Well as the annual discussion took place right after the Kyushu basho and prior to the Hatsu basho, some part may be outdated but I decided to translate it here so you know the whole discussion. I believe all are still very much relevant. I did update their ranking and new shikona when it was relevant (for one Kitanoumi rikishi).
I did leave out a brief discussion about Wakaryoma which you can find it in the other thread.
Searching for Tomorrow's Sekitori
A discussion by the Sumo Learners Clinic Oyakata Panel
(from _Sumo_ magazine 2008 January issue)
Nakadachi (former komusubi Oginishiki)
Hamakaze (former makuuchi Gojoro)
Futagoyama (former Juryo Dairyu)
Sumo Magazine: Again this year we like to talk about young rikishi who you consider to be future sekitori. First, if we could start from those joined last year.
Futagoyama: Without doubt, I’d say Kyokushuho (Ms W56, Oshima beya, 19 years old from Mongolia, out of Gifu First High School Judo Club).
Everyone can plainly see great potentials in him.
Sumo: What do you see as his strength?
Futagoyama: You know he has been doing only Judo in high school so he has absolutely no sumo experience. Despite the handicap he is already showing sumo techniques beyond his years. As if he has many more years of sumo experience. He is well versed in all sumo techniques already. He really works hard too.
Nakadachi: Let's take an example of Shiko. He senses full well what needs to be done to get the best out of it. I can see it from just looking at him from the way he steps down. Whether you are talking about fundamentals or bout techniques, he is so far advanced than anyone else at his level. He is also doing what really matters the most while others are simply trying to build up more sets and repetitions.
Sumo: He has good looks too. He should become a popular figure if he can climb up high enough.
Futagoyama: No doubt about that.
Nakadachi: I am getting jealous now.
Sumo: You feel if he can come up by the year end?
Futagoyama: It may be a bit difficult in one year. But in the next couple years he should be up there for sure.
Nakadachi: Well you know there are six bashos so you never know. I think even if he happens to go up, he won't embarrass himself at all. He is so flexible, he can absorb his opponent's power. Even if he gets hit hard, he has enough to withstand it. He can grab the front mawashi pretty quickly as well.
Hamakaze: He is from Judo world. Normally former Judo players want to grab the mawashi from above but this guy goes out and grabs it from underneath. He is also constantly moving forward rather than attempting to throw out his opponent all the time.
Sumo: What does he need to focus on right now?
Futagoyama: Actually I am trying to find his weakness but it's pretty difficult.
Hamakaze: I guess he still can get pushed around a bit. But you can't really blame him on that as after all he just joined Ozumo.
Nakadachi: The first time he came to the Learners Clinic, he was trying to grab the mawashi and more or less doing that sort of things. But by the third time around he was already practicing Tsuppari. He appears to be always training thinking one step ahead. In that respect he is different from all the others. Of course he could have been told to do so back at his heya. Regardless the fact he can do so is significant. When yotsu-zumo rikishi is told to do Tsuppari, generally they can't really do it. I think if he can start out with Tsuppari and grab the mawashi while moving forward, then he should have no trouble ensuring his success in sumo.
Futagoyama: And he hasn't even had one year experience.
Sumo: Any other remarkable rikishi you have been noticing.
Futagoyama: Tosayutaka (Juryo W12, Tokitsukaze beya, 22 years old, from Tokyo Nogyo University) won three consecutive yusho starting the Nagoya basho, winning each division.
Sumo: If he gets promoted after the Hatsu basho (edit: promoted to Juryo after the Hatsu), he will tie the fastest promotion record set by Itai in the six basho system (excepting Tsukedashi rikishi) to Juryo. He accomplished all this amid the tragic death of recruit at his heya.
Futagoyama: He is one of those who work hard every single day, possessing great character. I must say it is all reflecting in his records.
Nakadachi: He displays excellent techniques too.
Sumo: He has power as well.
Hamakaze: I know he has been training more than anyone else in the last little while.
Futagoyama: Ri (Ms E22, Kasugano beya, 19 years old from Hotoku Gakuen High) is also a standout. The rikishi we have been pointing out so far are all known to work hard and they all have a good attitude. They were all highly thought of at the Learners Clinic. They were our best students. I must say Ri wasn't one of those who trained like no tomorrow at the Clinic but he sure can show something at a Hon-basho.
