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  1. 20 points
    I concur. Everyone always bangs on about his 45 yusho, but never mention that he didn’t win 58 yusho. Pff. Call me when he’s won more than he hasn’t.
  2. 19 points
    To continue with my previous short comment, I just want to add: For as long as I've known Hakuho, he's devoted his life to sumo in and out of dohyo ever since he joined. Out of the dohyo, he's a family man through and through--so devoted to his wife and children. To his friends, he's a fun person to be with, a gentleman, a sport-loving person , generous, kind (especially to kids and elderlies), and is always very down to earth to fans. In the dohyo, he's a proud Mongolian-born warrior who knows winning is his ultimate goal. He trained harder and longer hours than anybody else, and always seeked self improvement and enlightenment from other martial arts masters when he came across his walls. For the first half of his yokozuna career, he was criticized as being boring--while he was trying to live up and embodied the very "hinkaku" the Japanese always held high in yokozuna for. He went on and was the very pillar of sumo while sumo was riddled with scandals. He broke record after record, and still people said he was boring for being too dominant. When Kisenosato broke his winning streak, the Japanese reactions were the ones that demoralized him the most, because he realized, no matter how good he could ever be, he still would never be accepted as Japanese-born champion. After he broke Taiho's record, the Japanese still thought he could never measure up to Taiho or Chiyonofuji. I found that winning yusho was what was left to his motivation after this. And Olympic... Well, we all know how it turned out. Still, his love for sumo is the one turning him into a Japanese citizen to be able to give back and to coach many more youngsters for sumo's future.
  3. 14 points
    He planned on announcing his retirement after Nagoya, but the Kyokai were all "why retire after a zensho, you still have it" etc. He spoke with his family and decided to continue. Then came the Corona Miyagino detention. He saw it as a blessing, planning to use the extra down time to heal his injured right knee. It turns out the knee has not healed as he had planned. So he decided to retire. An official Kyokai announcement is expected within a few days. As an aside, and not surprisingly, the Kyokai finds itself in a serious bind. One Yokozuna left, so there is one Yokozuna left.. This Yokozuna, as strong as he may be, is working on borrowed time, as we say in Corsica. One misstep, one wrong fall, and the delicate knees are in danger. The way I feel, every time he mounts the dohyo can be the last. And the current crop of kadoban yes kadoban no Ozeki are in no way immediate candidates for Yokozuna. We may find ourselves with no yokozuna and one Ozeki come March. OK, one Yokozuna and one Ozeki, and it's not like we even have real Ozeki contenders with the erratic lot of late, starting with Mitakeumi and culminating with Takayasu with the up and coming youngsters far from making a serious impression record-wise. We shall see.
  4. 13 points
    @Asashosakari will not be able to provide coverage of this topic this basho. I've covered before, and I am willing to do so again. It'll be about 8 hours before I get Day 8 up though, but it will come. Thanks for your patience.
  5. 13 points
    Hakuho obtained the Magaki kabu, but the kyokai has yet to acknowledge that. The kabu is said (by the tabloid Weekly Post) to be cursed. https://www.news-postseven.com/archives/20210925_1694118.html It has a 300year history, but recently: http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Kabu.aspx?kabu=43 the 16th Magaki founded Magaki-beya in 1959, had no good deshi and died age 53 of cirrhosis. The 17th was attached to Wajima's Hanakago-beya, but went to become talento age 33, died at 59 of heart failure The 18th was Wakanohana II. Set to become the successor of Futabayama-beya, he married the eldest daughter of Waka I, divorced her after a year and married a hostess from Ginza - and didn't have a kabu. He managed to get Magaki, had his heya end of 1983, with several sekitori, but suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2007 after his wife had died. In 2008 Russian Wakanho got thrown out for drugs and he got punished as well. In the open foreigner slot, Terunofuji could enter in 2010, as Wakamisho. In 2013 the heya had to close and the members moved to Isegahama. Magaki became heya attached oyakata, but couldn't present his kabu certificate, when the NSK became public interest corporation and took over the control over the kabu. He had already sold it and now had to leave the NSK, five years before reaching the retirement age. The 19th was Tokitenku, who died age 37 of leukemia. The 20th was Gori-chan Tosayutaka, who escaped the curse by now being Tokitsukaze oyakata. A curse like the shiranui curse maybe, should be no problem for Hakuho
