We are still in Kagoshima. Our local heros are Chiyomaru, Meisei and Daiamami. Today’s event is held in a bigger city and a bigger venue in front of 4000 spectators. So what do our heros do?
Daiamami is doing his shiko:
Are you serious, Daiamami? You call that Shiko? Last year in the Jungyo, Kakuryu gave him serious kawaigari, and Daiamami actually ended it unconscious, which infuriated the Yokozuna: “Not enough stamina! You should be diligent about your keiko”. I guess the lesson has not been learned.
Meisei is trying to teach Tennozan something:
Umm… apparently the Boogie-Woogie?
The Yokozuna is in the house, and everybody is coming to say their good-mornings:
Mitoryu is obsequious to the point of embarrassment.
Did Ikioi slip away? No, he didn’t. He went to get a ladle of water for a more serious greeting. And got poked in the belly in exchange.
But note Kotoshogiku greeting the Yokozuna’s back and going away. As long as he is seen greeting, that’s good enough, I guess.
Last one there is Takarafuji, also greeting the Yokozuna with a respectful ladle of power-water.
Sekitori around the venue practice with their tsukebito. And, well, they all have their different styles:
On the dohyo, Chiyonoumi practices with Jokoryu:
While Azumaryu takes on both Chiyomaru and Chiyonoumi:
Practice over, and Takayasu feels he has not had enough. He finds a public park outside the venue, and just keeps on practicing – much to the delight of the neighbors who get a free show:
Here Takayasu and Mitakeumi continue bout from Kyushu senshuraku. But Takayasu also took on Ryuden in this improvised keiko session.
Inside, Meisei was doing his “local boy” duties being the model of the oicho-mage demonstration:
The time comes for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. Notice something strange?
The local boys, Meisei and Daiamami, get a lot less love from the audience than, say, Endo or Yoshikaze. My guess is that this is because, although they are from Kagoshima prefecture, they are actually from Amami-Oshima, an island much closer to Okinawa than it is to mainland Kagoshima.
So my guess is that there weren’t many people from their actual home town in this Jungyo event.
Here is Takayasu getting ready for his turn in the sanyaku-soroi-bumi. On the other side you can see Hakuho waiting for the same:
Finally, here is a video from NHK summing up the events of the day, including the bouts of the three local – or not so local – rikishi:
To wrap up, in our pin-up corner, today we feature an oyakata!
We now move to the Kagoshima prefecture, which boasts several rikishi of fame. There are the Kinoshita brothers, Chiyomaru and Chiyootori, Meisei and Daiamami. There is even a rikishi who is from Hioki city itself, though admittedly, a less well-known one:
Early morning, and in the handshake corner, we finally get to see Yoshikaze in his mawashi rather than yukata:
Inside, as usual, the Kokonoe rikishi are diligently working out around the dohyo. Kokonoe oyakata assures us that Chiyosakae is, in fact, serious:
As you know, the rikishi don’t have commercial weights available during the Jungyo, so they lift each other. Chiyomaru starts by lifting up Chiyonoumi, a reasonable 140kg weight. But then Chiyonoumi starts lifting Chiyomaru:
Now, that’s a 140kg rikishi lifting 191kg… 😨
By the way, notice those zabuton (sitting cushions) laid down on the floor? Take a look at one close-up:
The organizers of the event commissioned the design for these cushions from Kototsurugi. And Kototsurugi did a wonderful job – the light reflecting off Hakuho’s eyes! The shadow of the oicho-mage on the reflective, oiled hair! It’s a wonderful memento to take home with you… only… sitting on a Yokozuna’s face?
Some fans did sit on these zabuton. Not Hakuho fans, I guess. Others preferred sitting on zabuton they brought with them and holding the gift ones in their hands (“I hugged it and watched sumo!” said one of the spectators). The next day, when Asashoryu saw this he tweeted his indignation in two separate outraged tweets and even tried to get a reaction from Hakuho. Hakuho is not an idiot, of course, and didn’t react. At least not in public. He just kept on doing his thing:
I’m betting he got to sign a lot of those cushions at the end of the day.
His little pixie uchi-deshi also did his thing. That is, turned on the kawaii production to max:
Standing up, cute. Crouching down, also cute:
Tochinoshin was doing his shiko below the dohyo:
And Juryo rikishi were practicing on the dohyo:
I’m not sure when Chiyomaru had time to interview for the local news:
Maybe during the Makuuchi practice?
