Asanoyama beats Tochinoshin? That’s not something you see every day.
There was also a practice bout between Ichinojo and Kaisei. The dohyo remained stable – which is remarkable for something made of polystyrene.
Here is the full Shokkiri of the day (by the Kasugano pair), taken by a very lucky fella who got a ticket in the front row:
This was followed by the Juryo dohyo-iri and Juryo bouts, and before the last three of those, Kisenosato demonstrated rope tying:
Note that stick thing stuck in the front tsukebito’s mawashi? No, it’s not a wand. This is used to adjust the “shide” – those zig-zag pieces of folded paper hanging from the Yokozuna’s rope. If any of them hangs too loosely or is bent, that stick has a flat head that helps push the straps of paper between the tight strands of the rope.
At this point of the Jungyo, all Yokozuna were still present and accounted for:
By the way, I read a post today where someone criticized Hakuho (or his team of tsukebito?) for having shide that were too short. “They used to reach all the way down to the fringe of the kesho-mawashi” he said. What do you think? I’m thinking they are about the same length as everybody else’s, only the dai-Yokozuna is rather taller than average.
I only got still photos from the Makuuchi bouts. So here is Ichinojo vs. Takakeisho:
What do you mean, you don’t recognize Ichinojo? He is very recognizable. His cheeks are his most prominent feature… OK… OK… Let’s try that again. Ichinojo vs. Takakeisho:
Ichinojo won that one.
I can give you a photo of Goeido-Kisenosato, but really, it’s from the same angle, so you may wish to skip that. Kisenosato won.
Let’s hope that the next destination sports more video-equipped phones.
Many rikishi hail from Saitama, among them Hokutofuji, Daieisho, and Abi – but would you believe that the only decent photo I could find of Abi from this day is this one?
Twitter says he was very busy giving autographs. I guess people were busy handing in shikishi to sign, and forgot to take photos…
Hokutofuji received the attention of Tochinoshin, who gave him Butsukari.
Tochinoshin, reports say, went all the way with butsukari and did this 38 times (not all of them with Hokutofuji). I’m going to assume this means he got pushed 38 times, because I don’t really think any human being would withstand 38 full butsukari sessions, even as the receiving chest.
Daieisho, in the mean time, didn’t seem to get much limelight – just kept hanging with Takakeisho.
Of course, these are just fan shots. It could be that all three of the locals were engaged by the high rankers, as is usual for local boys, but for some reason, neither the NSK Twitter has been active nor have the local fans at Saitama recorded any of that.
Here is Kakuryu with his rubber strap:
That’s actually one of the best shots I’ve seen of him in a while. Kisenosato was also practicing off-dohyo, but I have to admit that… I’m not sure what I’m seeing here…
I’ve already seen short videos of him doing this on several occasions. What is that? The fans call it “The Kise Dance”. Is Kisenosato considering exotic dancing as a second career?
Goofiness mostly concentrated around the dohyo-iri. For example, in the Juryo dohyo-iri, Wakatakakage was picking at Terutsuyoshi. But I must say the Isegahama pixie seemed to actually enjoy the attention:
In the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, Tamawashi was looking for fun. In the past couple of days his trick has been to just stop dead and cause Mitakeumi to bump into him. Mitakeumi seems to be on the alert now, so disappointed Tamawashi starts pestering Ikioi instead:
The Yokozuna’s tsukebito are on the alert at the hana-michi to take the sword, clean the kesho-mawashi and whatnot. And one of them has the glasses, for an exchange that looks like a relay race, only the baton is passed to the arriving runner instead of the other way around.
In less happy news, Tsurugisho seems to be injured or ill, and was abruptly taken off the torikumi. Daishoho replaced him vs. Gagamaru (meaning Daishoho had two bouts this day):
At some point that same Daishoho took some time to relax together with Tobizaru… in the guest seats. I don’t think the spectators minded too much, though:
Further up the banzuke, here is the sanyaku-soroi-bumi (well, one side of it, anyway):
Hakuho seems to have gotten over his rather embarrassing match yesterday:
This picture, by the way, given that the last three bouts were Mitakeumi-Tochinoshin, Kisenosato-Goeido, Kakuryu-Hakuho, tells you that Tochinoshin lost. Otherwise there would be no need for the Yokozuna who wrestles last to hand the chikara-mizu to anybody.
