We reach the end of act 2, and the yusho races are in full swing. Sadly for several of our “ones to watch” they are out of the yusho race, and some are already make-koshi. Ichiyamamoto lost his bout on day 9, and dropped out of the yusho race, but will be moving higher for May, thanks to his kachi-koshi. Meanwhile in Sandanme, Torakio is still looking for his first win of the basho. The Makushita yusho is down to 4 rikishi, and should be decided by the 7th match sometime later this week. Included in the group still in contention is none other than Naya, who returns to the dohyo and day 10.
In the Jonidan race, Terunofuji overpowered Daiyusho to improve to 5-0, and remain in the hunt. The Jonidan race is 6 rikishi wide, and that means it’s likely going to require a tie-breaking match or two. Top of the yusho race is 20 year old rising star from Mongolia, Roga. Roga has yet to lose a match in professional sumo, and took the Hatsu Jonikuchi yusho.
Day 10 Matches
Hoshoryu vs Kairyu – Its clear that young Hoshoryu is getting frustrated with his poor performance at Osaka. Some fans have pointed out a lapse in post-match manners, which is easy to improve. Given that he has had little resistance up to this point, the fact that he can’t blow through the Makushita joi may be a new enlightenment for him. But I am certain that given his fighting spirit, it’s going to drive him to train for higher levels of performance. This is a 1-3 bracket match, and the loser will get a make-koshi. In fact Hoshoryu has to “win out” to get a kachi-koshi.
Akua vs Nogami – A 2-2 bracket match, Nogami beat Akua in their only prior match. Kachi-koshi is still quite possible for Akua, and would allow him to take a step closer towards the Juryo-Makushita line, and possibly contest to return to the lime green mawashi for Nagoya.
Musashikuni vs Oki – These two have had 4 career matches against each other, and Oki has won 3 of them. Right now Mushashikuni is at 2-2, so like Akua he still has a clear, wide path to a kachi-koshi. But he is going to have to overcome Oki to get there.
Shoji vs Tagonofuji – Shoji won their only prior match. Once again the schedulers have stacked up all of the Mushashigawa clan on the same day, and most of them are 2-2! Tagonofuji is about 20kg lighter than Shoji, so I am expecting he will retain an upper hand.
Wakaichiro vs Kaorufuji – Up from Jonidan, Kaorufuji is a 180kg bunker-buster of a rikishi. As we have seen in the past, Wakaichiro is still working to figure out how to overcome the big ones, and today is another chance for him to get a win on the board. Hint to our Texas rikishi – aim for center-mass and accelerate your thrusts through his body. Oddly, visualizing the endpoint of that shove on the other side of his body seems to increase the transfer of energy….
Kenho vs Terumichi – A 1-3 bracket match, the loser will go home with a make-koshi. We hope Kenho can rally and bring his “big man sumo” out today. He has looked hurt and immobile for the past 3 matches.
Day 11 brings a full spread of our lower division “Ones to Watch” with 7 matches across Sandanme and Makushita, with many of today’s matches deciding make / kachi koshi. We are likely not going to see Ura again at Hatsu, following re-injury to his right knee. Wakamotoharu is looking likely to join his brother in Juryo for March, and Ichiyamamoto is on track to climb closer to the top of the Makushita “wall”.
Wakamotoharu vs Tochihiryu – Wakamotoharu is in the thick of the yusho race with a 5-0 record, and a likely promotion to Juryo in the balance. His opponent, Tochihiryu, is a former Juryo man himself, and is looking for a path back to the salaried ranks.
Akua vs Daiseido – The loser of this 2-3 bracket match will walk away with a make-koshi today. Akua’s hope to return to Juryo are likely on hold for now, but he still needs to overcome Daiseido to remain in the hunt for promotion after Osaka.
Ichiyamamoto vs Kairyu – A 4-1 bracket match, both rikishi already kachi-koshi, so this is all about fighting for rank in March. Kairyu is a former Makushita yusho winner, and a veteran of 52 basho at this rank. This will be a fierce match.