I guess he is getting himself used to being in Juryo.
Here is Tochinoshin vs. Takakeisho:
Tochinoshin doesn’t like to lose.
In the afternoon part of the event, Daiamami took the opportunity to get a photo with the sumo club of his alma mater, the Kagoshima Commercial Senior High School:
Enho was taking a stroll through the concession stand, where some fan sneaked in some unspecified unlicensed cheeky merchandise that managed to make Enho gasp, laugh, and apparently, feign anger:
No, I really have no idea what the fake merchandise was. The tweets I read that in had that part intentionally redacted. All we are left with is a pixie who is cute even when he tries to look fierce. And of course, Tomokaze who gets his share of pixie skin.
You can catch some glimpses of bouts in this video. Yes, it’s a video of a TV set showing a news segment. What you see are the local stars:
Also, enjoy Abi’s shiko:
And here is an expression you’ll never, ever see on the Yokozuna’s face when he gets ready to throw his salt in honbasho. Jungyo exclusive face here:
The day ends with Kasugaryu twirling his bow:
And this post ends with a double header in the pin-up corner:
We complete our journey through Kumamoto in Uto, home to two active rikishi. One is Ryuko, a Makushita wrestler who did well this basho and will be in the race for sekitori status in the next basho:
Um, Narutaki. What are you doing? I thought we were done with this stuff last jungyo. Anyway, you’re drawing attention away from the local boy!
So, in yesterday’s post’s comments, I was asked whether these tsukebito actually get any practice. Well, yes they do:
The practice session is more or less the same as that of the sekitori, only held earlier. It consists mostly of moshi-ai sessions, punctuated by quick butsukari for the participants. At the later stages, that butsukari is offered by sekitori:
Not that Enho is much of a pushing challenge. In Midorifuji’s case, it seems he got his butsukari from Tamawashi. At least, the mud on his back says he got rolled.
That’s a bit more of a challenge, and apparently Tamawashi makes sure that he didn’t hurt the micro-rikishi.
While the low-ranking wrestlers have their time on the dohyo, the sekitori are either outside in the corridors doing handshakes, or finding themselves quiet spots for some exercise. Meisei, who is out doing handshake, is so cold, he starts laughing uncontrollably:
Ishiura is all like “Who put me next to Crazy here”?
Which may be the reason why later Meisei had to settle for an isolated spot between a stroller and some derelict equipment:
Don’t worry, he didn’t stay alone for long:
A bit earlier, near the dohyo, just as yesterday, the Kokonoe guys do their morning workouts in front of their oyakata. This includes not just the sekitori but also Chiyosakae, who does this:
This seems to embarrass Kokonoe oyakata, whose voice you can hear in the background “take it seriously, will you?”. He also assures us in the tweet that Chiyosakae actually does take it seriously.
Around that same time, Akiseyama arrives at the dohyo and greets Kasugano, the Jungyo master.
I have a feeling Kasugano wishes he didn’t.
In some corner of the venue, Toyonoshima works out with a piece of rubber, assisted by his loyal Miyazaki:
The Juryo men start their own practice on the dohyo. Here is some butsukari between Chiyonoumi and Hakuyozan:
Jokoryu gets to have Ikioi’s chest:
And Enho… well, Enho is everywhere and practices with everybody. That is, anybody who can possibly find an excuse to lay his hands on the pixie:
Even the Yokozuna smiles when his little uchi-deshi greets him with a respectful ladle of water:
You’d think that Enho is the star of the show rather than Shodai. But actually, Shodai got a lot of attention. Some keiko with Asanoyama:
And some with Tochinoshin:
To which Tochinoshin also adds a hearty Kawaigari:
Practice part over, everybody gets cleaned, have their oicho-mage started, and have lunch. There are food stalls outside, and… it’s the perfect oportunity to grab Enho and ask him for a pic:
Hey, is that a way to start a conversation with a sekitori? Is there a single rikishi in the whole sumo world who doesn’t think the Japanese National Sport is actually “grab the pixie”?
As practice mawashi dry in the sun…
Inside the venue it still seems pretty cold. Take a look at Terutsuyoshi, all bundled into his… is that a kimono or a Mongolian Deel?
