Haru Day 7 Highlights

I think we are starting to see a shift / reversion in Takayasu’s sumo. If so, it could spell some great things for the Ozeki. I credit the nearly non-stop training with ex-Kisenosato since January, I see elements of Kisenosato’s style re-emerging in Takayasu’s sumo. Let’s hope it works for him.

I would also encourage readers to go check out Josh’s write up on his day 6 adventure in Osaka: A Day Out at the EDION Arena: Haru 2019. Josh and I will be recording a video podcast later today, watch for it to pop up on your feeds early Sunday!

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko defeats Daishoho – Kotoeko continues to impress, and he had his work cut out for him with Daishoho, who was not surrendering any portion of the match to the man from Miyazaki. Kotoeko withstood Daishoho’s efforts to use his larger body and a painful arm-bar grip to wear Kotoeko down – good sumo from both.

Ishiura defeats Toyonoshima – A great day for Ishiura – no stunts or cheap moves, he takes small-man sumo to Toyonoshima with energy, mobility and speed. Toyonoshima sought to overpower Ishiura at the start, but superior footwork, and unwavering focus kept Ishiura in the match. This is the same sumo Ishiura used when he first broke into Makuuchi, and it’s why he became a fan favorite in a hurry.

Takagenji defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi seems to have lost his sumo, and Takagenji is happy to encourage him to look for it. In the clay. With his face. Much as I joined everyone else in hoping Terutsuyoshi would hit and hold in the top division, it’s clear that he’s not quite ready yet.

Kagayaki defeats Chiyoshoma – Kagayaki seems to have broken through the ring rust and is starting to operate like he should. A mawashi match today was great to see, and as always solid fundamentals.

Tomokaze defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama’s knee gave out today, and fans have to be concerned that the one time leader of the Freshmen is no where close to being healthy. Tomokaze showed some good oshi-zumo today, but his foot work is still a bit wild. Hopefully to former Takekaze will help him with that.

Meisei defeats Ryuden – Sumo fans around the world beg Ryuden to not emulate Ikioi that closely, as Ryuden exits todays match with a wound to his forehead. Meisei tachiai was excellent, and he was patient with his arm placement, which got him the grip he needed to win. Fantastic execution today by Meisei.

Yoshikaze defeats Shohozan – Yoshikaze’s fans savor any day an even partially genki Yoshikaze can take to the dohyo. Today he carefully picked his way through Shohozan’s tsuppari storm, and waited for a chance to apply force to Shohozan’s chest. Shohozan seldom puts his feet in a defensive stance, so getting a solid shove into his sternum is typically all that is needed to win.

Sadanoumi defeats Ikioi – The REAL Ikioi cannot generate forward pressure, but he did make Sadanoumi work for grip. Not much this poor, broken rikishi is going to be able to do until he can get his wounds repaired.

Kotoshogiku defeats Yago – Kotoshogiku is dialed in right now. Again I have to watch this match several times, and just savor that tachiai. Much respect to Yago, who withstands the hug-n-chug better than most, and rides the Kyushu Bulldozer like a rodeo champ. Watch Yago’s hip work, as he keeps shifting Kotoshogiku’s axis of force to either side. But Kotoshogiku knows his odd craft like no other, and he keeps Yago on defense, and backing away.

Aoiyama defeats Takarafuji – Aoiyama looks to have enough sumo to take down anyone at his ranking. Today’s match was all Bulgarian Man-Mountain.

Okinoumi defeats Asanoyama – As a long-serving veteran, Okinoumi has a library of technical skill. Sadly as his age advances we don’t see it as frequently as we did even 4 years ago, but today he gives newer fans of why he’s been in the top division since 2010. That makikae gambit after Asanoyama had stalemated him is worthy of framing.

Chiyotairyu defeats Onosho – Some days, Chiyotairyu’s sumo are a fascinating study in physics. He’s enormous, he’s strong and his stamina is not huge. But he understands force and momentum. He applies a massive blow at the tachiai to Onosho, who knows it’s coming, and meets it with sufficient force to remain upright, but Chiyotairyu uses that forward pressure from Onosho to supply the drive for an immediate hatakikomi. Stand him up, swat him down.

Ichinojo defeats Abi – If we can cite a day when Abi-zumo (in its current form) was declared ineffective, it could be today. Abi’s frantic arm thrusts have no effect on a genki Ichinojo, who frankly seemed a bit bored. Ichinojo takes to batting Abi’s hands away, and then the look of “bad pony” crosses Ichinojo’s face, and Abi is bodily taken to the clay.