Hoshoryu vs Kizenryu – There are plenty of indications that Hoshoryu was rattled by the outcome of his match with Ura, that saw the fan favorite hauled away in a wheel chair after re-injuring his right knee. The winner of today’s match will lock in their kachi-koshi, so we hope that Hoshoryu can set aside his worries and gamberize.
Wakatakamoto vs Obamaumi – Another 3-2 bracket match with kachi-koshi on the line. The lowest ranked Onami brother faces off against Sakaigawa’s Obamaumi, who had to re-start his career after an injury.
Musashikuni vs Masutoo – A 2-3 bracket match, where the loser will be make-koshi for Hatsu. Musashikuni had a tough start, but has rallied and won his last 2 matches. If he can win out the rest of the tournament, he can still end Hatsu with a winning record.
Naya vs Amanoshima – Naya looked less than awesome day 10, and now he finds himself in the 2-3 bracket working to avoid make-koshi and a return to Sandanme. As the last man on the Makushita banzuke, he is most certainly on the bubble.
Shoji vs Tagonofuji – The second Musashigawa rikishi on our list today (Wakaichiro has the day off), Shoji is already kachi-koshi, and going for more promotion points today. His opponent is Tagonoura heya’s Tagonofuji, who has settled in to being a Sandanme mainstay.
This is the penultimate day of the 2018 Fuyu Jungyo. Before we begin, a health check:
Absence since mid-Jungyo: Yutakayama, Kotoyuki
Off the torikumi but present: Kotoshogiku, Kakuryu
Started off the torikumi but now participating: Hakuho, Goeido, Yoshikaze.
While Terutsuyoshi gets over his morning blues, rikishi are already exercising with vigor around the venue. Asanoyama is stretching:
And Takayasu is stretching while trimming his fingernails:
Who said men can’t do two things at the same time?
Takayasu doesn’t settle for just the pedicure and flex. He also lifts his weight – Tagonofuji.
OK, I’ll go off at a tangent here for a second. There are lots of fujis in the sumo world. We are used to seeing fujis at Isegahama beya, but they don’t have an exclusive hold on that suffix. Hokutofuji is from Hakkaku beya, for example. Most of those fujis end with 富士 – the same as the kanji for Mt. Fuji. Many of them are “no-fuji”. The “no” is a particle that indicates possession or characterization. The most common ways to write the “no” are の, ノ and 乃. So the other day, it was announced that Takayoshitoshi, Takagenji’s more evil twin, is going to be renamed “Takanofuji”, and some Terunofuji fans got really pissed off, because that name was chosen by Takanohana, and he used the same “no” as “Terunofuji” – ノ- and they really don’t want the unfortunate former Ozeki from Isegahama to have anything in common with the tsukebito-beating brat from Takanohana beya (now Chiganoura).
But not all fujis are even 富士. In this case, the “fuji” in “Tagonofuji” is 藤 – “Wisteria”, which is a lovely plant with lilac-colored flowers. He also has that ノ – but nobody seems to have any issue with that.
OK, back from our tangent, let’s continue our round around the walls. Ikioi and Chiyoshoma want to have a practice bout, and go for the full monty, including the sonkyo (ceremonial crouch):
But the actual execution is a little less impressive:
The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal must be roaming the Jungyo grounds again, because Aoiyama is doing his best to hide from it:
See how useful towels are?
Guess who the rikishi stretching near the wall is?
Hint: he is considered about as ravenous as that beast of Traal. Look at those thighs!
And I can’t really move on to the on-dohyo exercise without showing you Takanosho and his Mickey-Mouse towel:
Now that Kakuryu has joined the Jungyo, he also practices with his tsukebito. So we can get reacquainted with Shohoryu. Who is not Hoshoryu.
Looks like Shohoryu’s servitude is rather intense. I assure you, though – Kakuryu is not the type to give his tsukebito bitter memories. Hard work – sure. In fact, the one who gets to practice in this photo is the tsukebito, not the Yokozuna:
His former tsukebita all respect the Yokozuna very much.
