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Everything posted by mokele

  1. mokele

    Videos Natsu 2018 - Days 1-15

    I really need to start coming here again. I'm "pukulu" on youtube. Kintamayama's sumo videos are the most reliable way to see all the Makuuchi bouts. I try and make commentary on every bout if possible.
  2. mokele

    Juryo Promotions - 2016 Hatsu

    It's good to know that others have noticed this and it's not just me. It really is obviously unfair to promote Dewahayate to Juryo instead of Shotenro. I have nothing against Dewahayate. It's just simply that 1 additional win in Makushita is worth at least twice as much as it's worth in Makuuchi, because there are more rikishi in Makushita, and because the Makushita rikishi have only 7 matches per basho instead of the 15 in the top division. In addition, Shotenro scored 2 more wins than Dewahayate. The Japan Sumo Association's choice is perplexing.
  3. mokele

    More new rijikai decisions

    If Kitanoumi's idea helps smaller stables to survive I'm all for it. If in addition it allows rikishi to be transferred to a heya that is more to their liking, I'm in favor of that too. Ideally, there should be a large number of small stables that are all thriving. This assumes that rikishi from different stables are permitted to practice with one another. This ideal of course cannot be met since small stables are the ones that are most in danger of becoming bankrupt. Similar to the case in business, there is a tendency for big, successful stables to thrive and to grow, while smaller stables disappear and their rikishi swallowed up by the bigger stables. This tendency needs to be counteracted for sumo to be a stable and successful operation.
  4. mokele

    Tochinonada intai

    I figured that he would retire after the 2012 Hatsu basho. He just was unable to defend properly against oshi-zumo attacks anymore. I will miss his left hand inside grip nage. It was a unique style.
  5. mokele

    Featured rikishi: Takanonami

    I followed the entire career of former ozeki Takanonami. He was often criticized for being too passive, moving backwards and using defensive sumo, but I liked him. His sumo was clean and was based on skill, power, leverage and timing. If he was too defensive it was due in part to his lack of quickness. He seemed like a genuinely good person, good natured like Baruto and Takamisakari. He was tall, 6' 5" and preferred belt techniques, specializing in yorikiri, uwatenage, tsuridashi and kimedashi. In style he was a bit like former sekiwake Mitoizumi, another large, slow yotsu-zumo specialist. During his prime, Takanonami often scored 11 or 12 wins per basho, quite good for an ozeki. He had a lot of trouble with Akebono and Musashimaru who could overpower him with a tsuki/oshi attack.
  6. mokele

    Does Ozumo need a tachiai fix?

    I agree. I have even wondered whether bouts should start something like the way drag races start, with a light system which changes from red to yellow to green. This way there would be no matta except for rikishi that "jump the gun", that is, who start the bout before the green light comes on. They would be allowed one false start after which they would be disqualified. The current honor system in which the rikishi are supposed to start simulraneously seems archaic and vague. It seems dissatisfying when so many bouts are decided by who gets the better tachi-ai. A rikishi is not punished for initiating a matta, which seems unjust.
  7. mokele

    Hokutouriki intai

    Let's hope that former Hokutoriki is better at teaching and encouraging yotsu-zumo skills than he was at using them during hon-basho. I must admit that I nearly always rooted against Hokutoriki, whose style seemed brutal and unskilled, based on the nodo-wa, an aggressive tachi-ai, and sometimes hatakikomi. He almost always lost whenever he was forced to fight on the belt.
  8. mokele

    The Amazing Asashoryu

    Asashoryu not only performed well in the 2009 Hatsu basho, but shows signs of maturing as well. Sometimes you could see signs of nostalgia in his face for a brief few seconds after a bout, as if he was quietly saying "gosh, this is still fun, just like in the good ol' days when I was the dominant figure in sumo". It's very clear that he's still much stronger than any of the ozeki when he's in good form. He's also still a young man, and it wouldn't hurt him one bit to talk for a few minutes to Chiyonofuji about motivation and attitude. With the proper attitude and training, Asahoryu could easily fight on for 4 or 5 more years and perhaps get another 10 yusho. That would be a great long-term goal for him, to break Taiho's yusho record of 32 yusho.
  9. mokele

    Was Ama - Now

    Good one! (Showing respect...) I won't trouble you with a request for the kanji for Eohippus ("dawn horse") nor would I recommend it as part of a shikona ;-)
  10. mokele