  6. 13 points
    Day 8 (results, text-only results) 8-0 Yw Terunofuji 7-1 M10w Myogiryu 6-2 S1e Mitakeumi, M6w Onosho, M8e Okinoumi, M11e Endo, M17e Chiyonokuni I apologise that this took a long time to make. So, shin-Yokozuna Terunofuji is off to a great start, looking utterly dominant in most of his matches and didn't look like he would lose in those that were more challenging. It certainly seems to be his for the taking at the moment. The quality of the competition just isn't up to his level and he has been the most dominant rikishi of the last year. That's no disrespect to one-behind Myogiryu, who has shown some good form this basho against mid-ranked opponents. We're without Yokozuna Hakuho for this tournament, since his whole heya was sidelined again for COVID reasons. This time it was Hokuseiho who kept testing positive and a a result we've been robbed of a potential head-to-head (assuming that Hakuho's body would have made it that far) against Terunofuji. Ozeki Shodai has been his usual self, and should make his kachi-koshi. Kadoban Takakeisho opened up the basho with three straight losses and looking shaky doing so. He's improved since then and now sits at 4-4, but it'll still be a fight to avoid demotion. However, aside from Terunofuji, I wouldn't say that anyone was looking good enough, that if Takakeisho's having a reasonable day, that it would be an automatic loss. I'm not counting him out just yet. In the lower Sanyaku, Mitakeumi has looked like his better self, but given his history anything from 8 to 12 wins by the end of the basho seems plausible. Meisei, Takayasu and Ichinojo have all struggled to some degree, so there is good potential for number of slots to open up. Of course, none have yet and we don't know if Takakeisho will be occupying one of them. Kiribayama has the lead position at the moment in case any should open up. Finally, we should remember that Asanoyama still exists. However, his Sekiwake rank is just a placeholder as her serves his suspension and he can be ignored for the rest of the basho. ky-COVID Hakuho Y Terunofuji 8-0 5-3 Shodai O Takakeisho 4-4 6-2 Mitakeumi S Meisei 3-5 (x) susp Asanoyama S 3-5 Takayasu K Ichinojo 3-5 2-4-2 Hoshoryu M1 Takanosho 4-4 M2 Kiribayama 5-3 4-4 Wakatakakage M3 Kotonowaka 3-5 3-5 Tamawashi M4 Daieisho 5-3 M5 Takarafuji 4-4 4-4 Ura M6 Onosho 6-2 3-5 Shimanoumi M7 Terutsuyoshi 3-5 6-2 Okinoumi M8 Tobizaru 4-4 4-4 Aoiyama M9 Hidenoumi 3-5 4-4 Chiyotairyu M10 Myogiryu 7-1 6-2 Endo M11 ... 5-3 Chiyomaru M16 6-2 Chiyonokuni M17 At the bottom end of the division, Tokushoryu is the most endangered rikishi, needing 5 wins to keep his place. There are four more riksihi needing at least four to have survivable records. One thing we learnt from last time is that having a survivable record can take precedence over a candidate with a strong promotable record. Further good news for the rikishi at this end of the division is that Juryo (as per usual) is not producing much in the way of good promotion candidates. Only Akua and Sadanoumi seem reasonable at the moment and Sadanoumi still requires 3 for a proper promotable record. Everyone else will have to put together a serious winning streak. (1) 1-7 Chiyoshoma M5 ... M9 Hidenoumi 3-5 (1) M10 M11 Kotoeko 2-6 (3) ky-COVID Ishiura M12 Tochinoshin 2-6 (4) (2) 4-4 Kagayaki M13 Tsurugisho 4-4 (2) (3) 3-5 Kaisei M14 Yutakayama 4-4 (3) (4) 3-5 Ichiyamamoto M15 Chiyonoo 3-5 (4) (2) 5-3 Chiyomaru M16 Tokushoryu 3-5 (5) (2) 6-2 Chiyonokuni M17 (6) 2-6 Mitoryu J1 Akua 7-1 (1) (7) 2-6 Daiamami J2 Kyokutaisei 2-4-2 (x) (6) 3-5 Wakamotoharu J3 Sadanoumi 6-2 (3) (6) 4-4 Shohozan J4 Kaisho 5-3 (5) (4) 6-2 Abi J5 Bushozan 5-3 (5) (7) 4-4 Oho J6 (5) 6-2 Daishomaru J7 J8 Kotoshoho 6-2 (6) (6) 6-2 Nishikifuji J9 J10 Nishikigi 6-2 (7) There have been a number of bad performances in Juryo, including seemingly injured Azumaryu and Hakuyozan. However, their ranking might be enough to save them if rikishi below them don't start winning soon. These include veteran Kyokushuho who needs 5 to be safe and shin-Juryo Asashiyu (ex-Murata), who is certainly finding sekitori competition a struggle. No one in Makushita has a claim yet, but aside from the two undefeated rikishi in the extended promotion zone, the best position in the promotion queue belongs to Terasawa, sitting at 3-1 at Ms1e and with over a strong-looking Juryo rikishi Daishoho to boot. I'm hoping the man with the famous mawashi gets promoted. J6 Hakuyozan 1-7 (3) J7 Tohakuryu 2-6 (2) (3) 2-6 Azumaryu J8 J9 (2) 4-4 Yago J10 ky-COVID Enho J11 Midorifuji 3-5 (3) (5) 2-6 Kyokushuho J12 Hokuseiho ky-COVID (4) 3-5 Takakento J13 Asashiyu 1-7 (6) (4) 4-4 Churanoumi J14 Daishoho 6-2 (2) 3-1 Terasawa Ms1 Chiyoarashi 2-2 2-2 Hiradoumi Ms2 Kotokuzan 3-1 1-3 Chiyootori Ms3 Hokaho ky-COVID (x) 1-3 Jokoryu Ms4 Kotoyusho 3-1 2-2 Tochimaru Ms5 Akiseyama kyujo (x) ... Ms9 Tsushimanada 4-0 ... 4-0 Kitanowaka Ms11 Given that we're well into Day 9 already, I will wait to post the Juryo and other lower division results.
  7. 12 points
    Imagine a round-table discussion with members of Makuuchi: Moderator: "The discussion topic is 'what is the best way to win a Sumo bout?'" Rikishi #1: "It's very important to do forward-moving Sumo" #2: "Well, if you can't face your match properly, it won't work." #3: "But if you don't do your own brand of Sumo, how can the results follow?" #4: "You can't look back. You have to concentrate and gambarize®." #5: "Also, you can't be thinking about the Yusho; that's the last thing you should be thinking about." #6: "Wait, how can you be thinking of anything but the remaining matches?" #7: "First I study the style of my opponent. Then I go back over video of our previous matches: does he have a go-to move, is he weaker on one side or the other? Then I set up a plan of attack: decisively following plan A, but always having a plan B for defense until I can figure out what he's doing." Moderator: "Security! We have an impostor! Security! ... "
  8. 12 points
  9. 11 points
    When all the Mongolians are running the Kyokai, they’ll end the policy of needing to naturalize to become an Oyakata and remove the limits on foreign rikishi. It’s all part of the long game.
  10. 11 points
    Takakeisho and Mitakeumi meet on day 15. One of them will be forced to acquire a 9th win.
  11. 10 points
  12. 10 points
    Lots of harsh opinions. The basho that sparked my real interest in sumo (long after some first casual Eurosport stints) conicided with Hakuho's first yusho. What really hooked me though were the first glimpses of the rituals and decorum in the lizardmen stream and most of all Asashoryu. Personally, I was turned down by Hakuho's lack of charisma. I do think, though, that regardless of his understandable role in political or simply convinience-driven situations ("epic" bouts with Asashoryu and Harumafuji; helping to make the Sad Three), he was certainly the strongest, most accomplished and consistent rikishi I have ever seen and probably will ever see. I submit that only his incredible superiority has shifted some people's focus to his interpretation of the Yokozuna role, something they would have ommitted, if only he would have lost a bit more. That's the curse if you are so good. People get sick of you, and since you don't give them weakness in your core business, they will find the flaws elsewhere. [I know what I'm talking about. I'm the best husband ever, but currently my wife hates my guts for whatever...]
  13. 10 points
    Day 11: Yutakayama, not being able to win on his 28th birthday, 5th loss: "My body is in good condition but something is missing in order to connect this with a win. I'm happy to be doing this in Makuuchi but I don't want to collect bad memories like today.." Tamawashi, "cooking "Ura calmly: "These type of opponents usually make me impatient and manage to get underneath me and inside. If I watch them too closely bad things happen. I just have to be calm and come from under, come from under.." Ura, seventh loss: "I've been hoping to turn things around since my loss on day one. Even if I go makekoshi, I can only continue to gambarize!" Wakatakakage, fifth win: "All I was thinking of was to come in low as usual. I want to give it my all on a daily basis." Takanoshou, pushing Houshouryu out in a blink of an eye: "If he gets the mawashi he's a formidable opponent so I thought to attack without thinking too much." Ichinojou, battling Takarafuji for three minutes and twenty seconds before beating him by yorikiri: "A victory through patience. Even when the bout became long, I was thinking of properly doing my own brand of sumo." Daieishou, pushed out by Mitakeumi: "My tachiai wasn't bad. I wanted to continue the momentum but.." Shoudai, beating Meisei and getting his kachikoshi on day 11: "I'm relieved. Not like last basho, when I got my kachikoshi on the final day.." Ounoshou, pulled down by Takakeishou for his third loss: "My feet didn't follow. Today is today, I will gambarize tomorrow.." Endou, beating Kaisei and getting his first kachikoshi in two bashos: "My body moved well. I have been able to concentrate properly." Myougiryuu, beating Itchy-yamamoto in their first encounter and still with two losses: "I planned on doing sumo with my feet so that nothing hasty might happen. The important thing is regardless of who my opponent is to hit him with my own sumo." Mitakeumi, beating Daieishou: "Double digit wins is the goal. I cannot rest on my laurels.. I am getting ready for the match against Terunofuji, making plans. My body is moving well so I should capitalize on that. The strategy is secret.." Takakeishou, beating Ounoshou: "I don't remember exactly what happened.. I just wanted to prepare properly. I will concentrate and gambarize!" Terunofuji, beating Takayasu after a grueling match: "I planned on moving forward carefully. The basho ain't over yet. It's from here on. I want to concentrate on each bout each day and gambarize."
  14. 10 points
    Reminded me of every horror flick of the last twenty-five years: Woman throws monster off speedboat, breathes a sigh of relief, monster climbs back of boat. Bridge over chasm crumbles, Balrog falls into abyss, Gandalf sighs, glowing whip from falling Balrog catches Gandalf about the knees. Terunofuji finally gets the leverage, throws the -nage, turns to go back to his side, looks down, sees grimacing Pink Mawashi Monster still hanging on.
