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Dohyo Preparation - 2015 Haru

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Pictures from the Kyokai showing the construction of the dohyo for this basho.

The yobidashi begin by removing excess earth from the sides and top, as they start to form the basic shape of the dohyo. [2]



Hiromasa, Mikio and Tsurutaro begin to pack the sides of the dohyo with a kotako.


This line-up is beginning the initial smoothing of the top, referred to as 'mugifumi', a term more commonly used by wheat and barley farmers.


Packing down the top of the dohyo with the larger and heavier otako.


In the shitaku-beya, other yobidashi are beginning to make the tawara for the dohyo. Naoki holds this one open while Mamoru pours in some dirt.


Kotozo, Rokuro and Hiroyuki are shown wrapping the tawara.


A closer look at Kotozo.


Keisuke in this one.


Back in the arena, the tataki are now being used to continue packing down the surface of the dohyo.


Here, Shuntaro (closest) and Teruya are using the tataki's little brother to work on the side.


Yuto (closest) and Kohei are doing the same on another side.


Setsuo and Shin are hammering down on this piece of cord to mark out the centre of the dohyo. The cord also helps the yobidashi to see that the surface is level. [2]



Having found the exact centre of the dohyo, Masayuki is now marking out the ring with a nail.


Now to the second day of construction. Standing with the shovel here is the newest recruit to the yobidashi ranks, Yuji.


Fujio digs out some earth to make the groove for the shobudawara, the main ring.


Kaito makes some fine adjustments to the edge of the groove.


Back in the shitaku-beya the tawara production line is still working. Shigetaro uses a beer bottle to hammer this tawara into shape.


Rokuro and Yohei wrapping these tawara. [2]



In the arena, Daikichi is in charge of fitting the tawara, shown here checking to make sure that the groove is cut to the correct depth.


Daikichi uses a stick to pack in the soil around this tawara.


Mitsuaki does some final hammering to smooth out this side of the dohyo.


Fujio and Masayuki are now digging the groove for the kadodawara, the straight bales along the edges of the dohyo.


Tsurutaro and Shuntaro make the fine adjustments to this groove.


Yuto places one of the kadodawara.


Naoki packs in the soil around this one.


Koji and Kunio give the dohyo one more hammering with the tataki as the surface is almost finished. [2]



Edited by Yubinhaad
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Thank you for the pics. I can see my seat in the nosebleed section in 2013. :-)

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Thank your for this very interesting pictures and for naming the Yodobashi!

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The use of (empty) beer bottles during the construction continues to fascinate me. :-)

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One like does not show enough appreciation for the film of events described (Showing respect...)


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In this day and age, it is very rare that something is created by combining simple materials and massive manpower. We are so used to prefab and mass manufactured things that it's easy to forget that it is also possible to build houses (earth lodges) and raising barns for little money by a community of people.

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Watching these pictures is strangely pleasing. Makes me want to take part in it. Looks very rewarding too. Can volunteers take part in it? Is there schools that organize tours to these workshops? Want to learn packing earth into beautiful flat surface, and using beer bottles correctly.

Edited by wanderer

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A few more pictures showing the yobidashi completing their work on the dohyo and tsuriyane for the Haru basho.

Kaito carves out one of the agaridan (steps) and then packs some dirt around the fumidawara to secure it in place. [2]



Tsurutaro uses a kotataki to smooth out this completed step.


The beer bottle is back in action now, yobidashi Akira using it to smooth out the corner niche where the mizuoke (water pail) will stand.


Akira also works on the haki-mizuguchi, the water receptacle into which the rikishi will spit the chikara-mizu during the shikiri.


Some final smoothing of the dohyo surface from Soichi, Teruki and Ryuji. [3]




In the middle of the dohyo, Yohei carves out the hole into which the shizumemono will be placed during the dohyo-matsuri.


The dohyo is almost ready for the basho.


The yobidashi now add decorative features to the tsuriyane. Hiroyuki helps to attach the mizuhikimaku, the curtain which hangs from all four sides of the tsuriyane.


Akira arranges one of the agemaki tassles which hang in the middle of the curtain on each side of the tsuriyane. Agemaki is the name of the trefoil knot in the tassle.


Hiromasa, guided by Hiroyuki, arranges one of the much larger tassles which hang above the four corners of the dohyo. Each weighs around 25kg.


Back on the dohyo, Teruya paints the shikiri-sen, the starting lines.


The raising/lowering system which operates the tsuriyane in the Kokugikan automatically finds the correct height, but for the regional basho the yobidashi have to use a measuring stick each time, as demonstrated by Soichi.


Thanks to the yobidashi, everything is now ready for the dohyo-matsuri and then the basho.


One final preparation for the basho which I'll just add here. Some new nameplates have been prepared for the electronic signboard in the arena. Shown in the picture are nameplates for Juryo rikishi who were not in the division at the last Haru basho, as well as some for rikishi in the top few Makushita ranks, who may be called up to fight Juryo bouts this basho. They were written by my favourite gyoji, Kimura Yonosuke.

Top row, left to right: Onosho, Abiko, Kagayaki.

Second row: Daieisho, Kotoeko, Hidenoumi.

Third row: Abi, Takagi, Amakaze.

Bottom row: Nishikigi, Shodai, Kawabata.


Edited by Yubinhaad
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BTW, here are a couple videos I took of them lowering the tsuriyane on the last day of the Osaka basho in 2013

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