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Everything posted by Itachi

  1. Itachi

    Hakuho vs KaioU

    Here is a different take on this. I suppose most of the sumo community wants to see a japanese yokozuna and it would be even better if he got his tsuna in front of his home crowd. In the past, I have suspected that wins were sort of given to rikishi who were 'supposed' to be promoted. Hakuho, not being japanese, may not be willing to play this sort of game. Now that Kaio has shown that he can come close to 13 wins on his own, some rikishi might be inspired to try a bit less hard against him to help bring about the fairy-tale ending that the nation mostly wants. Kaio may well beat Hakuho in a fair and honest match and he will have to because I doubt very much that Hakuho will take any yaocho to go easy on him. Throw in the fact that Hakuho is a tough match for anyone and the outcome of the match is very much up in the air. Does anyone remember when Wakanohana was going for his yokozuna promotion and Musashimaru got "oshidashi'd" by him? It was the most pathetic thing I ever saw in sumo. Waka barely touched him and he turned around and pranced out out the dohyo like a little fairy! Obviously it was suggested to him that it would be great if Waka were promoted and so he gave it to him. The favour was returned soon enough when 'Maru was promoted except that Maru was actually capable of performing at the level of Yokozuna unlike Waka. I say it was politics or yoacho or both and I say that the new batch of Mongolians (Asashoryu and after) are honest sportsmen who won't go for it! - a bit of a rant off topic, I know, but I'm finsihed now.
  2. Itachi

    Why you "DON'T" support Asashoryu

    They may complain Ryu but they responded didn't they? I enjoyed reading about how people's attitudes changed or didn't change regarding Asashoryu. Unfortunately this thread was marred more then once by impolite posters. I nearly left without responding but I thought I'd just do a little 'IN YOUR FACE' to those who attacked your desire to have another go at the topic. In most spectator sports there are players or even teams that fans love to hate. Usually they have to be a threat to win to be hated. I agree that Asashoryu hasn't always measured up to the nobility of his rank but I love his competitve drive. The same passion that drives him to dominate the sprot is the one that leads him to seemingly immature actions on and off the dohyo. I think he will settle down with age and meanwhile, he is a fantastic wrestling villain for fans to disapprove of if they wish to boo someone. I am very glad that he kicks butt as emphatically as he does.
  3. Itachi

    Kensho Standings (Kyushu 2004)

    Priceless. (No, no, no...) Takamisakari is finally collecting on his popularity/notoriety again. It's been a few tournaments since he's done this well. I guess the mid-ranked maegashira haven't got enough hunger for kensho to find the extra bit a strength to beat him. It's nice to see Roho get in there. He and Hakurozan were pledging some part of theri winnings to the victims or that horrible incident at the school in north ossetia last basho. Since they apparantly hail from that region I'll bet the Ossetians are continuiong to benefit from Roho's success in some way. Hakurozan seems to be on a slower track however... I feel for Chiyotaikai a bit. I would have thought that he would have more fan support in the November tournament but he has been rather lacklustre the past couple of tournaments. Also, Kaio comes from a much more highly populated prefecture, Fukuoka - also the location of the tournament. How many Oita companies even bother to buy kensho?
  4. Itachi

    Rijicho- 13 wins the minimum

    It seems that the richijo wants to promote a new japanese yokozuna. I see nothing wrong with that. Kaio has been a good ozeki and if he can keep it together for a couple of strong injury free tournaments, then why not? I think he'll be better than Wakanohana expect that he will probably miss a couple of tournaments a year due to his back problems. He'll probably have to retire in a couple of years anyway so why not put a coutryman in there to take some of the pressure off Asashoryu? Also, I agree with previous posters that it is time for a change of the guard at ozeki. Wakanosato has been so successful for so long and yet he just can't seem to string together a promotable run over three basho. I hope he finally does it this tournament or next. It seems obvious that Hakuho will earn his own ozeki promotion within a year. Chiyotaikai never has a probelm pulling up his socks when required so I'm sure he won't drop out but it doesn't look like he'll ever advance. If Kaio doesn't get yokozuna before his aging back takes over then the next yokozuna candidate will probably be Hakuho. I think Kitanoumi is right is wanting to promote a Japanese yokozuna when he has the chance even if it takes a bit of leniency. If you think the sport is losing fans now, just wait until the upper ranks are dominated by mongolians. The Japanese will appreciate these outstanding foreigners a lot more when they are liberated from the insecurity they feel when their national sport has no national champion.
  5. Itachi


    ? How did I miss that one?!? Now that I am reduced to following the tournaments by internet I don't always get around to viewing all the matches (thanks Dale for making it possible for me to do that at a reasonable hour). Even if I hadn't seen the match, surely I would've remembered reading about such a bloody battle amongst top guys. Perhaps I was just extraordinarily stressed and busy at that time. I haven't missed a tournament since Aki 1997 but sometimes I guess I only have time to skim the results and make my picks and so I miss the interesting details. Once again, if someone could pinpoint the tournament where that epic Tochiazuma/Asashoryu battle occured, I would appreciate it. Thanks to Jonosuke for posting the information I requested on the SML this morning and to Asashosakari for providing the link here.
  6. Itachi

    How you became interested in sumo..?

    Hey Ryu, What about you? With that brief poem out of the way, here's how I got into the sport. I remember seeing a segment on tv where one of the big hawaiians had made it to the top division and was getting really popular. It was amazing that he could appear so huge even amongst the giants that populate the sumo world. Even more amazing than that was the fact that the littlest guy in the sport was good enough to compete with him. I guess that was probably Konishiki and Mainoumi. Later, I had the opportunity to go to Japan for a couple of years to live. I was trying everything I could to get to a functional level of understanding Japanese both written and spoken. I enjoyed seeing the matches on tv in ramen shops and I learned to read that section of the newspaper before anything else. It also gave me a convenient topic for conversation. I arrived after the July tournament in 1997 and by the November tournament, when local boy Takanonami won the yusho 14-1 (his last yusho) I was hooked. It's not the same following the sport from Canada via the internet but it's become such a habit that I just have to know what's happening all the time. Participating in games like Benchsumo and Sekitori-Toto adds to the fun as well. I get the impression that you spent some time in Japan as well. Did you have a local guy to root for? Jason 'Itachi' Russell
  7. Itachi


  8. Itachi

    Day 4 lower division results

    I believe Higonoumi enjoyed more success than Masutsuyoshi within the last decade. Hamanoshima was even more successful. Hamanoshima made it to Komusubi in Aki 1994 (perhaps a bit more than a decade ago) and Higonoumi peaked at #1 west maegashira in 1995. There does seem to be even more potential in the heya right now.
  9. Itachi


    I used to like Musashigawa when Musashimaru was beoming a yokozuna and Musoyama was scrambling for his Ozeki promotion. I can't remember how close together those events were but around then Dejima and Miyabiyama both also had their day in the sun and earned Ozeki status. Wakanoyama made a strong return from non-sekitoridom and I always got a kick out of his hairy hairy back for some reason. At that time, Futagoyama and the obnoxious Hanada brothers had been dominating the upper ranks for a while and I seem to develop a dislike to teams or players in sport who become everyone's default favorite who doesn't really follow the game. Musashigawa was in the process of displacing Futagoyama as top heya so I enjoyed watching them toss the rascals out. (Everyone's favorite baseball team in Japan seems to be the Yankees unless you mean Japan league in which case it's the Giants. When I was there, everyone liked the Bulls in basketball. When I was young, everyone's favorite hockey team was the Montreal Canadians - even people from Vancouver! I hated that fans would cheer against their home team to support a team that needed no extra support. I guess it's the bandwagon effect and many bandwagon jumpers aren't even aware of current standings and only notice the historical championships won). Now Musashigawa has enjoyed the benefits of having more top ranked rikishi than anyone else and their rikishi have been a bit disappointing. (4 okeki; Musashimaru - good yokozuna but retired; Musoyama - never all that successful as an ozeki and probably on the way out; Dejima and Miyabiyama - both poor ozeki - I thought their sumo quality went down after they earned the rank and I suspect that they felt that they had made it and didn't have to work at keeping their rank anymore. I think they are beginning to redeem themselves over the past year but for a long while they did not appear to be taking their job seriously) I expect that rikishi like Kakizoe will appear to keep a Musashigawa presence in Makuuchi for the forseeable future but it may be a long time before we see the type of sanyaku dynatsies that Futagoyama and Musashigawa enjoyed over the last ten years. Lastly, (apologies for ranting and rambling) to address complaints about the tendency to do oshi as opposed to yotsu-sumo, I agree with those who admire belt technicians over pushers and thrusters but I find it exciting to see someone try to find a way to beat a really big strong pusher and thruster with other tools. Musoyama may not be very impressive as an ozeki these days but he remains a formidable challenge to those joi rikishi that have to face him. As long as his body and spirit are intact, Musoyama will help weed out the weak rikishi that find themselves ranked too high whether he remains ozeki or not. Itachi
  10. Itachi

