After the fairly modest event we had up north in Ibaraki, the Jungyo returns to Tokyo for one of its permanent events – the dedication sumo event at Yasukuni Shrine.
As John Gunning mentioned in his recent article about Jungyo, this event is free of charge, and allows about 6000 spectators to enjoy a day of sumo right at the heart of the big city.
The upshot of all this is that there were a lot of visuals on the ‘net, and you are in for one long post. Clear up a couple of hours of your time, folks. Prepare a bento box, visit the toilet, tuck in the kids.
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!
Today was the second day in Hyogo prefecture – but right on the opposite side of it than Day 4’s event. Early morning, the dohyo is already consecrated from the day before.
And… what’s this parking right in front of the entrance to the venue?
Why, it’s Ryota Hama’s Chanko Nabe bus!
While in Tokyo or Osaka honbasho you rely either on the food supply inside the venue or the regular restaurants around it, events in small towns rely on mobile stalls. So as yobidashi Hiromasa calls the townspeople with his drum, a little matsuri is being set up around the venue.
And early-bird Hama got the most lucrative location, right at the entrance! Mmmm… chanko!
But not yet, the stalls are just being set up. First, it’s time to shake hands with some favorite rikishi. For example, Hyogo local Terutsuyoshi.
Ah, the contrast between the beautiful kimono of those ladies gathering around him, and his own ratty yukata…
Yokozuna in the house!
Low-ranking rikishi practice on the dohyo, while around it some sekitori are starting to stretch and exercise:
Very entertaining squats on the left side there.
On the sidelines, Sadanoumi practices his oshi:
Ando is doing suri-ashi:
And so does Aoiyama, though in a totally different style:
It’s time for the Juryo rikishi’s practice on the dohyo. We have Kyokushuho with Wakamotoharu, then Kyokushuho with Azumaryu:
And in the session’s closure, Takakeisho gives butsukari to Wakamotoharu:
Then Makuuchi gets into the picture. Aoiyama faces Meisei, then Okinoumi, then Asanoyama, then the latter takes over and faces Ryuden.
This is not the end of the road for Ryuden, who later gets Mitakeumi (for some reason this bout appears twice in this video). Then we can see Mitakeumi vs. Tochinoshin:
Practice time is over, and we can relax and enjoy Shokkiri. Here is the full performance.
Apparently, in this Jungyo, the gyoji is getting creative. When the two performers fall down together, he leaves the dohyo, and consults with some spectator – preferably a child: “I should call that dotai, right?”.
“Dotai” is when both rikishi touch ground at the same time. In a normal bout, the gyoji doesn’t call it – the gyoji always has to point the gunbai one side or the other – and this is settled with a monoii and a torinaoshi. In shokkiri, of course, the gyoji makes all the decisions himself. Or with the help of a child, as it turns out.
Next up is the Jinku performance. And once again I have the full version:
But hey, aren’t you hungry? It’s nearly noon and we haven’t tasted that chanko, yet!
Apparently they also serve Udon. But who cares? Chanko!
There is also a mobile Takoyaki stall if you’re tired of Chanko, as some rikishi are
Both lunch and Jinku over, it’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And Sokokurai is arguing some point with Gagamaru:
Skipping the Makuuchi and Yokozuna dohyo-iri, right before Makuuchi, Takakeisho, the local hero, receives a bale of rice as a gift – and apparently, a large amount of beef.
The area of Toyooka is known for its stork-friendly rice. Apparently, Japanese storks have been on the decline, and the city of Toyooka is making an effort to bring them back, by raising rice that coexists with the creatures that storks feed on to sustain themselves. So Takakeisho got a bale of stork-friendly rice. I don’t know how stork-friendly the beef is, though.
So let’s see some bouts! Here we have a series of bouts from Juryo:
This is followed by bouts from Makuuchi:
Tochiozan vs. Endo:
Sanyaku-soroi-bumi, and Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi
Tamawashi’s killer nodowa does it again.
Takakeisho vs. Tochinoshin:
I think Tochinoshin forgot that he was supposed to let the local boy win.
Finally, Musubi-no-ichiban, Kakuryu vs. Goeido.
I think I have yet to see Kakuryu win a bout this basho.
