Monday morning brought the banzuke, and with it, the news that fan favorite Kaisei had officially dropped from Juryo and landed in Makushita. Shortly thereafter the Kyokai announced that he had retired but would stay in the Kakukai (sumo world) as Tomozuna-oyakata in Oshima-beya.
Fans may recognize the name as the elder name former Kyokutenho had been using until he switched to Oshima earlier this year. While Kyokutenho was active he was originally recruited to Oshima stable but when the stablemaster retired, he joined Tomozuna beya becoming a stablemate with Kaisei. When Kyokutenho retired, the Oshima kabu (stock) was available so he claimed it but when Tomozuna’s master retired, Kyokutenho jumped at the chance to lead the stable — so he switched to Tomozuna. Then earlier this year, Kyokutenho reacquired the Oshima kabu, renaming Tomozuna-beya, Oshima-beya.
Now that Kaisei has retired, he has taken the Tomozuna kabu which was the name of the stable he had originally fought under. And all is right with the world. Peace and Order shall now be restored in the land.
Got that? No? The next dashboard I build will have a Gantt chart to explain it. Failing that, I may just take a picture of the little diagram I drew to help me get it squared away.
The crazy thing is, I was going through a bunch of pictures that Nicola had taken to find one of Kaisei during his heyday. It was this wild stroll down memory lane. Kiribayama battling Ichiyamamoto in Makushita. Then, the Makuuchi dohyo-iri: Kotoshogiku was there, Ikioi…the list goes on…and the tears well up. Well, one of the pics is from the Yokozuna dohyo-iri. Hakuho was Yokozuna and Kaisei was his sword-bearer, Ishiura his dew-sweeper. The three ascend the dohyo in unison. Pan out a little bit — and would you look at that? Ex-Kyokutenho (now Oshima, then Tomozuna) is the shimpan, sitting ringside. Wild, no? As I said, all is right in the world.
Over his 16 year career, Kaisei won the Juryo yusho, a couple of Makuuchi jun-yusho (2nd place), and three fighting spirit prizes. I, for one, am happy that he is staying in sumo and am eager to see the talent he helps develop as coach.
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?
Going inside, first I would like to set your mind at ease. Remember Minatoryu’s bruised throat yesterday, after Ichinojo practiced his nodowa on him? Well, here he is the day after:
No permanent damage, it seems. He smiles because the lady who took this photo is the same one who took the ones yesterday, and she specifically asked him if he was alright after yesterday’s tough practice. “I’m alright!” he beamed.
Let’s stroll around the arena to see what the rikishi are doing.
Asanoyama is stretching.
Not bad. Not Chiyonokuni or Abi level, but not bad.
Yutakayama uses Wakatakakage as a Teppo pole:
Wakatakakage looks like he is resigned to suffering.
Takekaze is… posing for cute photos? Is this actually Takekaze?
Here is Ichinojo doing (ouch!) Seiza again. He also does some fan service, but he doesn’t seem to be too concentrated on that. What is he looking at?
Apparently, he has been staring constantly at Wakatakakage, who was doing shiko next to him:
Ah. That makes sense. I’d be ogling him too if I were there.
Chiyonokuni is having a bout with a mini-rikishi, complete with a plastic chon-mage:
Nice throw there. And a very energetic bout overall.
Time for Juryo bouts. And of course, time for the oldest prank in the book. Salt in the ladle. By the way, the other day somebody tried to pull that on Kagayaki. Kagayaki cooly took the ladle and emptied it directly into the spittoon. If they are breaking rules because it’s Jungyo, so can he. I guess that’s why you don’t see Kagayaki in any of the goofy pictures. He is just not the type to mess with.
But I wonder why nobody else realizes they don’t actually have to drink the stuff:
Bravo, Gagamaru. Very original. And Wakatakakage… don’t put this photo on your resumé.
Seriously, Enho, this trick is getting old. Even if you pull it on a newcomer like Gokushindo.
Not much material in the bouts today. We can only guess who is winning this one:
That’s Daiamami vs. Takekaze, by the way.
The only sekitori bout I have for you today is Takakeisho vs. Ichinojo: