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  1. themistyseas

    Kyokai joint keiko

    Very odd not to see any kind of a senior presence* at this joint keiko. I wonder if Shodai's absence is due to the talking-to he received last time out? We're very much used to having seen Hakuho and Kakuryu at these over the past couple of years, even lending their chest or just doing exercises when they weren't physically fit to enter the basho. * I appreciate that some will view former Ozeki Takayasu and 9-6 addict Mitakeumi as senior figures but I'm referring to current Ozeki and Yokozuna for avoidance of doubt. Obviously I get that Terunofuji is unlikely to need to be present owing to the large number of eligible partners in his own stable and also his fragile health.
  2. themistyseas

    sumo jokes/memes

    What an absolute classic! I'm shocked however that you didn't post the full lyrics which really pay tribute to a host of up and coming rikishi (and even reference some Meisei are on their way out!). Sing along! Some Meisei that sunshine follows thunder Go and tell it to the man who Kanno shines Some Meisei that we should Nobehara All our thoughts today 'cause they hold sway Osanai Some Meisei we will find Tokisakae And some Meisei we will find Sakigake (yeah yeah yeah yeah) 'Cause I've been standing at the station In need of education for Abe He made no preparation For Abi’s reputation once again The dohyo’s full of Nishikis She's got Nishikifuji on the brain It was overflowing gently But it's all Asakoki my friend Some Meisei they don't believe Byakuen Go and tell it to Shonanzakura in hell Some Meisei you get what you've been given If Ryuden gets yours he won't get mine as well Some Meisei we will find Asagyokusei And some Meisei we will find Asabenkei (yeah yeah yeah yeah) 'Cause I've been standing at the station In need of education for Yamane He made no preparation For Abi’s reputation once again The dohyo’s full of Nishikis She's got Nishikimaru on the brain And Roga’s been itchin' Ichinojo's in the kitchen once again Some Meisei (some Meisei) Some Meisei (some Meisei) Ura what some Meisei (Ura what some Meisei) Ura what some Meisei (Ura what some Meisei) Ura what some Meisei (Ura what some Meisei) Ura what some Meisei (Ura what some Meisei) ...
  3. themistyseas

    Retirees after Aki 2021

    He was also a bit of a fun watch for trainspotters given that he made his debut as Obamaumi for Hatsu 2009, rather like another Obama who also debuted in his role in January 2009. However, Sadanoryu's Obama was geographically inspired. Had he changed his shikona in 2017 (rather than 2019) when the other Obama departed, perhaps that would have really raised eyebrows!
  4. themistyseas

    New Juryo for Kyushu 2021

    Wow. Put some glasses on him and he looks like a young Nishikigi That'll give me a reason to look forward to their matchup next basho...
  5. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    The task they give him will be very curious. It seems they don't put the most popular folks in areas of public interaction, for example Kisenosato caused a huge stir virtually every time I saw him go into Kokugikan (or any of the other spots) after his intai, to go to his commentary duties. Same could be said of Takanohana even up to his retirement - he always had a huge press scrum chasing after him. Apart from Kakuryu, Musashimaru is the only other "recent" (ie not in his final few years) Yokozuna in the Kyokai and I've never once seen him performing a task in any of the venues in the past several years. You'd think they'd give Hakuho a similar role to Kisenosato, except they probably don't want him near a microphone. I don't know what they're going to do with him (and I suspect they might not either). One might think they would give him a menial task to prove a point, but there are issues with that. You can't really put him at the merch booth with Tenkaiho and Satoyama, and he's not going to be a ticket taker like his senpai usually is, both for reasons of crowd control. The doorman/hanamichi patrol job is a very publicly accessible role in Fukuoka and Osaka, and those are two of the next three basho. Someone else might know this, but it seems like they very rarely make someone a shimpan early in their oyakata career. I guess they could throw him on the Jungyo team as they plan for its eventual return, that one seemed like a bit of a poisoned chalice at the best of times. I just have a feeling, especially with some of the noises we're hearing, that he won't be very visible.
  6. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    I think that's more or less right. I was obviously being very general in my assessment, but I think with regards to the general public that holds. Now when you talk about the general public of sumo fans, especially elderly folks in the general public who go to Kokugikan, then I think you start to get interesting opinions and of course very interesting loyalties in terms of the rikishi who are supported. A lot of that comes down as we know to people's connections to various schools or sponsors or rikishi connections to various regions that someone might be from. Bringing that back to Hakuho, obviously he gets a wide swath of support for his cultural activities even if people don't always like the sumo, or still celebrate a kinboshi against him because it's such a special and rare event and a huge achievement you can say you were there for. Elderly fans who attend basho tend to be a lot longer in the memory than the hysterical crowd on sumo twitter (many of whom are new fans within the last few years anyway, not that there's anything wrong with that). Small sample size, but when I talk to women in their 50s and 60s in the stands at a basho, I'm here to tell you that they really love Myogiryu. He's been around long enough that fans have been following him for years and uh... this demographic seems to find him especially handsome. Before anyone accuses me of chatting up the elderly Japanese female population, I'd clarify that I'd love to talk to anyone but normally - especially early in the day before Juryo - the elderly women at Kokugikan are more interested to have a conversation and most of the elderly men are nose deep in their scorecards and statistical analysis or amateur photography. I'm always really interested in talking to fans, mostly to learn more, also because the fan experience is part of what I do for a living. But there's a lot to be gained there about the sumo experience that we don't always get from the newspapers, and I think that may be reflected in the wide variety of opinions about Hakuho.
  7. themistyseas