Nakadachi: He can still be passive at times though. If he can turn it around and become more aggressive, his sumo should improve tremendously.
Futagoyama: Right. He is not the one to go after it all on his own.
Hamakaze: He is still receiving too much of his opponent at tachiai.
Futagoyama: Aran (Ms E5, Mihogaseki, 22 years old from Russia) should come up as well. I can never tell if he has a good attitude or not though (laughs). He can't speak decent Japanese yet. We retested his language ability and even postponed his graduation by one term.
Sumo: In hon basho bouts we get an impression his sumo tends to be rather rough but how was he like at the Clinic?
Futagoyama: If you press me, I must say I share the same impression too. But he can go after his opponent with his head down. He isn't one of those who jump out with his chest forward.
Hamakaze: What's with Yamamotoyama (Ms E6, Onoe beya, 23 years old, Nihon University Sumo Club) and his six losses (at the Kyushu)?
Nakadachi: I sensed he wasn't putting in too much power after the mid way through. When one is as overweight as he is, it must affect his internal organs too.
Futagoyama: I believe however both Yamamotoyama and Minami should do well if they can maintain a good mental attitude.
Sumo: You mean Yamamotoyama doesn't have a good attitude?
Futagoyama: Hmmmm....I feel if he can put more efforts in, he can be more successful. He doesn't show as if he is putting it all out. Somehow you get a feeling that he isn't that much serious about the whole thing. Like you never know what he is thinking. As for Minami, he is outgoing and social type but he tends to go overboard with it too much. I just hope they can really focus hard on sumo. If they can become more passionate on sumo, I am sure they can get really strong.
Hamakaze: Any idea about what happened to Terashita (Ms E51, Ounomatsu beya, 23 years old, Toyo University Sumo Club)?
Nakadachi: He was injured in the Kyushu basho, right?
Sumo: You do recall the only loss Tosayutaka suffered since his dohyo-debut was by Terashita.
Nakadachi: He got beaten back in Jonokuchi. I am sure Terashita will come up once he can get his injury behind.
Futagoyama: Well around here in the past we've been talking about more and more about Foreign born and college grads.
Hamakaze: Though quit his High school (Saitama Sakae High), I like Hokazan (Jonidan E7, Miyagino beya, 18 years old) myself. Seeing him is a lot of fun actually.
Nakadachi: He won six bouts in the Kyushu basho.
Futagoyama: What we have here is a truly excpetional kid with a good attitude. I recall one occasion during training sessions at a Clinic class, I advised him to change his Tachiai style. To review my suggestion, he came back to see me after the class and asked me to repeat my advice so he could write it down in his notebook. I was just so surprised to discover there was such a kid. I realized myself I really need to teach these kids so they could understand well.
Sumo: Have you come across any student who writes down your teaching in a notebook before?
Futagoyama: He was the first one for me.
Hamakaze: He is really flexible too. I believe he can gain more weight. I understand he has prior Judo and amateur wrestling experience too. I saw him doing a Kakenage in a Hon-basho bout incidentally.
Futagoyama: My ardent wish is to make these sincere kids to be truly successful.
Reference to Wakaryoma is on another thread.
Hamakaze: I might note I've seen a couple of kids from Kitanoumi beya showing some good sumo the other day (Aiyama, Jonidan W17, 15 years old and Tagen, Jonidan E92, 16 years old).
Sumo: About those who joined in 2006, which rikishi are you watching now?
Futagoyama: I guess we must not overlook Ryuden (Ms W59, Takadagawa beya, 17 years old). He suffered Makekoshi at the Kyushu basho but my hope was for him to be competing in Makushita already. But I believe if he can stay away from injury, he is definitely coming up soon.
Nakadachi: And Masunoyama (Sandanme W46, Chiganoura beya, 17 years old). His strength is displaying aggressive sumo while moving forward. He sure can make you feel good watching sumo.
Hamakaze: Yeah I've seen him do it too.
Futagoyama: He has muscular chest, his upper body is impressive.
Nakadachi: He tends to get his legs to be like an X shape so in that sense it's bit scary especially considering stress to knees. But I suppose if he keeps going after his opponent like he is doing, there is less chance of suffering any injury.
Hamakaze: What about Kotowatanabe (Jonidan E55, Sadogatake beya, 16 years old)?
Futagoyama: He has a knee injury you know.
Hamakaze: It's shame as he has a good physique. You can never believe he is only 16 years old. I can tell you he has been asking to train hard at the heya. I saw him yesterday with mud all over his body, going all out.
Nakadachi: And then we have Tochihiryu (Sandanme W21, Kasugano beya, 20 years old).
Futagoyama: Yeah this kid also has a good attitude.
Nakadachi: Kasugano also has Tochonoshima (Sandanme E98, 20 years old). Back at the Clinic, when I was seeing them both, I thought Tochinoshima would go up to Sandanme first but it turned out to be the other way.
Sumo: At the 2006 Osaka basho, Tochihiryu won all his bouts and won Jonidan Yusho. You know back in their high school days, Tochinoshima had much better records.
Nakadachi: I think Tochinoshima is thinking too much. But whenever I see them in training, both are always working out hard.
Sumo: When we review the 2006 debut rikishi, we see many high school and college graduated rikishi.
Nakadachi: That's the reason we are feeling we want more and more guys like Ryuden and Masunoyama to do their best.
Sumo: What about Daishoyu (Ms E27, Oitekaze beya, 20 years old, Saitama Sakae High)?
Nakadachi: His downfall is all due to injuries. I stated last year as well but if he could only simply stick to moving forward sumo. But I admit he tends to pull down much less now. I guess that's one reason he hasn't had a freefall.
Sumo: Actually Takunishiki (Ms E4, Chiganoura beya, 24 years old, Takushoku University grad) hasn't suffered a Makekoshi since his dohyo-debut.
Futagoyama: I believe he came in the last semester as a teaching assistantt at the Clinic.
Nakadachi: I am not sure what he has been doing at the heya but he came in to instruct newcomers, I told him to do Shiko with everyone else as well after all he is now ranked pretty high up. He said, "Yes" but he wasn't doing much of it.
Futagoyama: So much waste….
Nakadachi: Even not doing so much else, he gets Kachikoshi so he starts thinking, this doesn't take much at all. I feel the same way about Shimoda (Ms E29, Oitekaze beya, 24 years old, Nihon University Sumo Club, Makushita Tsukedashi). I just keep thinking why he bothers at all.
Futagoyama: In his defense I guess it all started with an injury. When you are small, it affects you much more mentally.
Nakadachi: Another 2006 guy, Mori (Ms E14, Oitekaze beya, 23 years old, Nihon University Sumo Club, Makushita Tsukedashi) didn't do much at the Kyushu.
Sumo: Do you think the pressure of being Makushita Tsukedashi is getting to them both?
Futagoyama: I think it is a factor definitely. Seeing those graduated at the same year and started at the bottom are climbing up the ladder quickly can make you feel anxious. Among the group I like Kise Beya's Tsukamoto (Sandanme W67, 18 years old) myself.
Nakadachi: I like him too actually.
Futagoyama: He has incredible power. Until he joined, he had no sumo experience whatsoever. When I went to the heya, Kise oyakata (former Makuuchi Higonoumi) asked me to take a look at him as he can hit so hard without having any prior experience. He was hitting really hard doing Butsukari geiko. If I recall he was hitting pretty hard at the Clinic classes as well.
Futagoyama: Looking into the 2005 group, I guess we cannot dismiss Ikioi (Ms W35, Isenoumi beya, 21 years old) but he appears to be losing a bit of steam these days.
Nakadachi: He looks as if he lost it all now.
Futagoyama: But he is flexible and he can be tenacious you know.
Nakadachi: I've seen more than a few bouts that he should have won in hon-basho.
Futagoyama: He can display forcible sumo but he may have a passive personality. If he can show more fighting spirit up front and like his shikona (Ikioi means power), if he can show more spirited sumo, he can be really interesting you know. But for both Ikioi and Fukuoka, if they can gain a bit more muscle, they can become more of presence.
