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27th National Middle School Student Championships (2016-8-7)

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Many thanks for Akinomaki's news and videos on this tournament (第27回全国都道府県中学生相撲選手権大会) last Sunday.

It should be pointed out though that this is a different tournament to the National Middle School Championships, which takes place later this month. It is the latter where the Middle School Yokozuna is crowned.

Open Weight Competition

Winner: Tanaka Toranosuke (田中 虎之介, 3rd year, Niigata)

Runner-up: Kusano Naoya (草野 直哉, 3rd year, Kumamoto)

Semi-finals: Tsuchiya Kazuya (土屋 和也, 3rd year, Shizuoka)
Semi-finals: Ikeda Shun (池田 俊, 3rd year, Ishikawa)

Quarter-finals: Fujikawa Ibuki (藤川 維吹, 3rd year, Saga)
Quarter-finals: Toyota Rintaro (豊田 倫太朗, 3rd year, Kagoshima)
Quarter-finals: Hanada Hidetora (花田 秀虎, 3rd year, Wakayama)
Quarter-finals: Okita Reiji (沖田 麗司, 3rd year, Tokyo)


Team Competition

Winner: Ishikawa

Runner-up: Kumamoto

Semi-finals: Kagoshima
Semi-finals: Hyogo

Quarter-finals: Aomori
Quarter-finals: Saitama
Quarter-finals: Mie
Quarter-finals: Chiba


Videos of the Team Semi-finals (Kumamoto vs Kagoshima, Ishikawa vs Hyogo):

And of the Team Final (Kumamoto vs Ishikawa):

Videos of the Individual Competition can be found in Akinomaki's thread.

The open weight winner this year, Tanaka Toranosuke (田中 虎之介), was a huge surprise, as he has not achieved anything of note in national or even regional competitions, until now that is. He works hard at his sumo, and has definitely improved a lot since joining Nou Middle School in Niigata (a famous school in amateur sumo, instead of attending a local school in Tokyo). His wins over Ikeda Shun (池田 俊) and Kusano Naoya (草野 直哉) are impressive, as those are 2 of the major names in his year group. However, considering that he henka'd his quarter-final and final opponents, and won his semi-final via a ring-edge reversal, he would need to improve a lot more to be successful at high school level (where he would likely be joining another powerhouse school for sumo, Niigata Kaiyo High School 新潟県立海洋高等学校).

The finalist, Kusano Naoya (草野 直哉), is a member of Kumamoto's Udo Junior Sumo Club, and is a Wanpaku semi-finalist (reaching the quarter-finals in another). He has a good body for sumo and has a straightforward oshi-style, and as enough skill to be competitive on the belt as well. How much more skill he is able to acquire would be the determining factor once he enters high school.

The 2 semi-finalists, Tsuchiya Kazuya (土屋 和也) and Ikeda Shun (池田 俊), are both strong rikishi with an oshi-style of sumo. Mishima Sumo Club's Tsuchiya Kazuya is taller than his peers, and back in Grade 6 reached the final of the Wanpaku Tournament, and actually won the Hakuho Cup. There's not much to say about Notojima Sumo Club (Nanao City)'s Ikeda Shun, except that he has a brother one year his junior called Ikeda Ryo (池田 亮), who was a Wanpaku Yokozuna in Grade 4 (though has since faded away slightly)

In the team competition, it was the same old story as Team Kumamoto once again powered their way through to the final of a national tournament, only to once again miss out on winning, just. The final bout in the team final was between 2 top rikishi in their year group, Shido Shunsuke (志戸 俊輔) and Kawabuchi Kazuki (川渕 一意), with the latter having moved from Osaka to Ishikawa after graduating from primary school, presumably because Ishikawa is home to some of the top high schools in amateur sumo. Shido famously shocked the much bigger Kawabuchi in their Wanpaku semi-final back in Grade 5 (which was the closest that Kawabuchi ever got to claiming the Wanpaku title, having been the favorite for all 3 tournaments), but this time, the result would be different.

As hamcornheinz mentioned in his post, Tanaka Toranosuke is indeed the boy who was featured in Begin Japanology's episode on sumo, and fair to say, he has grown a lot since then (and gotten a lot stronger). Incidentally, the boy whom Tanaka lost to in the tournament that year was Katsushika Shiratori Sumo Club's Okita Reiji (沖田 麗司), whose name has been mentioned previously in this post :)

Edited by mikawa
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