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sekihiryu

Kaio retires

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Reading the onlines, the angle many are emphasizing is "No Japanese above Sekiwake now". Sure, everyone is saying how great he was and all, but some are lamenting the above fact quite loudly.

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Sorry to rain on everyone's parade, but I think everything surrounding KaioU these last few years was shameful. Many people signed up to do their utmost so he could break the records or whatever. I think with the latest concrete proof provided of what we always suspected goes on behind the scenes, nobody should be surprised or outraged by what I'm saying. He was a true powerhouse in his heyday although I was never a fan, but nobody can take that away from him.

I'm glad he has finally put himself (and some of us) out of our collective misery. The timing of his retirement proves my point perfectly, in my mind. These last few years, it was more painful than not to watch what had become of him, especially to those who knew him "before".

And all this for some records which I'm sure at least some of us believe he was not capable of breaking by himself.

Kaio had an absolute right to go for breaking those records, and I believe they will stand for a very long time- this was a once in a generation chance for him. And you have absolutely zero evidence that anyone "signed up to do their upmost." A back-scratchers club is one thing, but I don't believe for a second that there was any organised, concerted effort behind the scenes to ensure he made it.

Edited by ryafuji

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Oh well, he wasn't a true Ozeki last couple of years, so perhaps it's good to see him retire before he would fail to save his Ozeki status. If not for the possible record breakings, he would already have retired quite a while ago. After all, almost 20 years being a Sekitori, 17 in Sanyaku ranks & 11 years as an Ozeki must have been enough.

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Kaio had an absolute right to go for breaking those records, and I believe they will stand for a very long time- this was a once in a generation chance for him. And you have absolutely zero evidence that anyone "signed up to do their upmost." A back-scratchers club is one thing, but I don't believe for a second that there was any organised, concerted effort behind the scenes to ensure he made it.

Yes, he has the absolute right, no arguing about that. I never said anything was "organized". Most yaocho bouts are not "organized", that's why it's nearly impossible to prove them. KaioU never demanded to win his matches. When they are "organized" ala Kasuganishiki, they get caught I guess. KaioU was revered and admired as a human and a rikishi by his fellow rikishi. These last few years, there were many "suspect" matches, and I'm not talking about the obvious Ozeki club because that one went both ways.

It was a simple act of honoring their mentor, and "paying him back" by helping him reach an unattainable milestone, which as you correctly foresee, will stand for a very long time.

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Yeah, even a die-hard fan like me thought it likely he would win over fellow veteran and obliging rikishi such as Tenho and Ami-chan, and knew it would be impossible for KaioU to win against Kisenosato and (this basho's) Kotoshogiku. Now I know how gernobono feels, seeing the bouts come out as you predicted is no fun at all. (I am not worthy...)

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Reading the onlines, the angle many are emphasizing is "No Japanese above Sekiwake now". Sure, everyone is saying how great he was and all, but some are lamenting the above fact quite loudly.

Ozeki Kotoshogiku is pretty much a shoo-in at this point, middle basho record of the three notwithstanding.

Edited by Harry

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Kaio had an absolute right to go for breaking those records, and I believe they will stand for a very long time- this was a once in a generation chance for him. And you have absolutely zero evidence that anyone "signed up to do their upmost." A back-scratchers club is one thing, but I don't believe for a second that there was any organised, concerted effort behind the scenes to ensure he made it.

Yes, he has the absolute right, no arguing about that. I never said anything was "organized". Most yaocho bouts are not "organized", that's why it's nearly impossible to prove them. KaioU never demanded to win his matches. When they are "organized" ala Kasuganishiki, they get caught I guess. KaioU was revered and admired as a human and a rikishi by his fellow rikishi. These last few years, there were many "suspect" matches, and I'm not talking about the obvious Ozeki club because that one went both ways.

It was a simple act of honoring their mentor, and "paying him back" by helping him reach an unattainable milestone, which as you correctly foresee, will stand for a very long time.

Oh fine, I don't disagree with that. I thought you were referring to Kasuganishiki-type deals. Thanks for clarifying.

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Ozeki Kotoshogiku is pretty much a shoo-in at this point, middle basho record of the three notwithstanding.

Not if he loses two of his next four he isn't.

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Ozeki Kotoshogiku is pretty much a shoo-in at this point, middle basho record of the three notwithstanding.

Not if he loses two of his next four he isn't.

