Short Jungyo News – Days 3,4

Day 3 took place at Kusatsu, Shiga prefecture. Day 4 took place at Echizen, Fukui prefecture. Here are some of the things that happened, on and off the Jungyo.

Injuries

Yeah, we couldn’t do without those, could we? Takanosho, a.k.a Onigiri-kun, injured his right knee during practice, and left for Tokyo, joining his two heya mates who are already kyujo, Takakeisho and Takagenji. The only Chiganoura sekitori to stay in the Jungyo is Takanofuji, the evil twin. I hope it’s not one of those career-shattering injuries.

And Ryuko, who was having a streak of bad luck ever since he had the privilege of being Aminishiki’s last opponent, also made his way to Tokyo with an injury. It’s not clear whether it’s a new injury or a lingering one from the basho.

Meanwhile, we are informed that neither Takakeisho nor Takayasu will be joining this Jungyo at all. Chiganoura oyakata says Takakeisho’s state is improving every day, but still, he is not practicing at the moment, taking treatments and rehab with a specialized trainer. He will apparently not be in until banzuke day, and then, says Chiganoura oyakata “We’ll see if he can wrestle sekitori”.

As for Takayasu… you can see for yourself. Torn ligament, arm in a cast. He is not supposed to be in the keiko-ba (practice ground) at all, but he is, though apparently, mostly moving a bit and bossing the youngsters around. I’m more worried about him, with his heya’s history of… Kisenosato… than I am about Takakeisho, though.

Chiyonofuji’s Death Anniversary

Three years ago today (July 31), former Great Yokozuna Chiyonofuji, AKA “The Wolf”, died age 61. Members of Kokonoe beya participating in the Jungyo, including tokoyama Tokotake (I hope I got that right) and Gyoji Konosuke, held a moment of silence in his memory:

Mitakeumi declares an Ozeki run

OK, enough sad news. Yesterday, Mitakeumi had his first on-dohyo practice.

On that occasion, he told the press he was very dissatisfied with his result in Nagoya – a mere 9 wins – and declared he was aiming for double figures and the possible start of an Ozeki run in Aki. “I keep telling myself I am the next Ozeki”. So far he is mostly getting reverse butsukari – yesterday he was pushing TV star Tochiozan, today Abi. His moshi-ai results are not exactly Ozeki-level. He had 5 bouts with Tamawashi, Ryuden et al., won 2 and lost 3. But the Jungyo is still young.

Kawaigari du jour

Yesterday Hakuho rested his inner khan, giving nobody kawaigari. But today, he was back. He told Kizakiumi he might go with him, getting a nervous laugh, but eventually decided to break the shin-Juryo pattern, and go with Tomokaze. That was a 7 minutes ordeal, as befits someone who is much more likely to actually meet Hakuho on the dohyo some time soon.

Yes, white-haired guy on the other side of the dohyo, Hakuho is actually tripping his victim as he is trying to push. Kawaigari is great fun!

As for Kizakiumi, Hakuho said “Well, the Jungyo has just begun!”

Merchandising, merchandising!

Kototsurugi (the official sumo illustrator, a former rikishi) created a design for a new line of Enho products, and had Enho promoting it for him:

Enho is depicted as Issun-Boshi in this design. Issun-Boshi, the tiny hero who leaves his parents’ house to sail the seas in a rice bowl with a chopstick for an oar, is the Japanese equivalent of Tom Thumb.

Of course, somebody else would need to empty that rice bowl for him, though, because Enho himself is famous for his dislike for cooked white rice.

I predict this line of merchandise (I have seen this shirt and a lunch bag so far) will be scooped off the shelves as soon as it hits them. Enho is the hottest thing in Sumodom at the moment.

Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 13

Naruto oyakata, on duty today, with his 7-0 deshi Sakurai

We’re back on track! Today, although there were few “big names” on the torikumi list, there were many important matches. All the yusho deciders in Makushita or below were played today, resulting either in yusho winners, or in playoffs to take place on Senshuraku. We’ll go through these bouts, as well as some of our usual ones of interest.

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Nagoya Storyline #4: Juryo Promotions

There was a slew of Juryo promotions this tournament. All five of these wrestlers will find going full time to be a challenge, only Takanofuji has been in Juryo before (we’ll get to that). Are they up for it? Instead of 7 bouts spread over the fortnight, they’ll be battling every day.

Kotokamatani marked the occasion with a new shikona, Kotonowaka. As Herouth mentions below, it’s his father’s shikona. His father reached Sekiwake claiming seven special prizes and eight kinboshi over his career, including Nagoya 1996 with wins over Takanohana AND Akebono.

