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Featured rikishi: Toki

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Toki is 190cm tall weighing usually over 170kg. Takasago-beya's rikishi who is regularly seen as part of Asashoryu's yokozuna dohyo-iri. Born in 1974 he is one of the routined veterans who are not yet considered old but have already established an experience makuuchi rikishi status. His makuuchi record after Haru 2004 is 231 wins - 261 losses - 18 absences. He has won sandanme yusho once as well as makushita yusho.

Jun Tamashiro is his real name. He is married and has two children. Likes to go surfing with Aminishiki and is considered a very outgoing fellow with cheerful personality.

Most ardent Toki-fan in Europe must be Hoshifransu whose Toki-pages are here:

http://tokitoki.free.fr/index.html

This site will give you a very good impression of Toki and his family too. Some especially interesting sections are:

Gallery: Dozens of Toki-pics of which some are very high quality and large:

http://tokitoki.free.fr/gallery1.htm (move forward clicking the arrow in the right bottom side of the thumbnails)

Family photos:

http://tokitoki.free.fr/family.htm

LIsten to Toki's singing:

http://tokitoki.free.fr/fun/tokisinging.mpeg

Proof of surfing hobby:

http://tokitoki.free.fr/extra.htm

Very convenient way to download Toki's bouts by opponent!

http://tokitoki.free.fr/mov_opp.htm

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Hurray for TOKI! He'll be back from that injury yet! Excellent post by Kaikitsune, excellent topic.

:-S (Feeling guilty...) (Applauding...)

(In love...) (Sign of approval) (In love...)

:'-( :-( B-)

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Toki's sumo:

Toki's palms are not accustomed to fiddle with silk or cotton fabric. In other words Toki's yotsu is non-existent in sekitori-level competition. Basically if he lets someone take a strong hold of his belt, he is sure to lose. What he does when danger looms is a downward push targeted at foe's mae-mawashi grasping hands. For some reason most Toki's foes try to grab the frontal part of Toki's mawashi. Evidently it is because that is the only part one can reach when Toki's tsuki is in action. Very few rikishi can get a real hold on Toki's belt. Kotonowaka is one of those rikishi. Kotonowaka dominates Toki very convincingly and easily wraps him up and throws him down/escorts him out.

There have been incidents where Toki has managed to flip his foe over with a violent sukuinage and in some instances Toki has been able to conduct his pulling behaviour even when caught in yotsu. Nevertheless Toki's prospects in yotsu are very poor. His own comments after yotsu situations have been:

"I got hold of his belt but then I wondered what the heck I am supposed to do with it?!" - after a yotsu-bout against Kotonowaka that lasted even 1 minute mostly because Kotonowaka was in his minute mood.

"I have muscles to push but not for throwing. One should never try anything that one isn't accustomed to" - after a bout against Musoyama where Toki actually did some kind of a desperate throw injuring himself in the process

Toki's style is easy to describe. It consists of the following elements:

1. cheeks alternating between air-filled and air-void state

2. harite whenever possible and tsuki/oshi isn't in progress

3. setting up his foes for pulldown by attacking the throat and then withdrawing nicely with a violent contact yank or this peculiar "I'll just pull my hands back fast from his chest and he'll stumble"-withdrawal

4. Aforementioned downward push in order to break foe's attempt to seize the frontal part of his belt

Setting up his foes for pulldown with good oshi/tsuki pressure (often nodowa) is his main weapon in makuuchi. He masters that style very well. His good reach enables him to really bend his foes' upper body before the yank and his yanking move comes very dynamically into the play. Often his foes really collapse completely making their loss look like a very very bad loss. His pulldowns are often so strong that they fall under the category of very strong techniques and not cheap wins in any way. Toki makes hikiotoshi look good.

Another set of Toki-wins are the rare occasions when he can oust his foes in pushing sumo without pulling back. Some of these wins are devastating and dominating. Another set is harite-disorienting based wins. Here are some examples of that:

1st day Natsu basho 2000 against Tokitsuumi: Harite to chin knocks Tsuumi out.

http://dohyo.com/sumomovies/natsu2000/day1/toki_tokitsu.rm

15th day Natsu 2001 against Kotomitsuki: Huge harite knocks out Kotomitsuki. No video available on Dale's site.