I expect he will be shoo-ed in the rest of the way. I really should have bet on him winning today... ahem, by picking him in bench of course.

Edited by Harry

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Ozeki Kotoshogiku is pretty much a shoo-in at this point, middle basho record of the three notwithstanding.

Not if he loses two of his next four he isn't.

Have you seen his possible opponents for the days 13 to 15? I hear Kyokutenho can be very accomodating.

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Now I know how gernobono feels, seeing the bouts come out as you predicted is no fun at all. (Whatever above, it is funny...)

i do not know, if the smiley means that your comment is ironic

but for me those fixed bouts do not take away too much from ozumo for me...it is part of the ozumo i know....it is just that people who think that this is all for "real" are disappointed....

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Ozeki Kotoshogiku is pretty much a shoo-in at this point, middle basho record of the three notwithstanding.

Not if he loses two of his next four he isn't.

Have you seen his possible opponents for the days 13 to 15? I hear Kyokutenho can be very accomodating.

Tomorrow Kakuryuu-if he loses, he needs to win all three of his next matches. Tenhou and who else?

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Now I know how gernobono feels, seeing the bouts come out as you predicted is no fun at all. (Whatever above, it is funny...)

i do not know, if the smiley means that your comment is ironic

but for me those fixed bouts do not take away too much from ozumo for me...it is part of the ozumo i know....it is just that people who think that this is all for "real" are disappointed....

I for one, up to about half an hour ago until reading this post thought that Sumo was for real, i am having great trouble understanding what is meant by a lot of these terms, support, help for, honoring their mentor? what does this mean? that matches are being thrown out of respect for people instead of for payment?

I hope i have misunderstood this thread, i thought the match fixing had been taken care of and was finished with, otherwise what was the point of that technical tournament? surely i must have misunderstood.

Edited by Bugman

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Now I know how gernobono feels, seeing the bouts come out as you predicted is no fun at all. (Whatever above, it is funny...)

i do not know, if the smiley means that your comment is ironic

but for me those fixed bouts do not take away too much from ozumo for me...it is part of the ozumo i know....it is just that people who think that this is all for "real" are disappointed....

I for one, up to about half an hour ago until reading this post thought that Sumo was for real, i am having great trouble understanding what is meant by a lot of these terms, support, help for, honoring their mentor? what does this mean? that matches are being thrown out of respect for people instead of for payment?

I hope i have misunderstood this thread, i thought the match fixing had been taken care of and was finished with, otherwise what was the point of that technical tournament? surely i must have misunderstood.

Giving wins up to your senpai is very well understood in Japanese culture. They are not shocked by this at all and in fact they find our shock to be shocking. Of course you help your senpai! One day you will need help from your kouhai and you know you'll get it. Ask any Japanese person and you'll likely hear the same thing though we did hear of someone in the audience yelling "yaocho" after a match so perhaps they aren't as accepting of it now.

They don't mind henka either. They say a win is a win which it is. There are no more points for a yorikiri than a hatakikomi.

They have concepts of small-scale collective truth and other notions which we find even more bizarre. It really is a very different culture with a very different way of thinking. The modern age may be changing that, I'd need to read more to see if that is true.

I have co-workers and customers in Japan who I deal with and it is very different dealing with them than with customers and co-workers in north america or europe. It helps to be mindful of the differences in thought and ideals.

Edited by Harry

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Giving wins up to your senpai is very well understood in Japanese culture. They are not shocked by this at all and in fact they find our shock to be shocking.

If that is the case, then what was the point of the technical tournament? if NOT giving up wins to your Senpai is shocking to them, then why the false concern for fixed matches?

Of course you help your senpai! One day you will need help from your kouhai and you know you'll get it..

As far as i can see, that is just corruption, worse it could stop a lot of up and coming, genuinely exciting wrestlers from ever making it to the top ranks because the vacancies would be filled by back-scratchers allowing each other to keep getting their kachi-kochi (apologies if i mispelt that), i understand the concept of loyalty as much as the next man, but conning the audience is a step too far, as far as i am concerned anyway.

Wow, today has been a real eye opener for me, sorry to say but i don't think i'l be watching much Sumo anymore, a great pity for me as i really liked it, but if matches are being thrown still and that is considered normal i don't see the point of watching, i was wondering why Sumo, which is such a fun sport to watch wasn't more popular, i think i understand why now.

