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mikawa last won the day on June 20 2016

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  1. 第59回選抜高校相撲宇佐大会 Individual Competition Winner - Saito Daisuke (齋藤 大輔), Saitama Sakae High School (Saitama) Runner-Up - Naya Konosuke (納谷 幸之介), Saitama Sakae High School (Saitama) Semi-Finals - Amarusana (アマルサナー), Tottori Johoku High School (Tottori) Semi-Finals - Ishioka Mikiya (石岡 弥輝也), Tottori Johoku High School (Tottori) Team Competition Winner - Buntoku High School (Kumamoto) Runner-Up - Niigata Kaiyo High School (Niigata) Semi-Finals - Tottori Johoku High School (Tottori) Semi-Finals - Saitama Sakae High School (Saitama) Videos Individual Final - Naya Konosuke (納谷 幸之介) vs Saito Daisuke (齋藤 大輔) Team Quarter-Final #1 - Kanazawashiritsu Technical High School (Ishikawa) vs Buntoku High School (Kumamoto) Team Quarter-Final #2 - Tottori Johoku High School (Tottori) vs Hakata High School (Fukuoka) Team Quarter-Final #3 - Saitama Sakae High School (Saitama) vs Kanagawa Kenritsu Mukainookakogyo High School (Ishikawa) Team Quarter-Final #4 - Niigata Kaiyo High School (Niigata) vs Sanbongi Agriculture High School (Aomori) Team Semi-Final #1 - Buntoku High School (Kumamoto) vs Tottori Johoku High School (Tottori) Team Semi-Final #2 - Saitama Sakae High School (Saitama) vs Niigata Kaiyo High School (Niigata) Team Final - Buntoku High School (Kumamoto) vs Niigata Kaiyo High School (Niigata) Comments 7 years ago, when the strong and skilful Saito Daisuke first appeared at Wanpaku, he did really well to reach the semi-finals (despite having caught a cold prior to the tournament), but lost out to the then unbeatable future monster Toma Tsuguto. 2 years ago, Saito Daisuke would repay the favour by knocking out Toma Tsuguto at the Middle School Championships. Since then, Saito has gone from strength to strength, and has now claimed the Usa Tournament with a splendid throw in the final. Naya Konosuke, who is Yokozuna Taiho's grandson, also did well in the tournament, and helped his team, Saitama Sakae, to a semi-final finish. The Kumamoto Curse (where teams from Kumamoto always seem to finish second) has now well and truly been lifted, as 2017 has given them the Hakuho Cup team title, the Middle School Student Championships team title, and now the Usa Tournament team title. It helped to have a former Middle School Yokozuna (Kusano Naoya) on their team, but they owe their success largely to the contributions of their opening rikishi, Kawazoe Keita, who achieved a remarkable comeback victory over the talented Ishioka Mikiya in the team semi-finals. Ishioka Mikiya is originally from Aomori, and is now a member of Tottori Johoku High School (just like his kohai Narita Rikido). On paper, Tottori Johoku High School were the favourites to win this tournament, but to do that, they needed to start every match 2-0, as their final team member, the aforementioned Toma Tsuguto, isn't able to hold up his weight anymore (quite literally) in competitions. However, Ishioka's shock loss to Kawazoe meant that they had to settle for 3rd place. Nevertheless, Tottori are now attracting more and more very talented rikishi at the Middle School and High School levels.
