Kintamayama

Sumo articles by journalists who are Forum members/or not

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Since it is so much fun to rip Mark, I wanted to point out one thing: He wrote "... officially titled the Hatsu Basho ...". I have to say I never saw the words "Hatsu basho", "Hatsu tournament" or "初場所" on the NSK site or any other NSK issued material. The same for Haru, Natsu, Nagoya, Aki and Kyushu of course. It's always "January tournament" or "一月場所", so this obviously is the official title. I always found it weird that the (apparently) inofficial designations are so completely ignored by the NSK. Does anyone know a reason for that?

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2010 could, and should be, the year names such as Goeido, Kotoshogiku at komusubi and Kisenosato at maegashira 3 prove their worth. All can now be considered top-division vets having been around and mixing it with the top guns for 13 years between them.

Like nails on the mathematical chalkboard...

At Hatsu, one of their number, Chiyotaikai, will be fighting as a sekiwake for the first time in a decade having been demoted for failing to secure a winning record in back-to-back tournaments at the end of 2009. It has been said he will retire if he fails to achieve a kachikoshi winning score in the Hatsu Basho and thus faces the embarrassment of a further plunge down to komusubi or perhaps maegashira.

Scoop, or lack of attention to detail? You be the judge.

A number of other ozeki have dropped from the rank and survived for a number of years in the maegashira ranks with Miyabiyama and Dejima perhaps the best examples of late. Tochiazuma (currently Tamanoi Oyakata) was dropped to sekiwake when he failed to appear as an ozeki due to injury several years ago, but immediately returned to the second rank thanks to a loophole — score 10 in your first sekiwake basho after demotion and automatic promotion (back to ozeki) shall be yours — offered such rikishi ...

Remember when Mark would lecture non-native speakers about misusing words? Yeah, that was fun.

Edited by Asashosakari

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That NY Times piece is the stock-standard describe the scene and talk about sumo as fat guys with lots of tradition piece that comes out from time to time. Nothing to shocking and most of the facts are good. Gives the names of some of the stars and basic information about the lifestyle and the composition of a basho.

The major error that I could see was:

(To add insult to injury, the loser is called the shini-tai, or

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That NY Times piece is the stock-standard describe the scene and talk about sumo as fat guys with lots of tradition piece that comes out from time to time. Nothing to shocking and most of the facts are good. Gives the names of some of the stars and basic information about the lifestyle and the composition of a basho.

The major error that I could see was:

(To add insult to injury, the loser is called the shini-tai, or

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Where were the Japanese voices when the overseas fans declared Asa innocent?

By MARK BUCKTON

Special to The Japan Times Online

...For most with no up-close experience of sumo, the fact that he was not Japanese and had shown no direct interest in obtaining Japanese citizenship (necessary to remain in the sport as an oyakata) was being held against him. The usual cries of discrimination rang out with little in the way of evidence offered. The fact that this had never prevented him (or others) from succeeding in sumo was almost completely ignored. Others have claimed the winner of 25-yusho, and thus third on the all time list, had been forced out as part of a botched cover-up that also saw his manager fall on his sword. That he had jumped before being (unfairly

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[...] also saw his manager fall on his sword. [...]

My, that phrase sounds familiar. (Eh?)

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[...] also saw his manager fall on his sword. [...]

My, that phrase sounds familiar. (Eh?)

On that note, in case it hasn't been fully clear (don't think he's been referred to by name again lately) - the manager who has been mentioned recently providing updates on Asashoryu's Hawaii plans and whatever is still the same guy, so the whole "falling on his sword" thing was immediately reversed when it didn't help to absolve Asashoryu. Just mentioning this in case anybody was actually inclined to believe the "it was the manager who orchestrated the botched cover-up on his own" story...if he really did he'd hardly still be working for Shoryu, considering that attempted cover-up itself was a major part of why he's no longer an active yokozuna.

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The Future of Disgraced Sumo Grand Champion, Asashoryu

...While considering the future of Asashoryu, and while watching some mindless Japanese TV programs, I got a chance to see how two great sumo grand champions of the past had fared. By coincidence. Japanese TV can be that way.

Sumo was at its most popular in Japan some ten years ago when Takanohana and Akebono battled it out tournament after tournament. Takanohana, a Japanese superstar, was extremely popular, especially with the ladies who tuned into sumo as never before. Akebono, the behemoth from Samoa, provided the perfect foil for Takanohana, an "uncouth" (that was the image portrayed) wrestler who kept things exciting and made for tournament drama time after time.

When the pair retired, they went out as two of the greatest grand champions of all time. The "so-called" Taka-Ake Era had ended. Takanohana retired to become a stable master immediately. Whereas normally, upon retirement, wrestlers are given new names, he was allowed to keep his name from his active years (Chiyonofuji, the sumo great of twenty years ago, for instance, became Kokonoe at retirement). Furthermore, his stable was renamed "Takanohana Stable", another rarity in sumo, an accolade few had ever gotten before (stable names are usually passed on for generations, regardless of who becomes the stable master). Recently, he was back in the news, and thus on TV when I watched, because he was elected to the governing council of sumo, and at a very young age for such a conservative sport. Many think it is a matter of time before he becomes sumo council chairman.

Just shortly after seeing Takanohana on TV and remembering some of the classic showdowns, I got a chance to see Akebono as well. He, since retirement, has become a "villain" of mixed martial art wrestling, a major step down for a yokozuna (grand champion). But, when I saw him on TV, he had taken a further step down the ladder. He was on a game show, in drag, introducing women, one by one, to a panel of celebrities who had to guess why each woman was unique (one was a jockey, for example). When I say he was introducing them, in fact, he was just sitting on a chair and shouting "Come on, Venus!" when it was time for the next woman to come out. That was it. And who knows what it meant! Once, he forgot to say "Come on, Venus!" and had to be prompted by the prompter, drawing laughs of derision from the assembled panel. At the end of the show, he "sumo wrestled" two female celebrities who ripped off his dress. It was tacky, mindless, virile, sleazy. And I watched it until the end.

My point is that there are two trajectories for a former sumo wrestler. He can become a stable master, open a sumo restaurant, become a sumo commentator, or in some way, stay connected to the sumo world. For Asashoryu, this does not seem to be an option. Or he can become a part of the freak show that is Japanese popular TV. I don`t see Asashoryu going this way, either...

thesop.org

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...Whereas normally, upon retirement, wrestlers are given new names, he was allowed to keep his name from his active years (Chiyonofuji, the sumo great of twenty years ago, for instance, became Kokonoe at retirement). Furthermore, his stable was renamed "Takanohana Stable", another rarity in sumo, an accolade few had ever gotten before (stable names are usually passed on for generations, regardless of who becomes the stable master).

Wow, this is bad knowledge, I say...

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Wow, this is bad knowledge, I say...

Classic mistake from the GSFI era of knowledge dissemination, more usually expressed in statements like "the history of [insert heya here] goes back to the late 18th century", even when the current incarnation of the stable has only existed for a few decades and has next to nothing to do with previous stables that existed under the same name. The English Wikipedia used to be rife with that, too.

(And yeah, the Kokonoe part is kinda screwy as well.)

Edit: BTW, anybody else see something wrong with this?

On a recent visit to the Tokyo Sumo Arena, I looked up at the larger than life size pictures of tournament winners that filled the rafters. There were a couple of Musashimarus, some Hakuhos, a Harumafuji, and a slew of Asashoryus.
Edited by Asashosakari

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Edit: BTW, anybody else see something wrong with this?
On a recent visit to the Tokyo Sumo Arena, I looked up at the larger than life size pictures of tournament winners that filled the rafters. There were a couple of Musashimarus, some Hakuhos, a Harumafuji, and a slew of Asashoryus.

His source is freely available:

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Wow, this is bad knowledge, I say...

Mixing up Akebono's ancestry with Musashimaru's, too...

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Tankanonami? I like it! ;-)

Thanks for pointing out Kokkai as a dark horse for the yusho race. Where can I place a bet?

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Finally, just to round out a look at the potential challengers away from the top ranks, down at maegashira 14 on the East side of the banzuke, in the same spot occupied by Takatoriki exactly 10 years ago, we find the Georgian rikishi Kokkai. Here's a man for whom double digit records

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How about the paragraph about Kotooshu:

Kotooshu yada yada yada.

(next paragraph)

One step below at Komusubi.. (In jonokuchi...)

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I'm not a big fan of MB bashing, but I have to agree here. I mean, I think I get his thesis, but is it worth an article? And are those two examples "ever-present in the minds of many foreign fans," as he says? I kind of doubt it. Reaching back to Rikidozan -- I don't know how that example could be "ever-present" in most anyone's mind, much less the minds of many foreign fans. And Konishiki? Yes, he's much more recent and was popular, and in that case I do remember such accusations, but when you look at the strict standards applied to Takanohana, that argument kind of evaporates a bit too, doesn't it? And even if the promotion panel perhaps maybe sometimes kind of was biased in the past, wouldn't you have to say that given the significant presence of foreign rikishi at the ozeki and yokozuna ranks today, this story is a dog that don't hunt anymore? The NSK just doesn't really seem stuck between a rock and a hard place at all on this one.

MB's smarter than this. He can write a better article than this. Even I can think of more interesting topics than this. This seems more about dredging up semi-arcane stories than illuminating the masses with sumo scribblings. Or is Rikidozan actually ever-present in someone's mind around here?

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