I owe you yesterday’s bouts before I start collecting today’s from the depths of Twitter and YouTube. Let’s go!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.
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”.