Nishiiwa Beya To Open Feb 2018, 5 Wrestlers Promoted to Juryo

Hat-tip to Asashosakari for posting on Reddit that the new Nishiiwa Beya will open in 2018, headed by former Sekiwake Wakanosato. Nikkan Sports reports that this will be the 46th stable, an off-shoot from Taganoura stable where he is currently coaching. Youngsters Wakanoguchi and Wakasatake will make the move with him. Both were Jonidan-ranked wrestlers for the Kyushu tournament, having made their debuts earlier this year. The Japanese Sumo Kyokai’s website has a full list available.

Five wrestlers were promoted to the full-time salaried ranks of Juryo. Mitoryu (6-1) and Akua (5-2) will make their Juryo debuts Hatsubasho. Three others will be returning, Kizenryu, Daishoho, and Makushita yusho winner Tochihiryu.

In other news, nine wrestlers announced their retirement with the headliner obviously being Yokozuna Harumafuji. Kotohayashi from Sandanme, four Jonidan wrestlers (Suekawa, Kasuganami, Hasugeyama, Mutsumi), two Jonokuchi wrestlers (Tomiyama & Masuyama) and unranked Wakainoue also called it quits.

Kyokutenho Retires

It’s a very sad day in sumo. Until Terunofuji was promoted, the man had won more yusho than the three ozeki. At 40 years old, he would have turned 41 on the first day of the Fall tournament. He entered sumo in 1992. George H. W. Bush was President of the United States, François Mitterrand was President of France. The Soviet Union had just dissolved a few months before. Nirvana was touring its release of Nevermind. Yes, Kurt Cobain was still alive. In sports, the Washington Redskins, led by Mark Rypien beat Jim Kelly’s Buffalo Bills in Superbowl XXVI. The Premier League was just created from the English First Division. Back in Japan, Konishiki won the March yusho.

Kotomitsuki Hair-cutting Ceremony

Former Ozeki Kotomitsuki (琴光喜) had his topknot cut yesterday after losing his lawsuit seeking reinstatement to the makuuchi. Kotomitsuki was banned in 2010 for illegal gambling on baseball. I believe these hair-cutting ceremonies are usually done in the dohyo but this just seems to be a hotel conference room. Former yokozuna and sumo legend, Takanohana (貴乃花), is the one cutting his top-knot.

All three current yokozuna were present at the ceremony, as was Kotoshogiku. He’s still well-loved and well-respected by many sumo fans, so maybe he could be seen as the Pete Rose of sumo.

He also got into a spot of legal trouble last year related to his restaurant for hiring foreigners without the proper visas. Again, that’s another sensitive issue here in the US, as well. When I was in Japan, one of my roommates was kicked out of the country for working illegally as a manager of some British pubs. I had other roommates who were working “under-the-table” at hostess clubs. Anyway, it’s hard to keep one’s nose clean if you’re constantly pushed to the margins of society. I’m certainly in favor of immigration reform, particularly legalizing people who want to work.

Homasho, say it ain’t so! Homasho retires.

Homasho

Though it does not come as much surprise due to the nature of his latest injury, Homasho has announced his retirement at the age of 33. He has missed the last three tournaments due to an ACL tear suffered in July in a bout with Harumafuji. He had just bounced back into the upper ranks of maegashira after being demoted to the lower Juryo division in 2013 and again to start 2014 due to previous injuries.

Over the course of the last twelve basho, he had only completed 6, three of them in Juryo. While recovering from the ACL tear, he had dropped out of the salaried sumo ranks to Makushita #7 and would surely face further demotion if he were to try to compete in March.

Before these injury plagued two years, Homasho was a solid upper Maegashira wrestler and had acheived the rank of komusubi three times. Each time he reached komusubi, however, he was only able to garner four wins so he’d drop back into the maegashira rank-and-file. He has won the Fighting Spirit prize five times and the Technique prize twice during his career. He’d also come in second, garnering jun-yusho, three times.

I always enjoyed his style, always giving 100% effort and demonstrating utmost respect and sportsmanship. He will remain in sumo with the Shikorayama stable as a coach under the name Tatsutagawa.