Myogiryu defeats Tochiozan – Tochiozan is having one of his periodic bad tournament. Myogiryu show fantastic focus, dead on foot work and excellent balance today.

Tamawashi defeats Kaisei – It continues to look like the moment that Tamawashi rallied against Hokutofuji on day 6 is when his sumo came back to him. Kaisei fought hard, and stuck with it, but Tamawashi is back to angry Sekiwake mode.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Takakeisho is continuing to rack up wins. While his sumo is fairly one dimensional, that dimension aligns very well with a sumo fundamental. Thus he continues to win. He is introducing some useful variations on his theme, and I am going to be curious how his test match with Hakuho will go this time.

Endo defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin tries for a pull, and the change of momentum is all Endo needs to stuff the Ozeki into a box and send him away. I think Tochinoshin clearing kadoban is going to be a nail biter right to day 15.

Goeido defeats Mitakeumi – I suspect Mitakeumi’s attempt to power though his injuries are starting to fail. Goeido is back to “awesome” mode, and shuts Mitakeumi down. Relegated to little more than plump baggage, Mitakeumi crosses the tawara after a valiant struggle.

Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – Once again, the shoulder blast was not used. What’s great about this match is that Hokutofuji is throwing the kitchen sink at the Ozeki, and Takayasu is absorbing it all. Hokutofuji keeps trying anything, and its clear he is running out of steam. Takayasu, with is freakish stamina, is not even starting to feel it. As Hokutofuji fades, the Ozeki takes over and tosses him for a loss. Commentator Murray Johnson remarked, “Not Takayasu’s best work”, but I would say that this match, and the way Takayasu executed his plan, is a glimpse at a significant change (or reversion) to his sumo. Watch Takayasu’s foot work, he is so heavy today. I now can’t wait to see if he uses this against the Yokozuna and Ozeki week two. We may be seeing the start of some higher performance Takayasu sumo, and I am damn excited at the prospect.

Kakuryu defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi keeps his footing for most of the match, but Kakuryu’s mobility and balance are so good, it was just a matter of how and when.

Hakuho defeats Shodai – Shodai is looking especially pathetic this basho. I am done making fun of him for now. I think even Hakuho felt sorry for him for a moment after the match.

Haru Day 7 Preview

We have reached the middle weekend of the Haru basho, and I would like to remark that thus far, poor injured Chiyonokuni is the only kyujo. Everyone else, even the horrifically battered Ikioi, is holding tough and competing each day. This is in stark contrast to some of the tournaments in the past year that saw the carnage stack up the injured starting almost from the middle of act 1. With any luck, we will see a robust group make it into the final 5 days, and have a real battle for the cup.

What We Are Watching Day 7

Ishiura vs Toyonoshima – Ishiura is still at 4 wins (after back to back losses), and Toyonoshima is due to win one. Toyonoshima’s issue will be his limited mobility in the face of Ishiura’s tendency to not be where you think you saw him last.

Terutsuyoshi vs Takagenji – Takagenji visits from Juryo, and maybe he can bring a change of fortune for hapless Terutsuyoshi, who seems almost certain to be returned to Juryo for May. I would not dispair, as I am sure Terutsuyoshi is part of the future of the top division. This may not yet be his time.

Tomokaze vs Yutakayama – Both 3-3, both are very similar in size, build and approach to sumo. This is also their first time meeting. While Tomokaze can likely absorb a mild make-koshi if it comes to that, Yutakayama is on the bubble, and will need any win he can get in any way he can manufacture one.

Shohozan vs Yoshikaze – These two have 15 prior matches, which favor Yoshikaze 10-5. We saw a bit of a spark of Yoshikaze’s fighting spirit day 6, can he blow on that spark and finish Haru with a winning record?

Yago vs Kotoshogiku – This will be Yago’s first time to enjoy Kotoshogiku’s unique sumo style. Hopefully he keeps that washcloth handy.

Aoiyama vs Takarafuji – Aoiyama only has 1 loss so far, and he holds a 17-3 career advantage over Takarafuji. If you think that through, he is very much in the hunt right now going into the middle weekend, and likely to still be viable come Monday.

