Musashikuni Returns with Konishiki to Sumo & Sushi

Musashikuni on the dohyo at Kokugikan, Natsu 2019
Former Makushita rikishi Musashikuni in his previous life. Photo credit: @nicolaah for Tachiai.

Longtime followers of Musashikuni were disappointed to learn of his recent intai. Long touted as a great hope of Musashigawa-beya, the former Yokozuna and stable master’s nephew vacated the banzuke after struggling with injury in recent months.

His intai ceremony was performed at his heya, and left the Texan Wakaichiro (whose shusshin is technically Nagasaki) as the sole American competitor in the sport.

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【武蔵國 引退のご報告】 武蔵川部屋再興当時より皆様に応援して頂いて参りました武蔵國でございますが、今場所をもって引退する事ととなり、本日たくさんの方々に見守られる中、断髪式を行いました。 昨年より体調を崩したまま回復に至らず、親方と話し合いをした結果、今後はハワイに帰り第二の人生を送ります。 来日してから七年間、大相撲の世界で努力して参りましたが、皆様のご期待に応えることができないまま引退となりました事を大変申し訳なく思っております。 これまで、武蔵國の応援をして頂き、誠にありがとうございました‼︎ #武蔵川部屋 #武蔵丸 #大相撲 #sumo

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Musashikuni has now resurfaced in America, taking part in the curious “Sumo & Sushi” tour, which will be hosted by the legendary former Ozeki and popular cultural tarento, musician and plate lunch grillmaster Konishiki. These events have taken place on a smaller scale at various cultural festivals across America, and allow people who might be completely unfamiliar with the sport to see some of the traditions and the rikishi up close and personal. Often, the events even offer local customers the chance to get in the ring with a former rikishi, and we had the privilege of speaking to one such punter not too long ago.

(The competing rikishi’s status in the sport is perhaps played up for the benefit of customers who may never be the wiser – we also spoke to someone who was under the impression that former Maegashira Yamamotoyama had in fact been a Yokozuna.)

Musashikuni will be on tour with three other retired rikishi: Bungonishiki (Makushita 16, Dewanoumi beya), Kumago (Sandanme 38, Takasago beya), and Tooyama (Makushita 7, Tamanoi beya)

The events will offer varying degrees of tickets for fans in the Seattle (Oct 31-Nov 2), Los Angeles (Nov 10) and New York (Nov 16 & 17) metropolitan areas over the balance of 2019. Viewing-only tickets range between $50 and $70, Sushi dinner ticket packages tend to run around $100, with front row seats and fights against the rikishi running $100 and $200 more, respectively.

While those ticket prices do compare somewhat unfavourably with even Kokugikan honbasho tickets purchased through third party sites which apply a fee, it does of course seem fair to mention that these events not only may serve to bring new fans to sumo, but can offer intimacy on a tangential level with the sport for fans who may not be able to travel (for time or budgetary reasons) all the way to Japan. Of course, the events can also help provide a source of income for former rikishi who may not have achieved sekitori status and the accompanying salary in their career in Ozumo. And you certainly wouldn’t get the chance to dance with a current rikishi at Grand Sumo’s hallowed home.

Tickets can be purchased at We would certainly look forward to any feedback from readers of the site who may be in attendance. We will also be tracking these events and keeping a close eye on other lower division favourites who may be making their way around the world with similar tours in the future.

節分 – The Japanese Setsubun Festival

Setsubun is a Japanese festival to celebrate the coming of Spring. It falls on February 3, which should be easy for Americans to remember as the day after Groundhog Day. For non-Americans among Tachiai readership, let’s just say Groundhog Day is a great movie by Bill Murray and leave it at that.*

The ritual at the center of setsubun is the bean throwing, mamemaki (豆撒き), shown here in this tweet found by Herouth (@SumoFollower).

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Sushi Bar Edokuni (すし処江戸國): Great Sushi in Kameido

Edokuni Sushi (note picture of Takanohana - in the suit - over her shoulder)
Edokuni Sushi
(note picture of Takanohana – in the suit – over her shoulder)

The other night, to celebrate my birthday, my mother-in-law treated my family to sushi at her local sushi bar. This sushi bar, called Edokuni. The owners are sumo fans, as evidenced not only by the recent banzuke on the wall by the entrance and the calendar featuring Goeido on the back wall…they also have pictures of when Takanohana came to eat and Mainoumi has gone there, too. The pictures of Takanohana are at the left of this picture, over the chef’s shoulder.

Kameido is only a couple of stations from Kokugikan, the main sumo stadium, but this restaurant is tucked away and hidden in a tiny alley off a small side street…as seems to be the case for so many great restaurants in Tokyo. From the station, head north along Meiji-Dori (306). Take your second right at the Mitsubishi UFJ bank. Then head about a block and a half down that side street and it’s in a tiny little alley. Thank God for internet maps. The address is in Kameido 4-chome:
〒136-0071 東京都江東区

The sushi was great so I’ll write about it in more detail on my other blog in the days to come. Aside from the great sushi there were other traditional Japanese dishes that were very well done. They also made a special au gratin for our kids since my 2-year-old doesn’t eat sushi yet. My 6-year-old liked the crab and maguro…but I’ll write about all that later.

The restaurant is also notable for the fact that it is owned by, and the sushi is prepared by, women. I’ve eaten hundreds of pounds of sushi over my life so far and I honestly cannot think of a time when I’ve seen a female sushi chef. In fact, there’s some conventional “wisdom” B.S. about how women cannot be sushi chefs because their hands are too warm. The restaurant was opened shortly after the war by the current owner’s father. When he died suddenly, his wife really had no choice but to take over herself. She’s still there and makes the rice at over 90 years old. However, sushi making duties have been handed down to the daughter – a still spry 68 years old. I only know about the place through my mother-in-law, as I mentioned before, because they go to the gym together.

Now, I’ve eaten a bunch of sushi and Japanese okaiseki but I’m not going to claim to be a super snob. I generally have 4 grades for sushi: terrible, edible, good, and great. I’d classify this as great but ultimately it depends on what you’re willing to pay for. They’ve got higher grade fish than what I ate but what I ate was excellent. I love salmon and this is up there with the best I’ve had. The fish is all very fresh and the all-important rice is very well done but I’ll write more specifics about the food in a post on my food blog.