7th day Kyushu basho 2002 against Tochinohana: Massive harite followed by extremely forced thrust down results in devastating victory against Tochinohana

http://banzuke.com/sumomovies/kyushu2002/d...ki_tochihana.rm

2nd day Haru 2003 against Kasugao: Kasugao tries to slap Toki as hard as he can, misses once, misses twice and Toki signals that "THIS IS MY GAME!" and menacingly attacks Kasu who collapses under the pressure.

http://banzuke.com/sumomovies/haru2003/day2/kasugao_toki.rm

Here you can see Toki's face to face records against sekitori:

http://www.scgroup.com/sumo/mtgs/Toki.html

Toki's least favourite foes:

Toki has 0-14 record against Chiyotaikai. It is because Taikai is too fast and propulsive to give Toki a chance to pull him down. 90% of the bouts between these two are Taikai's annihilatative attack to which Toki surrenders in 0.5-1.5 seconds.

Chiyotaikai in keiko against Toki...

chiyo-toki.jpg

Against Kotonowaka Toki has lost the last 10 bouts. This is because Kotonowaka is able to stop Toki easily and get the belt with his reach and overall massiveness.

He used to be 0-8 against Shuzan because Shuzan was able to take a hold of Toki's thrusting arms and then escort him out but now it seems thst Toki has found a way to circumvent that pitfall and has won 3 out of the 4 encounters with Shuzan.

4-14 against Nada because Nada is very strong against upper body thrusts. Toki has managed to slap Nada down with hatakikomi 3 times.

Of course Toki has big problems against all sanyaku basically. Only one win against Azuma and couple of lucky wins against KaioU (all by pulldown/slapdown) and usually loses fast to these ozeki.

Toki's favourite foes:

Otsukasa! He likes to pummel short Otsupotsu's face and does it with intensity and pleasure. Otsupotsu has such a poor reach that he has little chance to get close and hence he is a victim of constant pummeling. Toki is 8-0 against Otsupotsu.

Takanonami: If upper body pushers have "wet" dreams about upper bpody pushing bouts, then Toki must dream a lot about bouts against Takanonami. Nami is t he pefrect target for Toki. Nami is tall, big and not good at responding with oshi. Toki can often push him around for even 20 seconds without worries. Nami has huge problems getting to Toki's belt. Stranga in a ways as another tower Kotonowaka has so little problems at that. Toki has won 10 out of the last 11 bouts against Nami.

Nami looking calm against Toki:

toki-takanonami.jpg

Edited by Kaikitsune Makoto

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Toki's sideboards are combed. Seriously perfect. When you stand opposite him and he has a light source (best is natural like at Takasago) behind him the full effect can be seen.

AND THAT'S JUST FOR KEIKO!!!!

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I don't like his sideburns. I know it's a distinguishing factor, but still I dislike them. His sumo I like, though.

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Dislike???

That's the best part of him... (Laughing...)

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Yeah, and I don't even know why. From the first time I saw him, I thought to myself, "dude, go shave." Of course it's a matter of personal preference, highly subjective (Laughing...)

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One thing I always find amusing about Toki is the "rough face" he puts on in the pre-bout warm-up. He lifts his lower lip up over his upper lip to try and look menacing but to me he just looks funny.

(Applauding...)

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Toki once commented on Takanotsuru's sideburns somehow in some article. Does anyone have that article saved? He analyzed the differences there (Applauding...) For sporadic sumo viewers Toki is very distinctive rikishi. All the hanas, toris, namis are difficult to remember or even recognize by sporadic laymen whose sumo viewing experience is very infrequent and uneven. But Toki with his sideburns draws attention. His style draws attention too and in Finland his name is very easy to remember. "Toki" means "Sure" in Finnish (in context "Would you like to have a cup of coffee?" ... "Sure!" ie. "Ottaisitko kupin kahvia?"..."Toki!") so Toki has unique status in sporadic Finnish sumoviewers' mind.

One thing I always find amusing about Toki is the "rough face" he puts on in the pre-bout warm-up. He lifts his lower lip up over his upper lip to try and look menacing but to me he just looks funny.

Yes! And he accompanies that menacing face with quite determined mawashi slapping behaviour. He is one of the most dynamic mawashi slappers, if not the most dynamic, in makuuchi before the last crouch down before tachi-ai.

Questions:

1. Why do you like/dislike Toki's sumo?

2. What is the best part of his sumo?

3. What is your favourite Toki-match-up? Against which rikishi? And why?

My own answers:

I like Toki's sumo because it is surprisingly effective considering the fact that everybody is prepared for the inevitable pulldown. Yet even KaioU has falled into that once despite being totally unshaken by Toki's pushes. There is some irresistable attraction in a simple technique which is often so incredibly difficult to defend against regardless of the awareness. What adds the special nature is that that way Toki can beat guys whom he has very little chance of beating in any other way.

The best part of his sumo is the two-handed prolonged nodowa followed by a powerful yanking pulldown. When it works well, it is simply an awesome technique.

