I owe you yesterday’s bouts before I start collecting today’s from the depths of Twitter and YouTube. Let’s go!Continue reading
No typhoon today, and at 8:40 the third day opened with some mae-zumo matches. Maezumo is very short this time around, as only one new recruit joined this basho (another recruit was checked out, but being Mongolian, and requiring a visa, he will only be able to do his maezumo next basho). The other two are returning rikishi. One is Okuniasahi, from Nakagawa beya, who has been kyujo for five basho. The other is Asahimaru from Tomozuna beya, who only did his original maezumo in Haru 2019, and was kyujo last basho. His hair has not even grown yet.
The formidable new guy has a shikona already, “Yutakanami”. He belongs to Tatsunami beya. He has some high school sumo experience, but he wasn’t recruited straight out of high school. He actually worked in the car industry for four months (“I love cars”) before quitting and switching to the one profession in Japan that does not allow him to drive a car under any circumstances.
Skipping the lowest division here. Now, if you are missing Terunofuji, since he only wrestles 7 days of the 15, why not try Fujinoteru, the off-brand replacement from Jonidan?
Fujinoteru belongs to Onoe beya. Here he attacks from the right, against Kirimaru from Michinoku beya (the heya with the foggy shikona tradition):
Well, although clearly Fujinoteru is not Terunofuji, he does get a win here against the somewhat elderly Kirimaru.
Next we have the other of the Tatsunami mystery crew-cut rikishi, Yukiamami. Here he is on the right, in his short-hair glory, facing Asadoji from Takasago beya:
This is his second win in two matches, and like Roman, his shorn heya-mate, he seems to have quite a good run since returning from the mystery kyujo.
Since we are missing Musashikuni, I thought I’ll give you Shoji, his heya-mate, instead. On the left, he faces Hibikiryu from Sakaigawa beya. Both are 1-0 coming into the match.
Alas, the Musashigawa man does not look too good. What’s with that Tachiai? This was zombie sumo. Tsukiotoshi, Hibikiryu wins.
The pearl of the day was the next bout, which was posted in video by everybody who is anybody. On the left we have Nakaishi, from Nishonoseki beya. On the right, yet another Musashigawa man, Kaishu. Feast your eyes:
This kimarite is called “mitokorozeme”. That means “Attack in three places”. He grabs one leg, trips the other, and pushes the chest with his head. Mainoumi was known for this rare one.
Roga, who suffered an initial loss, is here on the right, facing Kotoseigo (Sadogatake beya).
The Mongolian with the new chon-mage wins and balances his score to 1-1.
Another Mongolian we have already seen, Kyokusoten, faces Kotokuzan from Arashio beya. It’s not the same “Koto” as the Sadogatake “Kotos”. Kotokuzan nearly made it to Juryo a few basho ago, and his elderly stablemaster hoped he would become one by the time he retires (which is March 2020). But Kotokuzan somehow lost his edge, and dropped back to the Makushita ranks from which promotion is unlikely. So it’s Kyokusoten on the left, and Kotokuzan on the right.
Kyokusoten looks more Mongolian than usual… and indeed, the kimarite is uwatenage.
We now have Naya, who blew it on Day 1, trying to even back his score. However, he is facing Daiseido, from Kise beya, who is not to be taken lightly.
“I just can’t hit properly”, says prince Naya in an interview to the press. He has been touted as Yokozuna material, and I just can’t see it. I feel perhaps he made a mistake in joining his Grandfather’s former, declining heya.
Up we go to meet our Hungarian of the day. Well, our Hungarian of every day, since he is the only one around. Masutoo, on the left, faces Chiyootori on the right. This is a typical top Makushita match-up.
Chiyomaru informed us in an interview at Abema TV, that his little brother is quite genki and ready to return to silk mawashi status. I hope Masutoo rallies, though. It would be nice to see him enjoy some money and privileges before he retires.
Next up is Kototebakari, the man on a mission, facing yet another former sekitori from Kokonoe, Chiyonoo. Kototebakari is on the left, Chiyonoo, on the right:
The gunbai goes to Kototebakari, but a monoii is called, a consultation ensues, and the gunbai is reversed. Kototebakari apparently touched down first. I think perhaps Chiyonoo still had a toe inside at that point, but that makes it his win either way. Mr. Handscales is now 1-1, while Chiyonoo is 2-0.
Finally, we have Wakamotoharu, the middle Onami brother, facing Akua/Aqua from Tatsunami beya. These two are both eager to slip back into Juryo and the good life.
Wakamotoharu introduces Akua to some clay, and improves to 2-0.