Finishing with our pin-up… How about Nishikigi for a change?
The Jungyo continues through Nara prefecture, and I have to admit I’m disappointed that none of the photos and videos I collected for this report and the previous one contains any deer. 🦌☹️
So let’s get right inside the venue, and take a look at the rikishi practicing. Meisei is having a nice chat with onosho while taping his feet up.
Onosho himself is both taping and stretching.
Mitakeumi and Enho seem to be practicing or discussing moves or doing a mock fight, except…
…except, what is Enho doing rubbing his face against Mitakeumi like a cute little kitten? Is that some new kimarite we have never heard of before? “Kawaisugitaoshi” – “takedown by cute overload”?
Takanosho is doing… what? The tweet says he has been repeating this for 30 minutes!
Please don’t tell me that this is a yoga exercise like the one Daishoho did yesterday.
As Kakuryu arrives at the Dohyo, everybody stands in line to greet him. Terutsuyoshi, however, takes his sweet time chatting with the Yokozuna
Once left on his own, Kakuryu practices squats with a load. Very nice posture:
Midway he becomes conscious of being filmed. That yokozuna is too cute for his own good. You’re supposed to be stoic, and preferably scary, yokozuna!
Daiseido is doing butsukari, borrowing Tochinoshin’s furry chest:
Tokushoryu, who was born and raised in Nara city, got butsukari from a Yokozuna yesterday. So today he has to settle for… Gagamaru?
Poor Tokushoryu – doesn’t get the privilege of a Yokozuna or Ozeki pushing him around, and has to contend with Gagamaru’s weight.
By the way, although on the official web site Gagamaru is described as weighing 199kg, it’s a lie. He usually asks for his weight not to be published, but it did leak out last year and it was 212kg. Yep, he weighs more than Kaisei.
So here are some practice bouts: Tomokaze vs. Abi, Onosho vs. Nishikigi.
Yeah, once Nishikigi got his mawashi, Onosho was doomed.
Practice over, it’s time to hit the shower. Or, in Japan, the shower and then the bath. And this means going out of the venue and off to some sento or onsen. And that’s exactly when fans want attention, autographs or photos taken. Takakeisho obliges, but also poses and directs the photographer:
Tamawashi is all in a hurry and will not respond to fan requests… except ones shorter than 100cm.
It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri, and a very freezing Uncle Sumo makes his way to the venue.
Nice shoes. Match the fringe of the kesho-mawashi.
In fact, everybody is cold. Well, maybe not Tsurugisho:
Interesting Paisley design there, Enho. Must be a hand-me-down from Hakuho… shortened by about half a meter.
Once the Juryo dohyo-iri and torikumi are done, it’s time for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. And listen to how Takakeisho is announced:
Makuuchi dohyo-iri usually ends with an Ozeki. “And last… shin-Ozeki, Takakeisho, comes from Hyogo, Chiganoura beya”.
Takakeisho said in an interview a couple of days ago that the Jungyo finally made him feel that he is an Ozeki for real. It’s not just the dohyo-iri. Look how he travels these days:
That’s a mon-tsuki kimono he is wearing, so he is not just arriving from the hotel, though. He probably went on a shrine visit of some sort.
Time for the bouts! And what better time is there to goof around? We are back to our comedy duo from yesterday, Nishikigi and Shodai. This time, Shodai is the one fooling around with Nishikigi’s glasses while Nishikigi is busy signing autographs.
Nishikigi is off to face Onosho, and Shodai takes this opportunity to…
…smear some of the suki-abura from his head on Nishikigi’s glasses’ lenses. Nishikigi’s tsukebito, as you can see, is not going to refuse a sekitori.
When Nishikigi returned, by the way, he put on his glasses, and exclaimed the Japanese equivalent of WTF… then proceeded to wipe them on his tsukebito’s yukata. At that point, Shodai was already near the dohyo, so no way to take revenge… but karma prevails, and Shodai loses his bout with Daieisho. He returns all crestfallen and runs crying into mommy’s arms.
“Mommy” in this case being Tamawashi. “There, there, don’t cry, there’s a good boy”.
