Incidentally, I ran across this picture of a newspaper article about him just recently. He now seems to be working as a barman:
There was another article somewhere last month, too - he was handing out flyers to promote his bar at his ex-ichimon mate Futeno's danpatsu in front of the Kokugikan. He looks a lot better in your pic than he did in the one I saw at the time...
Wouldn't Kitanoumi (or rather, whoever is really running the heya in the Rijicho's absence) want to hang on to those two rising stars? Especially as they have a chance to complete a nice back-to-back Makushita yusho set this basho.
Sure, but Sakuma said he joined Kitanoumi-beya to be with his Nichidai mates (who are all Kise guys), and Sasanoyama's older brother is from the Kise group, too.
Given that Kitanoumi is letting the other ~25 go so easily, I can't imagine he'll haggle over those two.
Actually - if the "no simultaneous director + shisho" thing comes to pass, what are the odds that the rest of Kitanoumi-beya will join Kise again within the next couple of years?
To be conspirazoid for a moment - getting Kise back into a shisho role now might be safer than trying to hand over Kitanoumi-beya to him directly later, when it will be quite possible that a new shisho needs to be approved by some independent body. Simply merging Kitanoumi-beya into an existing Kise-beya will likely be much easier.
Edit: Also, maybe Kitanoumi-beya just needs to make room to absorb Mihogaseki-beya soon...
Edited by Asashosakari, 18 March 2012 - 22:07.