    Was Ama - Now

    Also, it was Ama who insisted on keeping the "horse" kanji, so blaming Asahifuji or the Kyokai for that choice is pretty odd. So Ama chose his own new shikona with the approval of Asahifuji. That makes sense. If Ama wants to think of himself as a horse, who are we to question his choice? Horses run fast and that might be part of his reason. Whatever, he's an excellent rikishi who I will be eager to watch! I have seen few shikona use animals such as leopards, lions and tigers, those that embody aggression and athleticism. I do not speak Japanese, but I'm sure that there are members here who could tell us what a shikona might be that meant "clever leopard Fuji" or something similar. That's closer to my image of Ama than "Spring horse Fuji". Shouldn't aggressive, agile and intelligent rikishi be named after animals that have similar qualities? 利発 is what a translator gave me for "clever" 理性的 is what a translator gave me for "intelligent" I couldn't find a Japanese translation for lion, tiger or leopard. Of course those creatures are not present in Japan (except in zoos), although bears apparently are.
  11. mokele

    Hatsu basho sanyaku

    How many sanyaku in January? Well : yokozuna: Hakuho Asashoryu ozeki: Kotomitsuki Chiyotaikai Kotooshu Kaio Harumafuji sekiwake: Baruto Aminishiki komusubi: Kisenosato Toyonoshima Kotoshogiku and Kyokutenho will each probably be placed at maegashira1, Miyabiyama at maegashira2. Under different circumstances it would be justified to promote Kotoshogiku to komusubi. However, with 5 ozeki one would expect only a total of 4 rikishi ranked at sekiwake + komusubi. So I'll go with 11 in Sanyaku for Hatsu 2009.
  12. I took the little poll about what type of a career Yamamotoyama will have, and I had to answer "big disappointment", not because it's what I want but because he's simply way too heavy to survive the pounding that he will take in Makunouchi without falling and hurting himself sometime in the near future. When Musashimaru 1st entered Makunouchi, I remember him well at around 390 lbs., a weight that he maintained for a few years. He was overweight even then, but not obese, and his weight went up gradually during his career. He was close to 600 lbs. when he retired, and his failure to maintain a proper fighting weight was partially the cause. Akebono also ended his career with a weight of well over 500 lbs. but once again his weight during the early part of his Makunouchi career was in the high 300s. Konishiki had a remarkably successful career for a rikishi who became obese fairly early in his career, well before he became an ozeki, but his failure to keep his weight down eventually hurt him, especially when he went over 600 lbs. So anyway, Yamamotoyama certainly has it in his power to lose 60 or 70 lbs., and if so, he could be very effective and reduce the risk of injury. I just do not believe that any rikishi is better at over 500 lbs. than they would be at 450 lbs. or so. There's a giant Korean (Hong Man Choi) who I've seen participate in K1 fighting who is something like 7'4" tall, but he is a genuine giant who got that way (I imagine) because of a pituitary gland problem. Only for someone like that, like Andre the Giant for example (suffered from acromegaly), would a weight of 500 lbs. be regarded as a fit fighting weight for sumo.
  13. mokele

    Wakanoho's yaocho allegations

    Aren't you making things up? There never was the accusation of "reckless driving". The old lady crossed a red light directly ahead of his car, that can happen without reckless driving and he wasn't penalized for that (either by law or kyokai). His problem was driving at all which is not allowed for rikishi. I'd wager to say that this is way more silly than Japanese marijuana laws, and Toki took his penalty (one basho absence) in stride. I took my account of Toki's incident from memory alone. I must have gotten my information 2nd or 3rd hand, and something was lost along the way. Ok, I guess my comparison was not best. I decided to see if a google search would still include some old news about Toki's driving accident, and the following site has the best English language account I could find : A quote from the article : "TOKI was visiting his new wife and baby in Osaka. Driving with his wife and mother-in-law after shopping, he struck a 56-year-old woman at a pedestrian crossing. The victim suffered a fractured skull and died almost instantly. According to police, TOKI was not intoxicated. Police sources indicated the following day that TOKI admitted to some responsibility for the accident." So Toki was not accused by Japanese law enforcement of reckless driving, but neither did he claim to be totally innocent of all wrongdoing. So apparently Toki's biggest infraction was that he should not have been driving at all. Another quote: "The Nihon Sumo Kyokai banned active rikishi from driving last spring after AKINOSHIMA was involved in a less-serious accident." So the rule about rikishi not being allowed to drive has not been around that long, only since 2000.
  14. mokele

    Wakanoho's yaocho allegations

    That article has the ring of truth. Wakanoho is a fool and a scoundrel, plain and simple. If he wanted to stay in sumo, he should have told the truth, and maybe included a plausible excuse, a sincere apology and a statement about how much he loves sumo and wants another chance. Marijuana confers no benefit whatsoever to a rikishi except perhaps inspiring the occasional surprising or imaginative technique. Perhaps a rikishi who does nothing else wrong but smoke a joint once in awhile should be given a 2nd chance, put on probation and fined, like they used to do with baseball players in the USA who abused drugs. Heck, Toki got a 2nd chance after his reckless driving resulted in the death of a civilian. Certainly smoking marijuana is not as bad as what Toki did! Smoking marijuana is hardly an evil act, but accusing innocent rikishi of throwing matches is deplorable and inexcusable. It's defamatory and could hurt the reputations of Kotooshu and Kasuganishiki. For example, what sponsors would choose to employ a rikishi who has been accused of fixing matches? Now that Wakanoho is a self-admitted liar, I'm done with him. Too bad, since his sumo could be inspired and energetic sometimes.
  15. mokele