  2. Full Results: Under 65 kg Winner - Fujimoto Yusuke (藤本 裕介, Nippon Sport Science University) Runner-Up - Ikede Mariki (池知 雅貴, Kyushu Institute of Information Sciences) Semi-Finals - Ikeda Taito (池田 大斗, Toyo University) Semi-Finals - Takagi Tsubasa (高木 飛翔, Nippon Sport Science University) Under 75 kg Winner - Mitoma Keita (三笘 慶大, Nippon Sport Science University) Runner-Up - Shiga Yuto (深野 良太, Tokyo University of Agriculture) Semi-Finals - Niki Hayao (仁木 駿, Kwansei Gakuin University) Semi-Finals - Sasaki Shoya (佐々木 翔也, Asahi University) Under 85 kg Winner - Watanabe Shintaro (渡邉 晋太郎, Nippon Sport Science University) Runner-Up - Miyaue So (宮上 颯, Nippon Sport Science University) Semi-Finals - Akimoto Ryota (秋本 良太, Nippon Sport Science University) Semi-Finals - Miyagi Yo (宮城 陽, Nippon Sport Science University) Under 100 kg Winner - Hagiwara Hikari (萩原 光, Takushoku University) Runner-Up - Fukano Ryota (深野 良太, Nippon Sport Science University) Semi-Finals - Tobushinsana (トゥブシンサナー, Tokyo University of Agriculture) Semi-Finals - Yamamoto Ramon (山本 羅門, Nippon Sport Science University) Under 115 kg Winner - Tanioka Koshiro (谷岡 倖志郎, Kindai University) Runner-Up - Fujiwara Tappei (藤原 竜平, Meiji University) Semi-Finals - Yamanaka Shinya (山中 晋也, Kyushu Institute of Information Sciences) Semi-Finals - Wakabayashi Kai (若林 魁, Waseda University) Under 135 kg Winner - Hashimoto Yukihiro (橋本 侑京, Waseda University) Runner-Up - Terasawa Itsuki (寺沢 樹, Toyo University) Semi-Finals - Imoto Kazuki (井本 和輝, Kyushu Institute of Information Sciences) Semi-Finals - Yamamoto Reo (山口 怜央, Kindai University) Over 135 kg Winner - Nakashima Nozomi (中島 望, Nihon University) Runner-Up - Motobayashi Kenji (元林 健治, Kindai University) Semi-Finals - Kato Junya (加藤 順也, Nippon Sport Science University) Semi-Finals - Hiroshio Tatsusei (廣尾 達成, Nihon University) Open Weight Winner - Nishino Tomonori (西野 倫理, Toyo University) Runner-Up - Enami Masashi (榎波 将史, Nihon University) Semi-Finals - Shiroyama Seira (城山 聖羅, Toyo University) Semi-Finals - Fukai Takuto (深井 拓斗, Toyo University)
  3. Quite possibly, as Narumi Satoshi is listed as having a connection to Narumi Shoma on this page, his older brother maybe?
  4. Certainly looks like it. I think they do ensure that the top teams from the preliminary rounds are paired against the lowest-scoring teams in the last 32, but after that, it's luck of the draw. You're probably right about Hanaoka. His skill set is very good, but he doesn't have enough strength to back it up.
  5. Sumo for kids

    Yup, one and the same. Sato / Takakeisho has used that same fighting style ever since his wanpaku days, which has gotten him the Middle School Yokozuna title back in 2011 and now all the way up to Makuuchi. Shinpo Kyoya is currently in his 4th year at Toyo University, but isn't good enough to make it onto their all-conquering team. Here's a photo of Shinpo with his mum from 2014: Word has it that Ryuta no longer does sumo for one reason or other, I've certainly not seen his name pop up since wanpaku.