Sure looks like a Deel to me, but Terutsuyoshi is not Mongolian.
Nishikigi, on the other hand, gets warm by pestering his tsukebito:
In the entrance, however, Shodai was being photographed with his grandmother:
The Japanese press love Shodai’s grandmother, because of her name. Shodai is one of the wrestlers, like Takayasu, Endo and Yago, who wrestle under their own name. His grandmother’s name is 正代正代 – yes, twice the same pair of kanji, two completely different readings: Masayo Shodai.
It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri, and Enho is turning up the kawaii level:
Gokushindo is doing the same thing on the East side:
Those two are supposed to face each other this day. And they both exude kawaii like two idol group members on a save-the-cute-bunnies campaign. Enho signals to Gokushindo across the dohyo as they wait their turn:
When Gokushindo gets up on the dohyo, Chiyonoumi gives him the good old salted ladle routine:
Which you can’t blame him for doing, when that’s the reaction he gets. Then the two kings of cute battle in the cutest sumo bout you have ever seen:
I did warn you to prepare the insulin in advance, didn’t I? And those two kept it up even after the bout was over!
Well, Toyonoshima and Tomokaze were a little more serious about it:
But then came the Makuuchi dohyo-iri and of course, the usual suspects were goofing around. Abi had an arm-wrestling contest with Chiyotairyu:
And Nishikigi was still looking for somebody to bother, and found Shodai:
Shodai: “Come on, my grandma is here!”.
Looks like a little bit of cute rubbed off even on Takarafuji and Asanoyama:
But if you want to see a little actual sumo, here is this short video:
Shodai was paired, unsurprisingly, with Endo, who must be rather frustrated at having to constantly lose to local boys. Utchari, no less!
And how about that tsuridashi Hakuho did on Takayasu? It’s very encouraging to see him do that. Remember, Jungyo bouts are not something anybody is advised to put money on. There are lots of “gentlemen’s agreements” there, and at the very least, nobody is going to risk injury to win. But still, you can draw some conclusions about wrestlers’ health, and if Hakuho can do something like picking Takayasu up, it means his legs are up to the extra load.
By the way, Yoshikaze was back on the torikumi this day for the first time since the Jungyo began – while Yutakayama dropped off it.
With the sun setting, everybody’s Akeni was packed and wrapped and loaded onto the truck (the side-loading Japanese trucks are very clever):
The Akeni and their wraps carry the names of the sekitori. I always amuse myself by trying to identify as many names as possible. Try to learn the kanji for the wrestlers names!
During this visit to Uto, the Yokozuna paid a visit to the grave of Shiranui Nageimon, the 8th Yokozuna, performing his Shiranui dohyo-iri in front of the grave:
Shiranui Nageimon was actually the master of the 11th Yokozuna Shiranui Kotsuemon to whom that dohyo-iri style is (mistakenly) attributed.
And with this, we wrap up the day, tying it all up with Tobizaru:
That lovely Tobizaru really needs to be credited, so here is the Tweet from which he was taken:
We continue our journey through the Kumamoto prefecture. As always, the day starts with the low-ranking wrestlers around the dohyo, while some of the sekitori are shaking hands, some exercise around the venue, and some around the dohyo. The Kokonoe sekitori seem to be very diligent. Earlier than everybody, they start exercising around the dohyo:
The reason for this is that Kokonoe oyakata is in the Jungyo, and watching his flock like a hawk. He is the one who took this picture, by the way.
Hmm… where is Chiyoshoma? I guess not everybody is that stressed out about the oyakata. Chiyoshoma, as usual, gravitates toward the Mongolian corner:
Mitoryu is not the only one doing resistance training. Takanosho is hard at work, simultaneously stretching his rubber strap and being cute.
Ishiura is busy stretching his tendons:
You can do better than that!
Takekaze was doing… something…
The tweet says suri-ashi, but it doesn’t really look like it.
Takayasu is busy lifting one of his tsukebito. Ozeki and Yokozuna get to bring more than one tsukebito to Jungyo. His other tsukebito is also by his side – Musashikuni.
Now let’s see Takayasu try that with Musashikuni…
The local boys are Sadanoumi and Shodai. Sadanoumi does a frog impression:
OK, OK, it’s another type of stretch. I get the impression that Sadanoumi tries to avoid the limelight, as opposed to Shodai who is in full fansa mode:
Shodai is accompanied by Asakura, who demonstrates the duties of a tsukebito to us.
