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  1. A Young Enho Winning this tournament for the third year in a row is Tachikawa Renseikan's Grade 2 star Hirano Juito. He may not have a big body, but his wide range of techniques more than makes up for this. He won by ashitori (leg pick), he won by sotogake (outside leg trip), he won by kirikaeshi (scooping body drop), and he even drops the occasional henka. His value to the club is such that he's been put in the Grade 3 slot for tomorrow's tournament. Challengers of the Soul This week, an NHK program called "Challengers of the Soul" had a part on Tachikawa Renseikan Sumo Dojo, focussing on a Grade 3 boy named Miyazaki Yoshiyuki, who is the younger brother of Hakuho Cup quarter-finalist Miyazaki Keijiro. Yoshiyuki had fears about charging head-on at the tachi-ai, but he was eventually able to conquer this fear, and his reward is a quarter-final finish today. The Grade 3 winner was Komatsuryu Dojo's Kumagai Kyuta, who was able to add this tournament to his Hakuho Cup victory earlier this year. A Majestic Performance Both Hirano Noato and Sasaki Ifu had good showings today for Tachikawa Renseikan, with Ifu (whose name comes from ifudodo, meaning majestic) getting his best ever result at this tournament. For the aforementioned Miyazaki Keijiro? Not so much, as you can see from the following photo (he actually battled back from that, but it wasn't enough). The Grade 6 category was won by Komatsuryu Dojo's Hakuho Cup semi-finalist Kuramochi Yuto, who had to overcome his club-mate and sumo genius Yoshioka Ryudai in the semi-final in an almighty battle. Ryudai twice spun around whilst grabbing his opponent's arm to escape a neck hold, and tried all sorts of stuff in that bout, but it was Yuto's day. You can see in the video below Yuto dismantling Wanpaku Yokozuna Yamashita Masakiyo. As for the decorated Kodama Hayato? Apparently he's now a member of Fuchu Sumiyoshi Sumo Dojo, but Hayato did not compete today. The Star of Kinboshi Yup, Kanazawa Sorato is still doing sumo, and he now looks like this. A good performance from him, but he'll be even better next year. The middle school category was won by Katsushika's thin but strong Komiyama Toa, who beat second year club-mate Aino Shogo in the final. Shogo will be a name to watch out for next year. A Sumo Wrestler's Son Sasaki Chikara from that documentary (embedded below) impressed in the Dans Category today, going all the way to the semi-finals, and even then only losing because of a well-timed utchari (backward pivot throw). He will soon be graduating from High School, and according to his dad, might be enrolling into Keio University.
  2. At the start of August every year, the Japan Sumo Association hosts a regional tournament for sumo clubs and dojos around the Kanto region, with oyakatas actings as shimpan and rikishi acting as gyoji and yobidashi. It's the tournament that was featured in Begin Japanology's episode on sumo. Second Yusho for Hirano, No, Not that Hirano Having now become a member of Tachikawa Renseikan Sumo Dojo, I spent the entire day sitting with the club, and shouting "Ganbare!" every time a club member stepped onto the dohyo, clapping when they won, and feeling dejected when they lost. The day started off pretty well for the club, with Matsuoka reaching the final of the kindergartens division, and Hirano Juito (a younger brother of Hirano Shurato, yes, THAT Hirano) won the Grade 1 division, his second successive Yusho in this tournament. Remember Kanazawa Towa? Former member of Kinboshi Sumo Club and current member of Kashiwa Junior Sumo Club, Kanazawa Towa still has his incredible strength from back in his Kinboshi Sumo Club days, and his sumo has improved quite a bit since then. Whilst you can see that his wrestling experience still gives him a wider range of tools than most, there are still those out there whose sumo is just better than him. Qualifying for next year's Wanpaku Tournament shouldn't be a problem, but today, quarter-finals it is. Good, But Could have been Better This pretty much sums up Tsurumi Yusei's performance