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Posts posted by mikawa

  1. A new sumo restaurant called "Ochiizumi Beya" opened earlier this month in Izumisano City, south of Osaka. Ex-Kumago (used to be Asashoryu's tsukibito) and ex-Joyuriki are among former wrestlers who perform keiko for diners here. Entrance fee is 8,000 Yen. Sumo experience fee is 3,500 Yen for adults and 500 Yen for children under 12 (reservation needed). The Takasago-beya style Chanko-nabe is 4,000 Yen (or 8,000 Yen for the high grade version). The Yokozuna jug beer is 2,000 Yen (equivalent to about 10 cups).


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  2. Tournament Report

    The Kokugikan was packed with people today, with over 1100 representatives from 161 teams (13 from overseas). Add to that the presence of many Ozumo rikishi and multiple camera crews, and the result was that you needed Nick Chubb levels of dodging to weave your way around the arena. One thing that surprised me was that everyone had cardboards for rikishi's autographs.

    4th Grade - This year group has developed into a straight shootout between Gifu's Shoi Oshima and Shizuoka's Hyuga Iwakami. Whoever wins their matchup goes on to win the whole thing, and this time, it was Hyuga who came out on top with a nice throw. The two of them may be fierce rivals on the dohyo, they are actually good friends off it. Shoi actually likes Hyuga's chomage hairstyle so much that he got one for himself as well.

    5th Grade - No one can stop Komatsuryu Dojo's Ryuga Umematsu. End of story. And speaking of grand slams in sumo, that's his own grand slam completed for this school year, having won the wanpaku, elementary school championships, and now the Hakuho Cup. He also won both of the club tournaments with his dojo.

    6th Grade - Aomori's Yuya Okayama and Akita's Haruki Sasaki came into this tournament having faced each other four times in national finals: last year's Hakuho Cup and all three elementary school championships. Yuya won all four times. Naturally, they faced each other again in the final today, and both of them threw each other to the ground. The gyoji pointed in Haruki's direction. He has finally beaten his rival at the fifth time of asking. Pure joy, pure elation. But wait! A shimpan raised his hand. We have a mono-ii folks! After a long discussion, the gyoji's decision was........................ affirmed, and with that, Yuya loses in a national final for only the second time ever (the other time as five years ago, in 1st Grade). Honestly, this story sounds remarkably similar to the rivalry between Masakatsu Yamamoto (Kiyonoumi) and Fumiya Utetsu (Onosho).

    Middle School - Speaking of rivalries, the crowd today clearly wanted Rinnosuke Toyoda and Konosuke Shigemura to resume their rivalry on the national stage, but Rinnosuke was defeated in the Round of 16, and Konosuke in the quarter-finals. Once that happened, it was looking like middle school yokozuna Aiki Tamiya (Kotomitsuki junior)  would take it, but he too couldn't go all the way, losing to Yuki Ibata in the final.

    Team Competition - This event at the Hakuho Cup is turning into a real rivalry between Tokyo's Komatsuryu Dojo and Chiba's Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club. Two years ago, Shurato Hirano captained Komatsuryu to a 3-2 win in the final against Kashiwa, winning the decisive fifth bout. Last year, Kashiwa got their own back by beating Komatsuryu in the semi-finals, and going on to win the final as well. Today, lo and behold, these two teams once again faced off in the Hakuho Cup final. Komatsuryu raced into a 2-0 leading (including a fusensho), but up next for Kashiwa was once national finalist and thrice national semi-finalist Natsuhi Onuki. His opponent? Shurato's younger brother, the young Enho, Juito Hirano. Sure, Juito was no slouch, he's twice reached a national quarter-final, but almost everyone expected the much bigger Natsuhi to be too much for him to handle. Juito, however, had other ideas. He produced one of the most beautiful ashitori leg pulls I've ever seen to win it for Komatsuryu. He was also awarded the Gino-sho for his outstanding techniques throughout the day. Please check it out:


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  3. Thought I'd do a medal table for the All Japan winners and their teams. The numbers are how many wins, runner-ups and semi-finals they have (I tried using html codes to make a table, but that didn't work). Incidentally, Shun Ikeda's win this year was the first time ever that a wrestler representing Kanazawa Gakuin University finished in the Top 4.