Now, this generous Twitter user (her nickname is “stomach ache” for some reason) who took most of the videos both of day 2 and day 3, took some bouts as well this time. We start with Yutakayama vs. Kotoeko. Inexplicably, three kensho flags are paraded for this bout.
As a result, this develops into one of the most gachinko (honest) matches in the Jungyo. Kotoeko gets the envelopes.
Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi
Whoa, whoa, what was that? Tamawashi grabs da mawashi? And wins?? This bout was very entertaining.
Takakeisho vs. Tochinoshin:
Tochinoshin lands his favorite grip and it’s all over for the shin-Ozeki, who must be tired from that limousine ride.
Finally, Kakuryu vs. Goeido.
Mmm. The Yokozuna is not in a great shape.
So here is the high-quality summary video from Nara TV:
Tokushoryu: “Nara is said to be the birthplace of Sumo, but as there seem to be many people yet who have no idea of it, I will work hard to change the perception”.
Tokushoryu was honored with a Makuuchi bout today (vs. Chiyoshoma, as you can see in that video).
Finally, we are in our pin-up corner. It was a hard choice today. Should I have gone with the standard, namely, Enho?
Still not participating in the matches, but that doesn’t stop him from spreading fairy dust all over the venue. But maybe I should have gone with Arawashi instead:
But I want to introduce you instead to a rather anonymous guy from Nishikido beya, serving, apparently, as Mitoryu’s tsukebito. He’s 20 years old, and this must be his first or second Jungyo. His name is Toshonishiki.
We had an interesting day today at the EDION arena in Osaka. Before I dive into the Makunouchi bouts, I’m sure the fans will be happy to see this:
Aminishiki is in dire straits down at the bottom of Juryo, but he managed to get his first win today vs. Akiseyama – and do that moving forward!
So, fast forward through Juryo (Arawashi doing well this basho, Enho gets his second loss in a row), we begin with Yutakayama vs. Kotoeko. Kotoeko looking good this basho, and may just be able to get that Makunouchi kachi-koshi which has eluded him so far. He attacks Yutakayama with a harizashi, lifts his arm high, and sends him off to the arms of the time shimpan.
Due to Chiyonokuni’s injury, we have a visitor from Juryo every day, and today it was 0-4 Hakuyozan facing Ishihenka, I mean, Ishiura, who was 4-0. Ishiura tried to get under Hakuyozan’s attack, but as he pulls, his knee folds below him and he finds himself rolling. His first loss, Hakuyozan’s first win.
Toyonoshima slammed into Chiyoshoma and intended to railroad him with his bulk, as he is wont. But the nimble Mongolian freed himself, stepped sideways, and left the veteran to ponder the difficulties of age and sumo.
Kagayaki launches himself head-first into newbie Daishoho‘s chest, keeps himself low, keeps his opponent upright, and clears him from the dohyo. Basic and clean.
The Tomokaze–Terutsuyoshi bout ended almost as soon as it started, with a plain, almost dismissive, hatakikomi. I believe something is wrong with Terutsuyoshi’s legs. He keeps ending up with his center of gravity way ahead of his feet. There is an expression used for this state: “ashi ga nagaremashita” – “his feet have flowed away”. His legs don’t work as fast as he needs to support his lunge.
And the Isegahama pixie is not the only one in trouble. Yoshikaze also didn’t show up for today’s bout. He leads head-first into the tachiai, but Ryuden immediately lands a morozashi – two arms under the opponent’s arms – and Yoshikaze just goes limp. Ryuden is haveng a good basho with 4-1.
Meisei tries to take the initiative against Yago. Doesn’t quite land a grip. Short tsuppari ensues, and then the two engage in migi-yotsu. Meisei only has one layer of Yago’s mawashi, and the Oguruma man patiently maneuvers into a better grip and leads Meisei out.
An impressive Shohozan showed up today to face Sadanoumi. Starting his bout with a harizashi, he lands a grip, and then throws Sadanoumi in a beautiful uwatenage. I want more of this Shohozan.
Ikioi tries hard to keep Kotoshogiku‘s pelvis as far away from him as possible. But eventually the former Ozeki decides to use the pressure against him, moves, and shows him out. Ikioi limps back to his spot to give the bow.