Matching that legacy requires steady progress, one tournament at a time. From J14W, there’s no room for makekoshi. Kotonowaka the younger began his career in 2016 with the Jonokuchi yusho. He progressed quickly from there, with no makekoshi records until makushita. He’s a balanced wrestler, capable of winning on the belt or with pushing/thrusting techniques though he favors the belt.

Kizakiumi’s amateur success granted him a head start when he decided on the heya life. He started at the bottom of sandanme last year. Like Takakeisho, he’s a strict oshi-battler, winning 80% of his bouts in oshidashi. He’s yet to win a single bout with yorikiri.

Ichiyamamoto debuted in March 2017, and like Kotonowaka, claimed the Jonokuchi yusho in his first tournament, rocketing into makushita by September. He’s an oshi pusher-thruster but has been able to win a few on the belt. I would say that he’d need to perfect that technique to have success beyond this level…but Takakeisho and Abi belie that thought.

Ryuko debuted in the same tournament as Ichiyamamoto. Ryuko failed to pick up the yusho because of his DAY ONE loss to Ichiyamamoto in a dramatic, evenly contested, two minute long endurance bout, shown below in the video from the Japan Sumo channel on YouTube.

Vengeance came, as Herouth covered it late last year, when Ryuko played the old, “I’ve got your leg” trick that Enho’s been playing on people lately. Thus far, only those two bouts in this rivalry but I have a feeling there will be many more, again from the Japan Sumo channel.

Lastly we’ve got Takanofuji, formerly known as Takayoshitoshi, Takagenji’s twin brother. He was briefly in Juryo in March of last year…before he beat his tsukebito. Herouth’s article describes the eventand another describes the punishment. Well, after shedding his old shikona and hopefully the entitled, violent attitude he won last tournament’s Makushita yusho. He’s a straight-forward yotsu grappler without – ironically – his brother’s ability to brawl.

Senshuraku bouts from the lower divisions

Tochikamiyama-Okinohama

The basho is over, and this is our ultimate Natsu 2019 lower division report. The lower division schedule is a little lighter on senshuraku, and we have fewer bouts today.

In Jonokuchi, we wish the giant from Miyagino beya, Toma, farewell and success in losing some weight by the Nagoya basho. Here is his final bout with Yabugasaki. Both are 4-2, Toma is attacking from the left.

Toma extends his balance to 5-2, and we will see him somewhere around Jonidan 60-70-ish in Nagoya.

In Jonidan, we move forward in time to watch the yusho playoff (which takes place at the end of Juryo matches). Tochikamiyama on the left is facing Okinohama on the right, and he is more than a little nervous.

The TV announcer expected a monoii, but apparently, Okinohama was flying while Tochikamiyama still had two feet inside the ring. Tochikamiyama bravely fights the smile that floats to his face, as he wins the yusho.

Next up, in Sandanme, we have Tamakongo (left) facing Kotoozutsu on the right. Or rather, this footage starts when Tamakongo has his bout to us. Tamakongo, if you recall, is Tamawashi’s lone heya-mate. The two are 5-1:

He is now 6-1, and all the rikishi in Kataonami beya have had a wonderfully large kachi-koshi this basho, it turns out.

The more serious Sandanme contest is between Shiraishi and Hokutokawa. Again we move forward in time, as this is a yusho decider. Shiraishi is set to become Tamanoi beya’s next star. Shiraishi attacks from the right:

Shiraishi is completely unfazed by the large crowd gathered for prime time. The Sandanme yusho is his, reminding us of one Oyanagi, who achievede the same in his first basho – nowadays called Yutakayama. Definitely one to watch for Nagoya as well.

Going up to Makushita, we can’t do without the back-flipping Tomisakae from Isegahama beya. He is matched with Takemasa, and both are 4-2. Tomisakae is coming from the left…

…and going straight to the right. Trust Tomisakae, though, to convert a Kotoyuki-style roll into a lithe cartwheel.

Well, maybe not exactly lithe.

Another bout in the 4-2 bracket that was relegated to senshuraku is our friend Kototebakari, facing Ryusei. In this case the video angle is such that Ryusei is with his back to us and Kototebakari attacking from the opposite direction.

Kototebakari was in a bit of danger there for a second, but manages an almost Hakuho-like stop and change of direction, for the win.

Finally, Here is a cynical, yucky bout at the bottom of Juryo. Seiro (right) is 7-7 and needs his kachi koshi to survive in Juryo. Ryuko is 5-1, but at Ms4e, with four kachi-koshi rikishi ranked above him, he needs that Juryo spot to be vacated and his own score to improve, to pass the “hell/heaven” line. This is how he does it:

Kesho mawashi are usually donated by fans. And I know only one man who is a real fan of the Henka. Andy, care to donate a kesho mawashi to Ryuko?