After day 8’s cornucopia of lower division action, day 9 is a leaner beast, with a handful of matches, many with great interest. Wakaichiro battles in the elite group of undefeated Jonidan rikishi, and Wakamotoharu visits Juryo to measure for his hoped-for sekitori promotion in March.
Wakaichiro vs Hokutoo – With his kachi-koshi already secure, Wakaichiro enters an elite group of 13 rikishi with 4-0 records to sort out who gets a shot at the Jonidan yusho. First stop is 26 year sumo veteran Hokutoo from Hakkaku heya. They met once before in September, with Wakaichiro beating him.
Kenho vs Yoshimura – Kenho is winless, and looking to be in poor physical form. With an 0-4 start, the question is how far down the banzuke he will drop for Osaka. His opponent, the much smaller Yoshimura, is suffering through an 0-4 record as well. This may be a chance for Kenho to pick up a much needed win.
Torakio vs Dewaazuma – The Naruto heya rikishi starts day 9 with a 2-2 record. He has fought Dewaazuma twice before, with them splitting the series 1-1. By all counts, this is an even match, and may make for some good sumo.
Musashikuni vs Chiyoarashi – Musashikuni is 1-3, but battled through his physical difficulties for a much need win on day 8. His day 9 match is against Kokonoe heya’s Chiyoarashi, who won their only prior match. Chiyoarashi is a former Juryo man, who was injured in 2013, and has thus far not returned to higher rank.
Midorifuji vs Kitaharima – A 2-2 bracket match features Midorifuji’s second bout with former Maegashira 15 Kitaharima. Midorifuji took their prior match at Kyushu 2018.
Wakamotoharu vs Takekaze – With a 4-0 score in the top ranks of Makushita, Wakamotoharu has a solid chance of getting promoted to Juryo for Osaka, and joining his brother Wakatakakage. But day 9 he faces the ur-veteran Takekaze to test his mettle.
In this event we get back to Fukuoka, but this is in fact the last event in Kyushu for this Jungyo. The next stop is far-away Okinawa, and then the rikishi go back to Tokyo, rest a while and finish with three additional days near home in the Kanto area.
Although Kotoshogiku is one of the Fukuoka locals, sadly, he is off the torikumi for the day, and Yutakayama also continues without participating in the bouts.
So lets start our day with handshakes. Here is Aminishiki, alongside his poor, freezing tsukebito, Terumichi:
It’s not that Aminishiki is better dressed than him. I guess it’s having grown in cold Aomori.
Around the walls we have practicing rikishi. Enho is doing his stretches:
…and signing autographs while he’s at it. But he is not the only stretchy rikishi. Here we have Kyonosato, who shows us that despite having a bigger chin than Chiyomaru and beer-storage flaps, he can do the splits like a pro:
Not impressed? How about this?
By the way, he is still being subjected to “Wiggle the Wattle”:
And not just by his brother (Narutaki).
For a 22 years old, he has the patience of a saint!
Along another wall, some low-rankers are doing the rikishi version of the Locomotion:
Mitoryu and Ichinojo are having a chat. Ichinojo wants to demonstrate one of his colt-tossing moves. Mitoryu will have none of that:
Rikishi around the passages and walls are, of course, fansa magnets. Especially when asked to pose with a cute kid (sorry for censoring the cute):
Even kids want to lay their hands on the pixie!
But this kid is not just a pixie fan. Apparently, he gets along with Americans, too:
Love the kid’s shirt!
The NSK even has an official kiddie photo-op:
But I feel it’s a poor replacement to the old “kiddie sumo” that used to be the highlight of the Jungyo day. At least the kiddie photo-op allows girls equal access to the rikishi.
At the dohyo, Wakatakakage decides to do some push-ups. Apparently, Mitoryu decides the load is too light:
A serious-faced Enho grabs a ladle of water. What is he going to do with it?
Ah, of course. Greet the Yokozuna:
When the greetings are over, the Yokozuna can practice away from the dohyo:
On the dohyo, we have practice bouts between Hakuyozan Takekaze, then Hakuyozan and Jokoryu:
Kagayaki seems to have enjoyed his practice with Onosho.
Maybe because he got to experience how it feels to be flat-chested for a few seconds there. Onosho completely eliminated his boob there! Not an easy task!
Then there was some sanban between Tochinoshin and Shodai:
And some butsukari between Takayasu and Hokutofuji, and Nishikigi and Aoiyama:
In fact, that is not just butsukari between Takayasu and Hokutofuji. It’s full-fledged kawaigari. Lots of dirt:
And lots of suffering:
Takayasu is no gentler than Hakuho, but well, Hakuho seems to enjoy it more:
If you’re wondering, the victim (“This will make him even stronger!”) today is Tochinoshin.
