New Kesho Mawashi for Daieisho and Tsurugisho

Nihon Daigaku (Nichidai: 日大) presented Oitekaze stablemates, Daieisho and Tsurugisho, with some brand spanking new kesho mawashi. Tsurugisho graduated from Nichidai before entering Grand Sumo but Daieisho entered a graduate program there last April. (I’m always glad when athletes are making plans for their post-athletics careers. So props to Daieisho.)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Tsurugisho is already the owner of an awesome Momotaro kesho mawashi. Well, his new one doesn’t feature the eponymous folk hero who was birthed from a peach. [Pause here while Andy recovers from a giggle fit.] “I swear all those old stories are dirty.

Instead, it features Daikokuten, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune which I have written about in the past. Remember the boat (Takarabune)? Daikokuten is generally shown with his hammer (uchide no kozuchi 打ち出の小槌). In Daieisho’s old kesho mawashi, which, coincidentally, is the one I wrote about with the beautiful sakura and Takarabune, Daikokuten is the one at the very front of the boat. The playful portrait here — this time on Momotaro’s apron — is in keeping with Tsurugisho’s jovial personality. Meanwhile, Daieisho’s new kit features an amazing image of a distant Mount Fuji framed by sakura (cherry blossoms). I look forward to seeing both of these new mawashi on the dohyo in May.

The designer of these kesho mawashi is Tanaka Yuko, vice-chairman of the Female Sumo Federation in Japan and was presented to the pair by her and her husband, Tanaka Hidetoshi, chairman of Nichidai, vice-president of the Japanese Olympic Committee among other key positions in the amateur sumo and sports-world.

Speaking of Oitekaze, what have they been putting in the power water over there? Of the 20-odd wrestlers, six are sekitori, five of them in makuuchi! And Endo isn’t even heyagashira! Daieisho’s yusho, Tsurugisho’s juryo yusho…kensho and special prizes galore!

Hatsu 2021: A Peek at Juryo

We find ourselves halfway through the first tournament of 2021, and I’m not sure anyone could have anticipated what we have seen so far. The top division alone has provided plenty of twists and turns, but be careful not to overlook Juryo over the next week. Some veterans will need a big turnaround over the next eight days to get back to Makuuchi, while a few notable rikishi look to be well on the way to a long-awaited Makuuchi return or debut. Come with me, dear reader, as I walk you through the magnificent landscape that is the Juryo division.

There are nine Juryo rikishi inactive this month, chiefly as a result of coronavirus protocols. This has opened the field up significantly as several maegashira mainstays have been eliminated from Juryo yusho contention from the jump in Enho, Ishiura, and Chiyomaru. Chiyonoo is also out, meaning he will have to wait for another chance to make his first makuuchi appearance since 2017.

As for the rikishi who are healthy, the remaining top third of juryo has had a basho to forget. Ex-komusubi Shohozan (currently perched at J4E) is showing his age at 36, managing only three wins from his first seven bouts this month. He is without a winning record since 2019, and such a result is not looking likely this January, either. It will be interesting to see if we’ve seen the last of Shohozan amongst the top flight’s rank-and-filers. Daiamami has been unable to build on the form he showed back in November when he accrued a respectable 9-6 record, so this month’s J1W will need a big second week to find himself in the first division for the eighth time come March’s basho. Churanoumi’s 4-3 record at J3W (a career high for the 27 year old from Okinawa Prefecture) might not seem incredibly impressive, but he  is riding three straight winning records, all of them 8-7. His consistency is noteworthy, and he has been slowly but steadily climbing the banzuke. He looked good on Day 7 against M17E Sadanoumi, so who knows? Perhaps another eight win effort is on the cards for Churanoumi.

The leader to this point in the basho in Juryo is J8E Tsurugisho, which is nice to see from a guy who had a cup of coffee in makuuchi from late 2019 to early 2020. Gunning for his second career Juryo yusho, Tsurugisho is undefeated so far. He hasn’t exactly been facing total scrubs either, with quality wins over the likes of Churanoumi, Nishikigi, Shohozan, and a rejuvenated Jokoryu. He has not faced the 5-2 fan-favorite Ura yet, whose return to makuuchi has been widely anticipated. Ura presents perhaps the biggest threat to Tsurugisho’s yusho hopes, as the widely publicized sekitori debut of J11W Oho has been disappointing (a mere 2-5 record so far). There is a significant portion of the division at 4-3 or 3-4, so it will be interesting to see who can separate from the pack and chase down Tsurugisho.

One last story to follow is the continuation of the Jokoryu Revenge Tour. Could he rip off a big second week and inch ever closer to his first makuuchi appearance in five years? It’s been a slow comeback for the 32 year old, but he is without a losing record since 2019. He’s got a good opportunity to build on his 4-3 start against J14E Ryuko on Day 8. Jokoryu is back, you heard it here first.

That’s all for now, catch me back here again next week with some fire post-basho Juryo analysis.

Aki 2019 Jungyo report – Day 9

Today’s event was supposed to have been day 10, but of the three events in Shizuoka prefecture, the one at Izu – which was the place where the typhoon made its landfall – has been cancelled. Around noon October 13th, the rikishi finally left Yamanashi prefecture and headed around Mt. Fuji, down to Shizuoka, in big buses. There have been no safety issues for the rikishi and their support staff from the weather.

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Aki 2019 Jungyo report – Day 7

From Chiba, we head west to Kanagawa prefecture. Since these Jungyo reports are actually posted a couple of days after the event, we now know that Typhoon #19 has been through many of the areas the Jungyo was planned in. You’ll see a happy town of Sagamihara today, but two days later, it will be disaster area. Post-typhoon events are likely to be accompanied by rounds to comfort the survivors. But today we’ll concentrate on the happy side.

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