today, as he won 2 bouts and no more. Bearing in mind though that just a year ago, he lost his opening bout in the Wanpaku qualifiers in Tachikawa City, I'd say that he's come a long way since then, and will continue to improve. We have Three Musketeers, How About You? Going into the Grade 5 division, traditional powerhouses Komatsuryu Dojo boasted 3 contenders for the title, Nakazawa Musashi, Yoshioka Ryudai and Mashiko Takuya. They were all defeated by the same person - Kodama Hayato. To be honest, I expected Hayato's biggest challenge to come from his long time rival and the much bigger Takuya, but in actual fact, Ryudai gave him the most trouble out of the 3 as he clamped both of Hayato's hand's in the middle, thus neutralising Hayato's biggest threat - his incredible arm strength. However, he couldn't maintain it forever, so valiant effort Ryu-chan. Kodama Hayato would go on to win his second successive title in this tournament. Miyazaki Keijiro, Sasaki Ifu and Hirano Noato appeared for Tachikawa Renseikan, with Noato getting the best result of the three. To be honest, Noato was looking in control of his bout when his opponent turned the tables, he was visibly distraught afterwards. By the way, the Hirano family currently have 4 boys - Shurato, Noato, Juito and a toddler whose name I don't know. Shocks Galore, Again In the Grade 6 division, just like at last weekend's Wanpaku Tournament, we started off the day with Kashiwa's Nsihijima Yura, last year's Primary School Yokozuna, being the favourite in this division, and he had no problems reaching the semi-finals. Just like last weekend, he faced Hayashi Rei of Nagano and lost. Just as we were set for a Hayashi Rei yusho, guess what? Komatsuryu's Saito Chugo showed us what he was capable of and shocked Rei in the final. Tachikawa Renseikan had a few participants in this division, with Hirano Shurato getting the best result. His sumo looked pretty confident today, that is, until he gave away a morozashi-grip in his third bout. He tried a few times to move his right hand inside, but to no avail, and each time he was pushed backwards, eventually out of the ring. What Started So Well...... Team Tachikawa were hoping to end the day on a positive note in the team competition, but went out 3-2 to their first opponents, Yaizu Junior Sumo Club. It was such a disappointing result, especially considering they had chances to seal the deal before the deciding bout, but c'est la vie. The team competition was won by perennial contenders Komatsuryu A, who were also winners last year. Chikara, A Sumo Wrestler's Son Yes, he was there with his whole family. When I first saw him today, I had doubts in my mind about whether or not he really was Sasaki Chikara, as he looked very different from when he appeared in that documentary (however, there were still traces from 6 years ago). Chikara says that he is currently in his second year at High School, and is continuing to do sumo. He also likes to play baseball. His friend, who was seen both at keiko and at home playing the Duel Masters card game with him, no longer does sumo and has chosen to concentrate his efforts on tennis. A Word on Tachiai I spoke with one of the Tachikawa Renseikan coaches today about the tachiai, and he says that there are 3 main ways to approach it - by taking your opponent's charge with your chest, by going forwards with arms-a-thrusting, and by charging into your opponent head-on, with your head. Which one you choose depends on your style and your opponent.
  3. Part 2 - To the Quarter-Finals, and Beyond Not only are Komatsuryu Dojo successful in regional tournaments in and around Kanto, their club members have also excelled at the national level, with Nanakaichi Koshi (七日市 康士) and Yoshioka Yudai (吉岡 友大) both reaching the quarter-finals of the 26th National Primary School Championships in 2013 (in Grade 5). 2 other club members in that same year group, Yanagisawa Tsubasa (柳澤 翼) and Kitano Soma (北野 颯馬), both qualified as well (Soma did so in 2014). Komatsuryu's record at the Wanpaku Tournament is even more impressive, starting with Yahagi Arashi (矢作 嵐), who reached Grade 6's last 32 back in 2007 (at the 23rd Tournament). He lost out to the eventual semi-finalist that year, Kumamoto's Furukawa Haruki (古川 晴貴): Fast forward to the 26th Wanpaku Tournament in 2010, since when Komatsuryu Dojo have been able to produce at least 1 high-level rikishi representing them at every single Wanpaku finals, continuing non-stop to this day, The kid who started off this incredible streak is the elder of the 2 Nanakaichi siblings, Nanakaichi Takeshi (七日市 武士), who reached the quarter-finals of the Grade 4 competition that year, where he was oshidashi'd by the 3-time Wanpaku Yokozuna, Toma Tsuguto (當眞 嗣斗). Komatsuryu's Yoshioka Kodai (吉岡 功大) also qualified that year, in the Grade 5 competition. At the 27th Wanpaku Tournament in 2011, Kiyomiya Itto (清宮 一翔) lost in his first bout to Nakazaki Seito (中崎 勢斗, from 1:03:31): Komatsuryu's best results came a year later, at the 28th Wanpaku Tournament in 2012, when Yanagisawa Tsubasa (柳澤 翼, on the left) and Nanakaichi Koshi (七日市 康士), both in Grade 4 at the time, both reached the quarter-finals: Both Tsubasa (from 20:30) and Koshi (from 49:06) had straightforward bouts to start off with: Tsubasa showed great technique in his last 64 bout (from 5:54) against Taninai Katsuya (谷内 勝哉), and produced (imo) the biggest shock of the entire tournament to knock out the much bigger Honda Rikiya (本多 力也, from 39:08). The best bout that year however goes to Gifu's Matsunaga Hayato (松永 颯斗), who drew thunderous applause from the audience with his last 64 bout (from 23:56). Tsubasa's last 16 bout is from 54:58: On the other hand, Koshi's bouts (from 28:03, 46:27 and 58:36) were less spectacular, though he did have to survive a mono-ii in his last 32 bout against Nakatsuka Ryuji (中束 龍人, from 46:27). Worth mentioning is that Kitano Soma (北野 颯馬) also competed in the Grade 4 competition that year (from 20:16 and 42:39), though he would not become a member of Komatsuryu Dojo until later that year: Having reached that year's quarter-finals, Tsubasa would go on to face the eventual winner, Ikeda Ryo (池田 亮, from 1:13:07), while shortly afterwards, Koshi would come up against the eventual runner-up, カフレ ジオバニ (from 1:18:16): Over in the Grade 5 competition, Komatsuryu's Kiyomiya Itto (清宮 一翔, from 48:47) and Koike Sota (小池 颯太, from 1:07:30) also qualified for that year's Wanpaku finals: Itto would go on to shock Aichi's Kamijo Miyoshi (上條 深能, from 21:13), a wanpaku semi-finalist (when he was in Grade 6) in the last 64, and then face Kanagawa's Sasaki Chikara (佐々木 主税) in the last 32 (from 40:06). Chikara is famous for being featured in the documentary "Chikara, A Sumo Wrestler's Son" (an extract can be found here), which was filmed prior to and during this tournament. Chikara's bout against Itto is the first tournament match shown in the extract. Nanakaichi Takeshi (七日市 武士) made his second and final appearance at the Wanpaku Tournament that year, with his first bout from 51:13: Takeshi would go on to face 2 tough opponents in Aomori's Kikuchi Arata (菊地 新, from 23:51) and Shizuoka's Suzuki Yuto (鈴木 優斗, from 44:57). Arata won the National Club Championships with his team, Tsugaru Sumo Club, but lost to Akita's Suzuki Taro (twice) and Chiba's Takeshi at the Wanpaku Tournament (Suzuki Taro reached the last 16 thrice at the Wanpaku, though he doesn't seem to have appeared in any other competition). Suzuki Yuto reached the final of the National Club Championships with his team, Fuji Wanpaku Sumo Club, and is a quarter-finalist at the Wanpaku that year. He is one of the best rikishi in his year group, and would go on to reach the last 16 at the Middle School Championships. 