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Eikokurai last won the day on August 14

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  1. Eikokurai

    2021 Hatsu Basho discussion thread

    They look like extra limbs. Perhaps should adopt the shikona ‘Takoyama’.
  2. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    Raptor makes sense. It means ‘bird of prey’ and the second kanji in Hakuho’s shikona is a mythical bird. :)
  3. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    Beat me to it. :)
  4. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    The dinosaurs didn’t die out on their own terms.
  5. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    All true but not especially relevant I feel. If I finish a project a week behind schedule and 10k over budget, pointing to a colleague who’s two weeks and 30k over won’t change my numbers. In other words, Hakuho and Kakuryu are judged against themselves and the standard of the rank only. Everyone else’s performances aren’t part of the equation.
  6. Eikokurai

    Non-K-November basho 2020 Discussion (spoiler space)

    I don’t think a 13-2 or even 12-3 non-yusho record in January would hurt him and reset his run. If sandwiched between two yusho, or between the yusho and a JY-D in March, that’s a quite promotable streak. Whether a Y-JY-JY run would be enough, I’m less certain. I guess that would depend on the strength of the JYs and whether he was truly in the race (as with the Hakuho 2006 case). 14-1, second to a Y/O zensho, is arguably as good as or even better than, a 13-2 yusho without Y/O competition, as was the case this November.
  7. Eikokurai

    Non-K-November basho 2020 Discussion (spoiler space)

    This was suggested elsewhere and I’m not so sure. I think it will depend how it happens. An 11-4 which came after a playoff featuring the other Ozeki and/or the Yokozuna would probably impress enough. Holding your own in a playoff like that would be worthy of the nod. But an 11-4 in regulation bouts – highly unlikely as they try to fix the schedule to avoid such outcomes – with the sanyaku dropping out along the way probably wouldn’t be.
  8. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    The YDC considers a lot more than just physical ability though. They’re there to determine if a Yokozuna is upholding the honour as well as the wrestling standards of the rank. Moreover, all the sports science in the world won’t mean a thing if the rikishi isn’t putting up the numbers. Stats don’t lie, as the saying goes.
  9. Eikokurai

    Minimum Kachi-Koshi forever

    Unfortunately for us and this little exercise he did it at Ozeki, thus affecting rank not one bit.
  10. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    My first basho proper* was Haru 2007, won by Ozeki Hakuho. It was the yusho that started his tsuna run and I got hooked on the narrative unfolding in the Japanese media at the time. (2007 was eventful for sumo overall actually—I lucked out getting into that year). Thus my sumo fandom has coincided almost exactly with Hakuho’s rise and period at the top. While I can’t say I’ve considered myself a ‘fan’ of his, I too will be sad to see him go simply because it will bring the curtain down on not only an important era for sumo, but also I’ll lose that link back to my year in Japan. Most guys from that time are gone, but Hakuho has been a stable constant in my sumo-watching life. When retirement comes, I expect the nostalgia will hit me. *I’d seen sumo on TV back in the UK in the 90s, but Haru 2007 was my first full tournament and the one that started me as a fan.
  11. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    Forgive me, but I feel you’re still making the same argument that because he turns up and wins once in a while he’s performing to the level expected of a Yokozuna, which ignores both the point that this is not the level expected of a Yokozuna and also that he’s only able to reach yusho level when he does turn up precisely because he gets to sit out basho in between. Take away the kyujo option and what would happen? If he competed 15 days, six times a year, would he win two yusho? Doubtful. Could he even win two yusho a year if he completed four basho? Again, I’m not convinced he can anymore. That he needs to rest every other basho in order to regain the strength and condition he needs to win tells me he’s no longer capable of performing at the standards demanded of the rank. A Yokozuna isn’t someone expected to win some of the time, but most of the time or even every time. His record may be ‘perfectly good’ in wider sumo terms but Yokozuna are judged by a different standard. The rank comes with responsibility as well as privilege. Also, the thing about people not replacing him is not especially relevant to the discussion I feel. A Yokozuna is judged alone, by the criteria set by the YDC. That other rikishi are also not performing to Yokozuna level is not evidence that Hakuho and Kakuryu are. (For what it’s worth, I don’t actually have issue personally with him carrying on; I’m just exploring the argument aloud, so to speak. It’s a thought exercise as much as anything. I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but it’s fun to debate.)
  12. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    This is an important point and one that’s made me think a little differently about the situation. It’s been said many times over the past couple of years that Hakuho is still the guy to beat and shouldn’t have to retire, simply because when he does turn up he is still able to win a yusho (or at least be in the race). In many people’s eyes, winning one basho a year in between long spells of kyujo buys him time and breathing space. It’s taken as a sign of his continued dominance, power, ability, etc: “Hey, he’s still the GOAT because when he does enter, he wins!” But is it? As you say, top athletes in most sports could train up enough to return for short successful stints just because their natural ability and experience puts them at a certain level by default. Michael Schumacher returned from retirement after several years out and, while he didn’t hit the same heights of old, was more than able to compete in the most demanding level of motor racing, just because of his experience and skill level. An aging and wounded Hakuho is still Hakuho, talented and ring-wise enough to slot back in at the top when he feels up to it. But then that isn’t what he’s paid to do. A Yokozuna is paid to enter every basho, and the privilege of not getting demoted is not an invitation to just sit out basho when they feel like it. That’s not why the system exists, it’s just a consequence of it, but one that Yokozuna are expected to have the hinkaku not to exploit. They’re expected to recognize when they can’t compete at the highest level every time and bow out gracefully. Winning one basho a year* is not a sign of continued strength, but the opposite; it’s a sign the Yokozuna can’t compete at the required level anymore. It’s not ‘he can win one basho a year’, it’s ‘he can win ONLY one basho a year and only after long periods of rest and recuperation’. I think I and many others have been looking at it the wrong way around. *Specifically, winning one basho a year at a time like this. Kakuryu has obviously been a one-basho-a-year Yokozuna all along, but because of the presence of Hakuho, Harumafuji and a strong sanyaku. A Yokozuna winning one basho a year right now, with the weakened field we have, is very different. That’s a Yokozuna underperforming.
  13. Eikokurai

    Corona and sumo

    Maybe that’s what the white powder they throw really is.
  14. Eikokurai

    New Juryo - Hatsu 2021

    Oho ho ... Christmas has come early for Naya.
  15. Eikokurai

    YDC convenes after November 2020

    Nah. Not even close. Kakuryu’s promotion was a tiny bit softer than some but still came off the back of two 14-1 basho in which the only obstacle to his winning a playoff in the first was Hakuho in his prime. It was as good a ‘yusho equivalent’ as you’ll ever see. Kisenosato meanwhile had a history of 12 jun-yusho (11 as Ozeki) and a 31-basho streak at Ozeki which included only one makekoshi (a mere 7-8) and 23 double-digit kachikoshi. Takakeisho is off to a solid start but hasn’t yet equalled Kakuryu and Kisenosato’s achievements.