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Terukuni

How will this era end?

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There have been multiple times where there were four Yokozuna, but all times, they crumbled. This time around, Harumafuji went first, owing to a scandal. Then, Kisenosato went next, having injury problems. Kakuryu and Hakuho are left, but both are older than 33, so retirement would be imminent. Personally, which Yokozuna do you think would call it quits next, and how will this era end?

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There also have been times where Yokozuna retired the tournament after they won the Yusho (Sadanoyama, Asashoryu, and Akebono, But Akebono was injured.) So I guess retirement can happen at any moment, because Sadanoyama was not involved in any scandal, he just performed badly, lost to Takamiyama, and then retired.

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For some reason I want to say "Not with a bang, but a whimper."  It's been whimpering out slowly the last few years, and no one young has come in to claim clear possession of top dog.

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I dunno, a gashed skull from a karaoke remote and a total muscle tear in one of the largest muscles in the body is as much of a bang in sumo I can think of, short of all the yokozuna being in the same Yakuza hit squad or something.

 

It's easy to see Hakuho whimpering out though because it's going to be hard for him to let go and become an entry level oyakata. The only way he's going to survive is throwing himself completely into building out his own heya (which he has a head start on in any case)

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Don't go by me as I expected Kakuryu to be gone already but that depended on Harumafuji driving him out. Denying him any real shot at a yusho. I expect he will be able to hang on for awhile, same as Hakuho, as they don't seem to be much pressure on these guys any more, at least from the YDC or the press. I expect Hakuho will make it through 2020, no farther. If a younger guy steps up and makes Yokozuna before then I expect Kakuryu to be gone not long after. In any case,  we are headed to whimperville for this era. 

The next Yokozuna is not going to be someone seen as a relentless driving force inspiring fear, unless Tomokaze does it. The next basho he will be joi. By history he should get his first MK. If he somehow manages double digits wins again then I think  he won't spend long as the "next ozeki" . He won't even spend that long AS ozeki. But I will believe that when I see it. 

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I kind of expected either Goeidou or Takayasu to take advantage of the current power gap and get the rope. Goeidou isn't any younger than Hakuho or Kakuryu, but he's demonstrated in the past that he can step up at the right time and he's won before. Takayasu hasn't won, but is 4 years their junior and has been steady in the sanyaku. The past year seemed like it would be a gift to them but...I guess years of battling genuinely tough opposition has left them as chronically injured as the current yokozuna.

Goeidou, especially. I mean, he could probably string together two jun-yusho and they'd tie a rope around it and shower him in magic fish. 

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Hakuho will limp on until the Olympics, it’s really a question of if Kakuryu stays healthy enough to outlast him or not. Could go either way. The only speculation I will make is that one of the two of them will retire before the other.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, I honestly have spent years thinking about the next guy who will wear the rope. As we all know, every 4 yokozuna era crumbles in some way. Here is one example from every decade:

1937-1938

Yokozuna:Tamanishiki, Musashiyama, Futabayama, Minanogawa

How it ended: Tamanishiki died in 1938. However, if he didn’t die, I highly suspected that the struggling Musashiyama would go first. Minanogawa then lasted until 1942. Futabayama called it quits in 1945.

 

1942-1945

Yokozuna: Terukuni, Haguroyama, Futabayama, Akinoumi

How it ended: Futabayama retired in 1945. He was really good until late in his career, winning both basho in 1943. He did have trouble with health, from what I know. Akinoumi was decent at the start of his Yokozuna career, but it went downhill from there. He got injured and then quit in 1946. Terukuni and Haguroyama really lasted, both retiring in 1953.

