It has been a long couple of weeks since the end of Natsu basho and we are eager for Aki to start. I’ve been seeing sumo references start creeping into my daily life…like when I was passing by the fishmonger in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. Beautiful fish of success, please bring us good fortune in September…
We learned the other day that Takakeisho was denied an Ozeki promotion, for now. Obviously, it’s on him to perform well in March with potential promotion for May. In truth, he’s not the only wrestler on an Ozeki run. He’s also not the only wrestler on an Ozeki run with the strength of a yusho on his résumé.
Tamawashi enters the next tournament on 22 wins of the 33 “standard”. 10 wins is likely a bubble number but it would be very difficult to deny promotion with a repeat of 13 wins, however unlikely that may seem. Add Tochinoshin’s kadoban status to the mix and the composition of the Ozeki corps could be very different by summer.
So, how many Ozeki do you think there will be in May? Guess the correct number of ozeki for the May tournament, in banzuke order, and I will select one of the correct answers and send you a T-Shirt of your choice from the Tachiai Shop. My guess is five Ozeki: O1E Goeido (+ Osaka yusho), O1W Tochinoshin, O2E Takayasu, O2W Takakeisho, O3E Tamawashi.
Number of Ozeki in May 2019:— 立合 (@tachiai_blog) February 11, 2019
*Bonus* Reply with the right names *in the right banzuke order* and I’ll pick one from the right answers for a T-Shirt on me from https://t.co/4DiBsyzTsH
Tai (sea bream) is a fish that is commonly used at times of celebration because of its bright, red color. In the world of sumo, when a rikishi is promoted to ozeki, pictures of him holding tai are ubiquitous. Recent pictures of Terunofuji, and Goeido from last year, are no exception. In many Asian cultures, red is the color of fortune. For example, the Chinese stock market uses red to signify rising stock prices and green to reflect falling prices – the exact opposite of western exchanges like those in New York.
I found this particular picture at a Tonkatsu restaurant in Kinshi city in Tokyo. The Arcakit mall is just outside the north exit of Kinshicho station. The 10th floor has a whole bunch of restaurants. Near the west end of the mall is this tonkatsu restaurant, called Inaba Wako. Since Kinshicho is one station away from the Kokugikan, it’s pretty common to see sumo related art and souvenirs in the stores and restaurants around the area.
Now, I’m hungry…
I’ll update this with a more full run down when I get a chance but no upsets among the ozeki today. That said, Ikioi came very close to executing a successful throw against Kotoshogiku but couldn’t quite pull it off. As penance, he had to have the entire weight of Kotoshogiku fall on top of him. Ouch. The fact is, he should have had it. Kotoshogiku was able to use his leg strength to get the Maegashira to the straw bales but Ikioi was able to stop his momentum once there.
Terunofuji blasted Myogiryu through the ring and nearly off the dohyo. I was afraid Myogiryu’s knee buckled at the edge but I think he dropped down to prevent himself from falling off the edge. I’ll need to see replays of that later. He popped back up quickly and showed no signs of injury. Kisenosato was too much for Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi just seems out-matched against this level of competition this tournament. Goeido pulled off a thrilling double spin to defeat Aoiyama. In a great match, Aoiyama got Goeido spun around but Goeido spun again and the Bulgarian lost his balance and fell, boobs first, into the clay.
I was looking forward to Hakuho v Tochinoshin but that matchup fell flat. Sensing Tochinoshin over-committing, Hakuho helped him flop into the dirt for the hatakikomi win. Kakuryu was also pretty dominant against Takayasu, picking up his third win and closing out the first day of the tournament without any top upsets.
Lower ranked updates below…