    Featured rikishi - Chiyotenzan

    Yes, there it is. This is what lead me to dislike Chiyotenzan beyond my ordinary dislike for those who show a lot of promise making their way to the top of Makuuchi only to have all traces of that promise vanish. The reported incident may not have happened the way it was reported to be fair to 'Tenzan but if there is any truth in it, it reveals Chiyotenzan as a rather dispicable character. I can appreciate that there is a certain amount of hardship that the seniors will put the young rikishi through and that that is part of the tradition but it seems that some take unfair advantage and get some kind of perverse pleasure from bullying. I can't help but like Chiyotaikai so I transfer my revulsion at the incident to the next most senior rikishi in the heya at the time, he of questionable fighting spirit anyway, Chiyotenzan. Itachi
  11. ? Miyabiyama certainly started out with lots of fighting spirit but once he earned his Ozeki promotion that seemed to vanish. It is possible that he was truly doing the best he could given his nagging injury - that shoulder welt that refused to go away may have really started to cramp his style - but as far as I could see, he was just resting on his laurels. About a year ago he started showing signs of returning to some kind of competitive form and perhaps the situation with his father's illness helped to inspire him to make more of himself. I hope he continues as I enjoyed watching him power his way to the top in the first place but I must say I've been often disappointed in him for the most part since he made Ozeki. Rikishi I tend to root against are usually ones like Miyabiyama who appear to be solid up and coming future sanyaku only to suddenly and without obvious reason tumble pathetically down to Juryo or below and then occaisionally tease us with a brief reappearance now and then. Tochinohana is a good example of that. He really did seem competitive when he first made it to Makuuchi. Takanowaka made it back in my good books only to be slapped silly by Kotomitsuki and return to Juryo yoyo-dom. Hayateumi and Tochisakae apparantly have verifiable persistent injury excuses but I really dislike Chiyotenzan. Remember when there was a fuss about abuse of lower ranked rikishi in Kokonoe-beya? I developped a hunch that Chiyotenzan was the loser responsible and whether or not it's true, I enjoy seeing him lose. He looked pretty good a long time ago when he followed Chiyotaikai up the banzuke but where did that ability go? Itachi p.s. I fully sympathize with Takanohana dislikers. It sounded like he was both a fool and a jerk around the time of his brainwashing. He wasn't associating with his family and wasn't staying at the heya with his heya mates. I just thought 'who does this guy think he is?' If he thought he was god's gift to sumo - I suppose it's difficult to argue but I didn't like the attitude. p.p.s. I believe it's our perogative as fans to like or dislike the performers but ultimately, they are just players on a stage and there are roles to be filled by the less admirable as much as there are roles for heroes (and underdogs). I'm sure if I got to know the men I would find myself changing my mind about who to like or not.
  12. Itachi

    Rikishi and last names....

    Oops, of course the kanji I am referring to is not the -take but the KAI in Kaigatake. Take is just the usual character that appears in some place names but Kai here is not ocean but something else. It is the same as the Hashi in Hashikami-cho or Hashikami-dake both just south of Hachinohe on Aomori's pacific coast. Itachi
  13. Itachi

    Rikishi and last names....

    In Jumonji's case he returned to his surname. He used to have the shikona Kaigatake but changed to Jumonji after returning to Juryo. The kanji he used for -take was the same character used in the name of his town Hashikami-cho. It was the Hashi part. I'm not sure that these were common readings for that kanji but in Aomori there are some unusual place names. Anyone who collected the second set of baseball magazine-sha sumo cards will have an official Kaigatake card since he had earned his first promotion to Juryo just before then. (heisei 10 I believe) Itachi
  14. Itachi