  6. 第47回全国中学校相撲選手権大会 This tournament decides who becomes the Middle School Yokozuna, and has 2 categories - individual and team. Individual Competition Winner - Narumi Shoma (鳴海 匠馬, Aomori) Runner-Up - Urayama Shusei (浦山 秀誠, Toyama) Semi-Finals - Yada Shota (矢田 翔大, Oita) Semi-Finals - Mukainagano Shingo (向中野 真豪, Tottori) Quarter-Finals - Yamamoto Takeru (山本 剛瑠, Mie) Quarter-Finals - Sakamoto Hirokazu (坂本 博一, Chiba) Quarter-Finals - Ito Yasuki (伊藤 寧, Chiba) Quarter-Finals - Takei Sakutaro (武井 朔太郎, Shizuoka) Team Competition Winner - Kashiwadaini Junior High School (Chiba) Runner-Up - Sukumo Katashima Junior High School (Kochi) Semi-Finals - Saisei Junior High School (Ishikawa) Semi-Finals - Kurikoma Junior High School (Miyagi) Quarter-Finals - Wakakusa Junior High School (Tochigi) Quarter-Finals - Uto Tsurugi Junior High School (Kumamoto) Quarter-Finals - Fuji Gakuyo Junior High School (Shizuoka) Quarter-Finals - Odate Higashi Junior High School (Akita) Videos Individual Quarter-Final #1 - Narumi Shoma (鳴海 匠馬, Aomori) vs Yamamoto Takeru (山本 剛瑠, Mie) Individual Quarter-Final #2 - Yada Shota (矢田 翔大, Oita) vs Sakamoto Hirokazu (坂本 博一, Chiba) Individual Quarter-Final #3 - Urayama Shusei (浦山 秀誠, Toyama) vs Ito Yasuki (伊藤 寧, Chiba) Individual Quarter-Final #4 - Takei Sakutaro (武井 朔太郎, Shizuoka) vs Mukainagano Shingo (向中野 真豪, Tottori) Individual Semi-Final #1 - Narumi Shoma (鳴海 匠馬, Aomori) vs Yada Shota (矢田 翔大, Oita) Individual Semi-Final #2 - Urayama Shusei (浦山 秀誠, Toyama) vs Mukainagano Shingo (向中野 真豪, Tottori) Individual Final - Narumi Shoma (鳴海 匠馬, Aomori) vs Urayama Shusei (浦山 秀誠, Toyama) Team Semi-Final #1 - Saisei Junior High School (Ishikawa) vs Kashiwadaini Junior High School (Chiba) Team Semi-Final #2 - Sukumo Katashima Junior High School (Kochi) vs Kurikoma Junior High School (Miyagi) Team Final - Kashiwadaini Junior High School (Chiba) vs Sukumo Katashima Junior High School (Kochi) Comments And so, our Middle School Yokozuna of 2017 is Narumi Shoma from Aomori. He's a very strong rikishi (albeit on the thin side), and is definitely a top 10 rikishi in his year group. If you remember that final between Udo Junior School Club and Tsugaru Sumo Club, you'll recall that one of the main reasons why the all-conquering Udo team that year weren't quite able to become national champions was because the then Wanpaku Yokozuna Hanaoka Masaki lost his bout in the final, and it was to Narumi Shoma. His is my favourite year group, because there are so many memorable and unique characters in that year, with no one truly standing out (apart from maybe 2-time Primary School Yokozuna Mukainakano Shingo). From giant-killer Matsunaga Hayato to the skilful-but-slightly-unlucky Yoshioka Yudai; from the small but strategically-sound Kojima Shu, to the all-round Sakamoto Hirokazu. Narumi Shoma is one of those memorable rikishi from that year group, having been consistently impressive in tournaments, but never quite good enough to get a yusho. Not this time though, as he goes all the way to the title of Yokozuna (with a little luck of course, considering the way he won his semi-final and final). The favourite for the tournament, Mukainakano Shingo, fell victim to a henka in the semi-finals, and couldn't add this title to his yusho from earlier this month. In the team event, Team Kumamoto couldn't repeat their success from 3 weeks ago as they crashed out in the quarter-finals, as again, 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna Hanaoka Masaki couldn't deliver the goods when it really matters. Instead, the arguably stronger team of Fujita Itto (藤田 一翔), Ito Yasuki (伊藤 寧) and Sakamoto Hirokazu (坂本 博一) from Chiba rose to the top, all 3 of whom are Hakuho Cup finalists (Sakamoto Hirokazu won the Hakuho Cup back in Grade 4, at the same time as his younger brother Sakamoto Shoma). It was a comfortable win for them in the team final, as they swept past Kochi 3-0. Speaking of Sakamoto Hirokazu, he's actually the older son of Tokitsukaze-oyakata (former Tokitsuumi). With Sadogatake-oyakata (former Kotonowaka )'s son Kamatani Masakatsu having already joined Ozumo and Yokozuna Taiho's grandson Naya Konosuke becoming a shin-deshi for Kyushu, will we see Sakamoto Hirokazu (and later on his brother Sakamoto Shoma) follow in their footsteps in a few years' time? Guess we'll find out.