2012's Wanpaku team of Nanakaichi Takeshi, Kiyomiya Itto and Nanakaichi Koshi would be the best team to have represented Ichikawa City in Chiba, amassing 14 points between them (the 6th best team that year). Needless to say, all 3 are members of Komatsuryu. The 29th Wanpaku Tournament in 2013 saw Komatsuryu Dojo having no less than 6 rikishi qualify (compared to 5 the previous year), with 2 of them reaching the quarter-finals (they've had quite a few Wanpaku quarter-finalists during the past decade): In Grade 4, Sakai Masayuki (酒井 真幸) started off comfortably (from 19:50): Masayuki then went on to win against Midorikawa Arumu (緑川 天瑠夢, from 19:16) in the last 32, and then pulled a shock win out of the bag to knock out Chiba's Tebakari Taiki (手計 太希, from 33:17) in the last 16. Taiki, despite his size, is a Wanpaku quarter-finalist (in Grade 6), and is one of the best rikishi in his year group. His older brother, Tebakari Toshiki (手計 富士紀), is a Wanpaku semi-finalist, and would go on to win the Middle School Championships. In Grade 5, Yoshioka Yudai (吉岡 友大) fought valiantly in his first bout, but it wasn't to be enough against the 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna, Kumamoto's Hanaoka Masaki (花岡 真生, from 15:00). Yudai took the place of Nanakaichi Koshi by winning that year's Chiba qualifiers, as he is also from the city of Ichikawa. Kitano Soma, who has now joined Komatsuryu Dojo, wins his first bout comfortably (from 30:00): Soma then powers his way through 3 bouts (from 13:15, 39:36 and 54:09) to join Masayuki in the quarter-finals: Komatsuryu had no less than 3 representatives in Grade 6, Asano Futa (浅野 風汰, from 2:25 and 1:09:30), Kiyomiya Itto (清宮 一翔, from 31:27) and Kato Seiya (加藤 誠也, from 53:37), all of whom advanced from their first bouts: Try as he may, Itto just couldn't win against Kumamoto's Kusano Naoya (草野 直哉, from 11:29) in his next bout, as was the case with Futa also (from 32:17), though Seiya was able to pull through against Hokkaido's アリュナ ダワニンジ (from 24:26), a kid whose name gave the announcer a hard time pronouncing. In the last 32, Seiya went up against that year's favorite to win the Grade 6 competition, Osaka's Kawabuchi Kazuma (川渕 一意, from 45:12), in what was to be one of the most exciting bouts that year. Kawabuchi's record at Wanpaku is last 16 (losing to the eventual winner, Shimomura Yui 下村 湧偉), semi-finals and quarter-finals, though appeared to be breathing heavily that year, and had to be told off for an extra shove at the end of the bout. The word to describe that bout would be 悔しい: In the quarter-finals, Masayuki faced the Grade 4 winner that year, Ishikawa's Shinoda Hiroyuki (篠田 裕之, from 5:15), while Soma was up against Chiba's Murayama Go (村山 豪), a 2-time Wanpaku semi-finalist (losing to the 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna Hanaoka Masaki 花岡 真生 both times): The 30th Wanpaku Tournament in 2014 saw 3 of Komatsuryu's Grade 6s qualify (it's their strongest year group by far, with no less than 4 national quarter-finalists), though no one else did: The draw meant that there could have been an all-Komatsuryu bout in the last 32 (Yudai vs Tsubasa), and also in the last 16 (Soma vs Yudai/Tsubasa). However, though Kitano Soma (北野 颯馬, from 52:01) and Yanagisawa Tsubasa (柳澤 翼, from 57:40) were both able to win their opening bouts, as good as he is, Yoshioka Yudai (吉岡 友大, from 55:59) just couldn't get the win he wanted at the Wanpaku Tournament, losing to Okinawa's Nakazato Tomotaka (仲里 智隆): In the last 64, Soma was able to defeat the skilful Kobayashi Kai (小林 海偉, from 21:56) from Saitama, but couldn't defeat the even more skilful Ochiai Shun (落合 駿, from 45:16) from Mie. Tsubasa was able to win his last 64 bout as well (from 24:37), but he couldn't defeat Nakazato Tomotaka (仲里 智隆, from 46:20) either: Last year, at the 31st Wanpaku Tournament, Sakai Masayuki (酒井 真幸) was able to reach the last 64 of the Grade 6 competition, but no further: Meanwhile, one of Komatsuryu's newest members, Nishikawa Mirai (西川 宙生), created the shock of the tournament by defeating Shizuoka's Sugahara Haruka (菅原 悠翔), runner-up in Grade 4, in the semi-finals. In the final however, he was no match for the 2-time Wanpaku Yokozuna, Aomori's Narita Rikido (成田 力道, from 2:35): Last Sunday (26th June), Komatsuryu's Saito Chugo (斎藤 忠剛) qualified for this year's 32nd Wanpaku Tournament by winning the Grade 4 competition at the Tokyo qualifiers (from 7:06:25, 7:16:32 and 7:26:59). Depending on how the draw goes, he might also reach the quarter-finals, just like his senpais.