    Rikishi Medal Table

    1. Seiichi Taira (Hyogo): 4-1-1
    2. Hidetoshi Tanaka (Nichidai -> Tokyo): 3-4-2
    . Norihiro Nomi (Wakayama): 3-3-1
    4. Yutaka Nunome (Tokyo): 3-0-0
    5. Keiji Tamiya / Kotomitsuki (Tottori Johoku -> Nichidai): 2-1-1

    Team Medal Table

    1. Nichidai: 14-12-19
    2. Tokyo: 9-12-22
    . Hyogo: 5-3-8
    4. Nittaidai: 5-2-7
    5. Kindai: 4-2-6

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  4. 3,000 Yen entry fee (3,500 for a reserved seat) plus another 1,000 Yen for the tournament program was definitely well worth it to watch a full day's worth of sumo. Seeing various rikishi and oyakata (including Miyagino and Naruto) around the arena was the icing on the cake.

    Bukhchuluun was very impressive throughout the tournament, and pulled off a great move to beat Kusano in the semis. I honestly thought with that great position he'd got himself into in the final that Bukhchuluun would win it, but Ikeda did really well to turn the position around with a kotenage.

    The star of the entire event has to be 35-year old Yuki Usuki. The Tokyo University of Agriculture veteran rolled back the years to make it to the last 8, only losing to the eventual winner. The cheering was loudest when he won (together with high schooler Nishide).

    Meanwhile, the Primary School Championships went exactly the way you'd expect. Yuya Okayama (Grade 6) and Ryuga Umemats (Grade 5) were totally unstoppable, while Grade 4 was a repeat of the Wanpaku final between Shoi Oshima (whom the announcer kept calling "Shosei") and Hyuga Iwagami. This time it was Hyuga who came out on top. Haruki Sasaki, who had previously lost to Yuya in the Hakuho Cup final this year, still couldn't come up with anything effective. He was crying long after the final was over.

    I asked Mr Sagawa after the tournament about whether there were livestreams of the other high school and college events, and whether there are results from them. He mentioned the Nihon Sumo Renmei homepage and a magazine that you can apply for?

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  5. 2 hours ago, Katooshu said:

    Ikeda had been runner-up at the junior Kokutai, the All Japan student championship, and multiple national tournaments in college. I believe he lost every national final he made in high school and university, so I  am happy to see him win this.

    About time as well lol. His younger brother won a national championship years ago.

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    At this level, body size does tend to play a big part in deciding how bouts go, which is why we had subjects of Ymir titans like Masakatsu Yamamoto (Kiyonoumi) and Tsuguto Toma (Toma) winning this tournament three years in a row. Today however, we had two come along at the same time (Shoi Oshima and Ryuga Uematsu). Whilst Shoi was an unknown package, I had already seen Ryuga during that training session at Komatsuryu Dojo last year, and it seems that he has made huge strides since then (it's Komatsuryu, so that's normal).

    I spent the entire tournament wondering if anyone could match those two. Some nearly did, but ultimately the Three Friends of Winter, well, at least two of them (plum = ume, pine = matsu), were on their side today, so they take home the championship. Looking at their sumo, Taiga Shimizu was the only winner from today whose sumo was balanced enough to make it at junior high school level and above. So like @Katooshu said, not exactly the most inspiring set of winners.

    However, despite that, it was indeed a very fun tournament to watch, the highlight of which has GOT to be the Ukrainians. Whilst Mykola Hladkykh was one and gone, Makar Yupatkin's three wins made him a fan favorite that's for sure. At first everyone was applauding him out of respect, but each time he won a bout, the cheering became louder and louder. By the time he ascended the dohyo for his round of 16 bout, the crowd were roaring him on.

    He wasn't the only rikishi who set the Kokugikan alight today. The way 5th Grader Kaisei Iso somehow managed to keep his defenses up and stay in the match, despite spending such a long time at the edge of the ring, had everyone rupturing into thunderous applause. Another 5th Grader, Asahi Katagiri, had the crowd going wild as though they had drunk a truckload of nama biiru raw beer with his quick moves against a much larger opponent. Oh, and how can we forget about that bout between 4th Graders Hayata Ueda and Aito Komatsu, which required TWO mono-ii discussions and TWO tori-naoshi redos to finally decide a winner.