  7. Whilst I was in Tokyo earlier this month, I took the opportunity to interview members of various sumo clubs about what prompted them to start learning sumo, and what they think are the benefits of learning sumo? The interviewees ranged from your average sumo kids (like Sasaki Chikara's younger brother and Mitaka's Ogawa Yuto) to those who have appeared at the Wanpaku Tournament (such as Hanafusa Kai, Kiyomiya Itto, Yoshioka Yudai & Ryudai, Hirano Shurato etc). There are even Wanpaku Yokozuna amongst them, such as Uchida Kyota and Kodama Hayato, both of whom are also multiple Hakuho Cup winners. Their responses are as follows. Hopefully they will provide a good insight into how Ozumo rikishi started their long journeys, and what motivated them to continue on that difficult path. Kid #1 わんぱく相撲(小学生6年の時に)に出たのがきっかけです Participated in the Wanpaku tournament back in Grade 6 股わりができるようになったこと、体力がついたこと Being able to do matawari, gained strength and stamina Kid #2 父が相撲をやっていて体験したのがきっかけです My father does sumo, so I got to experience it too 相手に向かう気もちが強くなったこと Having a stronger mind when facing an opponent Kid #3 父と兄がすもうをやっていたのでやってみたいとおもいました My father and older brother both do sumo, so I wanted to try it out かな川大会でゆうしょうできたこと Was able to win sumo tournaments in Kanagawa Kid #4 父が相撲をやっていて体験したのがきっかけ My father does sumo so I got to experience it as well 相手に向かう気もちが強なったこと Having a stronger mind when facing an opponent Kid #5 わんぱく相撲に出たのがきっかけです Participated in the Wanpaku tournament 体力がついた Gained strength and stamina Kid #6 兄が始めたからです Because my older brother started doing sumo 力がついた Gained strength Kid #7 先生にいわれた My teacher told me to try it ちょと前でた It was a while ago (?) Kid #8 お父さんが高校の時やっていたから Because my father did sumo when he was at high school 力が強くなった I got stronger Kid #9 おじいちゃんがやってみなどってばりました My grandfather told me to try it out ともだちがふえた Made some friends Kid #10 ほいくえんですもう大会があってそこで優勝してさんかしたから I won a sumo competition back during kindergarten, so I decided to joined a club 技がすごくうまくなったから My skills were able to improve Kid #11 市内のわんぱく相撲で優勝してそこから相撲が楽しくなったので相撲を始めた I won the Wanpaku qualifiers in my city and found it fun, so I decided to start learning sumo 大会などで勝ったり、今まで勝てなかった相手に勝ったりして強くなったと実感できたときが相撲をやっていて良かったと思います Won various competitions, won against opponents whom I would lose to in the past, able to feel stronger, so I think that it's good to do sumo Kid #12 わんぱく相もうでゆう勝したので相もうを始めた I started sumo because I won a Wanpaku competition 大会で勝つとみんながほめてくれるのがやっていてよかったことです It's very nice that everyone praises me when I win bouts during competitions Kid #13 あきる野市の学校の相撲大会で優勝したから Because I won a sumo competition at my school in Akiruno City たくさんトロフィーをもらったりメダルをもらえたこと Was able to receive many trophies and medals from doing sumo Kid #14 わんぱく相撲に出てまけたことがくやしくて、習いはじめました I regretted losing my bout at a Wanpaku competition, so I started learning sumo 試合を何回もすることでいろんな事をのりこえる強さを身につけた Through the countless bouts that I've participated in, I gained the strength to overcome difficult things Kid #15 けんこうのため For my health 足のきん肉がついたこと Got stronger muscles in my legs Kid #16 大会で2位になって1位の子に勝ちたいと思い始めました I finished runner-up at a tournament and wanted to beat the kid who finished 1st, so I started learning sumo 相撲をやる前はいじめられたけどやり始めてからはいじめられなくなった事 Before doing sumo I tended to give up easily. Since starting sumo I would no longer give up on things Kid #17 わんぱくすもう大会で2位になったら、小松竜道場だったんにさそわれて始めました I finished runner-up at a Wanpaku tournament, and was invited to start learning sumo with Komatsuryu Dojo 身体が大きくなったことと、関東大会で優勝できたこと My body was able to get bigger, and was able to win the Kanto tournament Kid #18 親がやってみないかと言っていたのでやってみようと思ってわんぱく相撲に出たのがきかけです My parents told me to try it out and I wanted to give it a go, so I took part in my local Wanpaku tournament 色々な事が学べること Was able to learn various things Kid #19 なんとなく始めていた I started sumo for no particular reason きついことにたえられる Able to endure difficult things
  8. Questions about university sumo

    As far as I know, the rikishis from high school apply to the universities that they want to attend, with their reputation for sumo being a major considering factor. I believe that club members don't actually live together, but they do spend a lot of time together for practice and meals. In Toyo University's case, they have keiko daily from Tuesdays to Sundays each week. The team positions are decided by their coaches, and are mainly arbitrary (except for the 5th position being in deciding bouts and possibly the 1st position being in opening bouts).
  9. 第52回全日本大学選抜相撲十和田大会 Individual Competition Winner - Watanabe Ryo (渡辺 亮, Kindai University) Runner-Up - Nakajima Nozomi (中島 望, Nihon University), left in photo Semi-Finals - Sato Takashi (佐藤 崇, Nippon Sport Science University), right in photo Semi-Finals - Nishizawa Motoyasu (西澤 元康, Nippon Sport Science University) Team Competition Winner - Toyo University Shiroyama Seira (城山 聖羅) ・ Nishino Tomonori (西野 倫理) ・ Terasawa Itsuki (寺沢 樹) ・ Fukai Takuto (深井 拓斗) ・ Shiroishi Masahito (白石 雅仁) Runner-Up - Kindai University Watanabe Ryo (渡辺 亮) ・ Yamaguchi Reo (山口 怜央) ・ Tanioka Iori (谷岡 伊織) ・ Motobayashi Kenji (元林 健治) ・ Higo Yuta (肥後 勇太) Semi-Finals - Nihon University Semi-Finals - Takushoku University Videos Last 32 - Final Team Semi-Final #1 - Nihon University vs Kindai University Team Semi-Final #2 - Takushoku University vs Toyo University Team 3rd Place Play-off - Nihon University vs Takushoku University Team Final - Kindai University vs Toyo University Comments Toyo University sure are unbeatable at the moment, having won their nth consecutive team yusho, and with the exact same team as well. Shiroishi Masahito is proving to be a reliable anchor, as he wins yet another deciding bout (he's been doing that ever since middle school). Kindai University have done very well though, considering that they have a couple of young guys on their team, notably last year's High School Yokozuna Yamaguchi Reo. If Kindai's members continue to develop, their yusho will surely not be far away. Speaking of, Toyo University weren't able to get the individual title this time around, as Kindai University's Watanabe Ryo came home with the win.