  15. 9 points
    The other first timer Hiradoumi also has a tale to tell. "It was my dream and I have realized it," he said. His ani-deshi was now-deceased Hibikiryuu who died from injuries suffered on the dohyo. "I sent him a message saying we will gambarize together. He answered me with an e-mail he dictated to a nurse. 'If you make it to Juryo, I'll get well!' I'm sure he is really happy for me now, and I am happy as well.," he said. "I think he strongly felt he needed to gambarize for Hibikiryuu's sake. Now he can deliver his good message to him and that makes me happy. This was a bad year, especially for the heya. I hope we shall all gambarize now," added Sakaigawa Oyakata.
  16. 9 points
    You can't take anything away from what he has done. Being an occasional major embarrassment (that monoii he called against Yoshikaze while standing there for a full three minutes comes to mind, among other things) and active in an era of "lesser" opponents doesn't take away anything from his achievements. The fact that he wasn't around much lately is a fact, but so weren't Kisenosato and Takanohana in their final years. The guy has 45 yushos and holds countless records, you don't sum up his career as "that annoying asshole". As for the future, I guess I am still the only one saying he will not stick around with the Kyokai for long, Nihonbashi real estate notwithstanding. Thanks for the memories, old chap, and say hi to Asashouryuu.
  17. 9 points
    Hiya, fresh off the press - the results of the Aki 2021 Masters Series. The Aki Basho 2021 Masters Series was won by Andoreasu who grabbed his eighth career Green Mawashi. The German powerhouse won the yusho in Tippspiel, the jun-yusho in Hoshitori Game, Ozumo Bingo Game, and Sekitori Oracle for a strong 62.00 total Masters points. The only player who rivaled this record was chishafuwaku (56.60 points).The shukun-sho goes to Golynohana for winning two yusho (Sekitori-Quadrumvirate and Turn the Tide). It's only his second career Outstanding Performance Prize (the first one was more than 12 years ago).chishafuwaku nets both the gino-sho (his 3rd) and the kanto-sho (his 3rd). His gino-sho score indicates strong performances in pre-basho games (e.g., a yusho in RotoSumo) as well as daily games (with Top 10 scores coming from Bench Sumo, Odd Sumo, Sekitori-Quadrumvirate and Sekitori-Toto. chishafuwaku receives the kanto-sho for scoring in the Top 10 in eight different games.Congratulations to all the winners! I have also updated the standings of the 2021 Sumo Games World Championship. Joaoiyama extended his lead over his pursuers and could only lose the title with some miracle performance of another contestant. Meanwhile, Konosato overtook Pandaazuma for second place in the year. With 14 players in triple-digit scores, my trademarked End of the Year Charting Spectacle will become quite a crowded affair.
  18. 9 points
    Here is a photo I found of Hakuho a couple of weeks back. I think it is very appropriate for his intai as I felt it not only encapsulated his essence, but also what he meant for many of his fans. Perhaps you all will remember him as such. What should sumo look like, especially for a Yokozuna? How should a Yokozuna behave and what are the limits? To what extent should they be invested in the next generation? What does it mean to be a hugely successful foreigner in a traditionally conservative society and sport? While he might not have provided us the answers, I think Hakuho has provided us very good hints. His very presence is a living critique of the system itself - its good and bad. He tested the limits of yotsu and strategic sumo, the standards of Yokozuna behaviour and occasionally my temper as well. I made no secret that I disliked what would be his final performance against Terunofuji. Many focus on his more reprehensible aspects, but I would instead like to encourage you all to consider his character and legacy more comprehensively. He was a rikishi and Yokozuna, for sure. But most importantly, at least to me, he was a supremely dedicated son, a loving father and a capable mentor for the next generation, whether they are 8 in the Hakuho Cup, or 18, about to make their shindeshi appearance, fighting alongside him. I am not his #1 fan, but he made the sport a meaningful part of my life. Thank you, Hakuho.
  19. 9 points
    Day 10 (results, text-only results) 9-1 Yw Terunofuji 8-2 M6w Onosho, M10w Myogiryu 6-3 Oe Shodai, Se Mitakeumi, M2w Kiribayama, M8e Okinoumi, M11e Endo, M17e Chiyonokuni Yusho and Sanyaku race Ura tried all sorts of things (including a Nero impersonation), but it was still easy going for the Yokozuna, who remains one win ahead of a shrunken chase group. In the head-to-head matchups Onosho and Myogiryu were fairly dominant in victories against Endo and Okinoumi respectively. Chiyonokuni was a surprising loser against Hidenoumi. Terunofuji starts his end-of-basho slate of the remaining sanyaku opponents in reverse order. Takayasu is first up. He has one of the better records against the Isegahama man, but does not look like he'll provide much resistance. Onosho has been pulled up against resurgent Ozeki Takakeisho, who was firmly in control of his match against Meisei, but Myogiryu has to face injured Ichiyamamoto. It is looking likely that Takakeisho will clear kadoban now as all he has to do is beat his remaining two Maegashira opponents (assuming the scheduling goes according to plan) to be safe. Meisei on the other hand will need to beat at least one of Shodai (on the slate for Day 11) and Terunofuji to avoid make-koshi. Both komusubis improved to 4-6. Takayasu got a second freebie after Kotonowaka pulled out of the tournament. He'll still need to beat at least one of Terunofuji or Meisei to avoid make-koshi though. Ichinojo beat Tamawashi and only has Shodai as a Sanyaku opponent left to fight, so probably has a better chance of avoiding the drop than Takayasu. ky-COVID Hakuho Y Terunofuji 9-1 7-3 Shodai O Takakeisho 6-4 7-3 Mitakeumi S Meisei 4-6 (x) susp Asanoyama S 4-6 Takayasu K Ichinojo 4-6 3-5-2 Hoshoryu M1 Takanosho 5-5 M2 Kiribayama 7-3 4-6 Wakatakakage M3 Kotonowaka 3-7 (x) 3-7 Tamawashi M4 Daieisho 6-4 M5 Takarafuji 6-4 4-6 Ura M6 Onosho 8-2 4-6 Shimanoumi M7 Terutsuyoshi 3-7 7-3 Okinoumi M8 Tobizaru 4-6 5-5 Aoiyama M9 Hidenoumi 4-6 6-4 Chiyotairyu M10 Myogiryu 8-2 7-3 Endo M11 ... (x) 6-4 Chiyomaru M16 (x) 7-3 Chiyonokuni M17 Makuuchi-Juryo Hidenoumi's surprise victory removed him from demotion danger, and he is joined there by beleaguered joi-rikishi Chiyoshoma, who took advantage of not having to face Terunofuji to beat Shimanoumi. There were also victories for Kotoeko, Tochinoshin, Chiyonoo, Yutakayama and Kaisei, the latter of who beat Ichiyamamoto who now needs to win all but one of his remaining bouts. Tokushoryu is in an even worse position after losing to Aoiyama. He'll need to win out. In Juryo, there were a lot of wins in the promotion zone, but most of these were by rikishi who are probably still long-shots for promotion at this time, so I won't mention them here. In the direct clash, Abi beat Sadanoumi leaving both requiring two wins. Akua is now nominally promotable, but there are no open slots yet and if he finishes 8-7 they could conceivably move him over to J1e. Kotonowaka's withdrawal means an imbalance in Makuuchi again and Wakamotoharu is coming up to face Chiyomaru. Tochinoshin and Tokushoryu face-off while everyone else goes up against an already safe opponent. (o) 2-8 Chiyoshoma M5 ... M9 Hidenoumi 4-6 (o) M10 M11 Kotoeko 4-6 (1) ky-COVID Ishiura M12 Tochinoshin 4-6 (2) (1) 5-5 Kagayaki M13 Tsurugisho 4-6 (2) (2) 4-6 Kaisei M14 Yutakayama 6-4 (1) (4) 3-7 Ichiyamamoto M15 Chiyonoo 4-6 (3) (1) 6-4 Chiyomaru M16 Tokushoryu 3-7 (5) (1) 7-3 Chiyonokuni M17 J1 Akua 8-2 (o) (~) 3-7 Daiamami J2 (5) 4-6 Wakamotoharu J3 Sadanoumi 7-2 (2) (4) 6-4 Shohozan J4 Kaisho 6-4 (4) (2) 8-2 Abi J5 Bushozan 6-4 (4) (~) 5-5 Oho J6 (5) 6-4 Daishomaru J7 J8 Kotoshoho 7-3 (5) (4) 8-2 Nishikifuji J9 J10 Nishikigi 7-3 (~) Juryo - Makushita Azumaryu continued his resurgence against Asashiyu and now stands one win away from safety. He's joined there by Daishoho and Midorifuji who were also victorious. Kyukushuho and Churanoumi also won, the latter against Makushita visitor Chiyoarashi who now sits on the MK/KK line. Asashiyu's loss means that there should be a place for Terasawa even if Kitanowaka goes 7-0. Jokoryu defeated Shishi to avoid make-koshi and keep his hopes alive. The joi is in action on Day 11 with important bouts in Jokoryu-Tochimaru (for MK) and Hiradoumi-Kotoyusho (for KK). Kotokuzan will face Tsurubayashi. J6 Hakuyozan 1-9 (3) J7 Tohakuryu 3-7 (1) (1) 4-6 Azumaryu J8 J9 Takagenji removed (x) (2) 4-6 Yago J10 ky-COVID Enho J11 Midorifuji 5-5 (1) (4) 3-7 Kyokushuho J12 Hokuseiho ky-COVID (4) 3-7 Takakento J13 Asashiyu 1-9 (~) (2) 6-4 Churanoumi J14 Daishoho 7-3 (1) (o) 4-1 Terasawa Ms1 Chiyoarashi 3-3 3-2 Hiradoumi Ms2 Kotokuzan 3-2 Ms3 2-3 Jokoryu Ms4 Kotoyusho 3-2 2-3 Tochimaru Ms5 ... 5-0 Kitanowaka Ms11 Explanation of sumbols (#) Number of wins required to reach positive outcome (o) Target number of wins achieved (whether or not the positive outcome actually happens or not is another matter) (~) Need banzuke luck (x) Target missed.