    I was sitting upstairs for most of today, but went and sat with Team Tachikawa for the latter stages downstairs on the masu seats (I still can't get used to sitting on them). A side-effect of this is that for the first time, I could see myself in the YouTube livestream (quite strange actually). They were cheering (very loudly I might add) not just for other rikishi from Tokyo, but everyone from the Kanto region. Even though some rikishi were from other prefectures like Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba and Ibaraki, they seem to know them already (and quite well) because of the many local tournaments that are held each year.

    All in all, just like the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (shita kara miru ka? yoko kara miru ka?) finally making a return on Saturday evening, it was great to have the Wanpaku Tournament allow spectators into the arena again. Things are back to normal now.

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  7. Full Results

    Grade 4

    Winner Shoi Oshima (大嶋 将生), Gifu

    Runner-Up - Hyuga Iwakami (岩上 毘優雅), Shizuoka

    Semi-Finals - Shuta Obata (小畑 秀太), Kumamoto
    Semi-Finals - Kenshiro Yamada (山田 健志朗), NIigata

    Quarter-Finals - Yushi Masuda (増田 結士), Osaka
    Quarter-Finals Ieru Komatsu (小松 癒), Chiba
    Quarter-Finals Kosuke Yamaji (山路 弘祐), Kanagawa
    Quarter-Finals - Rento Sasahara (笹原 蓮斗), Chiba


    Grade 5

    Winner Ryuga Umematsu (梅松 琉牙), Tokyo

    Runner-Up - Hiroto Yokoe (横江 寛翔), Miyagi

    Semi-Finals - Itsuki Nagata (永田 逸樹), Yamaguchi
    Shimon Shimomura (下村 士門), Aomori

    Quarter-Finals - Yamato Iwamoto (岩本 大和), Hyogo
    Quarter-Finals - Sotaro Abe (阿部 聡太郎), Osaka
    Quarter-Finals Haruma Tarumoto (樽本 遥真), Hiroshima
    Quarter-Finals - Hiroto Inuzuka (犬塚 大翔), Shizuoka


    Grade 6

    Winner Taiga Shimizu (清水 泰我), Ibaraki

    Runner-Up Mahiro Yamashiro (山城 真優), Okinawa

    Semi-Finals Temujin Chirugun (チルグン テムジン), Mongolia
    Semi-Finals Natsuhi Onuki (大貫 夏陽), Chiba

    Quarter-Finals - Daigo Ise (伊勢 大悟), Ehime
    Konosuke Kishida (岸田 幸之輔), Osaka
    Quarter-Finals - Rinta Kato (加藤 倫太), Ishikawa
    Shotaro Takeshima (竹嶋 章太朗), Osaka



    Winner - Team Ibaraki A

    Runner-Up - Team Tokyo Select

    Third - Team Osaka A

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  8. Introducing 5th Grader Haru Yamaguchi, a three-sport phenom. He goes to the sumo club after school for a 2-hour training session, and then immediately goes through the door for badminton training. And on top of all that, he also plays baseball as well!

    How he has the stamina to keep up with all three for the past five years I have no idea, but runner-up at last year's Wanpaku Tournament definitely shows that he has a talent for sumo. Roronoa Zoro would be proud.


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  9. The Hakuho Cup Experience

    In another step towards returning to normality, this year's Hakuho Cup allowed spectators inside the Kokugikan Stadium, where they could view the action from the upper floor (although half of that floor was sealed off). The masu seats on the lower floor were exclusively reserved for participants and their parents and coaches. According to the event pamphlet, 920 wrestlers from 122 teams attended the event.

    With Hakuho being as influential as he is, many oyakatas and ozumo rikishi were also at the tournament, including the likes of Naruto-oyakata and Enho. Ochiai, fresh from his debut and Yusho, was also present.