  10. New recruits for Aki 2017

    One of the coaches at Tachikawa Renseikan mentioned earlier this month that Yuriki would join Ozumo in Aki. He also commented that Yuriki's sumo is strong, but is slightly lacking in power
  11. A TV show pitted Takatoriki against 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna Yamashita Shosuke (山下 昇介), which Takatoriki was able to win pretty comfortably. And so, they decided to see how he would fare against some top middle schoolers, one from each grade (1-3), really liked their choices btw. First up, we have 1-time Wanpaku Yokozuna, 2-time Primary School Yokozuna and multiple Hakuho Cup winner Uchida Kyota (内田 京汰). Though a bit shy, Uchida is a very skilled rikishi (having also learnt Judo), and has a very good strategical mind. However, his one weakness is that Uchida lacks raw power (he almost never wins by oshidashi). Let's see if Takatoriki can take advantage of that. And next, we have Primary School Yokozuna and Hakuho Cup winner Kawazoe Fuma (川副 楓馬), who is as good academically as he is sporting-wise (4th in his whole year group). Kawazoe has incredible power as well as superb fighting spirit, and thinks quickly during bouts. Can Takatoriki find a way to beat him? Finally, we have Middle School quarter-finalist Nobehara Toma (延原 闘真), who doesn't like studying, but is an all-round rikishi.
  12. 第28回全国都道府県中学生相撲選手権大会 This second biggest sumo tournament at Middle School level took place today at the Kokugikan Stadium, and features 3 categories - Lightweight, Open Weight and Team competition. Open Weight Competition Winner - Mukainakano Shingo (向中野 真豪, Tottori) Runner-Up - Yamamoto Takeru (山本 剛瑠, Mie) Semi-Finals - Kume Kiyoshi (粂 貞, Yamagata) Semi-Finals - Ito Yasuki (伊藤 寧, Chiba) Quarter-Finals - Ezure Haruki (江連 春樹, Ibaraki) Quarter-Finals - Nobehara Toma (延原 闘真, Osaka) Quarter-Finals - Ochiai Tetsuya (落合 哲也, Tottori) Quarter-Finals - Takei Sakutaro (武井 朔太郎, Shizuoka) Lightweight Competition Winner - Kawakami Ryusho (川上 竜昌, Kumamoto) Runner-Up - Mizunuma Waku (水沼 湧, Ehime) Semi-Finals - Yamashita Tatsuma (山下 立真, Ishikawa) Semi-Finals - Inoue Goshi (井ノ上 豪志, Wakayama) Quarter-Finals - Banba Yuta (番場 裕太, Kanagawa) Quarter-Finals - Soma Ryosuke (相馬 良亮, Aomori) Quarter-Finals - Kato Masaki (加藤 真基, Tokyo) Quarter-Finals - Matsunaga Hayato (松永 颯斗, Gifu) Team Competition Winner - Team Kumamoto Runner-Up - Team Ishikawa Semi-Finals - Team Tochigi Semi-Finals - Team Tottori Quarter-Finals - Team Tokyo Quarter-Finals - Team Kochi Quarter-Finals - Team Miyagi Quarter-Finals - Team Kagawa Comments It just so happens that 7 of the top 8 in the open weight competition are familiar names from their Wanpaku days, the only one who isn''t is the big and powerful Mukainakano Shingo (向中野 真豪), and he went on to win the whole thing. However, that is not to say that he isn't a big name from his primary school days, as Mukainakano is actually a 2-time Primary School Yokozuna, he's just never appeared at the Wanpaku Tournament. The same is true for his then Ise (Mie) compatriot Kakuda Toraki (角田 虎紀), who is also a Primary School Yokozuna. Apparently, this is because their club chose not to enter the Wanpaku qualifiers in Mie for various reasons. As such, Mukainakano winning the tournament is no surprise at all, as he was one of the favourites today. What was surprising though, is the fact that he's now representing Tottori instead of Mie, which suggests that he's moved there to receive a better education / sumo education, as Tottori is home to one of the best high schools for sumo in the country - Tottori Johoku High School, where the newly-crowned High School Yokozuna is from. A lot of the contestants today have moved to a different prefecture since primary school, including the still 1st years Narita Rikido and Sosorufu, yes, THE Narita Rikido and THE Sosorufu. Speaking of, Narita Rikido looked very impressive today, including winning a belt battle against 3rd year Yoshioka Yudai, which is no mean feat. He's now at a higher level compared to his long time rival Uchida Kyota, so expect to see Narita become Middle