Asanoyama has a good tactic against Aoiyama. Since he is a yotsu man and Aoiyama is known for his fierce tsuppari and soft knees, Asanoyama quickly drives in and gets a fistful of mawashi. But Aoiyama shows versatility, uses a kotenage to release himself from the Takasago man, complements that with a nodowa, and hands Asanoyama his second loss.
Abi starts his bout with Takarafuji, as usual, with that morotezuki and follows with tsuppari. Takarafuji is quite ready for that, patiently weathers it, moves slightly to the left and grabs Abi’s mawashi. Abi manages to release himself, tries a half-hearted hikiotoshi, and fails. Instead, the Isegahama man slaps hard, and Abi rolls all the way to the other side of the dohyo. Olé!
The next bout, Chiyotairyu vs. Okinoumi. Chiyotairyu does his locomotive tachiai. Okinoumi backs up and sidesteps. Chiyotairyu dives into the janome, hands first. And Kimura Konosuke calls it Chiyotairyu’s win! No monoii. I guess the shimpan trust Chiyotairyu’s heya-mate, Konosuke, too much. The replay clearly shows this was a mistake. Okinoumi’s feet are firmly on the tawara, so he is very much alive when Chiyotairyu hits the dirt.
Ichinojo starts off with a harite – it’s not a harizashi as there was no attempt to go for the belt – then follows with a kachiage, and finally paws Onosho down with both arms. Scary. Onosho finds himself in a heap as Ichinojo, as usual, worriedly checks if he hasn’t overdone things. I guess Ichinojo left his sleepy secret twin in Tokyo.
Endo gets a grip on Tochiozan‘s belt right off the tachiai, and rolls him like his favorite barrel of beer. Makiotoshi, Endo’s first win this basho.
Mitakeumi and Hokutofuji clash head-to-head. Mitakeumi leads at first, but Hokutofuji manages to stop the pressure, and it’s Mitakeumi who starts pulling back. Maybe it’s the knee, but whatever it is, the Mitakeumi magic is not working against his fellow komusubi, and after a short halt, again he pulls and finds himself below the dohyo.
After three losses, Tamawashi vindicates himself somewhat in this fierce battle with Takakeisho. Takakeisho leads at first and nearly bounces Tamawashi out the front side of the dohyo, but Tamawashi takes it in his stride, and returns with his own windmill. Tamawashi proves that even in oshi, Takakeisho is not invincible. With two losses in the first trimester, Takakeisho’s Ozeki run seems less certain than it looked before the basho started.
Nishikigi has run out of luck this basho. Takayasu slams into him with all his bear-power. Nishikigi tries an arm lock on the Ozeki’s left arm, but to no avail. Nishikigi is 0-5.
Kaisei and Tochinoshin lock into a “gappuri” stance – firm yotsu. Tochinoshin’s first attempt doesn’t work. There is a short impasse, and then Kaisei makes a mistake and tries to gaburi him, or at least, that’s how it looked. As a result, his center of gravity ends up just where the Ozeki wants it, and he actually lifts the heavy Brazilian – though he quickly abandons the idea. He then adds a couple of pelvis thrusts of his own, to bring his thick opponent across the tawara. 3-2, and his chances of clearing kadoban look slightly brighter.
Goeido treats Shodai like a ragdoll, and the Tokitsukaze man finds himself out of the dohyo almost straight out of the tachiai. What version of Goeido is this? Has his kernel been replaced?
Kakuryu butts heads with Daieisho (not a smart move in the long run, Yokozuna), then immediately pulls. Hatakikomi, and Kakuryu is visibly annoyed with himself. Trouble always begins when Kakuryu pulls. But the win is a win.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Hakuho. The bout itself looked fine. No dominance, but the Yokozuna leading with a kachiage, Myogiryu fending him off, and the Yokozuna coming in again and slapping his opponent to the ground. But like yesterday, he couldn’t quite stop his own movement after finishing his work. Yesterday he ended up in the crowd, and took quite a while to get up from there, and today he ended up doing the splits on top of myogiryu. Control of legs? Dizziness? We won’t know unless he goes kyujo and needs to publish yet another public proof of injury
So that’s the end of Act 1, and we have four men in the leader group – Hakuho, Goeido, Ichinojo and Kotoshogiku. Let’s see what the second trimester brings!