One thing Tochinoshin doesn’t lack is stamina. In fact, the Yokozuna ends up looking more tired than he is. But in any case, I’m sure it will motivate the Georgian to try for a rope. After all, nobody gives Kawaigari to a Yokozuna. Not even a dai-Yokozuna.
Time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And here, too, fans were asking for autographs. Wakatakakage wants to sign Terutsuyoshi while he’s at it:
Terutsuyoshi was known as a “Yanki” – a delinquent – when he was in school. So it’s no surprise he react with a prompt wedgie:
That same Terutsuyoshi, though, goes and buries his head in Hidenoumi’s chest.
Hidenoumi looks like he is considering a MeToo protest against the Isegahama homunculus.
The actual dohyo-iri ends up as a photo-op as well:
Imagine them doing that in honbasho…
In the Juryo bouts, Terutsuyoshi ends up frustrated after losing to Ishiura:
And Enho has no trouble showing Chiyonoumi the way off the dohyo:
I guess not enough weight-lifting, Chiyonoumi. Maybe instead of lifting Chiyomaru you should try Ichinojo!
I don’t really have any Makuuchi bout footage. But here is an awesome nodowa for you:
That’s Takanosho vs. Onosho. Twitter folks report that this was a stormy bout. Takanosho won it and was rather breathless as he stepped – with some kensho – off the dohyo.
Also, there was apparently something very funny about Shohozan’s bout:
Or maybe it’s the amount of kensho he finds amusing?
Between practice and dohyo-iri, Hakuho got himself photographed with his heya’s tokoyama.
The reason Tokohachi got this commemorative photo with the Yokozuna in his full regalia is that this is his last Fuyu Jungyo. He is supposed to retire next year.
I think when he shows this to his grandkids they won’t believe it’s the real Hakuho he was standing next to. “No, grandpa, that’s just one of those panels they put up everywhere there is a sumo event!”
Now, it’s time for our pin-up rikishi, but I had a hard time making a decision today! Lots of fans were in Kitakyushu and took pictures of gorgeous rikishi. Whom would you choose?
Asanoyama lovingly looking at the camera Takarafuji borrowed from a fan to take his picture? Or maybe…
Tough-looking Wakatakakage recovering from the wedgie incident? How about…
…the more mature-looking Tamawashi? He has been on his best behavior while in Fukuoka! But then, there is…
…Myogiryu going for a fashion statement and a manly pose. Meanwhile…
Tobizaru is outraged by the idea that he lost his exclusive hold on the pin-up position this Jungyo in general, and in this post in particular!
However, I think he’ll have a hard competition in Abi here:
Because apparently Abi is not just about shiko! He can also throw a nice handful of salt! (Though both Yobidashi seem a little critical of it. Maybe because they have to sweep the damn stuff all the time).
I leave it to the readers to decide which one is the most worthy of the pin-up section. Though I think we can fill up a whole calendar with these guys!
Note: there will not be a post tomorrow. I hope I’ll be able to catch up during the weekend.
We continue our journey through the Kumamoto prefecture. As always, the day starts with the low-ranking wrestlers around the dohyo, while some of the sekitori are shaking hands, some exercise around the venue, and some around the dohyo. The Kokonoe sekitori seem to be very diligent. Earlier than everybody, they start exercising around the dohyo:
The reason for this is that Kokonoe oyakata is in the Jungyo, and watching his flock like a hawk. He is the one who took this picture, by the way.
Hmm… where is Chiyoshoma? I guess not everybody is that stressed out about the oyakata. Chiyoshoma, as usual, gravitates toward the Mongolian corner:
Mitoryu is not the only one doing resistance training. Takanosho is hard at work, simultaneously stretching his rubber strap and being cute.
Ishiura is busy stretching his tendons:
You can do better than that!
Takekaze was doing… something…
The tweet says suri-ashi, but it doesn’t really look like it.
Takayasu is busy lifting one of his tsukebito. Ozeki and Yokozuna get to bring more than one tsukebito to Jungyo. His other tsukebito is also by his side – Musashikuni.
Now let’s see Takayasu try that with Musashikuni…
The local boys are Sadanoumi and Shodai. Sadanoumi does a frog impression:
OK, OK, it’s another type of stretch. I get the impression that Sadanoumi tries to avoid the limelight, as opposed to Shodai who is in full fansa mode:
Shodai is accompanied by Asakura, who demonstrates the duties of a tsukebito to us.
Other rikishi take their time and chat a little. Here is a rare smile from Kagayaki:
Kagayaki once said the only rikishi he is on friendly terms with is Enho. But it seems he found some companionship in Onosho. Onosho seems to be a friendly guy in general:
Here he is with Midorifuji. Midorifuji seems to enjoy the same popularity Enho had when he was still in a black mawashi and doing the Jungyo as Hakuho’s tsukebito: he seems to hang out with many sekitori, not even from his own ichimon, which is a bit unusual for a low-ranker. I’ve seen him chatting with Chiyoshoma (who rarely chats with anybody other than his own heya-mates or the Mongolian rikishi), and even with some of the oyakata. It’s the pixie dust, I’m sure!