Another tsukebito who is being respectful is the American delegate to the Jungyo, Musashikuni:
Actually, judging from their positions, Takayasu is on the dohyo. So I’m guessing this is not just a show of respect, but the cup of water Ozeki enjoy when they do san-ban. There is probably another tsukebito with some towels around as well.
At one corner, we have a nice show of rhythmic gymnastics:
These guys take their exercise seriously. Here is Tobizaru doing a wheelbarrow exercise:
Enho is not allowing himself to trail behind:
It’s actually very rare to see Enho practice together with his heya-mate, Ishiura, in Jungyo.
So here is some on-dohyo practice. We have Azumaryu with Chiyomaru and with Ishiura:
Jokoryu with Akiseyama, then Jokoryu with Hakuyozan:
The on-dohyo exercise that really drew attention this day was this:
Yes, for the first time in this Jungyo, Yokozuna Hakuho is practicing actual sumo, not just giving butsukari/kawaigari. In fact, it’s the first time in the past 3 months!
Hakuho took Shodai for 8 san-ban matches, and won all of them.
He said at first he was a bit hesitant about doing actual sumo (interestingly, he doesn’t consider the “wari” bouts to be actual sumo), but as the bouts flowed, he was relieved to find himself in satisfactory shape.
The practice part of the day gone, the sekitori went to shower and have their hair done. Then some relaxed in the shitaku-beya and… what are you reading, exactly, Mitakeumi?
It’s a magzine. And it appears that it’s a magazine about very poor women, who can’t afford to buy much in the way of clothing. I’m sure he is reading this magazine out of warm empathy with the poor women who need to go through the winter wearing no more than three square centimeters of cloth each.
OK… outside the shitakubeya, Juryo wrestlers were getting ready for their dohyo-iri. And that means Enho. And that means a bunch of guys vying for Enho skin:
In this very short clip we have Terutsuyoshi who, as usual, has the pixie in his arms. Then as the pixie cuts loose, it gets groped by Jokoryu, and then, although Terutsuyoshi tries to get some attention, Tobizaru also lays a paw on the tiny Miyagino man. Twice! And how about that hand fan the fan hands him? It’s bigger than his head! And it has “Enho” on one side and an element from his Kesho-mawashi on the other.
Seriously, everybody loves Enho.
Juryo bouts are performed, Kakuryu demonstrates rope tying, and so Yago has to wait his turn patiently (when there is a rope tying demonstration, it takes place before the last three Juryo bouts). Yago is lonely, and needs a hug:
And then it’s time for Makuuchi dohyo-iri. And of course… it’s boring to wait for dohyo-iri… so let’s play a game!
For those who have not seen it in previous Jungyo, this game is a Japanese children’s game called Atchi-Muite-Hoi. The two players do rock-papers-scissors. The one who wins moves his finger in any of four directions – up, down, left or right, and the loser has to move his head in one of the same four directions. If he moves his head in a different direction than the winner’s finger, he is safe, and the game begins again. But if he moves his head in the same direction – he loses the game. And in this case, he receives a punishment – a dekopin. The second dekopin is so painful, that Tamawashi immediately decides he wants to play, too. 🙄
The dohyo-iri is followed by the Yokozuna dohyo-iri. It seems Hakuho is working on straightening his arms:
But Kakuryu’s are still straighter:
And then it’s time for Makuuchi bouts. And if you thought for a second that Tamawashi would leave off at the dohyo-iri, you are dead wrong:
Poor Kagayaki. Definitely got the cooties there
Tamawashi has been on his best behavior as long as he was on the Island of Kyushu. He has a reputation to maintain in Fukuoka. But as soon as he is back in Honshu… rikishi beware!
Later (because Nishikigi is in a surprisingly high position on the banzuke) we also get the good old “where are Nishikigi’s glasses?” game:
Glasses make you look smarter!
Well… unless you’re Shodai. In his case, glasses make him look ridiculous. But then, many things tend to make Shodai look ridiculous.
Eventually Nishikigi gets back from his bout and wins his glasses back:
Ooh, somebody is getting confident (much to the amusement of Narutaki).
Ah, yes. I have no bouts whatsoever. Sorry… Here is a cogitating monkey for you instead: