Word from Japan today that in the wake of the decision to hold Osaka’s Haru Basho with no spectators, the spring jungyo has been canceled. The public relations director, Shibatayama oyakata (the former Onokuni) announced earlier on Thursday that the spring jungyo tour dates would be delayed until next year. While this is a disappointment for fans across Japan, the spread of the corona virus is becoming a fact of daily life. With it come cancelations to public gatherings and ceremonies of all types.
Yokozuna Deliberation Council Approves Unanimously
In a move that has been expected since the end of the Hatsu basho, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council has met on Monday January 23rd at the Kokugikan, and after only 10 minutes of discussion, unanimously approved Kisenosato as the 72nd Yokozuna. He will be the first Japanese man to take the rope since 1998 when it was given to the 66th Yokozuna Wakanohana.
The meeting on the 23rd was held as an “extraordinary session” at request of the Shimpan of the Japan Sumo Association, and was conducted by its chairman Nobuyoshi Hakkaku. Based on that decision, the Sumo Association will decide Kisenosato’s promotion during a meeting of the directors on the 25th.
Official notification is expected to be delivered to the stable later on Wednesday, with all of the pomp and ceremony associated with elevation to Grand Champion. Word in the press is that retired Yokozuna Ōnokuni has offered to teach Kisenosato the ritual of Yokozuna dohyo-iri. It is expected that Yokozuna Kisenosato will adopt the Unryu style, which focuses on defense, and is practiced by Yokozuna Kakuryu, and legendary Yokozuna Takanohana.
Tachiai congratulates Kisenosato in achieving this mighty goal, to which he has dedicated his entire life.
More details from the Asahi Shimbun here