What a disappointment, i really am very naive.

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Good for him ...

he was the greatest non-yokozuna i've ever watch wrestle but he was a shadow of himself and a non-factor in more than enough years. Happy to see him go but sad that this means i am getting older too.

thanks for the many thundering tachi-ais !!!

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Ozeki Kotoshogiku is pretty much a shoo-in at this point, middle basho record of the three notwithstanding.

Not if he loses two of his next four he isn't.

Have you seen his possible opponents for the days 13 to 15? I hear Kyokutenho can be very accomodating.

Tomorrow Kakuryuu-if he loses, he needs to win all three of his next matches. Tenhou and who else?

Anyone... at M4 and below. Okinoumi and Takekaze are next in line. Ok, he is 8-11 against Takekaze, so this could be interesting, but given the story line...

Edited by Doitsuyama

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Wow, today has been a real eye opener for me, sorry to say but i don't think i'l be watching much Sumo anymore, a great pity for me as i really liked it, but if matches are being thrown still and that is considered normal i don't see the point of watching, i was wondering why Sumo, which is such a fun sport to watch wasn't more popular, i think i understand why now.

What a disappointment, i really am very naive.

Don't be disappointed-we're all building a world which may or may not exist based on our personal conjectures and feelings. Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about-shouldn't spoil your enjoyment-my head is full of these conspiracy theories after 50 years of watching sumo, yet I watch with great excitement, so it shouldn't really bug you, man..

Edited by Kintamayama

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As far as i can see, that is just corruption, worse it could stop a lot of up and coming, genuinely exciting wrestlers from ever making it to the top ranks because the vacancies would be filled by back-scratchers allowing each other to keep getting their kachi-kochi (apologies if i mispelt that), i understand the concept of loyalty as much as the next man, but conning the audience is a step too far, as far as i am concerned anyway.

Wow, today has been a real eye opener for me, sorry to say but i don't think i'l be watching much Sumo anymore, a great pity for me as i really liked it, but if matches are being thrown still and that is considered normal i don't see the point of watching, i was wondering why Sumo, which is such a fun sport to watch wasn't more popular, i think i understand why now.

What a disappointment, i really am very naive.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. It's a rather complicated dynamic, and it's quite different at the top than down in the dumps of the juryo division where the Kasuganishiki clique (pun intended) made a sport of trading wins back and forth on a large scale for sheer self-preservation.

1) It's done voluntarily on the part of the 'giver', and it's not exactly an outright "today I'm going to give up a win to that guy", more a lack of motivation to do one's best. That can be due to an actual senpai-kohei relationship (although I think Harry goes a bit far in applying that to ozumo - most well-defined such relationships are inside heyas, and those rikishi won't meet on the dohyo), a general feeling of respect and compassion for a struggling opponent - this is where being as widely respected as Kaio comes into play - or simply a temporary attitude that this particular bout isn't very important to the giver, the classic case being "I just made my 8 wins, no need to go all-out in the rest of the tournament and risk injury". Most of the time the 'receiver' won't even know he was just sort-of gifted a win, certainly not before the bout.

2) At the very top of the banzuke there tends to be an unspoken "we're all in this together" attitude. It ebbs and rises with time, depending on the personalities involved. The 1990s were supposedly a very "clean" period, as the coaches in both powerhouse stables Futagoyama and Musashigawa were very keen on not allowing any shenanigans whatsoever. The ozeki squads of last five or so years have drawn some - okay, a lot - of criticism, because the lack of motivation in bouts against a struggling fellow ozeki was often quite obvious and hard to ignore. That may or may not be a thing of past now after the yaocho busts.

2a) In addition, the "we're all in this together" thing has a meta level. As a professional enterprise, Ozumo needs standard bearers, and that's necessarily the yokozuna and ozeki. The whole Kyokai is worse off if a popular ozeki (no names to keep it neutral) was injured in a basho, and then goes 6-9 in his kadoban appearance two months later and gets demoted because of lack of training time, even though everybody realizes that when he's back at full strength he'll still "deserve" to be an ozeki. Duty to the collective is strong in Japan, and generally doesn't need to be spelled out, so some (maybe many) rikishi will engage in anticipatory obedience to the greater good, and maybe not go 100% against the ozeki in question. Voila, that 6-9 just became an 8-7, the ozeki's career has been saved, in the next basho he'll resume being a "proper" ozeki, and everybody's happy, including the audience.

This has become quite a bit more complicated with the strong arrival of foreigners in the high ranks - they typically don't share the Japanese ethos on this, but they often come with their own set of loyalties, so again depending on the characters involved there may be more or less of a tendency towards "unmotivation" at a particular point in time.

3) The top ranks aren't comparable to juryo or even lower makuuchi, because up there stability is a prized commodity, and there are only a limited number of rikishi who "qualify" for the standard bearer roles. Doing yaocho in juryo genuinely keeps out talented newcomers because there are always hungry newcomers at that level; doing occasional unmotivated sumo at the very top just helps to keep the incumbents where they're needed because there often are no (as) good replacements. (Though admittedly this can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy - ozeki create popularity for ozumo because ozeki are popular per se, so any non-ozeki will look like an inferior replacement in a static view.)

4) There's a lot of historical baggage that Ozumo sometimes struggles to overcome. In essence, Ozumo has taken the opposite path of how pro-wrestling has developed - the latter having its roots in (mostly legitimate) catch wrestling contests that became more and more "for show" over time, merging with the "carny wrestling" tradition that was expressly designed to milk the "marks" of their money. By contrast, Ozumo was originally a mix of ceremonial matches (where the respective patrons of the fighters were generally more important than the rikishi themselves), and low-brow entertainment designed to dazzle the ordinary folks and/or get them to donate money to whatever cause needed it.

The concept of "sports" didn't really exist in Japan in the times we're talking about, 18th and early 19th century. Sumo as a mostly meritocratic series of contests dates back less than 150 years, and this development has been a long drawn-out process. In the long view sumo has always become more meritocratic over time (60 years ago Chiyonoyama was originally denied the yokozuna promotion as he was deemed too immature while his performances were already strong enough - 8 years ago nobody dared do that with Asashoryu although the character misgivings were just as strong), but on shorter time periods there's always been an up and down, a struggle between those who try to develop professional sumo as a sports contest in the Western mold, and those who believe the competitive side is secondary to the ceremonial and ritual aspects and who will thus excuse a lot of the stuff us Westerners would consider underhanded and shady.

You're free to turn away from sumo if this is too much for you to stomach, but given your enthusiastic arrival to the forum I think you'll be missing out. But it definitely helps to be an informed fan, because sumo can be very hard to grasp for people accustomed only to Western sports models, and surprises lurk behind many corners. If it's a consolation - practically all of us, especially the ones who didn't come into contact with sumo by living in Japan, have had to travel this road. Everyone comes to their own equilibrium over time - you'll find that some aspects maybe aren't as bad as you originally thought, some you'll grin and bear because there's no way around them (henka is in that category for many of us - nearly every fan starts out hating it), and some you feel like denouncing at every turn until the Kyokai hopefully gets rid of them. Just about everyone here on the forum can name some things they personally feel are in the last category, but all in all we find more to like than to dislike. Ozumo ain't perfect.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Holy shit, that post turned out long...

But a keeper-should be pinned to a "Before you become a die-hard fan, read this" category, like the "terms of use" on every piece of software we install..

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Holy shit, that post turned out long...

But a keeper-should be pinned to a "Before you become a die-hard fan, read this" category, like the "terms of use" on every piece of software we install..

Preferably with holy shit part removed, to keep some needed decorum? (Whatever above, it is funny...)

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Holy shit, that post turned out long...

And i thank you for it because it was a very good one.

I have a feeling that in years to come, should i be lucky enough to still be on this earth i may look back at your post as a deciding factor in my decision to stick with Sumo, it is completely true that Sumo means a lot more to me than just who wins, winning in fact means very little to me, i think the inital shock of realising some matches were thrown made me have an instant reaction of disappointment and throw the baby out with the bathwater as you say.

Truth is i find many things about Sumo to be interesting, even fascinating, and that has little to do with who won, after reading your excellent post i realise there was no realistic chance of me losing interest in Sumo, although it may take a week or two for me to get used to watching Sumo with a slightly altered mind-set.

once again, thank you for the insight, it was invaluable and i greatly appreciate it.

Edited by Bugman

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Preferably with holy shit part removed, to keep some needed decorum? (Whatever above, it is funny...)

Hey, I did have the decorum to put the outburst into a separate post instead of one of my patented Edits:.

(Those were reserved for the 15 minutes of proof-reading I tacked on...sigh.)

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