I’ll spare you the hospital ward scene that was Seiro vs. Ikioi. Ikioi lost, but Seiro was also unable to bend his knee and had his butt up in the sky. It was a sorry bout.
Instead, I’ll direct your attention to Yago vs. Kiribayama. Yago, on the left, does a great defensive work here, while Kiribayama is throwing the kitchen sink at his legs.
Eventually Kiribayama realizes that Yago has a good lateral balance. So he moves sideways, and pulls. Uwatedashinage.
I have a short report for you today. You all know that Enho finally got his kachi-koshi today. Let’s take a look at some of Hakuho’s other uchi-deshi.
In Jonidan, the biggish Toma suffered his first loss on Day 11, so he dropped out of the yusho race there, and today, with a balance of 5-1, engaged with Yoshii from Nakagawa beya. Toma is on the left (he is really hard to miss), and Yoshii on the right:
Yoshii turns out to be far from a pushover, and even managed to throw the humongous Toma with an uwatenage. Not exactly your Mongolian “roll’er-over-in-the-clover”, but still. I’m really hoping Toma will start losing some of that extra poundage, and show something better than Orora-zumo. In any case, he is 5-2, kachi-koshi, and will keep moving up.
At Sandanme, we meet Hakuho’s oldest – and apparently most damaged – uchi-deshi, Yamaguchi. He comes into this match with 3-3, so the winner is kachi-koshi and the loser, make-koshi. On the left we have Tochimitsuru, from Kasugano beya.
Yamaguchi doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance, and is make-koshi. He will drop further down in Sandanme.
Akua, our aquatic rikishi from Tatsunami beya meets Nishikifuji from Isegahama beya. Nishikifuji and Midorifuji are the biggest new hopes in Isegahama beya, a heya which two years ago sported six sekitori, including a Yokozuna and an Ozeki, and now only two of them remain.
Nishikifuji is ranked Ms8w, and he and Akua are both 5-1 as they stare at each other across the dohyo. Akua is on the left, Nishikifuji on the right:
Akua is very efficient this basho – a quick katasukashi in this case. He finishes it 6-1, while Nishikifuji will have to settle for 5-2 and will have a chance of ramming himself against the gateway to Heaven in Aki.
His heya mate, the tiny deputy pixie Midorifuji, is similarly 5-1 (though ranked a little lower, at Ms11w). He is facing our Hungarian friend, Masutoo, here on the left.
Mastoo is not letting Midorifuji try any pixie dust on him. The big Hungarian has his second 6-1 basho in a row, and will start smelling the heady perfume of silk mawashi across the barrier next basho. Midorifuji will settle for 5-2, and he, too, will be in that hot neighborhood.
The last Makushita bout (though not the last Makushita wrestler fighting) is between Tamaki and Hoshoryu. This is a life-or-death bout. The two are not just fighting for kachi-koshi vs. make-koshi, but also, at their rank, for a very probable ticket to Juryo, which only the winner can take. Hoshoryu is on the right, Tamaki on the left:
Hoshoryu’s hand touches the surface of the dohyo. The gyoji notices immediately and points his gunbai, but the two are not paying attention and keep fighting. But even if that finger did not touch the dohyo, Hoshoryu was completely out of balance for most of it, and would have lost anyway.
He suffers the first make-koshi of his career. The Japanese press tells us that he was still wearing his game face (he is really overdoing it in the staredowns, methinks) as he was walking down the hana-michi, but in the shitakubeya he broke out in tears, and the only thing he said to the reporters was “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”.
Kid’s 20 years old. This was his one chance to match his uncle’s speedy ascent from Jonokuchi to the sekitori ranks, and he blew it. He will get there, but it will probably take a couple of basho now that his make-koshi will send him a few ranks down. I’m sure it stings as hell.
Tamaki, on the other hand, enjoyed the limelight today, surrounded by press and media people.
Kaisho, Ms4w from Asakayama beya was sent into Juryo today to fight Arawashi. Kaisho was 3-3 and needed a kachi-koshi. Arawashi was already make-koshi, 5-8, but needs to tread carefully. Kaisho is on the left, Arawashi is nursing an eye injury, on the right.
Despite Arawashi’s efforts, Kaisho manages to get a good grip and yorikiri the veteran. Arawashi is 5-9, and is edging towards the danger zone. Kaisho, on the other hand, is kachi-koshi, and may be considered for promotion if there are enough demoted Juryo members, and Wakamotoharu doesn’t improve from his five wins tomorrow.