    Was Ama - Now

    I guess that with enough time I'll get used to Harumafuji as Ama's new shikona. At the moment I'm not really happy with it, since the name does not seem to fit his style of sumo which is based on speed, aggressiveness, versatility and skill. A horse is big, strong and fast but rather meek and not very intelligent. A horse can be led around. Oh well, perhaps we shouldn't expect something truly thoughtful or imaginative from the Nihon Sumo Kyokai and its many stables. Former yokozuna Asahifuji must have played a part in the choice of name.
  16. mokele

    Ozeki 'co-operation'

    Takanonami (and if you want to go back a few years, Konishiki) should also be added to your list. I noticed that Kotooshu has been "on the bubble" with 7-7 going into senshuraku many times over the past few years, and has almost always won his final bout. Kotomitsuki has done a similar thing a few times. Honestly, my sense is that on most of those occasions, Kotooshu and Kotomitsuki were just out of sorts in the earlier part of the basho, and finally were fighting properly near the end. Were their fellow ozeki throwing bouts to them on senshuraku? I haven't the slightest idea, but it's a reasonable hypothesis. I never said that yao-cho do not occasionally happen in sumo, just that it isn't very common, less than 5% of all bouts is my guess, and that any attempts by the Nihon Sumo Kyokai to prevent yao-cho might be a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
  17. mokele

    Ama's Ozeki run

    On the subject of Ama changing his name, I don't have strong feelings on the subject, but a name of 3 letters seems too short for an ozeki or a yokozuna. If Ama becomes a yokozuna, I wholeheartedly support a name change to "Asahifuji" , since that shikona has not been used since the retirement of the former yokozuna by that name. Not many sumo fans have been around long enough to remember former Asahifuji when he was an active rikishi, but I have looked carefully at his record and seen him on film, and if it wasn't for his great difficulty against Chiyonofuji, he would have been a yokozuna a couple years earlier, and probably would have won several more yusho than he ended up winning. He did well against Konishiki. Here are his records when he was on his earlier unsuccessful drive for yokozuna promotion in 1988 and 1989: 1/1988 Ozeki Ost 14-1 Yusho (1) 3/1988 Ozeki Ost 12-3 5/1988 Ozeki Ost 12-3 7/1988 Ozeki Ost 11-4 9/1988 Ozeki Ost 12-3 11/1988 Ozeki Ost 12-3 1/1989 Ozeki Ost 14-1 3/1989 Ozeki Ost 13-2 5/1989 Ozeki Ost 13-2 Can you believe these records for an ozeki? Most yokozuna do not put up such lofty scores!
  18. mokele

    Hakuho-Ama Great Bout!

    Definitely a great bout! It was on the level of some of the classic yotsu-zumo bouts of the past such as Chiyonofuji vs. Kitanoumi, Chiyonofuji vs. Takanosato, Takanohana II vs. Akebono, etc. Ama has gotten so much stronger just in the past year. It looks like he will immediately take the position of top ozeki in January, and I wouldn't put it past him to make a run at the yokozuna title in 2009. His style is remarkably similar now to a young Asashoryu, combining a bit of thrusting with excellent quickness and technical skill on the belt. It was just a great way to end the Kyushu basho!
  19. mokele

    Tokitenkuu ties a record-not happy

    Sometimes Tokitenku looks like a strong, skilled rikishi, respectable on the belt and willing to start a lot of his bouts with a bit of tsuppari and the nodo-wa. However, his agility is average at best and he lacks much in the way of nage techniques. He also can't seem to make up his mind sometimes whether he should be thrusting, pushing, slapping, pulling down or fighting on the belt. He gets caught in the middle of deciding what to do, and by then it's too late. He's been in a slump lately but I think that he can pull out of it soon, probably in the 2009 Hatsu basho. His overall ability is similar to that of fellow Mongolian Kyokutenho who has already had a long career in Makunouchi.
  20. mokele

    Pics of day 14, Kyushu Basho 08

    Ama's complexion has mostly cleared up, just in time for his ozeki promotion! I was a bit worried that all the overeating that rikishi do was affecting Ama's hormonal systems. It looks like things are ok with him now. Kokkai's beard must grow like bamboo. Even shaving once a day isn't enough. Twice per day maybe is in order? former yokozuna Takanohana looks great, slimmed down and healthy. I'm imagine that he's just as good a shimpan as he was a rikishi.
  21. mokele