Oops. Shikimori Kandayu – who is to be promoted to Shikimori Inosuke after the Kyushu basho – loses his footing there. He then keeps a good distance from the still skirmishing Ozeki and Yokozuna.
Too bad the video doesn’t continue, because Goeido, again, is on Hakuho’s side, meaning there would be no kachi-nokori, and we would be treated to Hakuho’s tsukebito handing him the chikara-mizu with a bare shoulder. I wonder if Kasugaryu is qualified to do that, given that he is wearing a (kesho) mawashi anyway, and is on his way to the dohyo anyway for the yumi-tori ceremony.
Following which, everybody went home, and the dohyo was dismantled:
But I will not leave you without a Tobizaru for the day – accompanied by Yago, because I am still not sure all of you can recognize the man with the chin. Or is it the chin with the man?
I did not post an individual report about day 2, because frankly, there wasn’t much to write – even on the NSK Twitter account there were very few tweets about it. So here it is, bundled together with day 3.
If you’re here for the goofy pictures, here is one by the surprisingly popular Arikawa, who is one of Kisenosato’s tsukebito, and despite his hair, is only 29 years old. Here he is accompanied by a rather demonic-looking Ryuden:
Maybe Ryuden was still upset by his earlier moshi-ai bout with Chiyonokuni, which looked like this:
For those of you who are new here: moshi-ai is a form of practice in which the winner gets to choose his next rival. This means that at the end of each bout there is a melee of rikishi vying for the winner’s attention.
There aren’t many rikishi hailing from Gunma prefecture. The most famous one is Satonofuji, but he no longer participates in the Jungyo. However, Yobidashi Shiro, the san-yaku yobidashi, is from Gunma, and therefore got to do the drum presentation today:
That’s more or less all I have from Ota. Here is a Tobizaru for you:
OK, now brace yourselves, because day 3, unlike day 2, was well covered. This may be because they packed a full house – they even had the “Thank you for the full house” flags hanging.
🌐 Location: Ashikaga, Tochigi
🚫 Scandal level: 0
There are two very popular rikishi from Tochigi prefecture: the Taka twins. However, due to Takagenji and Takanoiwa being kyujo they were absent (Takayoshitoshi is Takanoiwa’s tsukebito, so if Takanoiwa is not there, he is not there). Maybe the reason Kisenosato chose to give butsukari to Takanosho is that he is somewhat related… he is their new heya mate now.
By the way, of the three Yokozuna, two seem to be practicing on the dohyo at the moment. Hakuho, as usual, starts the Jungyo doing the basics at the foot of the dohyo. The two others seem to settle for doing butsukari at the moment.
Somebody brought in balance disks, and rikishi were given a challenge: do shiko on the balance disks.
So, if you run into anybody who thinks that sumo is two big flabby potatoes in diapers flapping at each other until one falls over – hand him a pair of balance disks and tell him to try that.
Shohozan seems to have brought his invisible golf club to the Jungyo:
Takakeisho seems to have received less attention than he got in Tokyo, which allowed him to relax and enjoy the jungyo. Like, for example, pestering Daieisho:
Also, for some reason, it seems he has never heard of wax or laser. Instead, he has his tsukebito pull his back hair, one hair at a time. 😨
Yeah, I’m serious. He actually returned the favor there, and they looked like a couple of apes socializing by picking nits off each other. Guys, please remember that you’re on camera out there in the Jungyo, always.