  20. 8 points
    Asanowaka on his new shikona, taken after coach Wakamatsu Oyakata who was Asanowaka when we were younger- Terasawa was injury-prone, ex-Asanowaka never missed a day in his 80 basho career. "He was famous for going all out and was never injured, so I decided to assume that shikona. I feel very happy, and I feel I shall gambarize from here on," he said. He was injured in 2018 in his first Jonokuchi basho and dropped off the banzuke entirely. "I was in a bad place mentally and physically and couldn't even think about doing sumo. But with a little help from my Oyakata and other rikishi, I made it back. I just want to get a kachikoshi without getting injured.," he summed.
  21. 8 points
    Being an admin of another sumo site which experienced a fast growth to very high volumes of traffic over the past several years, traffic is always higher in tournaments where Hakuho participated and dropped when he was kyujo. Additionally, the months early in the pandemic when the Osaka basho was cancelled indicated a big drop off in interest, and that's never recovered, even with Terunofuji's great story. Since the start of the pandemic, there's been an indication that casual fans have other things to focus on now. Even where I live and work now, in a non-English speaking and non-Japanese speaking country that has a significant Japanese expat community, the talking points from casual Japanese sumo fans even are always: "is Hakuho winning" or "how did Hakuho do?" While that is anecdotal, it's very easy to draw the correlation with the above point about website traffic to understand that for casual fans anywhere, he is and has been the main hook. I don't think - and this is me wearing my day job hat as someone who works in entertainment marketing - that there's been any decline in terms of the number of superfans. That may well have even increased, but in terms of the overall interest from casual fans, that's down quite a bit. I'd back that up from conversations I've had with folks in Japan who participate in the sumo economy, with the fact that no tourists are coming to Japan meaning there are less new fans discovering sumo for the first time, and the global economy around sumo has shrunk accordingly. Sumo is somewhat unique compared to most mainstream sports in that it's an aspirational experience for many of those in the English language community - you can go to a football match anywhere in the world but there's only one place you can go to sumo. That avenue has been shut off for nearly 2 years of tournaments now, so given that there's been no improvement in the digital availability of the sport, and (as pointed out recently by one of Gunning's excellent columns) very few efforts made at international fan acquisition, there's not much pickup of new casual fans. I don't think there's any coincidence that the mini-boom in online sumo fandom (which OGs on this forum will be at pains to point out was itself not comparable to the 80s/90s) around the time of Kisenosato's promotion corresponded with Japan ramping up tourism efforts quite heavily in anticipation of the Olympics. That doesn't impact the original point of why there are (relatively) few comments on this thread, but it can explain why global interest and new fan pickup is down. Personally I'd also throw into the picture the fact that the quality of makuuchi is poor at the moment with no meaningful new talents as a reason for the drop-off - which means more of the fan interest and debate has hinged on the exploits of Hakuho - but that's more anecdotal than empirical.
  22. 8 points
    Memories of Hakuho --------------- I was hoping to be able to get back to Japan again and to be able to watch Hakuho once more in person but it is not to be. I'll have to be content with my memories of the only basho I was able to attend -- Aki 2014 from Days 8 to 15. The most memorable bout was on Day 14 between Hakuho and Ichinojo, who was making his Makuuchi debut. Just before the bout started, I could feel the excitement in the air at the Kokugikan. I don't think any other bout generated as much tension. Because Ichinojo was making his debut, no one, including Hakuho, could foretell who would be the victor. Ichinojo was huge and looked menacing with his hair hanging down (it wasn't long enough for a topknot). As the bout started, the noise of the crowd rose to a fever pitch. It was so loud, I couldn't hear my husband or my friend trying to say something to me. The bout ended quickly with a magnificent throw by Hakuho. Incredibly, the noise in the Kokugikan increased. People were clapping, cheering, yelling, shouting and screaming. It was pandemonium and the atmosphere was electric! It was like nothing I've ever witnessed before. You never hear this on the live TV broadcast because it would be impossible to hear the announcers. It took about 5 minutes before the incredible roar died down. I'll never forget it....... Two days before this, on Day 12, I was lucky enough to be able to meet Hakuho at Miyagino Beya after having watched him train for about one hour. He spoke to about a dozen reporters and then I was introduced. I had learned some Mongolian phrases so I was able to trot those out. Amazingly, he understood me! I told him he was very handsome and he seemed quite embarrassed. I was told much later by a Mongolian man that