1954-1958

Yokozuna: Tochinishiki, Kagamisato, Chiyonoyama, Yoshibayama

This was a very long four-yokozuna era, in contrast to recent times. It very well could have been a five-yokozuna era, if Azumafuji hadn’t called it quits so he would not “hinder Tochinishiki’s position.” Three of the Yokozuna were decent. Kagamisato (the round belly) did win 3 more Yusho as a yokozuna, and he even won two of them in a row. But, he was plagued by bad scores (9-6, 10-5). Tochinishiki was very inconsistent at the start of his career, going 14-1 in one basho and 10-5 in the next, like Kagamisato. He did manage to win a good amount of Yusho. Then, he became better as he aged, similar to Chiyonofuji. He was at his best in 1959 and 1960, getting at least 13 wins multiple times. Chiyonoyama was also very inconsistent. He did win three as a yokozuna, like Kagamisato, and two of the, did come in a row (also like Kagamisato). He did win the Hatsu 1957 basho zensho (undefeated). Kagamisato won all of his Yusho 14-1. Yoshibayama was the odd one out. He suffered an injury during WWII, and fought very weirdly. He was a bad yokozuna, only producing one jun-Yusho as a Yokozuna. In Hatsu 1958, Yoshibayama retired, after going 2-5. Kagamisato also said that “If I fail to win 10 bouts, I will retire.” He went 9-6 and then retired. This was also the first of two times two yokozuna called it quits in the same tournament (Nagoya 1974). Chiyonoyama went on, retiring after going 3-3 in Hatsu 1959. Tochinishiki, however, improved significantly, and became great rivals with Wakanohana I during this time. Both of them scored over 13 wins many times. Tochinishiki was 35 when he retired in 1960, which is really old though.

1964-1966

Yokozuna: Tochinoumi, Sadanoyama, Kashiwado, Taiho

Kashiwado and Taiho were already great rivals by this point, throughout the early 60’s, with Wakanohana I and Asashio III retiring in 1962. However, in Kyushu 1963 and Hatsu 1964, Ozeki Tochinoumi came out of nowhere and went 14-1 (winning the Yusho), and 13-2. This was very impressive, because Taiho was at the height of his prime. Tochinoumi only won one more Yusho as a Yokozuna (Natsu 1964), and then went downhill. In 1965, he went 8-7 multiple times, before calling it quits in 1966. Sadanoyama, who won the Yusho in one of his first tournaments as a makuuchi, made yokozuna in 1965. Sadanoyama was very inconsistent as a yokozuna at the start of his career, but as time passed, he won Yusho. In fact, he even won the Yusho the tournament right before he retired (Hatsu 1968), but then lost to Takamiyama. It is said that he was very deeply shaken upon losing to a gaijin, so he called it quits. Kashiwado, by this point, was not doing well. In 1968, he mostly scored 10-5 and 9-6, and called it quits in 1969. However, he was able to have Tamanoumi and Kitanofuji (by then yokozuna) as his tachimochi and tsuyuharai in his last dohyo-iri, because he retired in the latter part of 1969. Taiho remained great throughout this whole time, and went on his 45 rensho during this time. He remained dominant and became rivals with Tamanoumi upon his promotion. Kitanofuji, however, started going 11-4, and scored 11-4 multiple times in a row. Taiho did win the Yusho in Hatsu 1971, but retired in the Natsu basho 1971 after losing to Takanohana I. Taiho’s retirement and Takanohana II’s retirement are pretty similar, in a way. They both scored well in the second to last basho they competed in (in fact, they both scored 12-3), and then went 3-3 and 4-4-1 in their last basho. However, Taiho did not get badly injured, like Takanohana did. They also had both been fighting for a while.

1979-1980

Yokozuna: Wakanohana II, Mienoumi, Wajima, Kitanoumi

Wajima and Kitanoumi had been rivals for 5 years by this point. In 1976-1977, the pair both fought epic bouts against each other, and this caused excitement across Japan. However, Wakamisugi, from Futagoyama Beya had been promoted to Ozeki. He then won a Yusho in 1977, scoring 13-2. In 1978, Wajima started to become inconsistent, and Wakamisugi became “Kitanoumi’s chief rival.” They fought each other for the Yusho three times, but Kitanoumi won all of them. However, at the Natsu Basho in 1978, on the 14th day, Wakamisugi prevented Kitanoumi from getting his right hand on the mawashi, and “uwatenage’d” him out of the ring, and the Kuramae Kokugikan exploded. Wakamisugi, who’d won an amazing 40 out of 45 bouts over the last three tournaments, was promoted to yokozuna. However, their rivalry did not materialize much, and Wakanohana only managed to win three more Yusho. Ozeki Mienoumi, However, had been an Ozeki since 1974, when he won his first Yusho. Suddenly, Mienoumi came alive, and went 13-2 in the Natsu Basho of that year. He then exploded again, going 14-1 in Nagoya, and even defeated the 14-0 Wajima in their regulation playoff match. Wajima, however won the Yusho, but two extreme jun-Yusho, saw Mienoumi promoted to yokozuna. The old Mienoumi was not expected to do so well, but he went 14-1 in Kyushu of that year. It was said that his stablemaster, the former Sadanoyama, said that he would be (content) if he won “one more Yusho.” After winning Kyūshū 1979, Mienoumi came back in style, going 15-0 in Tokyo, that Hatsu Basho. However, Mienoumi declined and he only completed one more tournament. He lost to Chiyonofuji twice that year,  and eventually called it a day on the 3rd day of the Kyushu Basho that year. Wajima won that tournament, going 14-1 and claiming his 14th (and final) Yusho. He defeated Kitanoumi for the final time, with his “golden left,” (famous shitatenage), and Kitanoumi best Wakanohana II, and Wajima won. Wajima went 10-5 in Hatsu 1981, and Wakanohana II did pretty poorly too. The only Yokozuna who did well was, no surprise here, Kitanoumi. He went into senshuraku 13-1, but a new star had risen, Chiyonofuji. The rest is history. Wajima called it quits after going 1-2 in Haru 1981. Wakanohana has some jun-Yusho in 1982, but called it quits in Hatsu 1983. Kitanoumi fell into a slump in 1982, and he was in this slump throughout 1983 and the early part of 1984, but then came Natsu 1984. Kitanoumi looked like his old self again, doing it in style for the 24th time, except this time he went zensho (15-0). Kitanoumi wanted to retire, but didn’t because of the JSA, who wanted him to fight until the opening of the new Kokugikan. He did so, went 0-3, and retired at the Hatsu 1985 Basho.

 

1987-1988

Yokozuna: Futagaguro, Onokuni, Chiyonofuji, Hokutoumi

Technically, this era only lasted one year, but Futahaguro was listed on the banzuke for Hatsu 1988. This time, Chiyonofuji was the dai-yokozuna, no question about that. He won 4 of the Yusho in 1988, and went on that 53 rensho. Hokutoumi was decent, scoring pretty well during that year, but was always in the shadow of Chiyonofuji, his stablemate, like Haguroyama was under Futabayama’s dominance. Futahaguro was the “bad boy.” He was extremely inconsistent, going 9-6 that year, but going 13-2 that year too. He was involved in “physical punishment” scandals, one which was allowed to pass. He then apparently “punished one of his tsukebito physically,” and was warned. It was then said that he got in a “heated argument with his stablemaster,” and left, hit his stablemaster’s wife on the way, and ran away. He was then expelled from sumo, on December 31 of that year. Because he was expelled too late, the banzuke listed him on it for Hatsu 1988. The only time Chiyonofuji didn’t win the Yusho that year was Haru 1988. With the dai-yokozuna injured, the two remaining Yokozuna performed well. Hokutoumi did well, but so did Onokuni. Onokuni was the odd one out, like Yoshibayama was in that era. He didn’t score well multiple times (in fact, he went 7-8 once). Onokuni was 12-2, and Hokutoumi 13-1. However, Onokuni won via uwatenage, and forced a Yusho-ketteisen. At the start, Hokutoumi got the morozashi, and moved Onkuni back, but then, he stepped to the side and thrust him down to the ground, winning his second (and final) Yusho as a yokozuna. The rest of his career was disappointing, except that memorable bout when he defeated Chiyonofuji, ending his 53 rensho streak. A new Yokozuna emerged in 1990, Asahifuji, who claimed the Hatsu 1988 Yusho the only Yusho Chiyonofuji did not win that he participated in that year. However things immediately fell apart, and four Yokozuna became none by Natsu 1992. The next Yokozuna would the The gaijin Akebono in 1993. In fact, Hokutoumi survived barely long enough to have new Yokozuna Akebono as his tsuyuharai, (his danpatsushiki was held right after Hatsu 1993, the tournament where he won promotion to yokozuna) Akebono, in fact, had been a yokozuna for only a few days when Hokutoumi’s danpatsushiki was held.