School Yokozuna in 2 years' time. The person who stopped Narita today was runner-up Yamamoto Takeru, who also beat Narita in their team match, though Mie went on to lose 2-1 to Tottori. Yamamoto has had some very impressive wins today, including against the much bigger Ito Yasuki in the semi-final. The only non-3rd year in the top 8 is 2nd year Ochiai Tetsuya, who is one of my favourite rikishi from his year group. He's kinda similar to Kodama Hayato in the sense that he's got good power and skills, along with a rikishi's body. The difference is, Ochiai is always there or thereabouts but not quite. In the lightweight competition, Kawakami Ryusho showed great skills today to win the yusho. It says a lot that Team Kumamoto put him in the last position on the team, which he repaid by winning some very important bouts for the team today. It was nice to see Aomori's Soma Ryusuke and Gifu's Matsunaga Hayato getting some more spotlight again, as they are part of the reason why their year group is my favourite one. To see Soma's strength, please take a look at 47:12 in this video, and for Matsunaga's skill, 23:55 in this video. Team Kumamoto finally broke their curse of being perpetual runners-up earlier this year in the 7th Hakuho Cup, and they have now gone on to win this tournament as well. I was puzzled as to how on earth Udo Junior Sumo Club, with their team of all-stars failed to win the National Club Championships back in 2013. Now I know. Honda Gotaro nearly always bottles his potential when it really matters, while Hanaoka Masaki, despite being a 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna, is VERY inconsistent, as he has shown today. Though luckily for them, every time Hanaoka failed to win their opening bout, the very powerful Kawazoe Fuma (former Primary School Yokozuna and still in his 2nd year) and today's lightweight champion Kawakami Ryusho were always able to come up with the goods to win the match 2-1. This was also the case in the final. On paper though, Team Tottori were probably the favourite for today, as their team was made up of Mukainakano Shingo, Narita Rikido and Ochiai Tetsuya. They had strong showings all the way through the tournament, but in the semi-final against Team Ishikawa, the 2-year age gap was a bit too much for 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna and last year's Primary School Yokozuna Narita Rikido; while Ochiai Tetsuya, despite being on the front foot in the deciding bout, fell victim to an utchari. Hence the comment "there or thereabouts but not quite". I was supporting Team Tokyo today, which was led by Tachikawa Renseikan's Gohara Takatoshi, who is a college senpai to Yoshikaze. The team, which was made up of Tachikawa Renseikan's Ichikawa Taiyo (市川 太陽), Komatsuryu Dojo's Yanagisawa Tsubasa (柳澤 翼) and Mitaka Sumo Club's Hanafusa Kai (花房 海). They did very well to reach the quarter-finals, and 2nd year Hanafusa won his fair share of deciding bouts along the way. One of the highlights from today was a group of kids from Komatsuryu Dojo, who were sitting together near one of the entrances, shouting TSU-BA-SA, TO-CHI-GI (Kitano Soma) and YU-U-DAI (Yoshioka Yudai) etc. at the top of their voices whenever a club-mate was involved in a bout. They'll probably be shouting SA-KA-I this time next year Edit: Many oyakatas and rikishis were there in the Kokugikan, presumably to scout out potential new recruits, including Sadogatake-oyakata (former Kotonowaka) and Naruto-oyakata (former Kotooshu)