Okinoumi vs Asanoyama – For whatever reason, Okinoumi has yet to beat Asanoyama in the 5 prior times they have fought. I also look at the gap between 4-2 Asanoyama, and 3-3 Yutakayama, 8 ranks lower on the banzuke, and remember that at this point last year, Yutakayama was the stronger rikishi.

Chiyotairyu vs Onosho – Oh goodie – two rikishi who hit like a ton of bricks at the tachiai and are not afraid to deliver enough force in one blow to push over a typical Japanese work truck. If Onosho can keep the match going more than 10 seconds, he will have the upper hand.

Abi vs Ichinojo – I would recommend Konosuke visit the adjacent Edo museum prior to today’s top division bouts, and arrange to borrow some of the field armor on display, should Abi once again take to the air. Abi’s extreme mobility might pose a real problem for Ichinojo, so I am going to be curious to see if the big Mongolian can somehow limit his ability to escape.

Tochiozan vs Myogiryu – 27 lifetime matches between these two, split 14-13. So let’s just call it even and say that both of them are having terrible tournaments thus far.

Kaisei vs Tamawashi – At some point, Kaisei is going to start winning. But he needs to make it soon, as a loss on day 7 to the Hatsu yusho winner would reduce him to a 0-7 start.

Takakeisho vs Daieisho – Takakeisho has only beaten Daieisho once in their 4 prior matches [but one of those was in Juryo, and the other 3 in 2017 -lksumo]. Takakeisho needs all of the wins he can gather prior to his second-week push for double digits. Right now he’s at a workable 4-2, but he has looked less dominant than his Hatsu basho form.

Tochinoshin vs Endo – Sure Endo only has one win, and I expect that Tochinoshin will find a way to take another white star from the man with a black eye.

Mitakeumi vs Goeido – Mitakeumi had such a strong start to this basho, folks may have forgotten that he had (and still has) a fairly serious knee injury. Now at 3-3, he’s going to try to blunt Goeido’s opening gambits, and stay in the match long enough to get a chance to win.

Takayasu vs Hokutofuji – The 4-2 career match record surprisingly favors Hokutofuji, but with good reason. The “Handshake Tachiai” is a perfect foil for Takayasu’s normal shoulder blast, as it will pin the Ozeki before he can follow through, and will switch Takayasu from an offensive to a defensive focus. I hope to see Takayasu use the same approach we saw days 5 and 6 here, and take another win from Hokutofuji, who seems to be a bit ragged and chaotic this basho.

Nishikigi vs Kakuryu – Nishikigi has zero wins for Haru. He has been shut down by every one of the san’yaku rikishi he has endured for the first 6 days, and his tour will feature Yokozuna Kakuryu today. He still might face both Komusubi later, so I am predicting a hearty make-koshi for sumo’s Cinderella man.

Hakuho vs Shodai – Shodai is also at 0-6, and I will be curious to see if he acquits himself at least as well as Nishikigi did on day 6. Shodai has looked worse this tournament than any prior time in the last year, so I am truly hoping this is a catalyst that drives him to higher performance in the remainder of 2019. The man has potential, but for some reason is not striving to unlock it.

Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

Kotoyuki Injured

It was a rough day in sumo, full of heartbreaking injuries. We saw Ura, Chiyonokuni and Kotoyuki all go down hard, and wheeled away with injured knees. For fans of sumo it can be tough to watch, but sumo is a combat sport, and people do, sadly, get hurt.

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko defeats Takagenji – Takagenji is up from Juryo for day 10, and picks up his 7th loss. This was a high intensity, high entertainment thrusting battle. Both men fought well, but Takagenji picked up his 7th loss.

Kagayaki defeats Daishomaru – Kagayaki reverts to his simple, basic sumo and wastes no time moving still winless Daishomaru (0-10) out of the ring.

Chiyoshoma defeats Meisei – Chiyoshoma attempted multiple times to pull and slap down Meisei, and one of them finally took. Not amazing sumo but Chiyoshoma needed the win.

Sadanoumi defeats Daiamami – Sadanoumi took to the mawashi immediately at the tachiai, and marched Daiamami out for his make-koshi.

Ikioi defeats Chiyonokuni – A straightforward match, with Chiyonokuni flailing away as normal, and Ikioi using his strength to drive forward. But Chiyonokuni collapses at the end, and is immobilized by pain, as his left knee sustains damage. Chiyonokuni needs help off of the dohyo, and is placed in a wheelchair, and taken for examination.

Takarafuji defeats Kotoyuki – As expected, Kotoyuki attempts to keep the battle focused on oshi while Takarafuji wants to go chest to chest. The match was a fantastic battle of styles, and it ended with Kotoyuki being turned around and boosted into the crowd with a firm shove from Takarafuji. This is usually not too big of an issue, as Kotoyuki loves to crowd surf. He lands face down next to Abi, and does not move. He is likewise hauled away in the wheelchair for medical examination.

Yutakayama defeats Abi – Pure thrusting battle, but when Abi goes down on one knee as he loses, fans gasp that perhaps a 3rd rikishi has injured themselves. Luckily, Abi seems to be ok, and Yutakayama picks up a much needed win.

Endo defeats Ryuden – Lengthy mawashi battle that saw Endo’s belt get loose with Ryuden’s hand on Endo’s mawashi knot, causing little old ladies across Japan to offer millions of hopeful prayers up at the same moment. Both men showed solid technique and fought with all they had. Excellent sumo.

Daieisho defeats Yago – Another wild thrusting battle that raged across every part of the dohyo, it seemed that Yago simply got tired at the end and Daieisho and grabbed a hold and walked him out. Yago may need to work on that stamina?

Asanoyama defeats Onosho – Onosho drops his 4th straight, and as I have been working to remind fans, Onosho is really aiming for a kachi-koshi at this rank. I am sure that given the surgical recuperation, he’s going flat out, and he dominated Asanoyama for most of the match, but Asanoyama caught him off balance and deftly applied a hatakikomi.

Aoiyama defeats Kaisei – It was over quickly, with Aoiyama’s getting inside, applying a nodowa and never letting up. Aoiyama really needed that win.

Shodai defeats Yoshikaze – Yoshikaze really seems to be in poor condition right now, and I feel sorry for him underperforming to this extent. He picks up a make-koshi today.

Chiyotairyu defeats Shohozan – Shohozan got one face slap in, and then Chiyotairyu went to work, overwhelming his opponent and tossing him out the North side of the dohyo.

Ichinojo defeats Tochiozan – Ichinojo decided to bring his energy to the dohyo today, and made quick work of Tochiozan by grabbing Tochiozan’s mawashi, containing him and just marching forward.

Hokutofuji defeats Myogiryu – Hokutofuji was able to get in inside position with the “handshake tachiai”, and kept low throughout the match. Myogiryu attempted to rally at the tawara, but could not produce.

Tamawashi defeats Nishikigi – Tamawashi has not looked this dialed in for many months. He took command at the tachiai, and kept moving Nishikigi back with little trouble. Tamawashi scores his kachi-koshi.

Goeido defeats Kotoshogiku – Goeido skillfully protects his injured right arm, and prevents Kotoshogiku from engaging his primary gaburi yori attack. I am impressed with Goeido’s ability to fight and win while this hurt.

Takayasu defeats Takakeisho – The tadpole took the Ozeki out for a rough ride, blasting him backward at the tachiai, and keeping the pressure up with wave after wave of double arm thrusts. But Takayasu timed his move with skill, and stepped to the side just as the next wave was landing, sending Takakeisho to the clay for a loss. Takakeisho’s campaign to 11 got a bit tougher, as he needs to win 4 of the next 5.

Hakuho defeats Okinoumi – Really no contest here, but it’s great to see Hakuho execute his sumo.

Hatsu Day 2 Preview

toilet-paper-stacking

Day 2 has a large mawashi to fill, as day 1 brought us more than expected. While there was great action across the top division for day 1, surprisingly little is being said about Kisenosato. Everyone expect this to be a rough ride for him, and sadly that is turning out to be the case.

In an article unearthed by Herouth, members of the YDC share their worries about Kisenosato, which is an unusual step and likely prefaces some more dramatic back-channel discussions with the ailing Yokozuna. Kisenosato went into battle on day 1 attempting to use his damaged left arm, and was roundly trounced by Mitakeumi. Now Mitakeumi is no push over, but Kisenosato had to know that leading left is no longer a viable attack strategy. The article mentions that he is falling back into the same bad, failed gambits that he used during his zero-win basho at Kyushu. For Kisenosato fans, this may be the last basho.

What We Are Watching Day 2

Daiamami vs Takagenji – Takagenji visits the top division, and we hope his dohyo etiquette is set to “excellent”. Daiamami did not look especially bright day 1, and I am sure he would like to even up his score with a win.

Yago vs Yutakayama – These two are similar in many ways, with the exception that Yutakayama is nursing multiple injuries. Yago may be on a energetic upward grind that may continue for the next few basho. The jury is out on Yutakayama and the status of his injuries.

Ikioi vs Abi – If Sadanoumi has Abi figured out, I am going to guess that Ikioi has as well. Hopefully Ikioi can exit the match without any blood this time, and I predict that Abi is going to bring out some of his alternate sumo if he faces an increasingly losing record.

Endo vs Asanoyama – Being an Endo fan is a rough ride, as the “Golden Boy” has a tough time maintaining rank above Maegashira 6. But he showed some good sumo against Takarafuji on day 1, and maybe he has it back together this time.

Daieisho vs Onosho – I expect Onosho to continue to dominate his matches. This basho is more of a test for his recovery more than anything else, and I think he will be slugging it out in upper Maegashira by mid-year.

Kotoshogiku vs Aoiyama – The Man-Mountain vs the Kyushu Bulldozer! Their series is always a battle to see who will win the tachiai, and set the terms of the match. Naturally Kotoshogiku wants to take Aoiyama to his chest and bounce him around and out, where Aoiyama will want to stay mobile and rain blows down on Kotoshogiku. Aoiyama’s mobility looked excellent day 1, so I may have to give him the edge this time, even though Kotoshogiku holds a 14-5 series lead.

Yoshikaze vs Okinoumi – The real question I have: Does Yoshikaze have any genki left in the batteries? Both men are fading stars of the era, and have long and well earned reputations as top division rikishi. But both are more frequently “muddling through” their matches, and show fewer sparks of their fondly remembered brilliance.

Takakeisho vs Shohozan – Shohozan’s poor footwork / ring rust on day 1 cost us a prolonged slug fest. He will need to focus on his stability in the face of Takakeisho’s increasingly complex wave-action attack modes.

Shodai vs Tamawashi – I am looking for Shodai to return to his improved form that we saw in Kyushu today. I think getting tossed around by Takakeisho may have woken him up. And if not, I am sure a couple blows to the head by Tamawashi may help.

Takayasu vs Myogiryu – Between the fever and the fact that Myogiryu holds an 11-5 advantage over Takayasu, I am looking for the Ozeki to have another crummy day on the dohyo. Takayasu is not overly nimble when genki, and he will be hard pressed to deal with Myogiryu’s mobility.

Nishikigi vs Tochinoshin – I am looking for Tochinoshin to bounce back today, too. I think Nishikigi caught Goeido trying to file down some ring-rust, and cashed in. Tochinoshin was rough on day 1, but Nishikigi likes to go chest to chest, and that will put Tochinoshin in the drivers seat.

Hokutofuji vs Goeido – I think Hokutofuji has one chance, and that’s to land that handshake tachiai again today. Goeido is going to be spun up and fierce after letting Nishikigi literally roll him around like a piece of discarded mochi. I look for the Ozeki to accelerate inside of Hokotufuji’s initial nodowa gambit and put maximum pressure full ahead. If he finds him mark, Hokutofuji may wonder what happened.

Kisenosato vs Ichinojo – Much to Josh’s delight, I am starting to stack my toilet paper horde for the approach Kiseno-pocolypse. Before he was a tragic Yokozuna, he was one of the most solid Ozeki the sport had seen in years. In spite of his damaged body and his deconditioning, Kisenosato has the capacity to find a way to win. If we see the same Ichinojo that chased Takayasu out of the ring, the Mongolian behemoth may find himself enjoying the rarely seen Tagonoura sandwich with tonight’s ice cream.

Kakuryu vs Mitakeumi – Herouth pointed out that at the end of day 1’s match, Kakuryu looked disappointed at Tochiozan for a somewhat pathetic henka attempt. Day 2 will bring a more meaty battle against Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi dispatched a disoriented looking Kisenosato with solid sumo, and I predict he will will give Kakuryu a straight ahead fight.

Tochiozan vs Hakuho – The boss is back, and he’s looking lean, strong, and aggressive. Tochiozan needs better sumo than day 1, or he’s going to be on the receiving end of one of Hakuho’s famous flying lessons.

Fuyu Jungyo 2018 – Day 1 (Dec 2)

Yes, we’re back with the series of Jungyo Newsreels that will try to keep your blood sumo levels above the emergency threshold until a new tournament is in site.

