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Jonosuke

Asashoryu May/Did Return to Mongolia

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Honestly, I think Asashouryuu is done. Whether or not he comes back is immaterial, he will never win another yusho. Mark my words.

I have to agree, certainly as long as Hakuho remains healthy. Ironically Asa may have lost his best chance in a while by missing Kyushu as Hakuho has got a very sore foot due to a corn or wart being removed earlier and in sumo the health of the feet are everything. One cannot have a successful tachi-ai without healthy feet. The first several matches could be critical in choosing the winner of the basho.

Basically I thought that the whole depression display following the suspension last year was mostly a load of hog-wash but seeing the performances he has put up since then maybe not. He certainly let himself go physically during that time period and has found that it's not as easy to bounce back at 28 as it was at 24 after that horrid Aki basho in '04. Time is as always the great leveller of us all.

Has there been an official announcement of his Kyujo yet for Kyushu? I ask because the Sumo Talk website has their entry form up for the Fantasy Sumo Kyushu Basho and are listing Ama & Goeido as a pair against Hakuho in the Yokozuna section suggesting that they KNOW the he will not compete.

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I don't know if this page has been introduced by now:

http://ameblo.jp/asashoryu-yokozuna/

This is a blog run by Asashoryu's "maneejaa" - Japanese English of "manager", but what he does, I guess, is probably keeping up the yokozuna's schedule or taking care of things both private and official. Well this hasn't been updated for a while now. He did mention the date ( the first one, 20th of October ) and wrote Asashoryu postponed it, but not an entry ever since.

He shows T-shirts for "Team Asashoryu"...

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Has there been an official announcement of his Kyujo yet for Kyushu? I ask because the Sumo Talk website has their entry form up for the Fantasy Sumo Kyushu Basho and are listing Ama & Goeido as a pair against Hakuho in the Yokozuna section suggesting that they KNOW the he will not compete.

Nobody KNOWS. Nothing official yet. Anything can happen theoretically, but anyone with a bit of common sense can see there is no way he will participate.

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"It's unthinkable. He's lost his MOTIvation. It's no use telling someone who has lost interest to gambarize just one more time..", said Ms. Uchidate today about Asashouryuu and the never-ending postponement of his return to Japan. After hearing Asashouryuu will probably not appear in Kyushu and his "we'll see what happens the basho after that and decide" attitude, she summed: "If he was really taking things seriously, he wouldn't say that!".

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Nobody KNOWS. Nothing official yet. Anything can happen theoretically, but anyone with a bit of common sense can see there is no way he will participate.

As everyone KNOWS, around here at least, I am well known for my UNcommon sense.

Seriously, I just thought the whole FS ASSuming he was going kyujo seemed reminiscent of the whole DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN Chicago newspaper headline of 1948.

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Seriously, I just thought the whole FS ASSuming he was going kyujo seemed reminiscent of the whole DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN Chicago newspaper headline of 1948.

I disagree.. I am also totally ASSuming Asa is 1000% kyujo. It's just not official, but it will be by Friday.

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Musashigawa rijicho has "approved" Asashouryuu's kyujo today and has shown "understanding" for the postponement of his return to Japan. "It's for medical treatment so there is nothing I can do about it. It was decided between the Oyakata and Asashouryuu, so I can't very well tell him to come back!!", he explained.

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Honestly, I think Asashouryuu is done. Whether or not he comes back is immaterial, he will never win another yusho. Mark my words.

I wouldn't be so hasty to make such a comment.

To quote a famous former athlete, "It ain't over til it's over, and if the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."

Yes, there's the Law of Averages, but if and when Asashoryuu comes back, he's going to be a factor one way or another.. and we all know that in any basho, in any one of those "blink-of-an-eye" matches, anything can happen.

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Apart from Asashoryu's usual "enemies" (many oyakatas) and apart from the press (that obviously do not like him), two very important people like no less than Musashigawa and Uchidate seem to keep very soft in commenting about the situation. That is what I mean when I say that Asashoryu has got their "permission" beyond Takasago's one. Might it be that for some reason they appreciate Asashoryu more than the others ? It might be because he accomplished his duties as a sole yokozuna for 4 years and a half ; because he won 22 bashos anyway (yaocho story apart...); because he committed himself so much in Mongolian jungyo; because they know that some oyakatas are too much biased against him (look at the ridiculous story of the flight back from Mongolia and forth again). Or am I presuming too much ?

Edited by paolo

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Apart from Asashoryu's usual "enemies" (many oyakatas) and apart from the press (that obviously do not like him), two very important people like no less than Musashigawa and Uchidate seem to keep very soft in commenting about the situation. That is what I mean when I say that Asashoryu has got their "permission" beyond Takasago's one. Might it be that for some reason they appreciate Asashoryu more than the others ? It might be because he accomplished his duties as a sole yokozuna for 4 years and a half ; because he won 22 bashos anyway (yaocho story apart...); because he committed himself so much in Mongolian jungyo; because they know that some oyakatas are too much biased against him (look at the ridiculous story of the flight back from Mongolia and forth again). Or am I presuming too much ?

If you presume that "they" feel he has earned his stripes during his period of sole service and therefore be given the benefit of the doubt until what may very well be a last hurrah, then maybe you are not presuming too much? As a former yokozuna, Musashigawa is likely sympathetic to Asashoryu's pressures and the adequate service he gave from the rank while all by his lonesome. I am sure that his sympathy has fast-approaching limits.

However, lumping Uchidate into this "they" is presumptuous and doesn't really match her words. She may have said it delicately but she is basically implying that if he is so non-committal he may as well give up the ghost right here and now. Not nearly as blunt as her infamous "in my eyes..." statement from after the DD debacle, but she is essentially declaring him all washed up.

Edited by kaiguma

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If you presume that "they" feel he has earned his stripes during his period of sole service and therefore be given the benefit of the doubt until what may very well be a last hurrah, then maybe you are not presuming too much? As a former yokozuna, Musashigawa is likely sympathetic to Asashoryu's pressures and the adequate service he gave from the rank while all by his lonesome. I am sure that his sympathy has fast-approaching limits.

However, lumping Uchidate into this "they" is presumptuous and doesn't really match her words. She may have said it delicately but she is basically implying that if he is so non-committal he may as well give up the ghost right here and now. Not nearly as blunt as her infamous "in my eyes..." statement from after the DD debacle, but she is essentially declaring him all washed up.

I simply mean that Musashigawa is clearly much less "friendly" towards Asashoryu's behaviour than Kitanoumi for instance, as he showed some times in recent past (see for example his first unfair statements after his election); yet in this case he was almost kind when Asashoryu left last basho, and when he went to Mongolia, and even now when the man does not come back for the Banzuke announcement and other duties. Uchidate was also kind before Asashoryu's flight to Mongolia and even now I would have expected her to be more strong or sarchastic or unfair towards him. Not that they would have been completely wrong. I am just saying their behaviour is surprisingly quiet to my eyes. My suspicion is that they might already know something that we do not know, for instance that Asashoryu has already decided to retire (?!) ...

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I strongly believe he will compete for Hatsu basho and win it. If he even can't win yusho due to stronger competition, he'll be good enough to honor jun yusho by 11-12wins at least. When he does that no one can force him to retire. I see one or two years ahead of him and more yusho's. He is Asashoryu after all, he is a hero.

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The papers are now saying that Asashoryu will definitely return on the 5th, flying to Fukuoka via Seoul in the evening. There's the customary Takasago "encouragement" party the next day where he is expected to formally announce his Kyushu-kyujo.

(About time, I suppose, what with the torikumi being set less than 24 hours later...)

Edited by Asashosakari

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If you presume that "they" feel he has earned his stripes during his period of sole service and therefore be given the benefit of the doubt until what may very well be a last hurrah, then maybe you are not presuming too much? As a former yokozuna, Musashigawa is likely sympathetic to Asashoryu's pressures and the adequate service he gave from the rank while all by his lonesome. I am sure that his sympathy has fast-approaching limits.

However, lumping Uchidate into this "they" is presumptuous and doesn't really match her words. She may have said it delicately but she is basically implying that if he is so non-committal he may as well give up the ghost right here and now. Not nearly as blunt as her infamous "in my eyes..." statement from after the DD debacle, but she is essentially declaring him all washed up.

I simply mean that Musashigawa is clearly much less "friendly" towards Asashoryu's behaviour than Kitanoumi for instance, as he showed some times in recent past (see for example his first unfair statements after his election); yet in this case he was almost kind when Asashoryu left last basho, and when he went to Mongolia, and even now when the man does not come back for the Banzuke announcement and other duties. Uchidate was also kind before Asashoryu's flight to Mongolia and even now I would have expected her to be more strong or sarchastic or unfair towards him. Not that they would have been completely wrong. I am just saying their behaviour is surprisingly quiet to my eyes. My suspicion is that they might already know something that we do not know, for instance that Asashoryu has already decided to retire (?!) ...

That is an angle I had never considered. I suppose she would know that kind of thing if a back-channel decision had been made already...

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As the chairman, Musashigawa can generally express his view from a perspective of Ozumo as a whole but still whatever Asashoryu decides - where he receives his medical treatment or where he trains -, Musashigawa knows it's all up to Asashoryu and his shisho. Even as the chairman, he cannot really interfere as long as they are working under the Kyokai rules. Musashigawa is only following the protocol, letting his shisho supervise his recruit.