commenting on someone elses looks is not something that is done in Mongolian culture. lol Despite my behavior, I was invited (not by Hakuho) to have lunch with Hakuho, his trainer, and our mutual friend, the one who introduced me. Just the four of us. We sat on the floor in the kitchen around a low table and ate chanko, sausage, natto and fresh peaches. Hakuho had a beer & offered me one. He was polite but rather reserved. I don't think he knew quite what to make of me, a 65-year-old American female sumo fanatic, with him as my favorite (at the time). He made polite conversation, asking me if I was traveling alone, where I was from, etc. When I told him that I was traveling with my husband, he asked why my husband had not come to meet him. OMG, I couldn't tell him the truth!!! My husband, though a casual sumo fan, didn't care about meeting Hakuho! He said he'd rather visit the Sword Museum. So my friend had to gently tell Hakuho that my husband was only a casual fan and wasn't able to come. Hakuho didn't understand and after the explanation was repeated, he still looked confused. I don't think he had ever heard of anyone who didn't want to meet him!! Soooo awkward! lol Hakuho sounded excited when I told him in Mongolian that I had brought him a gift, but when he saw it was only a t-shirt with his favorite word on it (DREAM), he looked disappointed and didn't even say, "Thank you", not even in Mongolian or Japanese!. It was probably a good thing, though, because I had bought a XXXXXXL, thinking he was a massive guy. He' was not really that big, especially in the chest area. To this day, I wished I had brought him a box of See's Candy, my favorite American chocolate. I found out later that he has quite a sweet tooth. (If any of you SF members ever want to try to see a training session or meet Hakuho at Miyagino Beya once he becomes an Oyakata, you might increase your chances of getting permission if you offer a big box of excellent-quality chocolate! (No guarantees, of course. Note: Don't try to buy See's Chocolate in Tokyo, though. At $3.00 FOR ONE PIECE!! [2014 price], that's ridiculous! In the US, a one-lb box is less than $20.00. I believe it's available only in stores in the western part of the US, and maybe at a kiosk at LAX (Airport in Los Angeles) or the International Airport in San Francisco, but it can be ordered online from Los Angeles, CA. And then you could put it in your checked luggage on your way to Japan --- AFTER Covid, of course ....... sigh ...... whenever that might be!). Hakuho has not been my favorite for quite a number of years, but at the time I met him, he was, and it was the highlight of our trip. Here is a video of my most memorable bout.
  23. 8 points
    Day 15 (results, text-only results) 13-2 Yw Terunofuji 11-4 M10w Myogiryu, M11e Endo Yusho and Sanyaku race A tough final day opponent for Myogiryu in rank-saving Meisei. Meisei was determined and was just too much for the veteran in the end. That result solidified Meisei at Sekiwake West for November, and confirmed the yusho for Terunofuji before he had even fought. The Yokozuna's own bout was a non-event. At 8 wins and nothing to play for, Shodai seemed to be there just to make up the numbers and was defeated easily. Takakeisho also had nothing to gain by trying, and so didn't, beaten in short order by Mitakeumi who only had marginally more to gain (one more win for an Ozeki run, should he ever put one together). Finally, Ichinojo was beaten soundly by a determined Daieisho. After the basho, it was announced that Hakuho is going to retire. Should this happen before the banzuke making session on Wednesday, the Sanyaku will shrink to 7 (counting also Asanoyama's drop), one more than the absolute minimum (given the fact that there were only 7 participating Sanyaku members this time around, we have a good idea as to what it will look like torikumi wise). Hakuho's achievements are superlative and there really is no need to list his many accomplishments and records here. He at least retires after a last zensho-yusho (being forced to sit this one out due to COVID) and at the rank of East Yokozuna. Only two candidates remain for the open sanyaku slot vacated by Takayasu, Kiribayama and Daieisho who have equivalent rank-record combinations. Kiribayama is ranked higher, but Daieisho wouldn't be new to Sanyaku. Whatever way they go, the one that didn't make Komusubi should be the highest ranked maegashira. ky-COVID Hakuho Y Terunofuji 13-2 8-7 Shodai O Takakeisho 8-7 9-6 Mitakeumi S Meisei 8-7 (x) susp Asanoyama S (x) 4-8-3 Takayasu K Ichinojo 8-7 M1 Takanosho 7-8 (x) M2 Kiribayama 9-6 (x) 9-6 Wakatakakage M3 M4 Daieisho 10-5 M5 M6 Onosho 10-5 (x) M7 (x) 10-5 Okinoumi M8 M9 M10 Myogiryu 11-4 (x) Makuuchi-Juryo In the two crucial matches down here we had Kaisei save his rank against Daiamami, who was condemned to a make-koshi and no chance of promotion. Shohozan overcame cellulitis-sufferer Tsurugisho. In theory this should exchange the two, division-wise. However, Hakuho's retirement, should it become official before the banzuke creation will create an extra Makuuchi slot and I assume that it'll go to Tsurugisho instead of J3e Wakamotoharu (8-7). We'll gain at least an M17w due to Asanoyama dropping out from the Sanyaku ranks and Hakuho's retirement should create an M18, which we last saw in March 2020. ky-COVID Ishiura M12 M13 Tsurugisho 5-10 (~) (o) 6-9 Kaisei M14 (x) 4-11 Ichiyamamoto M15 Chiyonoo 4-11 (x) M16 Tokushoryu 4-11 (x) M17 J1 Akua 9-6 (o) (x) 7-8 Daiamami J2 J3 Sadanoumi 10-5 (o) (o) 10-5 Shohozan J4 (o) 13-2 Abi J5 Juryo - Makushita Kyukushuho suffered a last day defeat to Kotoshoho and now has a demotable record. However it is not unheard of for a J12 with a 6-9 record to stay in Juryo, especially if the next best promotion candidate is an Ms4 with a 4-3 record, as is the case here. However, Hakuho's retirement (if official before the banzuke meking meeting) should mean that Jokoryu is back in the sekitori ranks and the decision then becomes Kyukushuho vs Kotoyusho, which I imagine will be inJuryo-man's favour. J9 Takagenji removed (x) J10 ky-COVID Enho J11 (?) 