Here is Abi doing some san-ban. First, with Onosho:
Then, with Takanosho:
Abi is going for the mawashi. Again, and again. Other rikishi practicing:
As the day progresses, the torikumi begin. Again, because of the shortage in Juryo wrestlers, Nakazono, Gokushindo and Tomokaze wear oicho (well, Tomokaze doesn’t – his hair is not long enough, yet) and wrestle in Juryo. Somehow, Gokushindo seems to be way too happy about this:
So, Gokushindo takes the opportunity of his first appearance in a Juryo bout in Jungyo to play the oldest trick in the book – giving the waiting wrestler a ladle full of salt. You see, there is no chikara-mizu in Makushita and below. That ceremony is reserved for sekitori bouts.
Actually, he was taking a risk there, because his bout was the one following Nakazono, so if Nakazono won, he could easily have returned the favor with some interest. I guess he trusted Azumaryu (Nakazono’s opponent) to take care of that problem.
I don’t have torikumi from Juryo, but I do have this photo:
The report is that Aminishiki fought hard at the edge, but as you can see, Meisei is the one still on the dohyo at the end. And seems very pleased about it.
In Makuuchi, I want you to take a look at the musubi-no-ichiban. First, take a look at Hakuho’s final salt throw. He always does that in Jungyo. In honbasho he settles for a modest throw befitting a Yokozuna. But in Jungyo, he goes all Terutsuyoshi, much to the pleasure of the crowd.
But then, watch the bout itself. It’s… surprising.
Whoa, what was that? Kakuryu is all “Oops… Sorry, Yokozuna, are you alright?”, and Hakuho bangs the dohyo with his fist in embarrassment. I mean, a respectable loss by yori-kiri or oshi-dashi is not uncommon, especially not in Jungyo, where the wins seem to be distributed evenly between Yokozuna (well, Kisenosato didn’t get the memo, but that’s him). But a sukuinage? Or any other kind of throw?
OK, finally, here is a digest of the day’s events. Some Yokozuna dohyo-iri. Some Shokkiri. Ryuden vs. Takanosho, Kisenosato vs. Goeido, and a glimpse of that odd musubi-no-ichiban:
But of course, I won’t say goodbye without a final Tobizaru:
The sekitori and their tsukebito eased into the Jungyo, starting the rounds in Tokyo. This time, at the Ota ward, close to Kawasaki.
That is, the sekitori eased into it. The tsukebito are a different story:
They have to do all the fetching and carrying – here showing the akeni, packed into protective tarp.
Wait, whose Akeni is this?
The name on this package is “Oyanagi”. Actually, it’s Yutakayama’s Akeni. They simply didn’t replace the name on the canvas bag when they gave him his shikona – which happened when he was already a sekitori. Generally, it’s best to avoid changing shikona when the rikishi is already sekitori – it means that his kesho mawashi and akeni become obsolete.
Here is someone who has been sekitori for a long time. Very long time.
Poor Aminishiki always gets to celebrate his birthday in Jungyo. He did get an early surprise party from his loved ones, but the day itself is always spent away from home. Aminishiki noted that with post-basho events, Jungyo, and Kyushu basho, it won’t be until after Fuyu Jungyo is over – ending December 22 – that he will get his much yearned-for “Family time”.
So let’s turn to the Jungyo event itself. Here we see the sekitori coming to greet Kisenosato, one by one. This Jungyo started with all Yokozuna present and in working order, so they had a lot of greeting to do.
But unusually, the focus of attention wasn’t Kisenosato. The focus of attention in this event was Takakeisho, although he is not a local boy. The reason for this is the Takanohana beya dissolution. Of the three sekitori coming from that heya, Takakeisho is the only one participating in the Jungyo. Many people cheered him on. But not just spectators, it seems! Here is a piece of the TV coverage of the event.
First, the commentators focus on the fact that Takakeisho is still wearing a Takanohana yukata. That’s actually something I didn’t think was too surprising. Naya wears a Taiho yukata frequently. Hoshoryu goes around in an Asashoryu yukata. And they are still in the strict part of the banzuke. Why shouldn’t Takakeisho, a san-yaku sekitori, wear whatever yukata he pleases?