As for Ms Uchidate being a member of Yokozuna Deliberation Committee, she can express her opinion on how a yokozuna should conduct himself and along with other members, they can even urge a yokozuna to retire, but they cannot force him to retire. She knows more than anyone else that only the yokozuna himself can make that decision. However Ms Uchidate already expressed her position clearly sometime ago that Asashoryu was as good as retired in her personal view.

If Asashoryu has decided to retire, I am pretty certain that no one in the Kyokai knows.

Personally I consider Asashoryu's problem is not really his elbow. Given some rest, the elbow injury should heal. Those bouts he lost in the last basho was more to do with his lower body. He had no strength in his legs and lower back so he looked more or less floating around. This all has to do with his lack of training sessions. He can do all he gym training he likes but nothing replaces solid training sessions and a lot of it like Ama is doing. He needs to get back doing 40 or 50 training sessions for at least two weeks straight to get back the edge.

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If Asashoryu has decided to retire, I am pretty certain that no one in the Kyokai knows.

I too am certain that no-one is going easy on asa because they know he is about to retire (and has let them know). Sumo is not the kind of sport where one says they intend to retire after a particular basho as other sportsmen are able to signal their intent. In sumo if you have mentioned retirement then the expectation is that you go at that point. Was it Konishiki who said something about retiring at the end of a basho in which he was entered and then his shisho submitted the papers?

However, I can see many like Uchidate thinking this could be Asa's last shot (without being told by him). I sense the prevailing thought is that he gets himself right, competes in january and if he has a poor record then instead of ging kyujo he should just retire. now, whether that is because of an injury or lack of keiko doesn't really matter. Either way he is not able to compete to the level expected of a yokozuna and the pressure will be on him to retire.

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I was also thinking that the 'real' reason could be Asashoryu's current mental state. If this is correct, only those that 'need to know' (the shisho, the rijicho and Ms Uchidate) would be in the know - and so would be less hard on Asashoryu. In such a situation, a return to Japan now (and all the media spotlight) would aggravate things, so in that circumstance a continued stay in Mongolia would probably be best for him at this time, whilst he gets his head sorted out.

For the 'rest of us', his physical injury would then be used as the reason for his continued absence, as this is less likely to 'stir things up' then admitting that he is currently suffering from a bout of clinical depression (or something similar).

The above is likely to be a conspiracy theory, cooked up by me (an Asa fan) to justify his absence at this time.

(If I were less of a fan, I could probably cook up another conspiracy theory involving one last spate of bulking up with steroids, at a time of drug-testing in Ozumo.....)

Sadly, I also think he might no longer be a yusho threat, when (and if) he returns. Even if Hakuho is injured, there are enough rikishi around with fire in their bellies to take the yusho away from a Yokozuna whose heart is no longer fully in it....

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Let's see, Asa's not in form and his heart is somewhere after he returns and Hakuho is injured. Likely he can score 12, minimum; giving 3 loses to those who have fire in their bellies. Now tell me anyone else you can think of who can lay down that number on consistent basis?

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Now tell me anyone else you can think of who can lay down that number on consistent basis?

Right now? Nobody. If Hakuho should indeed be injured, we may be reliving the 1999/2000 period when the yusho was open for anybody.

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He's back, landing in Fukuoka a while ago. His kyujo is certain, and according to Takasago, Asa has told him he will be entering the winter jungyo which will run between December 2nd-20th. Till then, he intends to do keiko with the heya's lower ranked rikishi to get his ring sense back. Asked if there was a chance he would return yet again to Mongolia, Takasago said no, but who knows..

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He's back, landing in Fukuoka a while ago. His kyujo is certain, and according to Takasago, Asa has told him he will be entering the winter jungyo which will run between December 2nd-20th. Till then, he intends to do keiko with the heya's lower ranked rikishi to get his ring sense back. Asked if there was a chance he would return yet again to Mongolia, Takasago said no, but who knows..

There go my conspiracy theories. :-)

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Let's see, Asa's not in form and his heart is somewhere after he returns and Hakuho is injured. Likely he can score 12, minimum; giving 3 loses to those who have fire in their bellies. Now tell me anyone else you can think of who can lay down that number on consistent basis?

Not sure if Asashoryu can get 12 wins on a consistent basis at this point in time. Do you? And welcome to the forum. :-)

Edited by Jejima

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Asashouryuu was in the "I can't say anything at this point because I don't know" mode today after his return from Mongolia. As for the elbow: "It's gotten much better. I've been using weights to strengthen the muscles as well", he said. "We have discussed it (the kyujo) between us. It's four days before the basho. You do the math.. In any case, a formal decision will be made before the 7th, when the torikumi makers convene", said Takasago Oyakata. "Yes, we are nearing a critical point in Asashouryuu's career for sure. All I can do is back him up..", he added.

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