  4. The National Chinju-no-mori Kids Sumo Tournament (全国鎮守の森こども相撲大会) is a biennial sumo tournament for elementary school kids, organised by the various shrines around Japan. It is held at the Yasukuni Shrine, though apart from this, not much information is available on this tournament. The 9th edition of this tournament was staged last weekend, and the few results that are known are as follows: Grade 2 Winner: Kodama Hayato (児玉 颯飛) We could be seeing a star of the future being born with this kid. Originally from Aomori (more specifically, the place where Onosho, Shinpo Kyoya and Narita Rikido grew up), he started learning sumo at the Mitaka Sumo Club in Tokyo about 2 years ago. Kodama Hayato has since then won a number of different tournaments, including the Grade 2 competition at this year's Hakuho Cup. Perhaps even more impressively, last year he qualified for the finals of the Grade 4 or lower competition at the National Primary School Championships, whilst in Grade 2! That's only happened twice before, ever. He will be aiming to qualify for (and perhaps win) the Wanpaku Tournament next year. Grade 3 Winner: Hirano Shurato (平野 修良斗) A member of the Tachikawa Renseikan Sumo Club in Tokyo (the one filmed in the documentary Chikara: A Sumo Wrestler's Son). His win was a bit of a surprise, as his year group tends to be dominated by 2 other kids, Nishijima Yura (西島 悠来) and Nakanishi Kaishin (中西 海心). Grade 4 Winner: Tasaki Masami (田崎 正美) A member of the Furuichi Sumo Dojo from Osaka, Tasaki Masami reached the semi-finals of the Grade 4 competition at last year's Wanpaku Tournament, where he lost to Sakamoto Shoma (坂本 正真), Tokitsukaze-oyakata's younger son. Right in picture: Grade 5 Winner: Narita Rikido (成田 力道) Though unconfirmed, his name doesn't come as a surprise. His year group is a straight shoot-out between Narita Rikido from Aomori, and Uchida Kyota (内田 京汰) from Shizuoka. Here's the reason why: Grade 3 National Primary School Championships: Narita (runner-up, in the Grade 4 or lower competition) Hakuho Cup: Uchida (winner) Grade 4 Wanpaku Tournament: Narita (winner), Uchida (semi-finals) National Primary School Championships: Uchida (winner), Narita (runner-up) Hakuho Cup: Uchida (winner), Narita (semi-finals) Grade 5 Wanpaku Tournament: Narita (winner), Uchida (semi-finals) National Primary School Championships: Uchida (winner), Narita (runner-up) Hakuho Cup: Narita (runner-up) Grade 6 Winner: Hanafusa Kai (花房 海) As Kodama Hayato's senpai at Mitaka Sumo Club in Tokyo, Hanafusa Kai is the first ever rikishi in his club's young history to have had success at the national level. In Grade 3, he won the Hakuho Cup. In Grade 4, he reached the semi-finals of the National Primary School Championships. In Grade 5, he reached the semi-finals of the Wanpaku Tournament. Along with his kohai Kodama Hayato, the 2 of them helped Mitaka Sumo Club to win the Shinkyu Jiken Tournament 2 years ago (the one featured in Begin Japanology), their club's first ever team triumph. Last year, in a huge shock, they combined again to achieve 2nd place at the National Youth Sumo Tournament (a 5-boy team competition). In their final match, their club narrowly lost 3-2 (you may be able to guess where the 2 came from :-) ). A golden generation indeed. Here's a photo of the grade 3 winner Hirano Shurato receiving his certificate. To his right is Narita Rikido, and behind him stands Tasaki Masami: And here's a group photo of Mitaka Sumo Club from Tokyo. The 2 kids holding up their trophies are Hanafusa Kai (left) and Kodama Hayato (right):
  5. mikawa

    Wanpaku sumo national tournament

    Thanks for the info regarding his dad's name, I've not been able to find that anywhere. Sasaki Chikara is a good young rikishi, who is about the same level as Tanaka Toranosuke from Japanology's sumo episode. His 4th grade loss in his first bout (second round at the wanpaku) was against a very skilful opponent in Nukui Tetsugu (温井哲弘), whose best result at wanpaku is also last 16. Chikara's loss in Grade 5 was to the eventual winner that year, Shinobashi Hayato (下橋颯斗), so fair play to him. Incidentally, his opponent in the first bout shown in the video (fourth round, or last 32, in the tournament) is called Kiyomiya Itto. His name may not mean much, but I'm sure his sumo club will be familiar to quite a few members in the forum - Komatsuryu Dojo in Tokyo. He unfortunately didn't quality in Grade 6, though it is not known who he lost to during the Zama qualifiers. p.s. Here's a link to an extract from the documentary on Chikara: