We have a short one for you today. The Jungyo is back in Saitama, which means these guys are once again in the spotlight:
“Hey, hey, hey, wait a second! What about me?!”
Yes, Abi, you’re a home boy, too. Now stop obscuring the other ones.
Not many visuals from the sidelines today, except Chiyoshoma, quietly doing his shiko in the hanamichi while others are practicing on the dohyo:
The practice on the dohyo includes some attention to Wakamotoharu, who has been very popular with the upper echelon this Jungyo:
Can’t say whether that’s a full fledged kawaigari or just plain butsukari. Meisei is also getting some quasi-Ozeki attention. But in his case, it’s pretty clear that when you look like this from the front:
And like this from the back:
…it’s kawaigari. Tochinoshin is making good use of his last days at Ozeki.
Practice bouts: Shimanoumi-Wakatakakage, Endo-Sadanoumi (with a bit of Yokozuna shiko at the end):
Actually, the more interesting san-ban is taking place away from the dohyo. Kotoshogiku and Toyonoshima are having at it in the corner:
Enho – we can’t do without Enho in any report – has finished his practice and wants to go get a shower, when all of a sudden, a team of hoodlums gangs up on him:
“Shortstuff, meet Yuki. He is my VP of Beating People To Pulp”
“Now, for some reason it looks like you think I was born yesterday, but I was not.”
“So I can’t get you to see reason? OK, Yuki, you have a go at making him see reason”
Poor pixie… Got in trouble with the Tamawashi-gumi.
I have absolutely nil material from the afternoon part of this event, sorry. All I have is Hokutofuji serenely having his head shampooed.
Rikishi don’t wash their hair every day, and when they do, it’s basically done with car-mechanic-grade grease remover, because the suki-abura used for their hairstyles is pretty much like having a head full of butter.
So I bid you farewell with our pin-up of the day, Tsukahara, from Kasugano beya, who is also a Saitama home boy:
We have a small event today, with 1800 participants. Let’s start today with the consecration of the dohyo:
If you recall, at the Yasukuni event, the dohyo was consecrated with a full dohyo-matsuri, featuring high ranking gyoji and all that jazz. But since this is a temporary dohyo, it is consecrated by the local organizers. A bit of saké, and off we go.
Who are our home boys of today? Well, there are Dewanojo, Mitakeumi’s tsukebito, and the pretty Toshonishiki, Mitoryu’s tsukebito:
But the real pride and joy of the prefecture are the Taka twins:
Since I rarely write about the twins, this would be a good opportunity to remind you how to tell them apart. Little brother (by half an hour or so) Takagenji, when he smiles, has a gap between his front teeth. Big bully brother Takanofuji (formerly Takayoshitoshi) has a mole over his right lip. And he smiles a lot less than his little brother, probably because he knows that his days as a sekitori are numbered.
The twins were interviewed by the local papers and struggled to come up with memories of the prefecture, which they have left at a very young age – they grew up at Ibaraki. They did mention that their kindergarten teacher came to see them at the venue.
Turns out they are also a bit stung about the fact that their ototo-deshi (member of the same heya who joined more recently) has left them in the dust and made Ozeki. Takagenji says: “What’s important is what your rank is when your mage is shorn”. He has been told in the past that he is a future Yokozuna, and apparently believes he will be at that rank by the time he retires.
Meanwhile, though, Takakeisho is Ozeki, and they are not. Hence, kawaigari!
Yeah, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. We were at the handshake stage, weren’t we? For some reason, it seems like they had the handshakes today in the toilets:
At least, for some reason, the outer corridors of this community hall are lined with sinks.
Takayasu enjoys the sunny day, and uses it for a bit of deep contemplation:
Nishikigi wants to change from Clark Kent to Superman… or maybe just get on the dohyo:
We only have one practice video from the NSK, but this one is significant: Kakuryu starts on-dohyo training. We are officially at the last leg of the Jungyo, then.
His chosen opponent – and butsukari victim – is Daieisho.
So we are done with the practice part. It’s time for some shokkiri. Ebisumaru and Shobushi keep refining small points of their routine:
Ebisumaru lets Shobushi do his high kicks alone, and goes around encouraging the audience to clap.