So tomorrow is the big day, senshuraku, with some exciting playoffs, and some familiar names like Wakamotoharu and, of course, Terunofuji, who will be facing the very dangerous henka artist Shiraishi.
First, I’d like to apologize in advance that there will be no lower division coverage for days 11 and 12, at least not by me, due to offline demands on my time. I’ll do my best to renew the reports on day 13.
Remember I told you there was another rikishi from Tatsunami beya beside Roman who got his hair shortened? Well, I have one of his bouts for you today. We are talking about Yukiamami, who is 3-1 at this stage of the basho. He is the one with the, well, very short hair. His opponent is Hamanoumi from Tokitsukaze beya.
He gets his kachi-koshi. And even this tweet notes his hairstyle with surprise. This man is on the dohyo since 2013 – there is no way he can be mistaken for a newbie.
One of the leading Narutos faltered yesterday, but still left us with two 5-0 leaders from that heya. Today Motobayashi was aiming to join those two, having 4-0, and facing Garyu from Futagoyama beya. Garyu is on the left, Motobayashi on the right.
That’s more Makushita sumo than Jonokuchi… So Motobayashi joins Marusho and Sakurai from his heya at the top of the Jonokuchi chart. The only way the yusho winner will not be from Naruto beya is if all three drop a bout, and the yusho playoff involves somebody else with 6-1 (or if all of them drop two and there is a 6-1 ahead of them).
Continuing our focus on the short haired Tatsunamis, Roman (on the right) is facing Raiga from Futagoyama beya (left). Both are 3-1.
Raiga is trying as hard as he can not to lose his shikona again (Futagoyama oyakata revoked his shikona a while back because he was not working hard enough, and only bestowed it on him again before this basho). But the one ending with a kachi-koshi is the clearly stronger Crew-Cut Roman.
Our next Jonidan match is between Kitanowaka, AKA Prince Charming, and Kotosusumu from Sadogatake beya. Kitanowaka on the left, Kotosususmu on the right, both 3-1 and trying for a kachi-koshi.
Kitanowaka suffers his second loss. It’s harder to control long legs (ask Abi). Kotosusumu is kachi-koshi.
I have no footage of interest from Sandanme, and only the sad news that another Isegahama has gone kyujo (Sawanofuji). So moving on to Makushita. We have Roga facing Chiyodaigo. The Kokonoe man on the left, and Roga with the long zanbara on the right:
Chiyodaigo tries a hatakikomi on Roga, who remains perfectly stable – no mean feat for the slippery Nagoya dohyo. Roga wins by Oshidashi, but by the look of it, he seems to have paid for that with a tooth or a piece of tongue.
Next, we have the Tamanoi wonder, Shiraishi, here on the right, facing Shohoryu, who is not Hoshoryu. Shohoryu is a proud member of Kakuryu’s tsukebito team, also known as the best sumo school in Tokitsukaze ichimon. The sumo education is starting to show. They are both 3-1.
Shiraishi is a strong fella, but this opening gambit of his is getting old already, and it’s merely his second professional basho. Learn a proper tachiai, young man. In any case, he wins by hatakikomi (what else), and Shohoryu will have to go do some more training with his 10-0 yokozuna mentor. By the way, it appears Gokushindo is also back in the Kakuryu school, though they declared him permanently graduated that time he advanced to Juryo.
Next up, one of the popular foreigners in sumo, though he was never even close to being sekitori, is Masutoo, Chiganoura’s Hungarian. The shikona basically means “East Europe” (plus the “masu” which is one of the heya’s traditional kanji). At age 33, he seems to be fighting better than he has for a long time. He is 3-1, here on the left vs. Tochimaru from Kasugano beya:
Masutoo is kachi-koshi. If this extra strength has anything to do with him being assigned tsukebito to Takanofuji (fmr. Takayoshitoshi), then it’s the first good thing I’ll have to say about that Twin in quite a long time.
Finally, our highlight bout of the day is Kototebakari, facing Chiyoarashi. Once again, it’s a match for the kachi-koshi, as both are 3-1. Kototebakari is on the left.
Most of Kototebakari’s bout end pretty quickly, but Chiyoarashi made him work for it today. Work he did, winning by a yorikiri, and securing his kachi-koshi.
Tomorrow is a star-studded day, with Hoshoryu, the two Onamis, and – get this – the much anticipated Roga vs. Terunofuji re-match. So I have to apologize again for not being able to cover this, and I hope Andy will retweet the match – because it’s certain to flow up either of our Twitter streams – and you’ll be able to catch it here on the bar on the right side.