Toki-Takamisakari: Sakke doesn't go down to pulldowns and Toki always gets very aggressive against Sakke. Interesting bouts and style contrast.

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(Applauding...) I've been aching to pin some topic for some time now, and this seemed like a good candidate. (Blinking...)

Not to be completely OT: I like Toki, although my best friend hates him. I like Toki, because he truly does his own sumo. I like Toki because he started the revival of fluorescent mawashi. I like Toki because he tries to be scary and fails. I like Toki as I like half the banzuke.

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Questions:

1. Why do you like/dislike Toki's sumo?

2. What is the best part of his sumo?

3. What is your favourite Toki-match-up? Against which rikishi? And why?

I'll finally chime in, as I'm somewhat of a Toki fan myself ...

1. Favorite part - the chops, especially since I used to have similar sideburns myself. Of course I prefer 'Tsuru's, but I'm kind of superficial like that. Also like his demeanor....seems like one of the most happy-go-lucky guys in Ozumo. As for what I don't like is that his sumo is SO one-dimensional that he's almost never able to pull out surprise wins. Unlike some (read: Robocop) who never seem to pull out those matches because they get too intimidated, Toki will still go full throttle, but his style just doesn't work a lick against most serial high rankers.

2. Massive harite....love it when he almost knocks someone out with a killer slap.

3. Being superficial yet again, I love the Chops vs. Chops Jr. matchup, if for nothing else to see two guys who look so similar going against each other with such disparate styles.

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Not to be completely OT: I like Toki, although my best friend hates him. I like Toki, because he truly does his own sumo. I like Toki because he started the revival of fluorescent mawashi. I like Toki because he tries to be scary and fails. I like Toki as I like half the banzuke.

I'll just have to agree here (although I don't have any friends who dislike Toki, or for that matter any friends who know about Toki at all). I also like Toki, as I like half the rikishi on the banzuke for one reason or another... (Blinking...)

To add something (or maybe not), Toki has the ability to beat many rikishi, but the complete inability to beat others... He ended up 0-15 against Musashimaru and is 0-14 against Chiyotaikai... For someone as good as Toki (and I must admit he's definitely better than I have given him credit for most of his career), those figures are quite remarkable... (Applauding...)

Edited by Yubiquitoyama

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To add something (or maybe not), Toki has the ability to beat many rikishi, but the complete inability to beat others... He ended up 0-15 against Musashimaru and is 0-14 against Chiyotaikai... For someone as good as Toki (and I must admit he's definitely better than I have given him credit for most of his career), those figures are quite remarkable... :-S

I used to really dislike Toki. Besides his looks, there was always his one-dimensional style which would bring him some wins over hiramaku, or even the odd win against sanyaku. But Toki against yokozuna/ozeki was for several years a pathetic match-up. Especially against yokozuna. It's not like Toki hasn't had his chances; if I counted correctly, Toki has had 29 (!) bouts against yokozuna in his career, and he has not won a single of those bouts. Watching the shikiri when Toki met Takanohana was particularly farcical. He has fared better against ozeki, but when an ozeki loses against Toki, it doesn't make the bout less pathetic, rather more ... (Applauding...) It is like Kaikitsune said: Toki's style often makes losses against him look very bad. And vice versa; Toki himself usually looks very bad when he loses.

Toki has never won a sansho either; for someone so often ranked in the upper half of makuuchi, that's almost an accomplishment. (I am not worthy...)

I said I used to dislike Toki. When I first started exploring the Internet sumo community (SML, this forum, game sites) I thought it was amusing to find that were some ardent Toki followers out there, like that crazy fellow from Gustavsberg who had even picked his shikona in honour of Toki. (Blinking...) I couldn't help being won over by such enthusiasm. And even more importantly, Toki himself improved his sumo last year, perfected his timing and his pulldowns, reached komusubi for the first time and did very well. Sekiwake Toki is not a joke anymore, it's a possibility. Right now I am rooting for Toki to get back to his 2003 form and get his first sansho. Too bad he has no chance for a kinboshi at the moment ...

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if I counted correctly, Toki has had 29 (!) bouts against yokozuna in his career, and he has not won a single of those bouts. Watching the shikiri when Toki met Takanohana was particularly farcical. He has fared better against ozeki, but when an ozeki loses against Toki, it doesn't make the bout less pathetic, rather more ... (In a state of confusion...) It is like Kaikitsune said: Toki's style often makes losses against him look very bad. And vice versa; Toki himself usually looks very bad when he loses.

I recently re-played Toki's bout against Takanohana in Aki 2002. I have to disagree with you. I think he gave Taka a run for his money, showing lots of fighting spirit and proving a bit hard to dispose of. Ultimately it was his lack of technique which did for him but I don't think it would be fair to describe the bout as pathetic.