    Ichinojo acquires Japanese citizenship

    I would also imagine Kakuryu's experience will also a cautionary tale for others in the future, that you'll want to have your paperwork in order when the body is no longer holding up.
  8. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    Exactly Surely a branch-out was never really on the cards here anyway? I don't think it would have made sense for him to abscond with half (or more) of the heya when he can just carry on doing what he's been doing in terms of recruitment and development, given that Miyagino's on a very limited clock as it is anyhow. He'll end up getting control of his heya in less time than a branch-out would take. I'm sure the plan was always for him to take over the existing heya next August regardless of his knee condition. Can't imagine the real estate venture would have much impact on that on way or the other, but perhaps he can acquire the land and get the whole thing done in time for the grand rebrand - whatever that brand will be.
  9. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    Just my imagination, but we all know Hakuho doesn't forget. Most folks tend to agree that Shibatayama's statements to the press about Hakuho's Olympic appearance were way over the top (even if not technically all wrong) and even if there was a discussion to be had about how it came to be, it certainly didn't appear that he had any of those answers. Even though it's Shibatayama's job as PR man to answer the press questions and he had no choice but to do so, he certainly could have handled it a lot better and managed not to lose face (especially as PR man for an organisation that continues to have to suspend rikishi for lying about running out to the kyabakura). A lot of Shibatayama's outburst hinged on the fact that Hakuho shouldn't be doing this that or the other in his capacity as top man on the banzuke. Now, we know Hakuho didn't even want to be on the banzuke. I'm no rikishi but if I were in Hakuho's shoes, and it wasn't clear that they were ready to handle this, I wouldn't be in the mood to make Shibatayama's life easy. More plausibly though, the other benefit to leaking it is that if you're concerned about the media narrative, you can allow that story to circulate with less influence from the various official sources. I find the comments from Yano, for example, that were shared here to be pretty detestable. And given that there's actually been quite a bit of global pickup on this, if he has leaked it then it shows that he's not willing to be strongarmed by the association to wait for them if that's been his intention since before the Olympics and he's given them multiple months' notice to prepare. And it also means that global media isn't going to be picking up comments that come later from people like Yano. But maybe I'm giving him too much credit for media strategy. That's all a bit of gossipy conjecture based on nothing though... I do also tend to agree with @WAKATAKE's assessment that the financial side of this probably will take some time for them to work out. And we know from other recent intai that it sometimes takes them months to shuffle kabu around, sort out paperwork, etc. Even if they've decided not to grant ichidai-toshiyori, now they're going to have to announce why, there will have had to have been discussions about that and if they accept the policy recommendation to remove or if they simply aren't giving to him. Maybe those already happened...! As @Kintamayama says... it's "game of fat thrones" ;)
  10. themistyseas

