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Basho Talk - Haru Basho 2016 +++ Spoiler Alert! +++

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They can give Kisenosato all of the extra chances and lower standards that they want, but the fact is - if he can't win tournaments now, how's he gonna do it when he's Yokozuna? Ask Futahaguro about that. Does he really want to be the 4th Yokozuna?

Edited by rzombie1988

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The photo in the Japan Times is priceless. I love Harumafuji's big, goofy grin as he realizes he's been had and is charging off the dohyo under his own steam.

One of the best sumo's image ever!

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One Mongolian tournament win equals six basho titles?! What a crock of steaming bovine-excrement!! The fact of the matter is that Hakuho (the Bully) surpassed his father a thousand times over years.

Six equals thirty-six....completely asinine.

And furthermore, the Mongolian brute still isn't worthy of shining the great Takanohana's shoes. After all, there's more to being a great Yokozuna than just winning bloody matches.

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The photo in the Japan Times is priceless. I love Harumafuji's big, goofy grin as he realizes he's been had and is charging off the dohyo under his own steam.

I also remember Harumafuji pulling basically the same thing on Hakuho a number of years ago, resulting in Hak ending up around row 3 of the crowd. Though, admittedly, Ama was only an ozeki at the time and nowhere near being a dai-yokozuna. I'd expected some sort of payback by Hak for that in next tournament, but alas. It was business as usual.

So everybody's upset about that henka except the guy who caught it. Poetic justice?

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No, not forgotten, but with the recent promotion of Kakuryu to yokozuna with "only" one yusho, they set a new standard. And I cannot imaging that the YDC lowers the condition even further in such a short period of time.

Yokozuna promotion with only 1 yusho is nothing new. It happened twice while I was watching in the late 80s.

Ozeki Hokutoumi went 12-3Y in March 87, 13-2 in May and had the Tsuna for July. Same year, Ozeki Onokuni went 15-0Y in May, 12-3 in July, 13-2 in September, and he had his Tsuna for November.

It's before I was watching, but even the undeniably great Chiyonofuji 'only' went 11-4 as Ozeki in March 81, 13-2 in May and 14-1Y in July before he was Yokozuna for September...

It's not always that 'easy', though. Ozeki Konishiki went 13-2Y in November 91, 12-3 in January 92 and 13-2Y in March, and the YDC said it wasn't convincing enough! They were probably right, and he had a Sumo career that was about 5 years longer as a result.

Edited by RabidJohn
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It's not always that 'easy', though. Ozeki Konishiki went 13-2Y in November 91, 12-3 in January 92 and 13-2Y in March, and the YDC said it wasn't convincing enough! They were probably right, and he had a Sumo career that was about 5 years longer as a result.

Urban legend has it that this new strictness was established because of the Futahaguro incident.

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Urban legend has it that this new strictness was established because of the Futahaguro incident.

Yes, there's that, but I think Onokuni's 7-8 in September 1989 gave them another reason to more seriously consider who they were promoting.

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Well now that I have some time to put in my two cents about this, I will.

It's been really complicated for me having to watch Hakuho in how he wrestles lately. When it was him versus Asashoryu, I tended to prefer him over Asa because he was to me the "hero" over the "villain" in Asa. I think though that Hakuho's turning "heel" seems to have happened when he won the 33rd yusho. When he criticized the judges for the redo in his match against Kisenosato, the media jumped all over him for that, and he decided he wasn't going to put up with their shenanigans. But the media as it is can be a relentless machine, and everything wrong that Hakuho does can and will come under scrutiny.

These days it does seem that Hakuho wrestles very angrily, now that the situation regarding his father has come to light, it is sort of understandable. Even then, hard to feel too much compassion for the man himself when he seems to lose sight of himself where his status is at. What about people that have been hurt along the way? As far as I know (somebody feel free to enlighten me if they know otherwise) he hasn't apologized for putting Izutsu in the hospital. And when you disappoint the fans with the henka, then there's going to be some blowback. Hakkaku can say it was an "inashi" all he wants, that's just watering down the situation and avoiding the controversy.

