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Everything posted by mikawa

  1. Champions of Japan Location - Kashiwa Central Sports Center Sumo Ground (柏市中央体育館), Kashiwa, Chiba Keiko - Saturdays (9:30am - 1pm), Sundays (9:30am - 1pm) Situated at the side of the Furusato Bridge (ふるさと大橋) in Kashiwa City, the relatively young Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club (柏相撲少年団) was founded in 1989, right at the start of the Heisei era, and are now one of the biggest clubs in the country. By winning the 14th National Club Championships last month, they are now officially the best sumo club in Japan. Like some of the other clubs that have been featured so far, Kashiwa have their own blog, Yoshida-ya. However, Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club actually go further than that, as they also have their own Twitter account, as well as their own Facebook page. Their coach, Nagai Akiyoshi (永井 明慶), also teaches sumo at Nippon Sport Science University Kashiwa High School, which is Byambasuren and Okutomi Yuka's sumo club. Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club host two annual competitions for clubs from around the Kanto region - the Junior Sumo Kashiwa Tournament and the Kashiwa Sumo Exchange Tournament, the latter of which also acts as a joint keiko session for the clubs involved. A TV program called "Kashiwa Research Center" dedicated an episode to the rikishis at Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club, and here's a video of the episode: Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club have sent quite a few members onto Ozumo, including Masunoyama, the first wrestler in the Heisei era to become a sekitori; and the recently joined Tebakari Toshiki, who won the Middle School Student Championships 3 years ago. Let's take a look at some of their biggest names in recent years. Tebakari Toshiki (手計 富士紀) Winner of the 25th National Middle School Student Championships back in 2014, and a Wanpaku semi-finalist, Toshiki and his younger brother Taiki are both big names in amateur sumo. Though Taiki is very skilful, Toshiki is the better of the two as he also has the build for sumo. Kamei Hayato (亀井 颯人) Primary School Yokozuna in 2014, Hayato, despite his size, is actually a very strong rikishi, and should never be underestimated in a bout. He's like Satoyama Yuki from the Future Monsters series, but better. Sakamoto Hirokazu (坂本 博一, back row right in photo) Eldest son of Tokitsukaze-oyakata, Hirokazu is a former Wanpaku finalist and Hakuho Cup winner, and a quarter-finalist at this year's National Middle School Championships. He helped Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club to win this year's National Club Championships by getting a more than crucial win over Mitaka Sumo Club's Hanafusa Kai in their semi-final match; and helped Kashiwadaini Junior High School win the team competition at this year's Middle School Championships. Ito Yasuki (伊藤 寧, right in photo) Yasuki is a semi-finalist at this year's National Middle School Student Championships, and seems to be getting better with age. and a Kanazawa Sorato (金澤 空大, back row middle in photo) Yes, THAT Sorato. A 5-time national champion in wrestling, he got into sumo courtesy of Kinboshi Sumo Club, though his family soon had to move down to Chiba. However, this actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the Kanazawa family settled down in Kashiwa of all places. That was one and a half years ago, and Sorato is now a 2-time Wanpaku participant, and with his club, a national champion in sumo. Nishijima Yura (西島 悠来, left in photo) Yura is a 4-time Hakuho Cup champion, and a Wanpaku semi-finalist. With his help, Sorato is able to safely qualify for the Wanpaku National Championships twice in a row. It is also because of him that Wakayama's Nakanishi Kaishin has not yet been able to win the Hakuho Cup, despite reaching 4 finals in a row. Kanazawa Towa (金澤 永和) Formerly Kinboshi Sumo Club's mascot, Towa has already won the Wanpaku city qualifiers in Kashiwa, and will be looking to compete at the Kokugikan Stadium again in a couple of years' time.
  2. Chris Gould visited Kashiwa recently and made this quality documentary about the club. The man definitely has a way with words, be it English or Japanese:
  3. mikawa

    12th Hakuho Cup (2022)