Juryo dohyo-iri. Gagamaru and Sokokurai fool around happily:
Aminishiki seems not to think much of the behavior of these two kiddies.
Arawashi is about a meter ahead of them, busying himself, as always, with being dreamy:
Then they all wait for their turn to wrestle, as the Juryo bouts start with Shonannoumi, who is today’s “filler”:
Filler or not, he beats Daiseido.
And now, where are the aforesaid Gagamaru and Sokokurai?
Ah, right in the middle of the crowd. More specifically, right in the middle of a bunch of primary school kids:
Gagamaru tries to camouflage himself. For some reason «cough»212kg«cough», this doesn’t work all too well.
But the man is sure enjoying himself:
And so do the kids. His tactic works – when he goes on the dohyo, he is accompanied by many little voices calling “Gagamaru! Ganbare!”
Oh, you think this sort of foolish antics is solely the realm of the likes of Gagamaru or Shodai? I give you:
Prince Charming himself! The funny thing is, it looks like the hat actually fits him.
The Juryo bouts end with local boy Takagenji vs. Chiyomaru. Chiyomaru is showing us his prize winning… lunar aspects.
And I swear that Kotoyuki is showing much interest in the full moon that rises on the other side as well.
Ahem… let’s take a look at the three Yokozuna:
Hakuho and Kakuryu do their duty to the local sponsors – and the local mascot, who became a Yokozuna for a day.
On to the Makuuchi bouts, and here is Kagayaki’s shimekomi, sans kagayaki:
Ah, the duties of a tsukebito.
Here is a summary video of today’s event, which includes a few bouts:
Note the “gaijin-cam” there…
Our pin-up boy of the day is the slightly blurry Ryuden:
Unlike our previous location, which boasted a local sekitori, a local tsukebito, and a semi-local former Yokozuna’s nephew, Gunma prefecture is really short on famous or high-ranked local boys.
The local organizers gave Hikarifuji and Kayatoiwa their due glory, but their real pride and joy is not regularly a part of the jungyo anymore. He was brought in specifically for this event.
That, of course, is 42 years old Satonofuji, the grand master of the bow, who hails from Gunma prefecture. And while all the other low-ranked rikishi were working on the dohyo, Satonofuji was working with the struggling new performer, Shohoryu, giving him a master class.
This was just one of the various outdoor activities today. The weather was deemed warm enough to have the handshaking sessions outside:
Though the sky looks pretty gray, if you ask me. Not all the rikishi just stand for handshakes. Some famous veterans sit in a separate corners, and fans can go and have a photo taken with them:
But actual practice takes place inside the venue. The first sekitori arrive and pull their taping kits:
Others start stretching:
Some squatting and suri-ashi are in order:
Wakamotoharu works on his upper body:
But then he and Mitakeumi decide to gang up on poor Enho:
The Yokozuna synchronize:
But then each goes his own way. Kakuryu manages an exercise that doesn’t look ridiculous:
While Hakuho is doing suri-ashi in the hana-michi, and interacts with the spectators:
Near the wall, a group of lower-ranked rikishi prove to us that titty obsession is not just a Tamawashi thing:
What are you doing, guys?
Up on the dohyo, Ichinojo is giving butsukari:
While Terutsuyoshi seems to have… a toothache?
By now, you should know who it is who makes Takakeisho smile this wide:
Takayasu finishes stretching, has a bout with Mitakeumi, and butsukari with Onosho.
Some more practice bouts: Daieisho-Takakeisho, Myogiryu-Ichinojo, Kiribayama-Takanofuji:
Practice over. Lower-ranked rikishi get their hair done and go about their chores:
Some sekitori go out and enjoy the food stalls outside the venue. Namely, Terutsuyoshi, Chiyotairyu and Enho. Enho starts well with some yaki manju:
But seems to pick up something that doesn’t suit his dainty palate:
Or maybe it’s the camera crew that affect his apetite.