Sumo: Do you feel other rikishi started figuring out Fukunaga (Ms W40, Sakaigawa beya, 21 years old) now?
Futagoyama: When he joined, I figured he would go up higher much sooner. But then again it's only three years since he joined. So considering the rank he is on now, perhaps we can say he is just about right in his progress at this point in time.
Sumo: Any other rikishi who joined earlier you can think of?
Nakadachi: One more actually. I just remembered one. Sadanofuji (Ms E10, Sakaigawa beya, 22 years old). This guy will definitely get stronger. He has a good physique. Once he learned to master Tsuppari and move forward well, he can come up in hurry.
Sumo: He had only Judo experience and had no sumo experience. He may have been likely stimulated by seeing his juniors like Goeido and Toyohibiki passing him by.
Nakadachi: He was already competing around Judyo dohyo-iri time at the Kyushu, right?
Futagoyama: He has good looks too. Anyway I have been pushing Fujimoto (Ms E56, Ounomatsu, 21 years old) for a couple of years now.
Sumo: He won six straight at the Kyushu before losing to Sadanoumi (Sakaigawa).
Futagoyama: Right. It was a pretty tensed bout I recall. In the end he was down by Hiki-otoshi. He is a good kid, has a good personality.
Hamakaze: Shibuya (Ms E53, Tamanoi beya, 20 years old) fell down to Sandanme.
Sumo: Shibuya has been highly toted every single year he has been in.
Nakadachi: I wonder if he lost a bit of self confidence. I just feel that way seeing him. It's like he's slipping off without offering any resistance sometimes. Since he is an Oshi zumo rikishi, if he can find a trigger of sort and can get back on the track, he should come back up soon enough though.
Hamakaze: True. After all he got up to Makushita in about two years after he joined.
Sumo: Now that we looked all around, we notice very few outstanding rikishi out of Junior High.
Hamakaze: Unlike our time, we have that many more high school and college rikishi now days.
Sumo: You are saying we don't have any Hagiwara (current Kisenosato) around anymore.
Futagoyama: I was thinking of Ryuden as somewhat of Hagiwara for a while.
Nakadachi: That's one of the reasons we are hoping a guy like Wakaryoma to do well. He had 3 wins and 4 losses at the Kyushu but if he can win a handful more then he has good chances of making huge progress.
Sumo: Sokokurai (Ms W4, Arashio beya from Inner Mongolia) won the yusho ranked at Sandanme 1 and he has been doing so well lately.
Nakadachi: But somehow he lacks something you know. His sumo is mostly throws. He can win 3 or 4 at this ranking but it will be struggles for him to win quite a bit more higher up.
Futagoyama: Hokutokuni (Juryo E12, Hakkaku beya, 22 years old) was one of those we mentioned previously. When you think about it, he has gradually kept climbing up on the banzuke. I believe he was around Sandanme a couple of years ago.
Nakadachi: He has surfaced fairly quickly now.
Futagoyama: He has good power and he can hit hard.
Sumo: The fact that he can get Kachikoshi at this level means he must have gained enough power. For Junior High grads, how about Nionoumi (Ms E36, Kitanoumi beya, 20 years old) and Kitaharima (Ms e46, 21 years old), both of 2002 Haru basho debut?
Futagoayama: Personally I have been pushing for Kitaharima for all these years. He has extremely good attitude but he cannot gain weight. I feel for someone as small as he is, traditional sumo style just doesn’t cut it. I think Oshi-zumo is more suited for him but first he has to build up his body. This kid has just an amazing passion for sumo.
Futagoyama: I've seen Nionoumi while in De-geiko. He really works hard too. He shows good sumo despite his small size. Someone mentioned about Sadanoumi (Ms E20) who won Sandame yusho at the Kyushu. He has been improving steadily too. He would be just debuting in Makushita at the Hatsu basho so his progress cannot be said to be quick but he displays good sumo. He can win at last minute at the dohyo edge too.
Sumo: How about any standout rikishi at your heya? What about Odake beya, Futagoyama oyakata?