    No many surprises this year to be honest, especially with prefectures like Kumamoto who didn't seem to have come to Tokyo. Grade 4 - The huge Yuya Okayama (this guy) continued on from his Primary School Championships success last year by winning the Hakuho Cup. He was the hot favourite coming into this event. What was a surprise however was Raizo "Asashoryu Impersonator" Taniyama coming in second. Raizo won the hitori-zumo (one-person sumo) competition (this video) back in 2020 when all tournaments were suspended. Grade 5 - Won by last year's Primary School Yokozuna, Komatsuryu Dojo's Kyuta Kumagai. You might remember him from when Reuters and other news agencies did a feature on him (like this one). Without Kumamoto, and hence Kyuta's biggest rival Sera Ote, there was only ever going to be one person who could have challenged him today, and that was last year's Primary School Yokozuna Hisatsugu Sasaki. Hisatsugu lost before he got to face Kyuta. Grade 6 - Kyosei Katagiri completes the triple crown of primary school sumo as he adds the Hakuho Cup to the Wanpaku Championships and Primary School Championships that he won last year. With the huge support and training he got from his new step-dad, he was just unbeatable for the past year. Middle School - Middle School Yokozuna Daiki Nishide beats former Wanpaku Yokozuna Hayato Kodama (a year lower) to win the Hakuho Cup. Not too many surprises there. Team - Won by the defending national club champions Komatsuryu Dojo (John Gunning's club), who beat Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club (Kotonowaka and Kotoshoho's club) in an exciting 3-2 match in the final. With the match at 2-2, Shurato Hirano of all people (his parents are friends of mine) stepped up and pushed his opponent out for the team victory. From couldn't find a single win at the Wanpaku to now being his team's ace and producing when it matters the most, Shurato has certainly come a long way.
  4. mikawa

    Happy 60th Birthday, Akinomaki!

    Happy birthday Akinomaki! You're the one where we get our daily dose of sumo from
  5. mikawa

    Mitakeumi Ozeki Promotion

    Congrats to Mitakeumi, and a good thing too, or else we might not have an Ozeki in May :)
  6. mikawa

    New recruits Hatsu 2022

    Hanafusa eh? That's someone to keep an eye on, Araiso has recruited a nice deshi there.
  7. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    Many thanks for the correction, it's pretty interesting to see a professional rugby player's son doing sumo. Looking into this, it seems that his full name is Muti Zidane Palu, Zidane just happens to be my favourite footballer of all time
  8. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    Quick Comments Grade 4 - One of the prefectures that didn't send a team to this year's Wanpaku Tournament was Aomori Prefecture, which meant that one of the best rikishi in this year group didn't get to compete there. However, the huge former Hakuho Cup winner Okamoto Yuya did get a chance to take part last weekend and he duly came away with the Primary School Yokozuna title. He has thus far not shown much in terms of technique, but at this stage his massive stature does the job for him. The Enho-like Hirano Juito made it to the quarter-finals, where he put up a mighty effort, only to just fall short at the edge of the ring. Grade 5 - The result of this year group left me feeling really disappointed. The top two rikishi of this year group are most definitely the Wanpaku Yokozuna Kumagai Kyuta and the Hakuho Cup winner Ote Sera, but neither of them could prevent the larger Sasaki Hisatsugu from winning the whole thing. And it's not like Hisatsugu is stronger than them or anything (he's not), but Kyuta seemed to lose steam towards the end of his bout and the age-old "slippiotoshi" (credits to Moti) proved to be Sera's downfall. Both of them are stronger and more skilled than the eventual winner, but Hisatsugu is just, heavier. I wouldn't even have mind half as much if he had the kind of power that the likes of Toma Tsuguto and Yamamoto Masakatsu had back in the day. At least Paru Muti once again delivered a miraculous performance to reach the semi-finals. His sumo is still fairly unpolished (he's only been learning sumo for about a year or two), but somehow he finds ways to win bouts. I have no idea how he does it, but I'm not complaining. Grade 6 - Defending Wanpaku Yokozuna Katagiri Kyosei proved to be too strong for everyone as he wins the second major tournament this year. Another performance like this in next year's Hakuho Cup (if it happens) and he'll have the "grand slam" in the bag. My club kohai Ozawa Kaito was excruciatingly close to making it to the semi-finals, but a last-gasp utchari proved to be his undoing.
  9. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    Results of the 34th National Primary School Championships: Grade 4 Winner - Okayama Yuya (岡山 祐弥), Aomori Runner-Up - Sasaki Haruki (佐々木 陽希), Akita Semi-Finals - Nyamuchiru Tobushinborudo (ニャムオチル トゥブシンボルド), Niigata Semi-Finals - Takemoto Toki (竹本 都輝), Kumamoto Grade 5 Winner - Sasaki Hisatsugu (佐々木 久継), Shizuoka Runner-Up - Ote Sera (大手 星来), Kumamoto Semi-Finals - Paru Muti (パル ムティ), Tokyo Semi-Finals - ??? (??? ???), Kyoto Grade 6 Winner - Katagiri Kyosei (片桐 恭晟), Ishikawa Runner-Up - Odaira Maki (大平 真輝), Niigata Semi-Finals - Kai Yota (甲斐 陽太), Miyazaki Semi-Finals - Morimoto Kotaro (森本 琥太郎), Akita
  10. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    The 34th National Primary School Championships also took place last Sunday, and also inside the Kokugikan. Here's a video of the entire tournament:
  11. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    Video of the knock-out rounds, from the top 16 all the way to the final:
  12. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    Kawazoe Keita gets mentioned here in the forum, and he wins the National Student Championships. Kanzaki Taiga gets mentioned here in the forum, and he gets to the final of the National Amateur Championships. The forum buff is real guys.
  13. mikawa

    70th All Japan sumo championships

    What are the chances of an Ochiai Tetsuya Yusho? (lol) Imagine a high schooler winning it tomorrow......
  14. Following last year's cancellation due to Covid, the Wanpaku National Tournament is back this coming Sunday, to be held at the Kokugikan Stadium in Tokyo. The entire event should be live-streamed on the following YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/わんぱく相撲全国大会/featured As a result of the pandemic, only 29 of the 47 prefectures in Japan will be sending teams to the tournament, resulting in only 69 competitors in each division (Grades 4 to 6) instead of the usual 110, and naturally, there won't be a Team Mongolia this year. As usual, the various Ozumo heya around Ryogoku will be inviting teams to stay with them for the night before the event, and there will be oyakata and rikishi at the tournament to scout for future talents. I will be highlighting some participants to watch out for in each year group over the next three posts. This year's tournament slogan is "Courage, Courtesy and Gratitude".
  15. mikawa

    2021 All Japan College Championships

    I was thinking the same thing lol Keita has now leapfrogged Fuma as the most successful sumo wrestler in the family.
  16. mikawa

    Banzuke for Kyushu 2021

    Hakuho no longer being on the banzuke is going to take some getting used to, wonder how quickly Hokuseiho can get to Makuuchi?
  17. Full Results Grade 4 Winner - Hayashi Yushin (林 優芯), Kumamoto Runner-Up - Yamashiro Mahiro (山城 真優), Okinawa Semi-Finals - Nyamuchiru Tobushinborudo (ニャムオチル トゥブシンボルド), Niigata Semi-Finals - Hamada Akira (浜田 晃), Ishikawa Quarter-Finals - Nakamura Genki (中村 舷喜), Ishikawa Quarter-Finals - Kato Rinta (加藤 倫太), Ishikawa Quarter-Finals - Takeshima Shotaro (竹嶋 章太朗), Osaka Quarter-Finals - Maeda Ryuto (前田 琉翔), Kagoshima Grade 5 Winner - Kumagai Kyuta (熊谷 毬太), Tokyo Runner-Up - Ote Sera (大手 星来), Kumamoto Semi-Finals - Kawarai Hayate (河原井 颯), Ibaraki Semi-Finals - Sugama Soshin (菅間 奏心), Kagoshima Quarter-Finals - Wakatani Natsuki (若谷 夏樹), Ehime Quarter-Finals - Takahara Yuri (高原 悠凜), Hiroshima Quarter-Finals - Paru Muti (パル ムティ), Tokyo Quarter-Finals - Saito Koki (斎藤 煌生), Iwate Grade 6 Winner - Katagiri Kyosei (片桐 恭晟), Ishikawa Runner-Up - Kanazawa Towa (金澤 永和), Chiba Semi-Finals - Sato Iroha (佐藤 珀呂汎), Kumamoto Semi-Finals - Tsubaki Rui (椿 留一), Niigata Quarter-Finals - Kinoshita Shun (木ノ下 瞬), Tokyo Quarter-Finals - Kawamoto Masaya (河本 優也), Tottori Quarter-Finals - Odaira Maki (大平 真輝), Niigata Quarter-Finals - Yukawa Akiya (湯川 晄也), Osaka
  18. Quick Comments Grade 4 - I really wanted to see Taniyama Raizo and Hirano Juito face each other in the quarter-finals. As it turns out, they were both one bout away from making that happen. Raizo lost to a fantastic leg trip, while Enho Juito was ousted by the eventual winner, Kumamoto's Hayashi Yushin. Okinawa's Yamashiro Mahiro was the runner-up, bettering his older brother's results from previous years. Grade 5 - It's funny that I said that Kumagai Kyuta was not unbeatable in the tournament preview, because today, he certainly was. A strong performance from start to finish means that he is now Wanpaku Yokozuna. Kumamoto's Ote Sera came second, beating his older brother's best score at this tournament. Grade 6 - It was almost the perfect ending to the Kinboshi Sumo Club story, as Kanazawa Towa was just one win away from delivering what the club was aiming for all those years ago - Wanpaku Yokozuna. In the final, he just couldn't find a way to overcome Ishikawa's Katagiri Kyosei. Defending champion Tsubaki Rui and Kumamoto's Sato Iroha were the semi-finalists. P.S. - It was amazing to see Tachikawa Renseikan do so well at this tournament. Both Paru Muti and Kinoshita Shun got as far as the quarter-finals, which were fantastic achievements. Another P.S. - Interesting to see that due to Covid precautions, they decided to completely separate all three year groups. Normally the three year groups would be together from the quarter-final onwards, but this time around they completed all of one year group's bouts before starting another's. Yet Another P.S. - It was also great to see them bringing back Toyoda "future monster" Rinnosuke to perform the Yokozuna dohyo-iri, the first time ever that this was done by a middle-schooler. After all, he did win this tournament when it was last held two years ago.
  19. mikawa

