Tochinoshin Kyujo

From AdjaraSport

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.

Jungyo Newsreel – Day 1

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.

🌐 Location: Ise Grand Shrine, 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 tail of the procession – current Ozeki, followed by a tiny shin-Ozeki

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.

Enho. Present but not fighting.

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:

Ozeki are like quarks. Here we have a down ozeki, a strange ozeki, and an up 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.

Even cold-blooded Mongolians suffered, never mind the poor, suffering Brazilian.

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.

Eliminated Yokozuna not forgetting to low-five little hands

The winner of the tournament was Hokutofuji – a career first – and the jun-yusho went to Nishikigi.

Hokutofuji’s first yusho

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.

Maegashira 15 Myogiryu Pulls Out of Kyushu Basho

The Kyushu basho claimed another rikishi, as NHK News has reported that Maegashira 15 Myogiryu has gone kyujo after suffering an injury to the meniscus in his left knee during his day 13 match with Daishomaru. Finishing with a 6-8-1 record, Myogiryu will find himself back in the Juryo division for the Hatsu basho.  His day 14 opponent Shodai will pick up a fusen win, giving him his kachi koshi. The Tachiai team hope Myogiryu has a quick recovery, and that we see him back in Makuuchi soon.

Everything You Need to Know After Act Two

Sumo wrestlers line up as they pray before the start of the annual 'Honozumo' ceremonial sumo tournament dedicated to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

The curtain has dropped on act two. The stage is now set, and the actors are ready for the grand finale of the Kyushu basho. While the early days of this tournament were overshadowed by scandal, the sumo took center stage in act two. So far we’ve seen triumph, defeat, skill and and even a little luck. But the best is yet to come! Here is a quick run down of everything you need to know going into the last five days of sumo in 2017.

Yusho Race

After two acts, only one man remains lord on high in the yusho race: Dai-Yokozuna Hakuho. With a 10-0 record and a two-win cushion separating him from second place, this is truly Hakuho’s yusho to lose. The story is not over yet, however, as two men are trailing Hakuho, just waiting for him to make one crucial mistake that will bring them closer to yusho contention. These rikishi are Okinoumi and Hokutofuji, who both ended day 10 with eight wins apiece. Should he keep his record spotless, Hakuho can clinch the yusho with a win on day 14, if not sooner.

Kachi Koshi and Make Koshi

There were only three men who secured their kachi koshi by the end of act two. In addition to Hakuho, only Okinoumi and Hokutofuji have earned a winning record so far, and are safe from demotion for the New Year Tournament. Conversely, there are three rikishi with make koshi losing records, beginning with Tochiozan who went winless in his first eight bouts. Chiyonokuni and Kotoshogiku also have losing records and can expect to move down the banzuke for January. For a closer look at the kachi koshi and make koshi  projections, please see this article by fellow Tachiai authour lksumo.

Kinboshi

Yokozuna Kisenosato surrendered three more kinboshi during the second act of the kyusho basho, bringing the overall total to six. These kinboshi were claimed by Hokutofuji, Ichinojo, and Takarafuji respectively. Having lost to five Maegashira rikishi, Kisenosato tied the record for the most kinboshi given up in a single basho since 1949.

Kyujo and Absences

On day 3 it was announced that Aoiyama had withdrawn from competition due to issues with his ankle. He returned to action on day 8 in what many believe to be a desperate attempt to stave off a major demotion down the banzuke. Since the end of act one, only one more rikishi has joined those who have pulled out of the Kyushu basho. Early in day 10, Kisenosato withdrew from the competition due to ankle and lower back issues. This marks the third time he has had to end a tournament prematurely this year. The kyujo and Absentee list so far includes Kakuryu, Ura, Takanoiwa, Harumafuji, Terunofuji, and Kisenosato.

Tozai-Sei

After ten days, the West now leads the East by a score of 104-85. The West side of the banzuke is really beginning to pull away from the East, mostly due to Hakuho, Hokutofuji, Ichinojo, and Arawashi, who have all won seven or more matches. That being said, the East has been far more affected by injuries and has lost many top point-earners this basho. The next five days will see the crowning of the first unofficial Tozai-sei championship.

Like a play, each act of the Kyushu basho has been better than the last. There’s still so much fantastic sumo that awaits us as we head into the final days of competition. So with that, let’s open the curtain on act 3. Let the finale begin!