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Kintamayama

Famous loser gets a loser name change!

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Ootake Oyakata has done it again. After naming one of his guys Migikataagari (who BTW got a small change in his own shikona by dropping off the final hiragana り, leaving it at 右肩上) two bashos ago to maybe change his luck, he's decided on a new one. Our hapless Morikawa, with his 38 consecutive basho MKs since his debut back in Haru 2003 has been rechristened Moriurara, after horse racing history's biggest loser Haruurara (follow the link, it's cool..), with her 113 consecutive losses and eventual semi-retirement, though not official..

Ex-Morikawa the bashful yet good-hearted loser with his new shikona:

spf0911021050001-p1.jpg

Edited by Kintamayama

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Poor lad. It's bad enough to be doing so badly, without being renamed Dobbin.

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I'd like to know his background...

Is there really nothing waiting for him, he could spend his future with? :(

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I'd like to know his background...

As it happens, Nikkan Sports delivered exactly that today. Anybody willing to translate the finer points that I'd surely miss/mangle if I tried? (Whistling...)

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With new name it is escaping from the worst record! New official ranking list in professional sumo of the grand sumo tournament Kyushu place (15th first day, the Fukuoka international center) was announced, since name being recorded before official ranking list in professional sumo for the first time, Morikawa (22= Otake) who has the dishonorable record, 38 place continual being defeated crossing over the forest 麗 ([ri] and others and others) with did and changed name densely and started re-.Name the [se] is around

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The race horse, Haruurara, became a crowd favorite while losing 113 races in a row. "Morikawa shares a lot in common with the horse," said Futagoyama Oyakata. "Otake Oyakata and I thought about it and decided to change his shikona in the hope that he could become a rikishi that would be loved by everyone even while losing."

Well, the ploy is working. Around twenty members of the media showed up for the announcement of his name change. Not only is that unheard of for a jonokuchi rikishi, that is a good turnout even for a similar interview of a sekitori. "I am very happy," said the newly-renamed Moriurara in a barely audible voice, which in Japan is described as a cry of a mosquito. "Of course, I was surprised when I first heard about [the change]."

Futagoyama remembers him as a shy, withdrawn kid. The only thing he loved was sumo, which he started when he was in second grade. Through the introduction of an acquaintance, he participated in a trial nyumon at Otake Beya during the summer of 2002. The "friendless" boy was tremendously impressed by the kindness and guidance of the oyakata and ani-deshi. He said, "I was so happy [there] that I didn't want to go home." A trial period of one week turned into three weeks.

He had his dohyo debut the following (2003) Natsu Basho. Futagoyama recalls, "At first, not only couldn't he do proper shiko or matawari, he couldn't even wash dishes or use a broom." Even now, six years later, his ability as a rikishi is still lacking. Last summer, he lost easily to a high schooler who had come for a trial stay. With the repeated make-koshi, the oyakata has approached him several times with the inevitable question, "Ummm, isn't it about time you considered intai?" Each time, Morikawa would respond with tears in his eyes, "I don't want to quit."

In "An Officer and a Gentleman," the character played by Richard Gere was confronted by the drill sergeant with, "Why don't you do all of us a favor and just quit, Mayo?" His desperately haunting response was "I can't. . . . I got nowhere else to go!"

Edited by madorosumaru
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As mentioned elsewhere, the second part of Moriurara's shikona was also changed. The pronunciation of "Yuki" remains the same but the kanji characters are now 勇気, meaning "courage." Futagoyama Oyakata hopes that the guy will develop some cojones so he can finally put an end to his losing ways. "I really want him to taste kachi-koshi--even if just once," the soft-hearted oyakata said. "I hope this [shikona change] will serve as an impetus for that." One sports publication wrote that hopefully Moriurara will be able to rid himself of the humiliating sobriquet of "The Weakest Rikishi in the History of Ozumo."

Haruurara, the horse, began competing at the Kochi Racetrack in November 1998 and was winless until her final race in August 2004. When the losing streak reached 80, it had started attracting national attention. In fact, it was such a certainty that a bet on Haruurara would not "hit" that betting tickets on the horse would be purchased by people who used them as a lucky charm to avoid traffic accidents. That became so popular that at the height of "Haruurara Boom" that the Kochi Racetrack had to set up a special window just to sell "win" tickets for the "sure-miss" filly.

NSK is expecting a larger crowd--more than the usual assortment of retirees, parents of rikishi and fanatic gaijin fans--to attend the early morning jonokuchi bouts and cheer for the desperately inept Moriurara.