    Pokemon collabs with Sumo

    I think Gigantamax Pikachu looks more like a sumo wrestler than regular Pikachu (speaking as a long time fan of Pokémon)
  20. Notable Rikishi - Grade 6 #6 - Kinoshita Shun (木ノ下 瞬) When given the choice, I would rather face a heavier opponent than a lighter opponent, because lighter opponents are usually much more tricky to deal with. This is especially so when that lighter opponent has years of experience in sumo, and is stronger than they look. That's the kind of rikishi Kinoshita Shun, older brother of Kinoshita Ren, is, and having done pushing practise with him two years ago, he's certainly not one to be underestimated. #12 - Kanazawa Towa (金澤 永和) Six years ago, a TV program called Guru Nai started up a sumo club called Kinboshi Sumo Club, bringing together kids from other sports in Aomori Prefecture to see how far they can go in sumo. Their youngest club member (and also the mascot) was Kanazawa Towa, who will be making his final appearance at the Wanpaku Tournament this weekend. It's like the final chapter in Kinboshi Sumo Club's story. #24 - Nakamura Hayato (中村 颯斗) Another rikishi whom news agencies have their eyes on (see @Akinomaki's post above), Nakamura Hayato is not just a contender for the championship, I'd say he's a strong favourite for the championship. Hayato has virtually no weaknesses. He's strong at pushing sumo, he's very good at timing pulls, he's got tons of techniques to choose from, and he's very good at countering his opponent's moves. And on top of all that, he studies videos (link to video) of middle school sumo, high school sumo, college sumo and Ozumo to learn from older wrestlers and try and incorporate their moves into his own arsenal. Two years ago, Hayato was the Primary School Yokozuna and came second at the Wanpaku Tournament. This year, he's aiming for both titles. #34 - Sato Iroha (佐藤 珀呂汎) One of Hayato's main rivals is Sato Iroha from Kumamoto, the boy with the strange name (all three kanji in his first name are uncommon in names). Another member of the dominant Uto Junior Sumo Club, Iroha has reached the quarter-finals or better in every major tournament since Grade 4, but has, as yet, not been able to win one. He'll be hoping to put that right on Sunday.  #50 - Odaira Maki (大平 真輝) Size isn't everything, but in sumo, size certainly does help, and especially at this level. Odaira Maki is certainly large, and strong, and is the defending Hakuho Cup champion in this year group. He'll be a tough opponent for anyone, even the likes of Hayato and Iroha. #58 - Tsubaki Rui (椿 留一) From the defending Hakuho Cup champion, we now have the defending Wanpaku Yokozuna. Two years ago, Tsubaki Rui and Nakamura Hayato contested two of the three national finals, with one win apiece. They could face each other in the final again on Sunday, which would be a great match to watch.  #59 - Suekawa Atsuki (末川 敦喜) A former member of Komatsuryu Dojo (John Gunning's club), Suekawa Atsuki was an important member of their team when Komatsuryu won the National Club Championships two years ago. Atsuki did reach the Wanpaku semi-finals in 2019, but this year, he's scheduled to face Tsubaki Rui, the defending champion, in his second bout. A tough challenge for sure, but one that I'm sure he'll face head-on.
  21. Notable Rikishi - Grade 5 #10 - Taira Ikko (平 一恋) Sharing the same surname as the Taira Clan from the Genpei Wars, Ikko is the first second-generation rikishi we will be introducting in this year's tournament. His father is none other than Coach Taira of Komatsuryu Dojo (former Dewataira), whom John Gunning is probably good friends with. The first time I saw him was when he trained with current Juryo rikishi Oho (Taiho's grandson) at Saitama Sakae High School. Two and a half years later, Ikko showed everyone what he was capable of when he made a run to the Hakuho Cup final (link to video) in February 2020. Like father, like son. #31 - Kumagai Kyuta (熊谷 毬太 ) Meet "Japan's 10-year-old sumo champion" (link to video), whose story made the headlines on a lot of media platforms earlier this year. In fact, based on the video that @Gaijingai shared on Tuesday this week, organisations such are Reuters are still keeping an eye on this kid. Is he a very good sumo wrestler for his age? Absolutely, otherwise he wouldn't have won the Hakuho Cup. Is he as unbeatable as the news reports made him out to be? Not really, I mean he lost to Hirano Juito in a regional tournament a while back, an opponent who's one year younger and easily less than half his size. #41 - Ote Sera (大手 星来) From sons of notable sumo wrestlers, we now have younger brothers of notable sumo wrestlers. Ote Sera is the younger brother of Ote Kira, former Wanpaku quarter-finalist and Hakuho Cup runner-up. Despite being six years younger, Sera is already looking like a brighter prospect than his big bro, winning the Hakuho Cup (link to video) earlier this year, and pretty convincingly as well. He's the latest sumo talent