As a reminder – the Jungyo is a promotional tour in which the sekitori (Juryo and Makuuchi) participate. Each takes one tsukebito (manservant, a wrestler ranked between Jonidan and Makushita), except Yokozuna and Ozeki who get to have a “team”. Together with a bunch of shimpan, gyoji and yobidashi, and of course the big heads from the Jungyo department, they travel through small towns around Japan, performing from morning through the afternoon, and letting the locals get a bit of live sumo and sumo-related fun. For a fuller description, refer to the Introduction To The Jungyo I published a while back.

The winter Jungyo is supposed to be the shortest Jungyo of the year. However, with the rising popularity of sumo, it’s not that short any more. The 2013 Fuyu Jungyo included only six events. The 2018 Fuyu Jungyo includes 17 events spread over 21 days! In fact, there were more Jungyo days in 2018 than honbasho days!

So without further ado, let’s see what we had on day 1.

🌐 Location: Nagasaki, Nagasaki
😛 Goofometer: ◾️◾️◽️◽️◽️

Nagasaki is a popular tourist destination in Japan. So some members of the entourage took time to explore. While Hakuho had a little excursion to the lighthouse to have some Champon (a Nagasaki noodle dish), Kokonoe oyakata decided to visit the famous Spectacles Bridge:

Rikishi wisely assembled just above the support column

One rikishi was on the tour, who was neither sekitori nor tsukebito. Tachiai favorite Wakaichiro had a one-day adventure. The reason for this is that he is registered as coming from Nagasaki. His mother is from Nagasaki, and his grandparents came to this day’s event to watch him. As you all know, he actually grew up in Texas. He mostly spent summer vacations in Nagasaki. This being his first Jungyo, he had a bit of trouble getting the hang of things (remember, there are no sekitori in Musashigawa). The press was mostly amused that he decided a good place to camp in the shitaku-beya would be right between Takayasu and Tochinoshin. (Well, yeah, it is a good place!)

As a “local boy”, he received some kawaigari (TLC – the euphemism for butsukari, especially when used as a torture session) from Jokoryu. This was the effect:

Wakaichiro was not the only novice in the Jungyo – though the others have the advantage of traveling with familiar faces and being used to the company of sekitori. One new face in the Jungyo is Midorifuji, who is serving as Terutsuyoshi’s tsukebito (I’m getting worried about Terunohana, Terutsuyoshi’s long-time tsukebito, who has been kyujo for quite some time). Midorifuji is considered one of the most promising current talents at Isegahama beya, and I think they decided to send him on the Jungyo to get some “sekitori experience”. Here he is with Terutsuyoshi and Aminishiki’s tsukebito, Terumichi:

Another new face in the Jungyo is Wakamotoharu (though he had been on at least one event in the past). He is there as his little brother’s tsukebito – the little brother being Wakatakakage, of course.

The shimpan squad has also been refreshed. In the previous Jungyo we saw Futagoyama, Tomozuna and Furiwake. This tour we have Asakayama, Hanaregoma and, of course, Kokonoe.

This is before they wear their heavy mon-tsuki kimono

And what are the rikishi up to? Well, it’s early morning, so Ichinojo demonstrates his ability to squat while sound asleep:

Luckily, there are no wolves in Japan

Then there are these inseparable two. Surprisingly, Terutsuyoshi is rather hands-off today:

But of course, most of the attention goes to one participant: Hakuho, back from his post-operative kyujo, and trying to regain some fitness. Here he is doing some shiko:

Mmmm… Hakuho said he can stomp with power now, but this seems to be very tentative shiko.

By the way, the Yokozuna also changed his seating arrangements in the Jungyo bus. Apparently, one of the reason his leg got worse in the previous Jungyo was sitting with cramped, bent knees for hours on end, while traveling. He used to sit in the front seat of the bus, but decided to change to the back seat, to allow himself to fully stretch his legs. I suppose that means he took the entire back bench to himself and stretches himself on it – he did mention something about getting some sleep. Maybe he should borrow one of Yoshikaze’s folding mattresses…

By the way, I did not mention this before, but there are several rikishi who are kyujo from this Jungyo – at least for the time being. Kakuryu, Kisenosato, Goeido, Kaisei and Arawashi from Makuuchi, and Kyokushuho, Kyokutaisei and Chiyonoo from Juryo. All Tomozuna sekitori are absent! Yoshikaze was also off the torikumi, but he is definitely in the Jungyo.