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Many, many thanks. (Whistling...) Am I the only one who was floored to learn that he's been doing sumo for 15+ years now? I mean, I can sort of sympathize - I was doing free-style wrestling after class for maybe two and a half years while in elementary school, mostly due to parental belief that I ought be doing something and that just happened to be on offer, and I utterly, brutally sucked at it, but still - since second grade?! Dang.

Still, just goes to show: arguably Morikawa Moriurara (still getting used to it...) is as much a symbol of what Ozumo can stand for as any yokozuna. Who knows, maybe he'll turn into an unlikely "we're not just about pot and hazing here, y'know" ambassador for sumo now that his career is getting some mainstream-ish attention...

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If he has nowhere else to go, he should try to make himself indispensable (sp?) by becoming the best cook in the heya... or maybe start the heyas blog, but I guess hes not the eloquent type like Ichinoya...

Anyway, nice reading, Ive been knowing about Morikawas results for quite a while now but its good to know whats behind all this. In a way, in these cases sumo acts as a social net, catching up (only few) youths who dont know where to go, and maybe showing them a perspective in life even when theyre unsuccessful in sumo. Learning all these household chores and a bit of humility has advantages, and Id guess some Oyakatas or Anideshi can use connections to give retirees a job.

Edited by Andreas

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The news of the name change is all over the media. Moriurara had his picture splashed all over the major newspapers and I am sure he was on television. How many people in any walk of life can boast of having been interviewed by national press?

Not surprisingly, the Moriurara story is a hot topic in various blogs and forums. Some typical reactions:

"I've never heard of the guy before . . ."

"One has to be quite a sumo fan or a total weirdo to know anything about him . . ."

"I don't know anything about horseracing, but even I have heard of Haruurara . . ."

"It's an interesting shikona but it hardly presents a strong image . . ."

"Ozumo must be a wonderful place to allow an utter failure like this guy to stick around for over six years without achieving anything . . ."

"I guess you have to respect the guy for persevering despite all the losses . . ."

But this sums it all:

"I'm sorry to say this, but the guy looks like a complete loser even in the photos . . ."

All the media attention will probably help Moriurara find a job when he finally decides to cut the umbilical cord. Stories like this usually result in some benefactors appearing out of the blue. This is the likely motivation for the oyakata's decision.

For him to maintain his "fame" and become a poster boy for NSK, he would have to keep on losing. One KK and the story would be finito. So, onward with the ignominious streak of futility . . . Hmmm, I wonder if anyone would accuse him of "mukiryoku sumo" or yaocho if he loses a 3-3 bout. (Whistling...)

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I went to look at the banzuke, where I expected him to be at or very near the bottom. Not at all, he is Jk16E!

This provoked me to look at his record via the (excellent) sumo reference site, and now I am very confused! With an all-MK record, he has bounced up & down the banzuke, once getting into Jonidan!

So it seems that even with a bad losing record, a rikishi can be promoted. I imagine the new entrants always appear lower on the banzuke than those already there, but I'm pretty sure that does not account for all the upward movement with a losing record.

Anyone explain this further? (Sign of approval...)

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I went to look at the banzuke, where I expected him to be at or very near the bottom. Not at all, he is Jk16E!

This provoked me to look at his record via the (excellent) sumo reference site, and now I am very confused! With an all-MK record, he has bounced up & down the banzuke, once getting into Jonidan!

So it seems that even with a bad losing record, a rikishi can be promoted. I imagine the new entrants always appear lower on the banzuke than those already there, but I'm pretty sure that does not account for all the upward movement with a losing record.

Anyone explain this further? (Sign of approval...)

Try making a banzuke where all losing records at the bottom of the banzuke go down and you have the answer for yourself.

Oh, and in addition to that there are retirees who free more slots the deeper down you go in the banzuke.

Edited by Doitsuyama

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Still, there would be no need to actually promote MK rikishi to Jonidan. But for various reasons (e.g. a somewhat fixed proportion between Jonidan and Jonokuchi) most or all Jonokuchi rikishi who finish 3-4 in a Haru Basho will be promoted to Jonidan for the Natsu banzuke - that's when Jonokuchi becomes filled with the highest annual number of new entrants.

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More generally, the relative movements between different records are kept even when there are no more KK rikishi to assign. In other words, you don't see something like this (as found in sumo game banzukes sometimes): Jk10e 2-5 -> Jk11e, Jk11e 3-4 -> Jk11w, where the difference in wins is pretty much disregarded because the banzuke maker is hellbent on demoting everybody with a MK. Instead, something like the following might both be treated as roughly equivalent and it doesn't matter that a 3-4 makekoshi results in a promotion in one case:

Jk2w 2-5 -> Jk17w

Jk15w 3-4 -> Jk17e

=

Jk12w 2-5 -> Jk17w

Jk25w 3-4 -> Jk17e

Edited by Asashosakari

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