    I spent the day with the crew from Tachikawa Renseikan Sumo Dojo, soaking in the atmosphere and cheering the club members on. Team Tachikawa reached the quarter-finals, which was a fantastic result, where they proceeded to get dismantled by Team Mongolia (the 4th bout in that match was a truly heroic effort from Keijiro Miyazaki).

    One of the highlights of the day was various conversations with Muti Palu's parents. We talked about a lot of things, including life in Japan, life in Australia, life in sumo, and how sumo is seen and portrayed outside Japan.

    Today was both Keijiro Miyazaki and Ifu Sasaki's final tournaments for Tachikawa Renseikan, so it was great (and sad) meeting the dad of Chikara Sasaki (the "sumo wrestler's son") for one last time. I can now confirm with 100% certainty that Chikara Sasaki's dad is indeed a former Ozumo rikishi, he went by the name of Komachikara. The sumo database shows his full shikona as "Komachikara Shunko", which he confirmed wasn't correct. It should be "Komachikara Harumitsu".

    Tournament Comments

    Grade 4 - This year group was a bit of a free-for-all today, as Team Mongolia's Khash-Erdene Tsolmon faced Komatsuryu Dojo's Ryuga Umematsu in a battle of the heavyweights. The bout itself was very exciting, with Khash-Erdene hanging on for dear life in a belt battle at the edge.


    He somehow managed to survive the onslaught and then somehow pulled off an abisetaoshi (backward force-down) from the edge of the ring.

    Grade 5 - Aomori's very own colossal titan Yuya Okayama came into this tournament as the defending Hakuho Cup champion as well as the current Primary School Yokozuna.


    He showed why he is currently unbeatable in this year group by overwhelming every one of his opponents. I had hoped that Akita's Haruki Sasaki would put up a fight in the semi-final today, but alas it didn't come to pass.

    Grade 6 - Kagoshima's Soshin Sugama came into this tournament having won last year's Wanpaku Tournament AND Primary School Championships. He was only one tournament away from achieving a Grand Slam for the past year.


    Like Yuya Okayama earlier, armored titan Soshin Sugama also delivered a majestic performance to sweep aside all competition today for the Grand Slam. He literally came from not having made a mark in any national tournament to winning every national tournament in the space of a year. Truly a remarkable story.

    Middle School - The Kashiwa duo of 3rd year Hayato Kodama and 2nd year Rinnosuke Toyoda came into this tournament with all guns blazing.


    However, Kazuma Nishimura showed why he is the reigning Middle School Yokozuna by overpowering everyone in his way. In particular, his bout against Hayato Kodama showed how strong he really was. In a worse position for most of the bout, he just refused to get tripped by Hayato's multiple leg trips, and turned the tables with one powerful throw. For a third competition in a row today, the favorite coming into the Hakuho Cup ended up winning it.

    Team Competition - Last year's two finalists Komatsuryu Dojo and Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club both fielded very strong teams again this year. The vocal support from the parents of these two clubs were also the loudest by far.



    In the end, Kashiwa avenged their final loss last year by beating Tomobe Junior Sumo Club in the final this year.

    Looking at their rosters, Komatsuryu Dojo had amazing talent in key positions both last year (Chugo Saito & Shurato Hirano in 3rd grade middle school) and this year (their golden generation in 3rd grade middle school), resulting in a win last year and a semi-final finish this year. However, if we look ahead to next year, Komatsuryu might struggle a bit to return to these heights, as they will no longer have any outstanding 3rd grade middle schoolers, and former Wanpaku Yokozuna and Reuters sumo star Kyuta Kumagai graduates from primary school next month.. They may prove me wrong though, we'll see.



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  10. A short documentary about two Hiroshima rikishi at Nittaidai - Takuma Terao and Kengo Furuta, both lightweight wrestlers. The have been great friends and rivals ever since a young age, and joined Nittaidai together. Two months ago, at the National Weight Class Championships, Takuma won the under-75kg category, and later that day, Kengo won the under-85kg category. This was the first time in the tournament's history that two rikishi from Hiroshima both won Yusho. They are later shown competing at the National Student Championships last week:


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    This year, the organisers decided to separate the tournament into two days, with the majority of the Grade 4 and Grade 5 bouts taking placing on Saturday. This allows the tournament to finish at midday on Sunday, giving participants more time than previous years to return to their home prefectures. However, with no video for the first day of competition, we have no idea what happened in Grade 4 and Grade 5 prior to the quarter-finals.