Terutsuyoshi and Chiyotairyu enjoy some yakisoba:
With everybody fed and in good order, it’s time for the afternoon part of the day. We begin with a Jonidan bout, because of course we don’t want to miss Satonofuji:
Nice throw. Next up, we have the Juryo dohyo-iri, or as Gagamaru calls it, “cheeky time”:
The cheeks in question being Takanosho’s of course.
Azumaryu and Akiseyama have a less painful way to enjoy the wait:
Next up, the Juryo bouts, and we have Aminishiki vs. Hidenoumi for you:
Nice effort from old Uncle there, but to no avail.
Chiyomaru makes short work of Daiamami:
And we are up in Makuuchi. And the dohyo-iri there is not free of sin, either:
For some reason, Chiyotairyu decides that facing the spectators is just too much for him and turns around in the middle of the dohyo-iri. Abi tries to argue with him.
Takakeisho, by now getting used to all the “shin-ozeki” stuff, receives gifts of local produce – rice, meat, etc.:
The bouts start, and Yoshikaze has a wardrobe malfunction:
Is it me or does Toyonoshima surreptitiously improve his mawashi hold during this matta? Zurui… he won this bout.
Next up, Terutsuyoshi throws his usual bucket load of salt… and seems to hit his own eye:
Typical Terutsuyoshi sumo. Sorry, Yago, maybe next time!
Next up, Ichinojo vs. Endo:
Ichinojo is not sleeping.
Kaisei is pitted with Nishikigi, and doesn’t let the green mawashi man set up any sort of defense:
Last before the san-yaku, Hokutofuji vs. Mitakeumi:
Takakeisho is up next vs. Tamawashi:
No rolling into the crowd today. The last bout whose footage I got is Goeido vs Tochinoshin:
And after Kakuryu beats Takayasu (sorry, no video), comes the part everybody has been waiting for – good old Satonofuji’s yumi-tori shiki. Watch it, then go back to previous reports and compare with Kasugaryu, never mind poor Shohoryu. This is the work of a true master:
The Jungyo completes its Kansai and Tokai leg, and heads back home to Tokyo. Well, Tokyo is a big city, and Hachioji is further from the Tokyo city center than Yokohama. And while it was merely a cold day in central Tokyo, at Hachioji, it was snowing.
Snowing so much that one of the fans coming to watch the sumo filmed this as they reached the nearby Otsuki station:
Near the venue the snow was not as heavy, but still, we had a freezing Yokozuna:
Why is he going barefoot in such weather?
We also had a freezing oyakata, who was looking enthusiastic about it for two seconds:
And if these two hardy Mongolians freeze…
So, let’s go inside the warm arena, and say our hellos to the Iwasaki brothers at their handshake stations:
Smiles are contagious today, and we have this big, wide one from Aminishiki. They are becoming rarer!
What’s our big beloved boulder doing today? Well, first, he stretches by the wall, accompanied by his loyal Oka:
Then, he goes over to the side of the dohyo to do some squats:
And finally, he finds a practice buddy – Mitoryu:
Hokutofuji stomps his shiko by the wall. And I do mean stomps:
All evil spirits in Hachioji ground pack up and go to the nearest UN office to apply for refugee status.
Abi practices his yotsu-zumo with Nishikigi:
Nishikigi is not easily moved, certainly not with this weak technique. Somebody please give Abi the basics. Maybe he should go back to the Kakuryu academy.
Toyonoshima works on his arm muscles with weights:
Hakuho arrives at the dohyo. Is greeted as usual. Somebody from his ichimon giving him a respectful ladle? You bet!
Despite being questioned by the Compliance Committee two days before, and that not-too-good-looking arm, Hakuho seems to be in a good mood.
According to this tweet, Tamawashi professes his love to Kotoyuki:
Whereupon Kotoyuki sends him to hell. The poor jilted sekiwake tries to evoke guilt. Kotoyuki unmoved.
Kakuryu diligently does his shiko. This time manages to not smile bashfully doing it.
OK, some practice bouts: Hokutofuji vs. Okinoumi, Tomokaze vs. Meisei:
I wonder who won that last one.