Would I have done what the hecklers were doing? No. Do I agree with them? Yes. They came to see a good match and were disappointed to say the least. If you're the champion and you disappoint, you need to be ready for the criticism and controversy that is going to come with it. You need to be able to handle the media. Case in point, I don't know how many of you follow MMA, but those who do know that at UFC 193 Women's Bantamweight Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey was dethroned after suffering a humiliating KO to Holly Holm (who in turn got submitted by bitter Rousey rival Miesha Tate). The media and fans alike were relentless because one: the same media had built and hyped her up so much to be unbeatable with her then undefeated record and how she was beating opponents nowhere near her level. Two: MMA fans in general were tired of how she had presented herself as the heel of the sport and her attitude, and were very happy to rag on her to no end.

I feel in the same way, Hakuho has set himself up for that same kind of situation. He can be the champion all he wants, after all he is a yokozuna. He has surpassed a seemingly unbeatable record forged by Taiho, and this record may never be in danger again. Yet with all his accomplishments, as somebody mentioned in this thread already, the controversy can make people forget those. It can take years for somebody to achieve greatness, build a successful business, and the like. It also takes only one mistake to tear a person down. Hakuho may have the record, but let's not forget that this is a Japanese sport in Japan. You don't have too much room for error in the Japanese society where the price of a single mistake was ritual suicide in the feudal era.

Hakuho is going to have to make some vital decisions soon. He can change his ways in the hopes that people may have a more positive outlook on who he is. He can be more of the people's hero in Japan, even though he might have a big following, he can try and persuade the detractors that he is willing to wrestle like a Yokozuna. Or he can stay the course as is, which if it is fine to him, then run that ship the way he sees fit. In that case however, he must be prepared for the consequences. So what happens when he retires and he still doesn't have his Japanese citizenship? Will he try and wait another two years before Takanohana has a chance of becoming Chairman and possibly changing the Japanese citizenship oyakata policy? A lot of things to think about for him.

All of this stuff may or may not make sense, but that is my opinion on Hakuho the wrestler.

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No, not forgotten, but with the recent promotion of Kakuryu to yokozuna with "only" one yusho, they set a new standard. And I cannot imaging that the YDC lowers the condition even further in such a short period of time.

I really, really don't get the argument you're making. Three years ago, they already declared that Kisenosato was up for promotion after scoring a 13-2 jun-yusho in which he lost to the yusho winner, if he was to win the next yusho. That he didn't actually win that yusho makes no difference, unless you believe they were lying and they never intended to promote him at all. That's the only way your claim makes any sense and frankly, if that's what you believe, you just don't understand what's going on at all.

In the case of Kisenosato years ago they loosened the requirements (from somehow two fix back-to-back yushos to a yusho and a yusho equivalent) for the promotion becasue they wanted a new japanese born yokozuna. Quite understandable. But Kisenosato didn't make it. End of chapter one.

Then came Kakuryu, and his jun-yusho (with a win over the yusho winner) and following yusho in the next basho fulfilled perfect the requirements they set. Chapter two ends.

This promotion set a new standard at least for one, two years. The YDC will not lower the standards even further. So a jun-yusho without winning against the yusho winner will not meet the current requirements. That may change in the future, but now Kakuryus promotion is the rule.

And to somehow confirm my thoughs on this the YDC said that Kisenosato is not a candidate for promotion in the next tournnament.

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Wanted to post this in the kyujo thread (Rikishi Status) but found it has been locked.

Anyway, I post it here.

Haru 2016 saw very few kyujo rikishi in Makuuchi & Juryo.

A total of just 3 sekitori pulled out, 2 of them due to the flu, but all 3 returned.

Quite a low rate I guess - although it doesn't mean that they were all super-genki.

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Three years ago, they already declared that Kisenosato was up for promotion after scoring a 13-2 jun-yusho in which he lost to the yusho winner, if he was to win the next yusho.

In the case of Kisenosato years ago they loosened the requirements (from somehow two fix back-to-back yushos to a yusho and a yusho equivalent) for the promotion becasue they wanted a new japanese born yokozuna. Quite understandable. But Kisenosato didn't make it. End of chapter one.

Then came Kakuryu, and his jun-yusho (with a win over the yusho winner) and following yusho in the next basho fulfilled perfect the requirements they set. Chapter two ends.

This promotion set a new standard at least for one, two years. The YDC will not lower the standards even further. So a jun-yusho without winning against the yusho winner will not meet the current requirements. That may change in the future, but now Kakuryus promotion is the rule.