    Overall, Team Mongolia did well, but they might have wanted more than one quarter-finalist, given that they had a second team this year. However, it was probably fitting that their only rikishi to get that far was called Temujin (a fan of Genghis Khan maybe?)

    A bit of history was made today as Takumi Norimoto from Gifu reached the quarter-finals in Grade 6. The commentators referred to him as "YouTuber Rikishi", as he has a channel on YouTube called "Dosukoi Takumi". A study in Japan asking Japanese students about what they want to be when they grow up has shown that "YouTuber" is now the most popular profession amongst every age group. A sign of the times?

    The rikishi I was most impressed with today was Osaka's Konosuke Kishida. In all three bouts that were shown of him, Konosuke was up against a taller and larger opponent. All three bouts went the distance, with Konosuke determinedly using his low stance and lateral movement to stay with his opponents. He was eventually able to find a way to win the first two, and came so so close to winning the third (in the semi-final against the eventual winner). Kudos to him for the huge amounts of fighting spirit that he'd shown today.

    A month after his club senpai Shodai finished with an abysmal 4-11 at the Aki Basho, Sera Ote goes back to Kumamoto with yet another silver medal. That's the third final in a year that he has lost. Watching his bouts today, I think the problem lies with Sera being a bit too upright at the tachi-ai. Most of the time he's able to get a force out or slap down from that position, but he was not given that opportunity in the final today against Soshin. Sera still has two more tournaments before he moves on to middle school, let's see if he can win at least one of them.

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  12. Full Results

    Grade 4

    Winner - Itsuki Nagata (永田 逸樹), Yamaguchi

    Runner-Up Haru Yamaguchi (山口 隼瑠), Kumamoto

    Semi-Finals Yuma Hayashi (林 祐磨), Kumamoto
    Semi-Finals Yamato Iwamoto (岩本 大和), Hyogo

    Quarter-Finals Shinnosuke Fujigaki (藤垣 心之介), Aichi
    Quarter-Finals Naosuke Koga (古賀 尚輔), Tokyo
    Quarter-Finals Ryunosuke Hyodo (兵頭 竜ノ助), Ehime
    Quarter-Finals - Soshi Takahashi (高橋 奏吉), Miyazaki


    Grade 5

    Winner - Shotaro Takeshima (竹嶋 章太朗), Osaka

    Runner-Up Natsuhi Onuki (大貫 夏陽), Chiba

    Semi-Finals Konosuke Kishida (岸田 幸之輔), Osaka
    Mahiro Yamashiro (山城 真優), Okinawa

    Quarter-Finals Tobushinborudo Nyamuchiru (ニャムオチル トゥブシンボルド), Niigata
    Quarter-Finals Yushin Hayashi (林 優芯), Kumamoto
    Quarter-Finals Temujin Chirugun (チルグン テムジン), Mongolia
    Quarter-Finals - Haruki Sasaki (佐々木 陽希), Akita


    Grade 6

    Winner - Soshin Sugama (菅間 奏心), Kagoshima

    Runner-Up Sera Ote (大手 星来), Kumamoto

    Semi-Finals Haruhi Watanabe (渡辺 暖日), Chiba
    Semi-Finals Koki Saito (斎藤 煌生), Iwate

    Quarter-Finals Daigo Takemika (武甕 大悟), Kyoto
    Quarter-Finals - Takumi Norimoto (乘本 匠), Gifu
    Quarter-Finals Daichi Mizuno (水野 大地), Kanagawa
    Quarter-Finals - Keisuke Nakamura (中村 圭佑), Nagano


    Sansho (Unofficial)

    Outstanding Performance - Shotaro Takeshima (竹嶋 章太朗), Osaka (Grade 5)
    Fighting Spirit - Konosuke Kishida (岸田 幸之輔), Osaka (Grade 5)
    Technique - Haru Yamaguchi (山口 隼瑠), Kumamoto (Grade 4)




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