Next, Mitakeumi vs. Asanoyama, then Mitakeumi vs. Ryuden:
Ryuden, I believe, was underranked at M11, and it will be interesting to see him in the upper part of Makuuchi in Natsu.
Practice over, and as Kakuryu leaves he is enveloped by fans asking for autographs:
While he is doing his fansa duty diligently and seriously, Hakuho is doing the same, but in a much lighter atmosphere:
Now, the story behind this picture is as follows:
Tsukebito (I think that’s Umizaru): “Please hold your pen with the tip towards yourself! It would be unfortunate if it marked the Yokozuna’s Yukata!” Hakuho: “I think if we washed it it would be fine”.
Everybody around chuckling. Tsukebito thinks for a while.
Tsukebito: “Please hold your pen with the tip towards yourself! It would be unfortunate if it poked the Yokozuna in the eye!”. Hakuho: 😆 Tsukebito: “Now, wouldn’t it?” Hakuho: “I don’t think it’s going to poke me in the eye.”
Everybody around bursts out laughing.
And that’s what they call “Fansa kami-sama” (Fan interaction god). I’m positive nobody who ever went to one of those Jungyo event and interacted with the Yokozuna would be sending the NSK angry letters about the propriety of clapping during yusho speeches.
It’s time for the Juryo bouts. But Wakamotoharu’s oicho-mage is lopsided. Akiseyama offers help:
Akiseyama may be the ugly duckling of the rikishi corps, but he is a good guy.
As Juryo bouts near their end, Kakuryu awaits his cue to demonstrate rope tying:
Nice kesho-mawashi. Too bad it’s always hidden. It’s relatively rare to see a Yokozuna in kesho-mawashi and no rope.
And it’s time for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. Most rikishi are busy goofing around. Even usually-serious Hokutofuji finds a target for a goof:
Amidst all the lively hustle and bustle, sits a lonely Ozeki:
I guess this is why Goeido rarely makes an appearance in these reports. He usually keeps to himself, away from the clicking phone cameras.
Let’s take a look at the dohyo-iri. First, the East:
Of course, Mitakeumi “accidentally” bumps into Kaisei.
And did you spot Terutsuyoshi standing on tiptoes to match Ishiura’s height? 😏
On to the West:
The Shodai-Nishikigi duo keeps at it. Shodai: “Stop waving”. Nishikigi: “Why not”. Starts waving again. Shodai stops him. You get dohyo-iri and Shokkiri for the price of one.
And as the time comes for the bouts, the same Nishikigi, but this time with Shohozan, sit themselves among the spectators:
I guess they don’t want to miss Kagayaki’s match.
As for the matches themselves, I have Tochinoshin vs. Takakeisho:
Wait, haven’t we seen this bout before? This is so obviously yaocho, you can’t be surprised at Tochinoshin’s face as he returns to his seat (the winner and loser in the penultimate bouts don’t leave the dohyo until the musubi is done):
We also have Kakuryu vs. Goeido:
Once again, Goeido wins. I think he is 9-1 by now.
A summary video:
The video mentions that Takakeisho has yet to do any on-dohyo practice. His “opponent” Tochinoshin, on the other hand, though I didn’t get a photo or video of it, did 11 practice bouts and won all. “I just do my usual – whatever I can at any given moment”.
As the bouts end, the rikishi pack up and leave – but not on their busses this time. It’s Tokyo, and they are going home – by train, of course.
Our pin-up boy today is Enho, because this photo was not to be overlooked:
Early morning, and groggy-eyed sekitori start arriving. Here we have Takarafuji in a drab kimono, a night-crumpled chon-mage, and eyes half-closed:
…which all stand in stark contrast with his spiffy fashionable orange Hermes bag.
Abi looks pretty surprised by half-asleep Enho.
My guess is it’s the first time he noticed Enho’s cauliflower ear.
The only one who seems to be a morning person is Kaisei:
So let’s get inside the venue. Kotoeko forces his knees together with rubber bands:
This seems to be quite an effort for him. In the hana-michi, Ishiura practices his tachiai:
What, no henka?