And to somehow confirm my thoughs on this the YDC said that Kisenosato is not a candidate for promotion in the next tournnament.

The YDC did NOT say that Kisenosato is not on a yokozuna run - they avoided to say outright that he is - or is not.

Kakuryu simply fulfilled the standard of yusho equivalent (play-off loss) and yusho: they had made the hurdles even higher for a while to 2 yusho in a row - and Kisenosato's hurdles being set way lower than that made it possible for Kakuryu to pass with just what was just.

Kisenosato had been "granted" a yokozuna run with a simple 13-2 runner-up finish like this time - nowhere near the yusho of 15-0 - and furthermore: with the next joint runner-up finish of now only 11-4 they talked about "prolonging" his yokozuna run for another basho.

The YDC praised only Hakuho and seemed to confirm that Kisenosato has to start from the beginning again, but then Uchiyama hinted again that a 15-0 might get him the rope.

The problem is that the term "junzuru" for the quality of the not-yusho basho among the 2 that may lead to promotion can cover both results: the real yusho equivalent of a play-off loss and the simple runner-up result like Kisenosato.

They can choose what suits them to allow the possibility of a tsuna run.

Edited by Akinomaki

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The long, epic battle

I really like the way Osunaarashi has improved his skills. At first he just slapped and elbowed and brawled and it was clear he was going to hit an insurmountable wall and injury would defeat him if he continued that way. But he learned. You could see the progress literally from day to day. And then the wise decision to operate before going any further. Look at him now -- excellent belt sumo, throws, defense and reaction speed. He will rise again, beat the Kaiseis and Aoiyamas and Ichinojos because he has a better arsenal and more power. Uninjured, he can beat Goeido, Giku, Kise, and yokozunas again the moment their concentration lapses and they leave a hole in their defense. Of all the non-Mongolian foreigners, he looks like having the greatest potential. I can't wait to see him back in the Makuuchi joi again.

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For some reason I am unable to access Nikkan Sports right now (probably something to do with cookies or cache), but I was able to read an article on my iPhone about the sansho. We all know that Kotoyuki won the shukun-sho and Ikioi would have won the kanto-sho had he beat Kotoyuki. What the Nikkan article mentioned is that Kotoyuki was also a candidate for the kanto-sho but Isegahama shut that conversation down due to Kotoyuki not having a good tachi-ai, referring to not touching his hands down enough.

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Then came Kakuryu, and his jun-yusho (with a win over the yusho winner) and following yusho in the next basho fulfilled perfect the requirements they set. Chapter two ends.

This promotion set a new standard at least for one, two years. The YDC will not lower the standards even further. So a jun-yusho without winning against the yusho winner will not meet the current requirements. That may change in the future, but now Kakuryus promotion is the rule.

Your argument breaks down right there because Kakuryu's promotion simply didn't establish a "new standard". It's always been yusho or equivalent, and 14-1 runner-up was always good enough to be part of a tsuna run. It simply happens very rarely that an ozeki posts 14 wins without winning the yusho; the last time before Kakuryu was over 20 years ago, and if this old SML post is to be believed (info from back then is hard to come by), Wakanohana was up for tsunatori after that. And that wasn't even a 14-1 with playoff loss.

Something else ozeki Kakuryu did that hadn't been done in a while was go 28-2 without winning both yusho; the last time that had happened before was in 1973.

In addition to all that, neither Kakuryu nor Kisenosato was the first time that they announced that a promotion won't necessarily require back-to-back yusho; Kaio, Tochiazuma and Chiyotaikai all received such comments back in the 00's. Want an example? Here you go - that was after Kaio and Chiyotaikai both went 13-2 behind a zensho Asashoryu, both losing to him of course. (The Kitanoumi comment referred to in there can be found here - yes! That's Kitanoumi saying 13-2 J followed by 14-1 without yusho should merit promotion. Back in 2004.)

But then all that has been explained umpteen times by now and people still persist in this fantasy that Kakuryu somehow got an easy deal...

Edited by Asashosakari
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Since the topic of what is needed for a tsuna run has re-emerged, i decided to do a bit of research myself. All information is courtesy of the sumodb. Also, this is pertaining to yokozuna promoted during the 6-basho era, which I read as 1958, since THAT is when 6 basho a year began.

There have been 27 rikishi promoted to Yokozuna since January 1958

Less than half of that total, 11 to be exact, have had a TWO YUSHO run.

Of that 11, 3 occured between 1958 and 1992, while 8 occured CONSECUTIVELY between 1993 and 2012

All others have had a combination of YUSHO/DOTEN/JUN and EVEN LOWER SCORES as part of their run.

Since he is often metioned, Kakuryu is the first promotion since 1987 to NOT HAVE a two yusho run,

Although this might be inaccurate, the LONGEST tsuna run I can see is Kashiwado's 13-2 Y 12-3 J 10-5 11-4 12-3 D !!!

It would honestly seem that there is definitely some leeway with what the NSK/YDC wishes, but the general consensus is a mix of YUSHO/DOTEN/JUN with "STRONG SUMO"

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Since the topic of what is needed for a tsuna run has re-emerged, i decided to do a bit of research myself. All information is courtesy of the sumodb. Also, this is pertaining to yokozuna promoted during the 6-basho era, which I read as 1958, since THAT is when 6 basho a year began.

There have been 27 rikishi promoted to Yokozuna since January 1958

Less than half of that total, 11 to be exact, have had a TWO YUSHO run.

The criteria changed to back to back yushos around 1988 with the Futahaguro fiasco. It wasn't always back to back yushos- far from it, as can be illustrated just by looking at pre-Futahaguro promotions to Yokozuna. Futahaguro never had a yusho period and yet he beat his oyakata's wife.. So going back to anything before 1988 is wrong when trying to analyze the point at hand.

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The criteria changed to back to back yushos around 1988 with the Futahaguro fiasco. It wasn't always back to back yushos- far from it, as can be illustrated just by looking at pre-Futahaguro promotions to Yokozuna. Futahaguro never had a yusho period and yet he beat his oyakata's wife.. So going back to anything before 1988 is wrong when trying to analyze the point at hand.

On the other hand, they've been backtracking from the two-yusho thing for nearly 15 years now (not so coincidentally the amount of time since the last Japanese yokozuna retired), which is pretty much the same length of time that they were enforcing it. Time for people to accept that it was just a phase, not the natural order of things.
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Although this might be inaccurate, the LONGEST tsuna run I can see is Kashiwado's 13-2 Y 12-3 J 10-5 11-4 12-3 D !!!

Honestly, I feel the Kashiwado promotion was mostly a publicity stunt to capitalize on the then-nascent rivalry between him and Taiho.* (7-4 in Kashiwado's favour at the time.) It didn't really work out because Kashiwado proceeded to spend almost half the tournaments in the next 4 years on the sidelines and Taiho just ran away with everything. By the time Kashiwado was apparently healthy enough for steady participation, allowing him to have a strong two-year revival in 1966/67, he had to settle for being the Harumafuji to Taiho's Hakuho. That's not nothing, far from it, but it probably wasn't what they had envisioned back in 1961 when they did that simultaneous yokozuna promotion. It didn't really do much at the gates, at any rate, as by all accounts Taiho's reign wasn't much of a box office hit.

* It would be looking better (in hindsight) if they had promoted him after the first two of those five tournaments (13-2 Y -> 12-3 J would have been a perfectly cromulent promotion in those days), but I bet the usual bias against recently-promoted ozeki was in effect and they decided to put it off for later.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Since the topic of what is needed for a tsuna run has re-emerged, i decided to do a bit of research myself. All information is courtesy of the sumodb. Also, this is pertaining to yokozuna promoted during the 6-basho era, which I read as 1958, since THAT is when 6 basho a year began.

There have been 27 rikishi promoted to Yokozuna since January 1958

Less than half of that total, 11 to be exact, have had a TWO YUSHO run.

The criteria changed to back to back yushos around 1988 with the Futahaguro fiasco. It wasn't always back to back yushos- far from it, as can be illustrated just by looking at pre-Futahaguro promotions to Yokozuna. Futahaguro never had a yusho period and yet he beat his oyakata's wife.. So going back to anything before 1988 is wrong when trying to analyze the point at hand.

My Apologies, I'm still quite the amature sumo historian. my original post would have had ALL STATS involved, but I decided that it was TMI, and condensed it down as much as I could. 1988 was indeed the turning point for the next 25 years.