Other rikishi take their time and chat a little. Here is a rare smile from Kagayaki:
Kagayaki once said the only rikishi he is on friendly terms with is Enho. But it seems he found some companionship in Onosho. Onosho seems to be a friendly guy in general:
Here he is with Midorifuji. Midorifuji seems to enjoy the same popularity Enho had when he was still in a black mawashi and doing the Jungyo as Hakuho’s tsukebito: he seems to hang out with many sekitori, not even from his own ichimon, which is a bit unusual for a low-ranker. I’ve seen him chatting with Chiyoshoma (who rarely chats with anybody other than his own heya-mates or the Mongolian rikishi), and even with some of the oyakata. It’s the pixie dust, I’m sure!
On the dohyo, we have some Juryo moshi-ai:
And some Makuuchi: Ryuden vs. Sadanoumi
Endo vs. Aoiyama:
I expect Aoiyama to cut through the ranks like a hot knife in butter next basho. Tamawashi vs. Shohozan:
I always like to watch these two going at it. I expect the bartender to dive under the counter any minute.
And here are Tochinoshin and Asanoyama:
No explicit information, but it seems Meisei has been through some kawaigari:
And so we get to the second part of the day. Not many photos from the actual bouts, but remember, Hakuho is back! Therefore, we have this familiar scene:
That’s Hakuho, leaning on the Yobidashi after the sanyaku-soroi-bumi, awaiting his bout. He invariably does that in Jungyo – and sometimes runs some pranks on the yobidashi while he’s at it.
Here’s a short video with some shokkiri and some bouts (alas, no complete ones):
We have a short one today, as few fans blessed us with photographs or videos from this town by Mount Aso in Kumamoto.
There are two sekitori from Kumamoto prefecture, so they starred today, and will be celebrated in the next two days as well. I give you Sadanoumi, in a Myogiryu Paisley yukata, and Shodai, in a dragonfly motif.
You’ll note that everybody was wearing yukata for their handshake this time. The temperature was 0ºC in the morning, and I guess the strict oyakata felt a little guilty going around in their own warm Uniqlo padded vests and having the rikishi freeze. You may also notice that they are not wearing any obi – my guess is that they have their mawashi on under the yukata.
Inside the main hall, though, the rikishi are in their mawashi, and keep warm by doing exercise. Here is Asanoyama doing his suri-ashi:
What does “suri-ashi” mean? Listen to the sound track. It means “sliding feet”. The feet are supposed to slide along the ground when you do suri-ashi, rather than be lifted.
Chiyomanu, on the other hand, was doing… what is he doing?
He was doing this repeatedly. It must be practice! Practice for… er… some father-son day in the distant future, where there will be sack racing?
On the dohyo, Nishikigi was giving butsukari to Onosho:
Easy. Abi giving butsukari to Endo:
Note that if the submissive is too successful and gives the dominant no opportunity to roll him, the dominant will sometimes signal for an itten – in which the submissive symbolically hits his chest, and is then rolled immediately. An itten is also how a butsukari session ends – and sometimes there may be more than one to finish the session (especially in kawaigari sessions).
Tochinoshin offers his chest to Daieisho:
Here is some moshi-ai:
Is that Endo again? Not sure. Meisei beats him, and Abi as well – and Abi is definitely practicing yotsu again.
Tochinoshin takes up Chiyotairyu:
Time to go away and take a relaxing bath. Coming back – in his own van – is the dai-Yokozuna, already in full regalia. And Mongolian though he is, the cold is getting to him, too:
So Kasugaryu wraps him up with his yukata. It’s good to be the king!
I do not have any bouts or even bout photos from this day’s event, but here is a video of the san-yaku soroi-bumi (“kore yori sanyaku”):
What this video tells us is that, for the first time in this Jungyo, Hakuho is participating in the bouts!
Indeed, according to the press, this was the first bout he had since leaving the Aki Jungyo and having his surgery. He beats Takayasu by yori-kiri, to much applause.
And today’s pin-up boy is:
One of the spectators asked him to hold her boy in his arms (dakko – the Japanese believe that if a rikishi holds your child he or she will grow up strong and healthy). After letting him down, he keeps patting the child’s head and talking to him. The kid seems to be interested in his sagari!