    Day 15 lower division results

    For me the most anticipated bout was my adopted rikishi, Sasaki sd99 facing Russian Orora. It had been the best tournament I can remember since I adopted Sasaki-zeki (do we add the -zeki even for non-sekitori?) and Orora had, not surprisingly for a foreigner, accumulaed a similarly solid record of 5-1. Unfortunately for Sasaki and I, Orora was the better rikishi on the day and advanced to 6-1 while Sasaki had to settle for 5-2. Sasaki's previous high rank was in the 30s in sandanme I believe. I don't expect him to return to such a high rank with only 5 wins but perhaps this will be the start of a move towards makushita status. I no longer expect him to reach Juryo but he still has time on his side as he hasn't been in professional sumo for all that long. My other 'adopted' rikishi is Nishikikaze who has been in Makushita since I first became aware of him. My wife's uncle, who I work with, knows his father and so I usually receive through him a banzuke with the Oguruma-beya stamp on it. Nishiki-zeki is no longer young and probably will never earn his promotion to Juryo but he has had a couple of bouts in Juryo in the past when his rank was close enough. He was at ms 40 this time and he ended up at 3-4 which is a very typical record for him. For a while he was the top rikishi from his heya but in the last few years, Takekaze has taken over that role. Maikaze also usually has a higher rank. Also, Terukaze has finished at sd 17 with a 5-2 record so Nishikikaze may see his standing within the heya falling even further in a couple of tournaments. There are several other lower division rikishi who I track with interest but these two are the main ones and not really because they show the most promise really. I probably should write about them each tournament to spread everyone's awareness of them but I am not inspired to when neither of them finish well. Back to lurk mode. Itachi
  15. Itachi

    Chiyotaikai-the truth has finally come out

    I used to love Chiyotaikai when he was surging through Juryo and then I began to lose interest when he made Ozeki and was less than impressive at that rank. I remember when his nose was broken and he left not only for that tournament but all of the next one too. His commitment to competing was less than impressive. I'm not sure whether it was this incident that started his decline but I do recall a match between him and Musoyama which lasted for about 35 seconds and consisted of little else but viscous slaps to the face (harite I believe it's called). One had blood around his mouth (possibly both) when it was over but Musoyama had won the match and for a long time afterwards, Chiyotaikai never beat Musoyama. At any rate, though 'Taikai has had some tournaments when he looked very soft, he has also had several when he powered his way to 10+ wins. Was it Gusoyama who showed us that he is in second place for wins over the last two years? I wonder what his record looks like if we consider the number of double digit win basho for makuuchi rikishi. Kaio usually manages a respectable win total when healthy but Musoyama and Tochiazuma not to mention anyone of lower rank rarely win more than 8 or 9 even when present for all 15 days. If we ignore all records where a rikishi did not compete for 15 days and compare the number of 10+ win performances I would expect that 'Taikai ranks high on the list. One day, Wakanosato will probably manage to reach Ozeki rank and he probably won't do much better but these guys are just too powerful to be beaten very regularly by anyone other than those at the very top. Also, I remember that both Musashimaru and Wakanohana(III) were not exactly perennial yusho threats as Ozeki. Wakanohana only looked dominant for a very short period of time during which I thought some rikishi (Musashimaru) were deliberately throwing the match for him. Musashimaru did dominate for several basho as yokozuna and I thought he was much more effective there than he ever was as ozeki. Perhaps one day Chiyotaikai will mature into a yokozuna level rikishi and surprise us all. I think he has the tools but not the discipline to use them effectively. Itachi
  16. Itachi

    Day 6 lower division results

    ? Tamamitsukuni was Juryo? Tamanoshima's brother? Did his shikona used to be Tamanonada or something else? The lower division rikishi I've been tracking are Nishikikaze (I get the banzuke sent to me from his father indirectly so I've sort of adopted him since I knew about him) and Sasaki (just because). For the first time since perhaps the basho I got interested in him, Sasaki has a 3-0 start. He has been yo-yo'ing around in Sandanme for a couple of years now and he's right at the bottom of that division. Nishikikaze just lost to Oga in mid-Makushita and is now 2-1. Nishikikaze has been close enough to Juryo to have a match there once or twice but he always fails to get a good record when he is in upper Makushita so it seems that he will never become a sekitori (but I'm still hoping).
  17. Itachi

    Featured rikishi: Takanonami

    I may be a bit late replying to this thread but it just came to my attention now. I began following sumo in 1997. The first basho that I really watched and followed each day was the Kyushu basho of that year when 'Nami went 14-1. I was living in Hachinohe just 30 minutes south of 'Nami's hometown of Misawa at the time. I naturally wanted to like Aomori born rikishi and he was the closest and the best of them. I was truly impressed by his unbeatable two handed kime hold. Musashimaru may have dominated Taka over his career but at the time, 'Nami had a very successful streak going against him. I waited for years to see 'Nami re-establish some degree of dominance over 'Maru only to eventually realize that he was becoming limited in what he could do. Even after 'Nami lost his Ozeki rank, he has resurfaced on occaision to play a bit of a spoiler role. I appreciate that he still tries to entertian in his way. He has never appeared enthusiastic but I have come to appreciate his senere demeanour. It has been a long time since he has been my favorite rikishi but I'd like to see him stick around as long as he is enjoying the sport And I hope that when he retires it is because he is ready to move on and not because he is forced to in shame. I'm running out of old guys to root for! All my old favorites are either retired or unable to compete effectively. How old is Tochinonada? I always liked him and he's still pretty good. Itachi
  18. Itachi

