Continuing with my intermittent reporting… The Jungyo finished its first leg, which consisted of winding its way back from Nagoya to Tokyo. The rikishi had one day off in their heya or homes, and then gathered back at the Tachikawa Tachihi Arena in Tokyo, where we land today.Continue reading
🌐 Location: Gojo, Nara prefecture
Today the Jungyo hit the first of two stops at Nara prefecture – in the small town named Gojo, population 35,000 or so.
Early morning, and the sekitori started arriving at the venue through the cold weather:
You can see Yoshikaze and Enho there, but they are still not participating in any bouts. Yokozuna and Ozeki, by the way, may sleep separately from the rest, and therefore also arrive separately:
So let’s go around the venue and see what kind of practice the sekitori are having. Sadanoumi is giving his tsukebito some light butsukari practice:
And Daishoho is… what is Daishoho doing, exactly?
Maybe we shouldn’t show this video to anybody under 18.
At the Dohyo, Goeido is doing push-ups. Sort of:
If you recall, practice sessions on the dohyo consist mostly of moshi-ai sessions (winner decides who to call next), interspersed with higher-ranking rikishi going on the dohyo and giving all those who practiced in the most recent session some butsukari. So here are Mitakeumi and Shodai in one of those butsukari intermissions:
After the low-ranking rikishi finish their practice, it’s time for the sekitori to take the dohyo. Again, moshi-ai sessions commence – and Takagenji takes his (evil) twin.
…and this is exactly why Takanofuji is going to be out of that white Mawashi come Natsu.
The sekitori moshi-ai sessions are also punctuated by butsukari sessions. Today’s star is Tokushoryu, a native of Nara prefecture. He therefore gets treated to some Yokozuna butsukari. Kakuryu does the honors:
And here is the moshi-ai session between Tochiozan and Okinoumi, then Tochiozan and Aoiyama, then Aoiyama and Kagayaki:
Eventually, noon arrived, and with it the message to the Japanese nation: the new era that starts May 1st will be called “Reiwa” (令和). The whole nation is very excited about it, and head gyoji, Shikimori Inosuke, sets out to write the auspicious characters on a couple of large signs.
Gyoji serve as clerks when they are off the dohyo and out of their shiny outfits and headgear. They practice calligraphy from the moment they enter the sumo world (which, like rikishi, can be as early as age 15). Gyoji are in charge of writing all those signs with rikishi names on them, writing the banzuke, and so on. And of course, the head gyoji is also the head calligrapher.
And so, the Yokozuna were able to pay their respects to the name of the new era:
By the way, the sharp-eyed kanji readers among you may notice that the nobori behind Kakuryu still has “Kisenosato” on it.
The sign (I think actually a second sign) ended up being hung inside the venue in time for the Makuuchi bouts.
Back to sumo activity, it was time for dohyo-iri. And Nishikigi was pestering Shodai incessantly:
Can’t exactly fathom why the old ladies believe that Shodai screaming is “kawaii!”.
Nishikigi wouldn’t let go of Shodai even after dohyo-iri:
Nor just before the bouts:
Literally, not letting the man go:
So here is a summary video with some actual bouts:
That is, Ishiura getting a mighty wedgie from Toyonoshima, Tokushoryu showing Takagenji why he may not yet make it to Makuuchi this time, and Takakeisho repeating his senshuraku performance with Tochinoshin.
Finally, how about a pin-up boy? I give you… Endo!
What do you mean “how do you know this is really Endo”?
Following revelations in January, Tate-gyoji Shikimori Inosuke served a 3 basho suspension, and has now resigned from the Japan Sumo Association. Inosuke was accused of (and admitted to) sexually assaulting a junior gyoji who was only in his teens. To complicate matters, Inosuke was drunk at the time.
Following his resignation on Wednesday, sumo will have no tate-gyoji on the banzuke for Nagoya, which is a first in this century.