo-iri accompanied by a mini-yokozuna with a perfect little Unryu-style rope. The little tyke was none other than Kakuryu’s own son. Pay attention to Nishikigi-mama.

Please excuse the quality. The video shows the dohyo-iri of all three Yokozuna. I think both Hakuho and Kisenosato improved their shiko recently.

This has been Kisenosato’s first dohyo-iri at Yasukuni shrine.

This time I have several bouts to show you.

A few seconds of Enho vs. Akiseyama:

I guess all that practice pays.

Here – with a couple of glitches – is the Ichinojo-Tochinoshin bout, followed by the san-yaku soroi-bumi (synchronized shiko stomps – though the west side is a little disappointing):

Here is the Kisenosato-Goeido bout. What is Goeido doing there, exactly?

And here is the full Hakuho vs. Kakuryu bout.

Note how Hakuho, fresh off the dohyo, immediately switches to fansa mode.

Jungyo Newsreel – Catching up at Kanagawa

Hello again, Jungyo enthusiasts. I have strayed off the trail after day 6. Let’s try to do some catching up and join the sekitori again at Kanagawa, where they have been spending days 13 and 14.

So what happened during that interval?

Little girls can no longer participate in kiddie sumo

Despite public outcry, the NSK is asking each hosting town not to send little girls to the kiddie sumo events of the Jungyo. The reason given “Safety first”. When various outlets pointed out that boys and girls are equally susceptible to injury on the dohyo, the answer was “We don’t want to risk girls sustaining permanent injuries to the face”.

Hakuho’s father passed away

On April 9th, Hakuho’s father, Mönkhbat, the former Olympic medalist in wrestling, and the equivalent of Dai-Yokozuna in Mongolian Wrestling, passed away at the age of 76 of liver cancer.

Hakuho fully participated in the event in Ina, Nagano prefecture, but asked for – and received – a leave of absence to attend his father’s funeral in Mongolia starting from April 11th. He will re-join the Jungyo for the Honozumo event at Yasukuni shrine on April 16th.

hakuho-funeral

The late Mönkhbat has been a national hero in Mongolia, and his funeral drew much attention and included military escort.

hakuho-funeral-son

Hakuho has always been very strongly connected to his father and looked up to him. When the father was diagnosed with liver cancer, Hakuho had him flown to Japan for treatment, then back to the comfort of his own home in Mongolia. Of course, even the best modern medical intervention has its limitations.

Kisenosato joins the Jungyo

Kisenosato announced that he will re-join the Jungyo. His return was planned for the 13th, but he joined one day earlier – may be to avoid Friday the 13th, or maybe to cover up for Hakuho’s absence.

kisenosato-tsuna-shime

In the couple of days he’s been participating he has been showing mixed results. I’d warn you against developing high hopes hearing reports that he wins his Jungyo bouts. We’ve been here before – Kisenosato managing to win bouts and elimination tournaments in Jungyo, getting breathless coverage from the press, then hitting a wall in honbasho. That injury is not going away any time soon.

Terunofuji and Aminishiki absent

I reported in my Day 6 coverage that Terunofuji was absent from the torikumi. The next day he was joined by his stablemate, Aminishiki. Terunofuji was reportedly back on duty today (April 14th) at the Fujisawa event, but Aminishiki is still out.

Birthdays

Goeido had a birthday on April  6th – day 6 of the Jungyo – and is now 32. The following day, Ichinojo celebrated his 25th birthday.

ichinojo-25

Today, although he is never again going to be on any Jungyo, many sumo fans celebrated Harumafuji’s 34th birthday.


So let’s now proceed to the daily coverage.

Day 13

🌐 Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture

Here is Chiyomaru’s version of kiddie sumo:

Ahaha… poor kids.

Tochinoshin offered his chest for some butsukari to Tobizaru and Takanosho. Bigger men have failed to move the Georgian Cliff:

Things look a little different when it’s reverse butsukari (the higher ranking guy is the pusher). You just let the Wookiee win:

Endo is getting a lot of high-rank attention this Jungyo. Apparently that’s because he is going to make san-yaku in the Natsu basho. Previously he got juiced by Takayasu. This time, Kakuryu invited him to san-ban (practice form in which the same two wrestlers go through full bouts repeatedly until the higher ranking one calls it off).

kakuryu-vs-endo

This one consisted of 13 bouts, all won by the Yokozuna. Rather than counting wins, the Yokozuna concentrated on adjusting his own movement and building up his body.

After practice, the Yokozuna was seen having a talk with Endo. It turned out that they were exchanging injury-related experience.

Kakuryu’s finger injury lingers on. He seems able to use his grip, but says that after applying sudden force, when he lets go of the opponent’s mawashi, the pain hits. “But it’s not preventing me from doing sumo”.

Kisenosato engaged Meisei from Juryo for a 9-bout sanban, and won them all. Also watch for the bout vs. Kakuryu at the musubi-no-ichiban. Just remember my warning above.

Day 14

🌐 Location: Fujisawa, Kanagawa prefecture

Help, a group of fierce robbers has taken to the streets of Fujisawa!

fierce-robbers

(A word of advice to Kyokushuho: your highwayman career is going to be very short if you wear kimono with your name (and those of current and former stable mates) splashed all over it).

The spectators got to enjoy double bills, both in the oicho construction performance:

And in the tsuna-shime performance, where the two Yokozuna present showed off their ropes. I think this was originally planned to include Hakuho, which would have given the spectators both Shiranui and Unryu style rope tying, but unfortunately Hakuho is in Mongolia, and so they got a double Unryu.

The top 16 members of Makuuchi participated in an elimination tournament. So here is Kisenosato vs. Tamawashi:

Kisenosato vs. Shodai (who has beaten Tochinoshin in the first round):

Kisenosato vs. Kaisei:

And finally, the final, Kisenosato vs. Takayasu. When playing in elimination format, the restriction against matching rikishi from the same stable does not apply:

Kisenosato wins today’s yusho.