    The New Banzuke

    Thanks for the offer to send a real banzuke Adachinoryu, I am lucky enough to have one sent to me in Canada before each basho courtesy of my wife's uncle who knows Nishikikaze's father. The banzuke always has the Oruguma-beya stamp on it and my uncle-in-law, if one may call him that, receives it in time to pass it to me for my archives several days before the start of each tournament. I love opening and displaying each new banzuke as it arrives and searching for the shikona of my favorite non-sekitori amongst the tiny squished in calligraphy. I recommend to any sumo fan with or without an interest in reading shikona in japanese to acquire one of these for their collection. Back to lurk mode, Jason 'Itachi' Russell
  19. Itachi

    Shikona meanings

    Manekineko wrote: Re: Jumonji I believe that is his real name... Yes, that is his real family name. I don't know anything about the origins of that family name but it certainly would have preceded any manga and is rather unlikely to have any connection with Christianity although there is a long history of missionary influence in that part of Japan (particularly in Shingo-mura where there are burial mounds for Jesus and his brother Izukiri). While on the topic of Jumonji, he used to go by the shikona Kaigatake where the kanji for kai was the same as the kanji for hashi in the name of his home town Hashikami-cho. In the second set of sumo cards released by baseball magazine sha in 1998, there was even a card for him with the shikona Kaigatake since he had been promoted to juryo in time for the publishing of that set of cards. I remember all this because I was living in Hachinohe, the city of which Hashikami is a suburb, from 1997-1999 and that's when I became obsessed with all things sumo including collecting the complete set of the first set of bbmsha cards which became available in 1997. Sadly, I never bought any of the 1998 cards and I only know about the Kaigatake(Jumonji) card because a friend who worked in Hashikami had acquired that one and was very proud of his local rikishi. By the way, under my personal data next to my last post, it says warn: 0%. What does that mean? Why doesn't that appear next to anyone elses? I seldom log in and usually lurk when I visit this forum. Is this why I am being warned? Do I have some sort of virus that is spamming members? I don't understand. Many thanks to those who are keeping this forum alive. If I had the time and money, I would gladly contribute but for now I can only sponge off the efforts of others. Back to lurk mode perhaps, Itachi (perhaps best known as Hoshitori Gyoji Wakatanuki in Bench Sumo where I am being pummeled by the sanyaku cyber-rikishi this tournament) P.S. One last contribution, Yoma could also be translated as Westen Demon couldn't it? I assume that Yoma comes from the western world. That might be appropriate too. P.P.S. If anyone out there is really knowledgeable about kanji, perhaps they could clarify for me the meaning of the Yo in Yotsukasa. Many dictionaries do not even include the reading for that shikona. I can't remember whether or not the kyokai site gives the proper kanji for it or leaves it as hiragana but that one character has always been the toughest one for me to research. It has the hi-hen, that is the fire radical on the left and the main body of it is ka as in hanahadashii, a character often used to describe things chinese if I'm not mistaken. Think of the ka in chuka-ryori to make that connection. There, now I await your replies. Jason 'Itachi' Russell
  20. Itachi

    Shikona meanings

    Kotoseiya Yuichi provided these kanji for one of our member's shikona: Takanobaka (Noble Fool) 高の破家 I know that Fool (baka) is written differently. Ba is as in horse (I don't know how to produce kanji easily in this window) and Ka is as in deer. This is the way baka is commonly wirtten. That is all for now, Itachi
  21. Itachi

    Takanohana is back!