6-9 Kyokushuho J12 Hokuseiho ky-COVID (x) 3-12 Takakento J13 Asashiyu 1-13 (x) J14 (o) 5-1 Terasawa Ms1 (o) 5-2 Hiradoumi Ms2 Kotokuzan 4-3 (o) Ms3 (~) 4-3 Jokoryu Ms4 Kotoyusho 4-3 (?) Ms5 Explanation of symbols. (x) Target missed (#) Number of wins required to reach positive outcome (o) Target number of wins achieved (whether or not the positive outcome actually happens or not is another matter) (~) Need banzuke luck
  24. 8 points
    Contrary to some others I prefer a strong yokozuna taking no-drama yushos to an open race nine times out of ten. A wide open race is exciting if someone unexpected is challenging the champ, but that depends on the champ having a track record of domination. Too much parity detracts from the grandeur of the rank and the significance of an upset.
  25. 8 points
    Day 10: Ichiyamamoto, losing to Kaisei: "I can't win if he gets ahold of me. I was thinking of moving sideways but I was stopped and couldn't go through with it. I'm not being allowed (by my opponents) to do my own sumo.. It goes without sayin g that my opponent is strong, but I think it's my own weakness.." Yutakayama, beating Chiyomaru: "Yesterday, I couldn't do the sumo I had in mind so I decided to go at it calmly. I used my upper body power and used my shoulder to my liking and managed to do good sumo." Tsurugishou, losing to Chiyonoou: "It's not only today- I haven' been doing any sumo of late..I will gambarize to be able to do good sumo. My cellulitis is no excuse for anything, since I'm appearing in the basho. All I can do is do my best." Hidenoumi, beating Chiyonokuni: "That was a win of patience. I keep losing when I get dragged into my opponent's pace. I was in a disadvantageous position, but I managed to be patient and that was good. I was happy to be able to beat Chiyonokuni who was 2-0 against me in Makuuchi bouts. This has boosted my confidence!" Myougiryuu, beating Okinoumi and remaining one loss behind the leader, first kachikoshi since January: "It's been a while. Yes. If I mount the dohyo these next five days, I'd like to do my own sumo day by day.. The win? It was all in the tachiai. I was able to take the first step, grab the front of my opponent's mawashi and move forward and that was good, huh?" Ounoshou, beating Endou and remaining one loss behind the leader as well, also first kachikoshi since January: "I was planning on properly moving forward. I've been working properly hard since day one so I'm happy I was able to get that kachikoshi." Ura, putting up a great fight against Terunofuji: "It's hard for me to say, but when I got the shitate and he got that uwate , there was a loud sigh from the crowd and I thought that was that. I was a bit dejected. I was thinking I was doing well..I was not going to give up. I threw all I had at him, but nothing fazed him. He is really strong. Although we both have returned from serious injuries, we are definitely not in the same category.. I see the crowd's sighing as a good thing- they were all rooting for me and showing their concern. I felt the rise and fall of feelings all through the match.. I'm happy to have fought in the last match of the day, although I did not collect another kinboshi. The joi ranks are tough. I will gambarize till the end and aim for a good result!" Takakeishou needs another two wins to retain his Ozeki rank: "I was thinking of going at it fully concentrated. I want to prepare myself so that I can fight tomorrow as well. I am thankful for the fans' support and will gambarize!" Akua, kachikoshi at Juryo 1, back in Makuuchi next basho: " I have learned to be patient. I knew that a kachikoshi was of the utmost importance, so I focused on that.." Kiribayama, winning by that HNH, setting his sights for a sanyaku berth: "I want to do good sumo till the last day and gambarize!" Takarafuji, doing the sword bearer thing during Terunofuji's dohyo iri: "I had to run right after that from the east to the west dressing room again today, but I can't run like I used to and I was out of breath. I'm feeling my age.." Takanoshou, fifth loss: "Insufficient horsepower. When I planned on attacking, my foot slipped." Ichinojou, emphatically pushing Tamawashi out: "That was my best bout this basho. I was able to fight as I planned." Wakatakakage, losing to Mitakeumi, his college senior: "I want to gambarize and turn things around." Shoudai, beating Daieishou who got a kinboshi a day ago: "He has a lot of power at the tachiai, so I went with my first step and hit with all my might so as not to lose. In the end, my body responded well."