  13. The 62nd Friendly Examination Sumo Tournament took place today inside the Kokugikan Stadium, which is the tournament featured in Japanology's episode on sumo. This is an annual tournament for sumo clubs around Kanto (and also as far as Nagano and Shizuoka), features both junior and senior (adult) divisions, and is officiated by Oyakatas and rikishis. Wanpaku finalist Aino Shogo (相野 祥吾) won the Grade 6 competition, while Komatsuryu A took home the team title. However, the thing I wanted to mention in detail is the Grade 4 competition, hence this topic (which may be the start of a new series). I've watched 14 Wanpaku Tournaments over the years, and out of the thousands of competitors who have graced the Kokugikan dohyo for this tournament, perhaps the one I like above all others is Mitaka Sumo Club's Kodama Hayato (児玉 颯飛), this year's Wanpaku Yokozuna for Grade 4. He has a very good body for a sumo wrestler, has incredible strength for his age and the skills to match, and above all, has an extraordinary will to win. I've seen many kids cry after losing their bouts (they're knockout tournaments at this level, so there are no second chances), but to shed tears after WINNING a tournament? Only one. If I were to rank Wanpaku competitors in terms of heart, Kodama Hayato would be #1 on the list. His accomplishments so far are simply amazing: Grade 2 - Qualified for the finals of the 28th National Primary School Championships, in the Grade 4 or lower category Grade 2 - A key member of Mitaka Sumo Club's team that finished runner-up in the 12th National Club Championships (the other one being Hanafusa Kai) Grade 2 - Won the 6th Hakuho Cup Grade 2 - Won the 9th National Chinju-no-mori Kids Sumo Tournament Grade 3 - Qualified for the finals of the 29th National Primary School Championships, in the Grade 4 or lower category Grade 3 - Won the 7th Hakuho Cup Grade 4 - Won the 33rd Wanpaku National Championships Grade 4 - Won the 62nd Friendly Examination Sumo Tournament It would seem that with his superior strength and considering how he powered his way to 2 consecutive Hakuho Cups and the Wanpaku title, that Kodama Hayato would currently be unbeatable in his year group right? Not quite. As fate would have it, there is one person in his year group whom Kodama Hayato nearly always has a tough time against. Enter Komatsuryu Dojo's Mashiko Takuya (益子 拓也). Mashiko Takuya is bigger than Kodama Hayato, and is arguably the stronger of the two, though not as skilled nor quite so determined. A meeting between the two is effectively the final, and they have faced each other many times already: Grade 2 - 6th Hakuho Cup Kodama Hayato vs Mashiko Takuya Grade 3 - 61st Friendly Examination Sumo Tournament Kodama Hayato vs Mashiko Takuya Grade 3 - 7th Hakuho Cup Kodama Hayato vs Mashiko Takuya Grade 4 - Wanpaku Tokyo Qualifiers Kodama Hayato vs Mashiko Takuya Grade 4 - Primary School Championships Tokyo Qualifiers Kodama Hayato vs Mashiko Takuya Grade 4 - 62nd Friendly Examination Sumo Tournament Kodama Hayato vs Mashiko Takuya As you can see, Kodama Hayato has not always had things go his way. Even in today's bout, when Kodama Hayato was able to get a morozashi grip, he had to work almightily hard to get the win, and was even on the verge of losing to Mashiko Takuya's kimedashi during the process. Furthermore, both of them just happen to be from Tokyo. With Wanpaku's Tokyo qualifiers rewarding the 3 best district teams and only then the best placed individual, this means that only one of the two can qualify for the Wanpaku National Championships at a time, as neither Team Inagi (Kodama Hayato) nor Team Setagaya (Mashiko Takuya) are strong enough to get them to the finals. This year, it was Kodama Hayato; next year, who knows? (Hayato's younger brother Sosuke won't be able to help, as he is 3 years younger) As size becomes less and less of a factor as they grow up, their rivalry is likely to become more and more one-sided in the future. But for the moment at least, it's fascinating to see them face each other time and time again, as you never quite know who's going to win. Kuwabara-Hon'inbo once remarked that "Go is a two-player game". So is sumo.
  14. Yokozuna grandsons

    Surprised to hear that about Naya Konosuke, he seemed to have a good body for sumo when he reached the Wanpaku final in Grade 4. Guess things went off track for a while since then?
  15. Spoke with Sasaki Chikara's dad today, who revealed that Chikara is currently a member of his high school's sumo club, and will be going on to college. As for joining Ozumo? That's no longer going to happen. (However, someone else from Tachikawa Renseikan is planning to turn pro this coming basho)