The criteria changed to back to back yushos around 1988 with the Futahaguro fiasco. It wasn't always back to back yushos- far from it, as can be illustrated just by looking at pre-Futahaguro promotions to Yokozuna. Futahaguro never had a yusho period and yet he beat his oyakata's wife.. So going back to anything before 1988 is wrong when trying to analyze the point at hand.

On the other hand, they've been backtracking from the two-yusho thing for nearly 15 years now (not so coincidentally the amount of time since the last Japanese yokozuna retired), which is pretty much the same length of time that they were enforcing it. Time for people to accept that it was just a phase, not the natural order of things.

"Two Yusho or the Equivilant" has been more or less the principle I can see. In any case, that we are once again discussing it is good, because the landscape is changing again. Last year, it was Terunofuji with his 12-3 D that got everyone talking. This basho it started with Kotoshogiku, and gradually moved to Kisenosato, and, for a brief time, Goeido?! How long will it be before were talking about Kotoyuki's run???? (No jinx intended) (HHHHUUUU!!!!)

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Although this might be inaccurate, the LONGEST tsuna run I can see is Kashiwado's 13-2 Y 12-3 J 10-5 11-4 12-3 D !!!

Honestly, I feel the Kashiwado promotion was mostly a publicity stunt to capitalize on the then-nascent rivalry between him and Taiho.* It didn't really work out because Kashiwado proceeded to spend almost half the tournaments in the next 4 years on the sidelines and Taiho just ran away with everything. By the time Kashiwado was apparently healthy enough for steady participation, allowing him to have a strong two-year revival in 1966/67, he had to settle for being the Harumafuji to Taiho's Hakuho. That's not nothing, far from it, but it probably wasn't what they had envisioned back in 1961. It didn't really do much at the gates, at any rate, because by all accounts Taiho's reign wasn't much of a box office hit.

* It would be looking better (in hindsight) if they had promoted him after the first two of those five tournaments (13-2 Y -> 12-3 J would have been a perfectly cromulent promotion in those days), but I bet the usual bias against recently-promoted ozeki was in effect and they decided to put it off for later.

Hakuho=Takanohana=Chiyonofuji=Kitanoumi=Taiho

Harumafuji=Akebono/Musashimaru=Hokutoumi=Wajima=Kashiwado

Kakuryu=Wakanohana III=Onokuni=Wakanohana II=Sadanoyama/Tochinoumi

(Your opinion may vary)

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"Two Yusho or the Equivilant" has been more or less the principle I can see.

That's true, but the devil is in the details. The "equivalent" part of that is where things get tricky, and also the question of whether they'll admit runs consisting of more than two tournaments. We seem to be almost back to pre-Futahaguro standards now, with 13 wins being almost always admissible (unless the yusho is decided before Day 15), and 12-3's being good enough to keep a run alive. Especially the latter part is a significant departure from what was going on in the late 1980s and the 1990s; for a while 12-3 was basically worthless, except in the rare cases when it was a yusho. Still though, we've yet to see a successful extended run again, so it's hard to say just where they're going to draw the line.

I do think something like Konishiki's 13-2 Y -> 12-3 -> 13-2 Y would be a clear promotion now, possibly even if only one of those 13-2's is a yusho.

I suspect the only pre-Futahaguro thing we won't see again is a successful tsuna run without any yusho as part of it, unless it's being done by a super-accomplished ozeki (on the order of 4 or 5 prior yusho, basically a Kaio type).

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How long will it be before were talking about Kotoyuki's run???? (No jinx intended) (HHHHUUUU!!!!)

Lol - let him try for Ozeki first!

I can't help liking rikishi who do well, so I liked Kotoyuki this time, and I'm a little surprised he didn't get the kanto-sho too. Why couldn't they have given it to the winner of the bout, instead of only to Ikioi if he won?

Anyway, for me Yotokuki wasn't just the guy who did the Tom Jones impression any more (Totally off-topic, but it's not a bark and it's not a hoot; it's what every impersonator who tries to do Sir Tom Jones has been doing for the last 20 years! E.g.

[about 32s in]).

This could certainly be the start of an Ozeki run for Yotoyuki - he 'only' needs 21 wins from the next 2 bashos! But Yokozuna material? Nah, not yet.

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