    Ama's Ozeki run

    Now that Ama is 12-2 and assured of ozeki promotion, I wonder if Kaio will feel more comfortable retiring, something that I thought would happen around 2 years ago. I've heard it mentioned that Kaio is in pain nearly every bout these days. He obviously loves sumo or he would have been long gone by now.
  22. mokele

    Yaocho watch Kyushu 2008

    It's better not to even bring up the issue of yao-cho unless you see an example of it that really bothers you. It's no good to be suspicious all the time about every bout you watch, since it spoils the joy of following sumo. As long as the rikishi are paid well, the issue of yao-cho will not be a big one. Also, if a rikishi appears to be putting in only a half-hearted effort and is losing almost every bout, it's probably not because he's being paid to lose, it's more likely that he's injured and can't put out a full effort. There are lots of injuries during a basho but most of the injuries are not bad enough to cause the rikishi to drop out. Some rikishi have nagging injuries from a previous basho, and it hampers their movement, balance and the execution of certain kimarite. That's why it's very hard to detect yao-cho, since it's hard to tell the difference between a rikishi that is throwing a bout and one that is just injured and can't fight hard.
  23. mokele

    Ama's Ozeki run

    I've been following Ama's progress lately, and it finally dawned on me that he's gained a bunch of weight in the last couple of years. He's at 129 kgs. now, and that's why he's much harder to push around than he was a couple years ago when he was below 250 lbs. Ama used to look skinny for a rikishi and was no match at all for Asashoryu or Hakuho. He's not only quick and versatile now, using oshi, nage and yori with equal skill, he's also strong enough to handle many of the heavier rikishi in pure yotsu-zumo battles. He seems very intelligent and should continue to improve, and if he should become an ozeki soon, should start becoming a serious threat to win the yusho every basho.
  24. mokele

    Wakanohou arrested for drug possession

    When I was a teenager I used to smoke marijuana sometimes on the weekends with friends. We would listen to rock music and "get stoned". I quit using it many years ago, but I still regard it as a basically harmless activity unless done in excess. It's certainly not any worse than getting drunk on alcohol. In any case marijuana is not a performance enhancing drug. On the contrary it makes the user a bit passive and dreamy, not conducive to the needs of a sumo wrestler who needs to be aggressive and forceful. It's really a shame that Wakanoho has been expelled from sumo over this incident. He had good fighting spirit and enthusiasm. Roho and Hakurozan are gone as well, and that's rather a shame too. Roho was a bit surly and occasionally unsportsmanlike and his style was slow, unskilled and he backed up and dodged to the side too much, but he was physically very strong. His brother Hakurozan was not as strong but was a fairly good belt man, although he had trouble keeping his hips low enough to be effective. It hurts sumo when gaijin rikishi are expelled like this, even if marijuana use is regarded as such a heinous activity in Japan. You get the impression that the Kyokai is being harsh in part because they were foreigners. Major sports figures in the USA have traditionally been allowed to attend a drug rehabilitation program when they have been caught abusing drugs. If they behave themselves and pass through the rehab program, they are allowed to return to the sport they played. It's too bad that the Kyokai has not joined the modern world in this respect and done something similar.
  25. mokele

    The Kyokai vs Shukan Gendai magazine

    I've been watching sumo, and only rarely have missed a bout much less a hon-basho, since 1992. During that time there have been few if any cases in which it was apparent to me that a yao-cho was committed. During the mid 1990s I used to receive "Sumo World" magazine and I remember reading of how the former rikishi Itai had accused Chiyonofuji of systematically using bribes and yao-cho to insure victories over rank and file maegashira. I'm pretty sure that the whole thing was a pack of lies. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why Itai would foment such apparent lies, especially against 1 of the greatest yokozuna of all times, but it must have had something to do with how his career in sumo ended. For those too young to have seen him, Itai was a windmill tsuppari specialist with very little yotsu-zumo skill whose ranking went up and down the maegashira ranks during his career in Makunouchi. He won several shocking bouts against former yokozuna Onokuni but otherwise was rather unimpressive. From Chiyozakura's excellent website: Anyway, I very much doubt that Asashoryu has participated in any fixed bouts whatsoever. His fighting spirit has always been very high. Fixed bouts are unlikely to be a serious problem in sumo since rikishi are paid for each bout that they win, and their salaries are reasonable and depend heaviily on their ranking. Maybe once in while a couple of rikishi who are good friends off the dohyo are scheduled to meet on senshuraku, and the bout has importance only to one of them, and they come to some sort of agreement ahead of time. That's a possibility.