to hail from Uto Junior Sumo Club in Kumamoto, a long line of strong rikishi that stretches all the way back to current Ozeki Shodai. A little game: do you recognise the boy in the striped shirt in the photo below? #46 - Tamiya Junki (田宮 純喜) When it comes to famous fathers, very few in this tournament can compare to Tamiya Junki, because he just so happens to be the younger son of former Ozeki Kotomitsuki. His big brother Tamiya Aiki has already made a name for himself in amateur sumo, and now it's Junki's turn to show everyone what he's capable of. Sorry for the awkward cut-off in the photo, it's the only one I can find of him. #46 - Paru Muti (パル ムティ) There are as many as five rikishi in this tournament whose names contain katakana, that's more than any previous Wanpaku Tournament. One of them is Paru Muti from Tachikawa Renseikan, pictured here with his father. Maybe sumo has now become more popular with different communities in Japan? I mean nearby Mitaka Sumo Club has in recent years recruited the half-British kid Maro Kosho, and last year welcomed an American-like kid called Finn Aiban to their club. #66 - Kodama Sosuke (児玉 想介) Another person I've talked a lot about in this forum is multiple time national champion Kodama Hayato. His younger brother Kodama Sosuke will be making his Wanpaku debut on Sunday. Sosuke is a talented rikishi in his own right, having previously reached the final of the Hakuho Cup. However, there seems to be a trend for younger brothers to be smaller in stature compared to their older siblings (take Sosuke and Junki for example). Is this usually the case or is the sample size too small to come to any conclusions?
  22. Notable Rikishi - Grade 4 #6 - Taniyama Raizo (谷山 雷蔵) Due to the pandemic and the cancellation of most national sumo tournaments last year, the Nihon Sumo Renmei (who are in charge of amateur sumo events) decided to have a first ever "Kata" event (link to video) instead. Participants would send videos of themselves doing either shiko or one-person sumo to the tournament organisers, who judge their videos and decide on the top 3 in each category in each year group. Osaka's Taniyama Raizo ended up winning in the Grade 3 and under category with his well choreographed one-person sumo routine. The hyper competitive Raizo was almost in tears when his name wasn't read out for the announcements for third and second place, and when he found out that he had actually won, Raizo couldn't contain his excitement and yelled out loud. His actual sumo is also solid, though nerves are a huge problem (I can relate), so much so that he is taking medication to try and stay calmer before his bouts. Raizo is currently the second best rikishi in the Kansai region in his year group, with #24 Kishida Konosuke (岸田 幸之輔) the only person in the area who can beat him. #10 - Hirano Juito (平野 純勇斗) I've written a fair bit about Hirano Shurato here in the forum, whom I have faced during training and with whose family I still maintain correspondence. This weekend marks the Wanpaku debut for Hirano Juito, their third son of five (yes, you read that right), and easily the most talented rikishi in the family. Despite his lack of size and thin stature, Juito has won multiple Friendly Examination Tournaments, which basically makes him the best in his year group in the Kanto region. He has a plethora of skills and strategies which he has used to beat one bigger opponent after another. Here's Juito during the Kanagawa Prefecture qualifiers (link to video), where he qualified for the national tournament as the winner in his division. Basically what I'm saying is that he is the Enho of this tournament, and definitely a rikishi to look forward to. He is scheduled to possibly face Taniyama Raizo in the quarter-finals. #64 - Kinoshita Ren (木ノ下 連) Although not really a contender this weekend, I are mentioning Kinoshita Ren because he's a member of my dojo, Tachikawa Renseikan. He's even smaller than Juito and less talented at sumo, but that didn't stop him from coming through the always tough Tokyo qualifiers. Ren was full of confidence as he proclaimed in yesterday's training session that he will win ten bouts on Sunday, even though as Coach Sagawa pointed out, it only takes six wins to win the whole thing. He's certainly capable of upsetting some larger opponents.
  23. mikawa

    105th High school Kanazawa tournament

    Ochiai lost in the individual quarter-finals, no idea to who though.
  24. mikawa

    East Japan Weight Class Championship

    Pretty much describes his entire sumo life
  25. mikawa

    Hattorizakura (Shounanzakura)-intai

    Because of his record, Hattorizakura / Shonanzakura is probably the rikishi who asserts the most pressure on their opponents in all of Ozumo. I say this in the sense that against the likes of Hakuho and Terunofuji, you definitely try your best to win but a loss is not all that bad, but against Hattorizakura? It's a bout that you cannot afford to lose, since if you do......