    Takanowaka also returned to action after missing 8 days (plus a fusenpai) in the middle of the Hatsu 2002 tournament. As a point of interest, Taka-zeki has been pretty effective since then. He went 11-4 from near the bottom of the banzuke during the Haru basho and then had a couple of 7-8 records from the upper maegashira ranks during Natsu and Nagoya. During Aki he earned a promotion to Komusubi (I don't remember his record) and at Kyushu he won 11 again and rose to sekiwake east where is currently ranked. I used to think Takanowaka lacked the drive necessary to be among the best but he seemed to find the fighting spirit that basho that he came back (to win against Asanowaka and then lose his last two). After all, KK wasn't even possible when he returned with 3 days remaining but he had a burning desire to compete which I'd never really seen in him previously. Of course we all know that Takanohana has that fire in him somewhere. I'll bet he comes back with some fiercely competitive (if not winning) sumo this tournament. Itachi
  22. Itachi


    Hi Fukunoyama-zeki, As Zenjimoto says, there is the Kanata-beya in Odd Sumo. He is also correct about the German member, Takanoyama who joined us for last tournament. We also have an inactive (so far) member, Toshiba whose origin remains unknown (to me). Kofuji no longer resides in Canada and wrestles under the United Arab Emirates flag in at least one game I'm aware of. Oshirokita and I live in the Vancouver area. Try to see our record. I think we've done pretty well for ourselves. I believe there is room for one more if you wish to join us. Jason 'Itachi' Russell (Drinking beer...)
  23. Itachi

    Poor chiyotaikai!

    This is terrible for the tournament. I doubt that anyone will stand in Asashoryu's way now. There are too few rikishi left that are likely to beat him and those who are within a win or two of him in the race are not consistent enough to get through the remaining 7 days without more losses. Barring an unusual return to form by either Takanonami or Akinoshima, it would be up to Musoyama to upset Asashoryu. I don't believe Takanowaka can continue to win but he has faced all the top ranked guys so I suppose we must keep an eye on him too. I like Asashoryu but I find myself hoping he loses once or twice just to keep the yusho race interesting. On the other hand, I've never seen anyone go zensho (I began watching during Aki 1997). That would replace some of the drama that the absence of a yusho race would take away. I really thought that 'Taikai had a chance here to begin a run at Yokozuna promotion but now he's back to square one (as is Kaio). At least Chiyotaikai has youth on his side. Three kadoban ozeki next time will be interesting. Can all of them retain their rank? Kaio will probably not return until Haru but there ought to be two of them struggling away next time. Chiyotaikai has had strong tournaments coming back from his last two kyujo. Itachi
  24. Itachi


    Not only has Musashimaru withdrawn today but Tochisakae as well. What is with this rikishi anyway? He withdrew in the middle of last tournament but returned to take some more beatings. He has taken kyujo in all or part of many tournamets over the last year or two (I haven't checked the details lately but I have a sense that he's a cronic kyujo). Last time it was something about a skin rash if I remember correctly. Will Tochisakae ever stay healthy long enough to establish himself at a rank or will he always be like Hayateumi whose potential rank I find impossible to guess because he never strings enough healthy tournaments together to show what he is capable of? (sorry about the long sentence) Now I only have 8 riksihi in my benchsumo pool to work with - I should've avoided 'sakae but if he was 100% he could probably have won 10 matches at that low rank (given what he's done from that low on the banzuke before). How far will the Kyokai demote him this time? At least to lower Juryo I think, but possibly even further? I welcome an infusion of healthier sekitori. I hope Hayateumi gets sent to Makushita as well until he can string a few healthy tournaments together. Itachi
  25. Itachi


    I thought I would add my opinions to this discussion. Most of us seem to be in agreement about the 3 ozeki race for the yusho. Some have favoured or disfavoured one or the other as a favorite for various reasons. I think that, while anything is possible (See Takatoriki's yusho), the likely scenarios are few. While I consider Chiyotaikai the favorite due to his consistently strong performances since his last injury, I see a strong possibility that either of the other two could win. Asashoryu is still a bit of an unknown quantity. He has risen very quickly with few and minor setbacks. Who could predict whether or not he will improve his sumo yet another notch and have a stronger tournament than would have been anticipated of him before? So far, he is the leader and he has only the other two strong ozekis to face as serious challenges (I forget, has he faced Kotomitsuki yet?). He could even do a zensho. Then again he could tire and falter as he did last basho - who knows? Musoyama has been an adequate ozeki at best. Since becoming ozeki, he has had more than 10 wins exactly once. He had 12 last year (was it May 2001?). It is a stretch to suggest that he will turn into a yusho candidate suddenly after years of 9,10 win tournaments. On the other hand, if Chiyotaikai is the one he has to get past on the last day, I think he will win because he is strong and mean and he generally dominates Chiyotaikai (ever since their bloody smack fest 3 or 4 years ago). Those are my opinions on the three most likely yusho winners for this tournament. Itachi