    New Juryo for Kyushu 2021

    A little disappointed they haven't gone for Asanousagi or Asanohai with this one...
  11. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    One must wonder if it's to do a Kisenosato, but on a bigger (commercial) scale and with more resources. Build a modern environment but in an area where it's accessible to fans, and run a gift shop in an area where people with money spend money. We would (and will) go to Ibaraki to see Kisenosato's place, but casuals aren't going there. Meanwhile Hakuho's already got Chanko Ho in Ginza, so he's no stranger to putting properties where people with money actually are. Given his track record of wanting to make generational impacts, he already seems to have figured out recruiting, and has been dedicated to youth and community initiatives, so I would posit that his exposure to fans at Miyagino beya (which seems to have been one of the more accessible stables for global fans) will probably have clued him in that he can steal a march on some of the dinosaurs of the previous era - whose idea of fansa is at most Jungyo - when it comes to cultivating fan relationships. I would also imagine, thinking as a fantasy shisho, if you have to live where you work and so does your spouse, and you're well heeled, you'd want to build something spectacular in a spectacular part of town with good access both to Ryogoku and the shinkansen both for basho and for recruiting trips (especially with that stable's links to further flung parts of Japan and beyond).
  12. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    Being an admin of another sumo site which experienced a fast growth to very high volumes of traffic over the past several years, traffic is always higher in tournaments where Hakuho participated and dropped when he was kyujo. Additionally, the months early in the pandemic when the Osaka basho was cancelled indicated a big drop off in interest, and that's never recovered, even with Terunofuji's great story. Since the start of the pandemic, there's been an indication that casual fans have other things to focus on now. Even where I live and work now, in a non-English speaking and non-Japanese speaking country that has a significant Japanese expat community, the talking points from casual Japanese sumo fans even are always: "is Hakuho winning" or "how did Hakuho do?" While that is anecdotal, it's very easy to draw the correlation with the above point about website traffic to understand that for casual fans anywhere, he is and has been the main hook. I don't think - and this is me wearing my day job hat as someone who works in entertainment marketing - that there's been any decline in terms of the number of superfans. That may well have even increased, but in terms of the overall interest from casual fans, that's down quite a bit. I'd back that up from conversations I've had with folks in Japan who participate in the sumo economy, with the fact that no tourists are coming to Japan meaning there are less new fans discovering sumo for the first time, and the global economy around sumo has shrunk accordingly. Sumo is somewhat unique compared to most mainstream sports in that it's an aspirational experience for many of those in the English language community - you can go to a football match anywhere in the world but there's only one place you can go to sumo. That avenue has been shut off for nearly 2 years of tournaments now, so given that there's been no improvement in the digital availability of the sport, and (as pointed out recently by one of Gunning's excellent columns) very few efforts made at international fan acquisition, there's not much pickup of new casual fans. I don't think there's any coincidence that the mini-boom in online sumo fandom (which OGs on this forum will be at pains to point out was itself not comparable to the 80s/90s) around the time of Kisenosato's promotion corresponded with Japan ramping up tourism efforts quite heavily in anticipation of the Olympics. That doesn't impact the original point of why there are (relatively) few comments on this thread, but it can explain why global interest and new fan pickup is down. Personally I'd also throw into the picture the fact that the quality of makuuchi is poor at the moment with no meaningful new talents as a reason for the drop-off - which means more of the fan interest and debate has hinged on the exploits of Hakuho - but that's more anecdotal than empirical.
  13. themistyseas

    Hakuho retires

    A few points that feel like they might explain that: * Normally we get an intai followed quite swiftly by an official NSK announcement with all the details on what's coming next - press conference, social media content, etc - which we know is a few days away, so there's just a lot of "who the what the?!" There aren't any press conference photos or statements or speeches or anything for folks to dissect. * I know this forum is a hotbed of superfanz™ - but it's fair to say that Hakuho or not, global sumo interest is down significantly over the past 18-24 months. And Hakuho's ongoing absences have contributed to that as well, which is a little worrying in and of itself (unless you're someone trying to get sumo tickets in which case it's probably great). * We've all known it was coming for over a year, when he said originally that 2020 was going to be his last year in sumo, plus he was under a ticking clock from Miyagino's retirement anyway. I think it's shocking but not surprising, if that makes any sense. Probably describes the lesser reaction when it's something we knew was coming, the jolt of him not being anymore leaves some folks a little lost for words, and we're in this vacuum right now of information about what comes next.
  14. themistyseas

    Aki Basho 2021 - Discussion Thread (Spoilers!)

    To be honest, I barely would have considered Kiribayama's a henka and most of the criticism seemed inevitable from the weird Cult of Hoshoryu™. I thought it was actually a heck of a move, he didn't dodge contact, he actually hit him with the right and showed him onto the right side (Hoshoryu's left) out of the tachiai before pivoting left and fully grabbing the back of his mawashi. Whoever was on NHK commentary (I think it was Murray) said it reminded him of some of Harumafuji's old moves and said maybe he'd been watching Harumafuji tapes. Kiribayama certainly could do worse than that.
  15. themistyseas

    Aki Basho 2021 - Discussion Thread (Spoilers!)

    In this basho's case I think it's certainly been helped by the urgent care unit that is the joi-jin, and also the absence of Hakuho. While that doesn't change the fact that either the Yokozuna won't face both Ozeki or the Ozeki won't face each other (or both), the higher rankers have had plenty of match days throughout the basho where the schedulers have had to dip quite a way down owing to the absence of a Yokozuna plus, at times Hokutofuji, Takayasu, Hoshoryu, Kotonowaka... It's such a mess in that area that it feels like they would have found it hard to reach their best case scenario, even if Shodai and Takakeisho had rattled off a couple extra wins. Forgive me if this was posted earlier and I missed it, but today was the first time in over 82 years that an M1 has faced an M17!? Yikes. An unlike last year's Tokushoryu/Terunofuji M17 fun, this time the M17 wasn't even in the yusho race.