Hakuho practices his sonkyo:
Sonkyo is this crouching position which is performed during the shikiri (and also to accept the gunbai and possible kensho envelopes). It’s also quite useful to have a talk with someone sitting on the ground:
In this case a rather good-humored Kasugano oyakata. Hakuho also practices his shiko, as always:
And like a good Hitchhiker, he does it equipped with a towel. Which reminds me, here is Kakuryu again:
Silly though he may look, Kakuryu is very popular with the fans:
Kyokusoten, behind him, looks a bit taken aback by all the clamor.
Oyakata can be popular, too!
You have to admit Tomozuna oyakata looks quite nice in a mon-tsuki kimono.
There is a sekitori from Aichi prefecture – Akiseyama. Here he is practicing with Kyokutaisei:
But for some reason, he is not that popular in this event. This may be because there is a real home boy – one from the very city of Nishio: Kaisho, from Asakayama beya (Kaio’s heya).
The thing is, Kaisho is not a sekitori. He is in Makushita. And the only reason he is wearing an oicho-mage in this picture is that the torikumi guys arranged a Juryo bout for him to please the spectators.
Being a member of Isegahama ichimon earns him the privilege of getting kawaigari from Aminishiki. The spectators really love this – Aminishiki seems to be popular all over Japan. And with their home boy, oh boy!
Even this little sliver of video is a good demonstration of Aminishiki’s showmanship.
Some Makuuchi practice bouts: Onosho vs. Kagayaki, Okinoumi vs. Ryuden:
And here are Kaisei vs. Mitakeumi, and Tochinoshin vs. Kaisei:
One gets the impression that winning 10 bouts might not be beyond Tochinoshin’s capabilities the next basho.
Practice over, and lower-ranked rikishi get their hair redone:
Imagine if these tokoyama could sing in harmony. They would be a real… wait for it… barbershop quartet! [crickets]
And here comes the big news of the day. Our big ice-cream man has joined the Jungyo, as his herniated disc improved. And he got teased quite a lot for cleverly joining it on his birthday, because that means he gets lots of free cake!
The cakes are from the reporters. And Ichinojo is a good boy. He blows away the candles, and then does it again just to please a cameraman who didn’t get a good shot the first take.
I suppose he was then given an instruction to eat his cake like a good hungry boulder:
Um… is he really going to eat it with the plastic collar still on? And the candles? But well, the reporters said “do it”, so…
Although he participated in the dohyo-iri this day, he did not participate in the bouts and apparently not in any keiko, either.
Here is the West Juryo dohyo-iri for you.
Note how much more popular Aminishiki and Enho are, compared to local-born Akiseyama.
Enho and Yoshikaze still don’t participate in any bouts.
Time for Makuuchi dohyo-iri, and someone asks Tamawashi to hold a baby. The baby is not very happy about this.
As the kid starts an air-raid siren going, Abi decides to match him note for note. Mwaaaaaa!
Takarafuji, if you note, is all like “I was hoping I’ll get a little peace and quiet from baby cries in the Jungyo. Sheesh…”
Hakuho is on his way to do his own dohyo-iri. He does that without that supporter on his arm – for aesthetic reasons, I guess. But this fan caught him feeling up his injured arm:
That torn muscle, it is not going away.
Finally, it’s time for the bouts… but I don’t have any bout footage, sorry. Instead, here is Aoiyama, who found a back room with basketball equipment:
And here is Takakeisho, who is way too happy about this ladle his giving to Tamawashi.
Could it possibly be… the shin-ozeki… is doing the salt trick? He must know that revenge will come – and rather swiftly, as they are doing their matches in the same order every day.
Here is the yumi-tori shiki from this day:
And for our pin-up corner, how about a rather puzzled Yoshoyama?
The Jungyo doubles back to Mie prefecture where it began. This time to the beautiful city named Tsu. And I was very excited to receive a treasure of photos and videos from this event courtesy of Simon Davies and Blanca Bolea, who got up at 4:55 in Hasunuma and took no less 4 trains and a local bus to get to Tsu. Simon says it was worth it.
There were also many Japanese Twitter users who posted about this particular event, so this may turn out to be quite a long post. Brace yourselves, here we go!