Hat tip to the folks at GSB. One last check of twitter before I hit the sack and I see this bombshell at the top of my feed:
As Leonid’s pointed out in the comments, it’s not been official yet in that it’s not listed on the official Sumo Kyokai website under absent rikishi but I figure the NHK is an excellent source. Tochinoshin has been having a dreadful ozeki comeback, now 0-6 with the fusen loss.
The aggravated knee injury from last tournament has not recovered sufficiently for the man to pose any challenge to his competition. Though he was able to pick up the victory he needed to regain his rank, he will now be kadoban. The bout against Asanoyama from last night was a quick one and previous bouts demonstrated he really had little ability to change direction and may have been the deciding factor as he had been more competitive in some of the earlier bouts.
Thanks to our friends at AdjaraSport for a great interview video that I am still in the process of editing for time and context. It is a wide ranging conversation and at one point he does discuss his knee. We hope he rests and recovers soon.
Here we are back with the Jungyo reports, where we will be trying to quench some of your thirst for sumo while we are all waiting for the next tournament.
As a reminder, the Jungyo is a regional tour the sekitori – accompanied by tsukebito and support crews – go on during four of the even-numbered months, bringing sumo to small towns and giving the locals an opportunity to see some keiko and some sumo and interact with favorites.
The Haru Jungyo traditionally begins with a dedication at Ise Grand Shrine – the holiest shrine – located in and around Ise city, Mie prefecture.
As this was a day of dedication ceremonies, it did not include the usual “shake hands with your favorite rikishi” part. The brass had to go perform ceremonies at the main shrines. The Ise Grand Shrine is actually a cluster of shrines. The two main ones are called Naiku and Geku. Ceremonies took place in both locations – about 6km apart.
The rikishi and NSK brass offered prayers. The rikishi – including some additional san-yaku – were then purified by the priests
Not an easy walk wearing a kesho-mawashi!
The Yokozuna performed dohyo-iri, and the top six san-yaku rikishi then performed synchronized shiko – “sanyaku-soroi-bumi”, similar to that which is performed on senshuraku.
Heading back to more secular activities, perhaps I should start with a list of kyujo. Five rikishi are absent from the Jungyo altogether: Takayasu (lower back issues), Ichinojo (herniated disk), Ikioi (general wreck), Chiyonokuni (Still recovering from operation), and Juryo’s Hakuyozan (who broke a bone during the basho if I’m not mistaken).
In addition, some rikishi are present but not participating in torikumi. Hakuho is basically doing only dohyo-iri and ceremonial functions. Enho had issues with his shoulder through most of the basho and is not on the torikumi list, and Yoshikaze is also not on it.
Some of the above will be back in action at some point in the Jungyo, and I’ll try to keep you posted when they are.
Back at the venue – which, as you can see in the photo above, is an open facility, but very nicely set up – keiko started out early in the morning. Here is Kiribayama’s practice with Shimanoumi:
This is the only practice video the NSK Twitter account offers – probably because its subject, Shimanoumi, was the star of the day, being a native of Shima city, Mie prefecture.
Following practice, the lower rank bouts, as well as the usual performances of Shokkiri, Jinku, and drum demonstrations took place, giving the sekitori time to have lunch and wear their kesho mawashi. Some kids got their photos taken with ozeki:
This photo-op is what replaces kiddie sumo these days.
Waiting for dohyo-iri back in the venue was no mean feat. The venue, as already mentioned, is an open facility. And it was cold.
Some fans took the opportunity to ask for autographs and the like. Sadanoumi impressed the fans as he signed an autograph with a proper calligraphy brush:
While the lower divisions’ – including Juryo – bouts took place in the usual fashion, Makuuchi was split into two sets of competitions. The bottom to middle rikishi were in normal, one bout per rikishi fashion. The top, however, participated in an elimination tournament called the “Senshiken”.
In the previous Haru Jungyo, Hakuho won the senshiken, and so he had to hand back the yusho flag:
As top yokuzuna, he also led the senshi vow (“senshi” (選士) here is a word that means “chosen”, but I suspect it’s used as a combination of “athlete” (選手, “senshu”) and “rikishi” (力士)).
Of course, he did not participate in the tournament, and Kakuryu (as well as the Ozeki) were soon eliminated from it.
The winner of the tournament was Hokutofuji – a career first – and the jun-yusho went to Nishikigi.
Hokutofuji also won a nice little mini-shrine, which I believe is actually a useful item in a heya.
This concluded the event at Ise. Here is a summary video from Mie TV.
I think Kotoyuki’s bout with Chiyomaru is funnier than Shokkiri. Of course, Shimanoumi stars in this summary, but there are several other torikumi for your pleasure.