This also means that Hakuho is left with only one Makuuchi rikishi from his own ichimon for the dohyo-iri. Indeed, his tsuyuharai is Chiyoshoma:

The shiko here is stronger, of course.

Chiyoshoma looks a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing. I predict that for the Meiji-Jingue dohyo iri of January 2019, we’ll see Terutsuyoshi as his tsuyuharai (this will be after the new banzuke is announced so Terutsuyoshi is expected to be in Makuuchi).

Let’s take a look at some practice bouts. First, Hakuyozan vs. Takagenji.

Then, Meisei and Aoiyama:

Aoiyama seems to be getting more and more confident lately. Here he is vs. the Yusho winner (that’s Takakeisho, if you have been on another planet last month).

Takayasu is saying he wants to work towards his first yusho, but he won’t get there if his keiko looks like this:

That’s Tochiozan – not exactly a semitrailer.

Here is todays full Sumo Jinku. Yes, that’s 15 minutes of Jinku. You are allowed to press stop only if you understand everything they say. 😛

The members of the Jinku team this Jungyo are:

ShikonaHeya
TochigidakeKasugano
KoshinishikiTatsunami
MutsukazeOguruma
KotomyozanSadogatake
KotomanabeSadogatake
DaishowakaOitekaze

It’s easy to recognize Mutsukaze by his prominent mutton chops. If you can’t recognize the others, here’s a little challenge: try to guess who is who by the kesho-mawashi they wear. It’s supposed to be borrowed from a sekitori in their heya (OK, so that won’t help you with the two Sadogatake guys…).

Going into the competition part of the event, the lower divisions each had its own elimination-format tournament, while the upper divisions had the traditional format torikumi. I’m sorry to say that Wakaichiro dropped in the first round of the Jonidan tournament. The winners got prizes – which is not an everyday occurrence for lower-division wrestlers.

  • Jonidan winner, Imafuku, won a bag of rice. At least, that’s what it looks like.
  • Sandanme winner, Wakanofuji, won a big bottle of saké.
  • Makushita winner, Obamaumi, won a… picture of rice crackers? Hey… It sucks to be in Makushita!

OK, so if you’re wondering about those two Goofometer points above, here is what was afoot between Juryo bouts:

Hidenoumi decides to tickle Terutsuyoshi with his sagari. Terutsuyoshi, in response, goes all “Oh yeah, baby, ooh, that’s good, give it to me, baby”.

Hidenoumi has an expression like “God, man, aren’t you enjoying this just a little bit too much?”, or maybe “Whoa… do I really want this guy hanging around anywhere near my little brother?”

Not that his little brother is any better…

OK, OK, so we have a few bouts to see! Here are the “Kore-yori-san-yaku”. Well, two of them. By the way, there was a slip in the torikumi program. They had Hakuho doing the musubi with Takayasu. Hakuho is not really dohyo-ready in any way, shape or form. So eventually Asanoyama was placed at the bottom of san-yaku for a second bout, and everybody else was shifted one space up, sort of.

And once again Takakeisho needs a mawashi adjustment right before the bout.

Asanoyama, of course, is no match for the mighty tadpole – who gets some kensho.

The Mitakeumi/Ichinojo bout is rather comical. I’m not sure Ichinojo actually intended to belly-bump Mitakeumi. That’s a funny tsukiotoshi.

Yago
Chiyomaru
DaiamamiMeisei
DaishomaruTakanosho
OnoshoChiyoshoma
AoiyamaEndo
SadanoumiOkinoumi
KotoshogikuYutakayama
DaieishoShohozan
AbiIkioi
TakarafujiKagayaki
TakanoiwaAsanoyama
ShodaiChiyotairyu
Nishikigi
Ryuden
TochiozanTamawashi
MyogiryuHokutofuji
TakakeishoAsanoyama
MitakeumiIchinojo
TochinoshinTakayasu

OK, so who shall we put up as our pin-up boy this time? Maybe Terutsuyoshi?

Hey, what’s with the sour face? We know you are quite capable of a big smile. Especially if you’re looking at Enho. Anyway, that photo looks a bit like a Soviet propaganda poster, doesn’t it?

So maybe just revert to Enho:

Now we can all have a big smile! This commercial for “Macho” proteins brought to you by Ishiura, by the way.