Futagoyama: Well we have Yoshino (Sandanme E50, 2004 Haru dohyo debut, 19 years old) and Genkaiho (Sandanme W32, 2004 Haru, 19 years old). I want them to do so well. But Yoshino has a pelvic bone problem. But he has good strong upper body. Genkaiho has flexibility. He has good techniques, he can display large scale sumo too. Both are getting physically large. I was told Yoshino now weighs 148 kg. Their progress has not been that remarkable but I like their chances.
Sumo: Nakadachi oyakata and Dewnoumi Beya?
Nakdachi: Bungonishiki (Sandanme E20) made his Makushita debut at the Hatsu basho. I feel he can go a bit higher if he can set his mind to it.
Sumo: How about Kihonoumi (Sandanme E21)?
Nakadachi: He went on kyujo at the Kyushu with an injury. He won the Sandanme yusho winning all his bouts at the 2007 July basho and was promoted to Makushita but unless he changed his way of thinking, likely his sumo won't change. I am not saying his sumo is really bad or anything at all but mentally I think he is not as stable. If he can get his efforts in a good direction, it will be so much better for him. Otherwise he will keep experiencing hard time. He suffered an injury now so we will see how he will respond and change his mental makeup.
Sumo: And Hamakaze oyakata and Sadogatake beya?
Hamakaze: I feel Kotokuni(Ms E11, 29 years old) and Kotoyutaka (Ms E8, 26 years old) have enough strength and ability to make it. Even if I don't take into account they are from my own heya.
Futagoyama: As far as looking at their physique, they look like they are sekitori already.
Hamakaze: They don't look so out of place even if they put white mawashi around. Back when I was still active, I trained with them. I think if they became sekitori, they could stay up there for a while. They should be always up around there in Makushita 15 at least. I was talking with Kotomitsuki last night about Kotokashiwadani (Jonidan W5, 2006 Haru dohyo debut, 16 years old), Kotookuyama (Jonidan E34, 2006 Haru dohyo debut, 16 years old) should keep getting stronger. Kotokashiwadani is really good looking too so if he can climb up, he should become mighty popular.
Futagoyama: Though he is bit smallish.
Sumo: Finally, if we can settle on this year's ten most promising rikishi to become sekitori in the near future.
Futagoyama: The top obviously is Kyokushuho.
Nakadachi: Not just thinking about becoming sekitori this year but also about their future potentials, we should add Ri and Sadanofuji in that order.
Futagoyama: I guess Ryuden will be the fourth.
Nakadachi: Good. And then thinking of future potential again, Masunoyama should be the fifth.
Futagoyama: We also need to have Aran if we are talking about future potentials.
Sumo: OK, if we can come up with names first and then their order.
Nakadachi: That may be better. And we have Wakaryoma.
Hamakaze: We want to include Hokazan.
Futagoyama: I'd like to have Tsukamoto in there too. Tosayutaka should be in there definitely.
Sumo: So right now we have No.1 Kyokushuho, 2. Ri, 3. Sadanofuji, 4. Ryuden, 5. Masunoyama. Other names are Hokazan, Wakaryoma, Tsukamoto, Tosayutaka, Aran. That will be the 10. We are certain of the top five?
Nakadachi: Tosayutaka is No 4 and Aran is to be No 5. Then Ryuden for No 6 and Masunoyam goes to 7. What do you guys think?
Futagoyama: Ok. Numbers 8, 9 and 10 will be Hokazan, Wakaryoma and Tsukamoto in that order.
Sumo: Then we have,
No. 1 Kyokushuho
No. 2 Ri
No. 3 Sadanofuji
No. 4 Tosayutaka
No. 5 Aran
No. 6 Ryuden
No. 7 Masunoyama
No. 8 Hokazan
No. 9 Wakaryoma
No. 10 Tsukamoto.
We have gone for more youth this year in the ranking than the previous years.
Futagoyama: Actually we did intentionally leave out a few good college prospects and focused more on Junior High grads this year. Obviously and undoubtedly we should see Minami and Yamamotoyama to be up there very soon as well.
Sumo: We hope this discussion helped sumo fans enjoy watching Ozumo further. Thank you all very much.
(Recorded on December 10, 2007)
Edited by Manekineko, 07 March 2008 - 08:56.
added link to Wakaryoma thread