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if I counted correctly, Toki has had 29 (!) bouts against yokozuna in his career, and he has not won a single of those bouts. Watching the shikiri when Toki met Takanohana was particularly farcical. He has fared better against ozeki, but when an ozeki loses against Toki, it doesn't make the bout less pathetic, rather more ...  (Eh?) It is like Kaikitsune said: Toki's style often makes losses against him look very bad. And vice versa; Toki himself usually looks very bad when he loses.

I recently re-played Toki's bout against Takanohana in Aki 2002. I have to disagree with you. I think he gave Taka a run for his money, showing lots of fighting spirit and proving a bit hard to dispose of. Ultimately it was his lack of technique which did for him but I don't think it would be fair to describe the bout as pathetic.

Yes, I was speaking rather generally. Of course there are exceptions. I don't think lack of fighting spirit has ever been Toki's problem. (Eh?)

And as I said, I used to dislike Toki. So I believe I used to be rather unfair to him as well - he might not have been as pathetic as I thought at the time. (Does that make sense...?) (In a state of confusion...)

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Hi, all ! I'm a sumo french fan. I also like Toki very much. (Hoshitango is one of my favorite too, as you guessed) I know Hoshifransu and the french fans very well.

Toki offered a dedicated tegata to one of his greatest fan, "Jean" Hoshifransu, watch this :

toki_tegata.jpg

Well, about Toki's sideburns story, I used to hear which is in fact a bad version :

It was after a love story : Toki decided not to shave himself at this spot and to let the sideburns grow up, but the truth is simpler : according to Eurosport's commentator Syd Hoare, this is Toki's first oyakata (RIP-Fujinishiki) who suggested it to Toki, to wear it like former champions did before him and especially during the 80's. This had to become Toki's trademark !

Jesse Kahaulua (Takamiyama) first nicknamed Toki, "Elvis". At this time, Toki was Konishiki's tsukebito and Konishiki was a rising champion, persuaded to move to Tokyo to begin a sumo career under the tutelage of Jesse.

Well, what I like very much about Toki, is the paradox between the funny aspect of his looking and the extreme rigour of his engagements : no fun because strict variation of tsuppari, nodowa, slaps, etc..

Big respects to Toki ! Long career to him ! (In a state of confusion...)

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Hi, all ! I'm a sumo french fan. I also like Toki very much. (Hoshitango is one of my favorite too, as you guessed) I know Hoshifransu and the french fans very well.

Welcome to the group, Mr. Mambo! I am also a fan of Hoshitango. Your shikona is very cool!! Please pass my regards to Hoshifransu. He is missed around here..

To get back on topic, Touki for me is in a category together with Asanowaka, Takamisakari, Kitazakura, Kyokushuuzan, and, lately, Hayateumi as the guys who bring some fun/color/offbeatness (??) to Sumo. I of course am not comparing these rikishi quality-wise, just saying that their fun-barometer is high in my book..

When Touki's good , he's very good. When he's not, well, he's kind of Asanowaka-esque..

Edited by Kintamayama

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Yes, I was speaking rather generally. Of course there are exceptions. I don't think lack of fighting spirit has ever been Toki's problem. (Eh?)

And as I said, I used to dislike Toki. So I believe I used to be rather unfair to him as well - he might not have been as pathetic as I thought at the time. (Does that make sense...?) (In a state of confusion...)

Absolute sense. Anyway I have every respect for your honesty in being prepared to change your mind.

(Eh?)

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Does everyone agree Toki will remain in maegashira for a long time before retiring, or do some think he has a good chance to obtain and retain a sanyaku rank?

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Does everyone agree Toki will remain in maegashira for a long time before retiring, or do some think he has a good chance to obtain and retain a sanyaku rank?

Short term sanyaku perhaps - long term sadly no - blows too hot and cold methinks.

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Does everyone agree Toki will remain in maegashira for a long time before retiring, or do some think he has a good chance to obtain and retain a sanyaku rank?

He almost managed to hold on to his Komusubi rank last time and return again the basho after dropping, so although he is not completely back from injury yet, I have no doubt he could well return to sanyaku both once and more. Maybe even stay there for a basho or so, although I am more sceptical on that...

Edited by Yubiquitoyama

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I believe, once he is fully recovered from injury, he is capable of returning to Sanyaku. But I think an extended stay there is beyond his capacity.

His greatest strength is also his greatest weakness, he's just too one-dimensional to be able to taste success in the upper ranks for any great length of time.

I could, on the other hand, see him staying on as a Maegashira for quite a few years (baring further injury of course).

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