On the dohyo, we have some Juryo moshi-ai:
And some Makuuchi: Ryuden vs. Sadanoumi
Endo vs. Aoiyama:
I expect Aoiyama to cut through the ranks like a hot knife in butter next basho. Tamawashi vs. Shohozan:
I always like to watch these two going at it. I expect the bartender to dive under the counter any minute.
And here are Tochinoshin and Asanoyama:
No explicit information, but it seems Meisei has been through some kawaigari:
And so we get to the second part of the day. Not many photos from the actual bouts, but remember, Hakuho is back! Therefore, we have this familiar scene:
That’s Hakuho, leaning on the Yobidashi after the sanyaku-soroi-bumi, awaiting his bout. He invariably does that in Jungyo – and sometimes runs some pranks on the yobidashi while he’s at it.
Here’s a short video with some shokkiri and some bouts (alas, no complete ones):
So, having only left it a few days ago, the rikishi find themselves back in Fukuoka. Well, not in the city of Fukuoka, but in the prefecture. Today’s event in Nogata is sponsored by Mochikichi, a long-time sponsor. So the event is called “Mochikichi basho”, and in exchange, the spectators get fluffier zabuton, yay!
A day before the event, while the rikishi were still in Nagasaki, two yobidashi were already in Nogata, to let everybody know that Grand Sumo is in town:
This is called “furedaiko”. The yobidashi also stopped and let people know what important torikumi to expect.
This tradition comes from the Edo period – when they would do these rounds from morning till evening on the day before the competition. Too bad they are doing it in front of a virtually empty mall here.
The next day, rikishi arrive at the venue – including one king and his entourage (Yokozuna frequently have special accommodation arrangements so they arrive separately from the buses).
Note that the impressive regal arrival is somewhat marred by the fact that the royal person has to lean on Kasugaryu’s arm to walk to the venue. Hakuho is certainly not in a good condition. Take a look at the scars from his operation. The leg doesn’t look swollen or anything – but still, he leans on Kasugaryu.
Hakuho took time to practice as much as he could, though.
Of course you know that the poor tsukebito on the bottom right is going to be in serious pain in a minute or so.
There were people other than Hakuho around the dohyo, though. For example, one smiling Yusho winner:
If you want to get a big smile from Takakeisho, just put him next to Daieisho.
Hakuho and Takakeisho also paid a visit to a shrine earlier on, and poured water on a “Jizou” – a protector Bodhisattva – for good fortune:
Back in the venue, here is shodai with a group of future rikishi:
The spectators seem to be younger and younger each Jungyo.
Let’s look at some practice bouts, shall we? Starting with Ishiura vs. Wakatakakage:
I guess he saves the henka for torikumi time. Next up – Nishikigi vs. Shohozan:
You’ll notice the bout is over before it’s technically over. This is part of moshi-ai, and I guess nobody wants to waste time on nearly-hopeless tawara dances. Shohozan had him in a very firm morozashi.
Up next, the tadpole buddies, Takakeisho and Onosho:
Remember when Onosho was the stronger one of the two?
It’s lunch time, and we have Wakamotoharu in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Chanko.
I wonder if those are for him, or if he’s taking one for his brother. Or maybe, both are for Wakatakakage. After all – sekitori eat first.
Dohyo-iri time, and Tamawashi, as usual, can’t keep his hands to himself:
Surprisingly, this gives Hokutofuji, who is right behind him, an idea what to do with his own arms:
Aha, Tamawashi! See how that feels?
Moving on to bout time, and here are a couple of diligent emergency rescue team members:
OK, maybe not so diligent. But the sign behind them definitely says they are the emergency rescue team members. Anybody feels like being rescued by Abi (わら)?
I have a couple of half-bouts to share. Sorry, apparently this sumo fan doesn’t think a tachiai is an important part of a sumo bout. :-(
Kotoshogiku vs. Endo:
Once again, Endo gets to face the local favorite. Kotoshogiku doesn’t even have to engage in chug mode.
Shohozan vs. Takakeisho:
Hey, isn’t that the same morozashi Shohozan practice in that keiko match vs. Nishikigi earlier? Takakeisho tries the arm lock, but to no avail.
This next one is actually a Juryo bout, but I saved it for last, because, well, wow. Presenting Enho vs. Takekaze:
Wow. Just, Wow. In the last measurement, Enho weighed 97kg. Takekaze was 150kg.
And so, the Nogata event ends, and all the rikishi go back on their buses:
What, did you think I’d leave you without any pin-up rikishi for the day? That wouldn’t do. Here is Tobizaru, and he is, apparently, hot.
Note: My schedule has been taken over by, well, life. So don’t expect the next installment before Friday. Thank you for your patience!