Further forward, moving through showing his participation in keiko and the fans showing him a lot of attention and asking for autographs, and talking about keiko and stuff, they show him greeting Hakuho in the morning. Hakuho usually all but ignores the sekitori who come to greet him – except his particular friends like Tamawashi etc. – but this time he stopped, turned around, and held on to Takakeisho’s arm in an encouraging fashion.
The news piece ends showing the first item that sold out in the memorabilia stands: “Gambare, Takakeisho” towels.
The event schedule went on as usual regardless of the Taka-no-drama, though. Here we have the Shokkiri routine for this Jungyo.
The Shokkiri team from the previous Jungyo contines into this basho – Ebisumaru and Shobushi. In the previous basho they alternated with another pair, so I’ll check tomorrow if they alternate this time as well.
Due to the many absences from Juryo, no less than three Makushita wrestlers were thrown into the Juryo torikumi to thicken it up. Jokoryu faced Ms8E Nakazono. Azumaryu faced the newly promoted Gokushindo, and Gagamaru, who is going to say goodbye to his sekitori status in the next basho, faced the man replacing him – Tomokaze.
I ran into only one photo from the Juryo bouts – Terutsuyoshi vs. Tsurugisho – and boy, I’m dying to know who won and by what kimarite, exactly.
Here is Hakuho’s dohyo-iri. Due to Ishiura’s absence, his dew-gatherer is Daieisho. This state of affairs is likely to remain so until at least Hatsu basho, as Ishiura will not be in Makuuchi in Kyushu.
Here are Chiyotairyu and Daieisho awaiting their Torikumi. This is a boring time for rikishi, so they are playing a game – one rikishi has to guess how many thumbs the other rikishi will put up. This game is actually more interesting when played with more than two rikishi, because then the answer is not just zero, one, or two.
Of the bouts themselves, I have Takakeisho vs. Ikioi. Notice the announcement for Takakeisho: “Hyogo-ken, Ashiya-shi shusshin, Chiganoura beya”.
It is my sad duty to break these news to you, but it must be done: the basho is over. All yusho have been decided. All kachi-koshi and make-koshi have been achieved. And now we are in for a month and a half of… well, mostly Jungyo.
So what did we have today?
Well, the first Makuuchi bout is between Chiyomaru and Aminishiki, but it turns out that Chiyomaru has a bone fracture in his foot, and is kyujo on senshuraku. He will probably end up in Juryo for this. Aminishiki must be frustrated – you go to Makuuchi, you win – but you don’t get any kensho for fusensho! Aminishiki with a minimal make-koshi, though, 7-8, and although he won’t advance, he will also not drop much.
Takanoiwa achieves a left hand outside on the tachiai vs Okinoumi. He is not happy with that and manages a makikae. Another fumble, a pull, and he wins by uwatedashinage, achieving double digits on his return to Makuuchi. Will he get a sansho?
Er, no. And neither will any of the hard working rikishi who strive for 10 wins today. Earlier the NSK announces that no rikishi have been found worthy of any special prizes today – not the technique prize, not the outstanding performance prize, and – weirdest of all – no fighting spirit prize. So, the basho we thought was wonderful, the NSK considered so lackluster that for the first time since the institution of special prizes, none have been awarded.
Aoiyama meets Kotoyuki. Both are make-koshi, but both are seeking to keep themselves 7-8 rather than 6-9. Kotoyuki starts with a bit of not-too-enthusiastic tsuppari, but Aoiyama soon catches him, gives him a nice pat on the nape of his nake, and sends him to his favorite place – waddling between the spectators in the front rows.
Ryuden manages a proper tachiai, and gets his left arm inside, despite Daishomaru‘s ottsuke. Although still fumbling on the right side, he manages an easy yori-kiri, and gets his 10th win. Again, no sansho, and all the rikishi with 10 wins will have to settle for the additional ¥10,000 in their bi-monthly bonus.
Hokutofuji starts with his usual right-arm forward and rhythmic thrusts, but Yoshikaze achieves a left hand inside almost instantly and yori-kiris him to oblivion. Yoshikaze, as expected for a man of his experience finding himself so low down the banzuke, has been cutting swaths through his opponents and will be back in a saner and more challenging position next basho.
Nishikigi gets a left hand inside and a grip on Kotoshogiku‘s mawashi right off the tachiai. He ottsuke’s the former Ozeki’s left arm with his own right, and then decides to go for the grip, which he achieves. The two lock powerfully, and though Nishikigi loses his initial left hand grip, he never lets go of that right. It gets into a leaning war. Nishikigi gets the left hand mawashi grip again. Eventually he pulls up a little, and pushes Kotoshogiku all the way out. Did we just watch Nishikigi beat Kotoshogiku by a powerful yori-ikiri? Yes we did! Nishikigi also in double digits this basho, to the sound of millions of jaws dropping in amazement. Kotoshogiku, despite a good showing this basho, is make-koshi.
Takarafuji yet again fails to achieve his favorite position, but somehow prevails over Sadanoumi with some ottsuke, a pull and a thrust. He is not happy, but he finishes the basho with a win, and minimizes his make-koshi to 7-8. My sources tell me that the Tachiai delegation at the Kokugikan has been cheering for the Isegahama man.
Tochiozan achieves a quick morozashi on Chiyoshoma on the tachiai, and after a few hugs manages to aim and shoot at the head shimpan. Shitatehineri, and Tochiozan is kachi-koshi.
Shohozan attempts a harizashi on Takanosho, but fails the “sashi” part. Takanosho gets the advantage with some tsuppari that gets Shohozan to the edge, but then Shohozan decides to arm those guns, and Takanosho soon finds himself at the opposite edge, and over it. Shohozan keeps his make-koshi at a minimal 7-8. Takanosho luckily clinched his kachi-koshi already.
Not much to say about the Onosho vs. Ishiura bout, which started with yet another matta 🙄. Ishiura tries to go low, Onosho catches his neck, and Ishiura, rather than persevering like his ototo-deshi (rikish from the same heya who joined later), frees his head, finds himself without any position or grip, and is soon driven out. Bot wrestlers are now 4-11, and if Ishiura doesn’t start watching Enho and learning, today’s Yokozuna dohyo-iri was his last.
The bout between Kagayaki and Daieisho is a bout of desparation, as both parties are 7-7 entering it. Daieisho is shorter, and makes use of that to attack the tall Kagayaki at just the right angle, from below. Kagayaki has no answer to Daieisho’s fierce rain of tsuppari and is soon out. On his way down the hana michi he looks like he is on the verge of tears. Daieisho is 8-7, Kagayaki 7-8.
Another matta precedes the Yutakayama match vs. Chiyonokuni. Chiyonokuni starts with his enthusiastic thrust attack, from below, from above, and Yutakayama can barely defend. One of Yutakayama’s defensive left hand moves catches the back of Chiyonokuni’s head as Yutakayama spins around, and the Kokonoe man is surprised to find himself flat on his face on the edge. Yutakayama manages to keep his toes inside in this spin, and gets a win to sweeten a rather bitter basho.
Kaisei latches on to the left side of Shodai‘s mawashi a half-second after the tachiai, and soon follows with his right hand. Although it’s a bit of an odd soto-yotsu (both hands outside, but rather on the front Shodai’s mawashi rather than the back), it’s enough for him to easily walk Shodai out. Kaisei is kachi-koshi, 8-7, and Tamawashi’s komusubi position is virtually in his pocket.
Chiyotairyu slams into Ikioi and immediately steps to the left. Ikioi not fulled, stays with him and catches one of his arms in what seems to be a preparation for a kotenage. However, after some wriggling, Chiyotairyu manages to shake that arm lock off, and shake Ikioi off the dohyo. Ikioi lands on his injured foot, further aggravating his injured ankle. I hope Ikioi will absent himself from the Jungyo, which starts October 3rd – he and the rest of the maimed rikishi that have been heaping up this basho.
Today was Asanoyama‘s last chance of a kachi-koshi, after four consecutive losses following his seventh win. He did his best to neutralize Takakeisho‘s barrage of tsuppari, keeping him at an arm’s length. The bout developed into a long stalemate, when Asanoyama decided to try to slip a hand in for a grip. Takakeisho didn’t let that pass – Asanoyama’s “sashi” lasted for two milliseconds before the Takakeisho windmill had him over the bales. Five straight losses and make-koshi for Asanoyama.
For some reason, Tamawashi decided that the basho starts today, and finally made an appearance at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. Too bad it’s the last day, old Eagle. His thrust attack against Endo was powerful and effective, but only got him his 4th win. As for Endo, let’s hope he rallies the same way that Yoshikaze has this basho. Otherwise, what who will the ladies of the Kokugikan swoon over?
Ichinojo is 7-7 coming into this bout with Myogiryu. Myogiryu is going to find himself in the joi next basho, having already secured his kachi-koshi. And he has a 6-2 record against the boulder. But Ichinojo has had six consecutive kachi-koshi. And he seems to like being sekiwake. Tachiai, boom. Ichinojo has both hands folded in his lap on the tachiai, then releases them and catches Myogiryu’s arm. Myogiryu starts pushing. Ichinojo pulls, and lets Myogiryu drop just before stepping over the bales himself. Not exactly powerful sumo, but much to the disbelief of anybody reading this blog only 5 days ago, Ichinojo gets yet another kachi-koshi, seventh in a row, and keeps his rank.
At this point you don’t need Leonid’s massive banzuke-fu to figure out the sanyaku for next basho: It’s much the same as this one, with Hakuho and Takakeisho moving East and Kaisei replacing Tamawashi.
Abi starts with his usual morotezuki and tsuppari, nothing to write home about. Mitakeumi matches him thrust for thrust. Round and round and round they go, until Abi loses patience and foolishly tries to reach Mitakeumi’s mawashi. Mitakeumi finds a handy Abi cranium to push down. The End. Mitakeumi improves to 9-6, and the argument about his Ozeki chances in 2018 will continue to rage until he goes and messes Kyushu the same way he messed Aki. Abi is 6-9 and can rest assured that he won’t need to face any sanyaku next time around.
The top three bouts, for the first time in two years, feature only Yokozuna and Ozeki. Watch the sanyaku soroi-bumi in Kintamayama’s reel – it’s a good one.
Tochinoshin, after having relieved himself of the awful pressure of the Kadoban, makes short work of Takayasu. He starts with a kachiage, neutralizes Takayasu’s left arm and keeps himself away from the right, and then pushes with all his double-bear power. Takayasu drops, Tochinoshin 9-6.
Goeido slams into Kisenosato, attempts to start a gaburi attack. Kisenosato is a bit too heavy for this stuff. Goeido pulls slightly, and rolls the Yokozuna easily. Kisenosato must be glad he got his 10th yesterday. He finishes 10-5. Goeido has the jun-yusho with 12-3.
Musubi no ichiban. Hakuho has his zensho to defend. Kakuryu – his Yokozuna dignity. Clash, no harite, and Hakuho gets the left-hand mawashi grip. The two enter into a classical yotsu lock hold. Hakuho tries to lift Kakuryu several times, but he is no Tochinoshin. Besides, he only has “ichimai” on the right hand side. The third attack sees Kakuryu lose his mawashi grip, and then he suddenly goes limp and just leaves the dohyo. That’s a bit sad for a Yokozuna, but at least it’s a good way to escape an injury-risking dame-oshi. Hakuho maintains his zensho yusho. ¥200,000 are added to his bi-monthly bonus, which is already the largest in history. I’m guessing Kakuryu is going to be grilled by the YDC tomorrow, having lost all his Yokozuna and Ozeki bouts.
It’s been a pleasurable basho, and now the long wait begins for the last Kyushu basho of the Heisei era.