1999-2000

Yokozuna: Musashimaru, Wakanohana, Akebono, Takanohana

By 1994, Akebono and Takanohana were Yokozuna rivals. Akebono, the first complete gaijin to wear the rope. Takanohana was always in contention for the Yusho, but never gained 2 in a row until Kyushu 1994. Meanwhile, Musashimaru, who’d won his first Yusho, zensho (15-0) in Nagoya 1994, was always in contention for the Yusho. Wakanohana, Takanohana’s brother, had also been in contention for the Yusho several times too. However, both of them couldn’t win 2 in a row. Wakanohana won the Yusho 14-1 in Haru 1998. Wakanohana had won the Yusho four times by now, and in none was he able to win it consecutively. However, Wakanohana was determined to wear the rope along with his brother. He came into senshuraku 11-3, not the best record, but he was the leader. Musashimaru was the only man who could overcome him and win the Yusho, but he was at 10-4. At the tachiai, Musashimaru immediately tried to get his hands on Waka’s belt, but Waka employed a perfect ottsuke, and drove Musashimaru out easily. Even though he’d gone 12-3, Wakanohana was promoted to Yokozuna, and Futagoyama Beya became the second heya in 10 years to have two Yokozuna. Wakanohana started well, 12-3, but then he got injured, and from there, his career went downhill. He went 13-2 in Hatsu 1999, but lost to Chiyotaikai twice, and lost the Yusho to him. Wakanohana then injured his leg, and sat out. Musashimaru, meanwhile, won his third Yusho in 1999, with Akebono and Takanohana injured. Then, he came into senshuraku, Natsu Basho 1999, 12-2. Akebono was back by this point, and he was 11-3. At the tachiai, Musashimaru got the morozashi, and moved the Yokozuna back. Akebono struggled, but managed to move back, away from the edge. However, Maru drove him back again, and this time, Akebono was crushed out of the ring by oshitaoshi. Unlike Akebono, no controversy was surrounding Musashimaru’s promotion, in fact, it was a unanimous 28-0 vote, and Musashimaru was promoted to Yokozuna. Unlike a Wakanohana, Musashimaru’s Yokozuna career was actually pretty decent. He went 12-3 in Nagoya, and won the remaining two basho that year. However, Musashimaru was injured in 200, and pulled out for the first time in his career. Wakanohana, who had a leg injury, came back in Haru 2000. He came into the 5th day 2-2, and was easily defeated by Tochiazuma that day. Then, he decided thta it was time for him to retire. Akebono, by this point, was in perfect form. 2000 was his first injury-free year since 1993, and he was always getting Yusho worthy scores. Takanohana was mostly injured in 2000, not winning any Yusho. Musashimaru was under the weather for the first part of that year, but went 14-1 in September, winning the Yusho. Akebono finally won the Yusho in July of that year, his first Yusho since 1997. He then won again in Kyushu, 14-1. However, he sat out in the Hatsu Basho of that year, while Takanohana returned to form for the last time. Akebono then retired, deciding that his “knee pain” had become too much of a problem. Takanohana went 14-1, 12-3, and finally 13-2 in that Natsu Basho. His victory over Musashimaru that year may have been the most iconic torikumi of that decade, and that “demon face” that he made, right after winning, is something that will be etched in sumo history forever. However, on the 13th day of that basho, Musoyama twisted him down, and Takanohana badly injured himself in the process. I’m pretty sure that that loss was the final time that the crowd threw a lot of zabutons for a Takanohana loss. Takanohana went on a long absence, while Maru struggled, finally pulling himself together, and winning it in Kyushu 2001. He was then solid in 2002, winning it in Haru, Natsu, and Aki. Takanohana made an amazing comeback that Aki basho, having been out for more than a year. He went 12-3, and memorably threw down Asashoryu to the clay that basho. Takanohana decided to compete in Hatsu 2003, but this basho proved to be his last. On the 8th day, Aminishiki (recently retired), grabbed his arm and twisted Takanohana around. Takanohana lost, and he decided to retire. Maru had injured his wrist in Kyushu 2002, and came back in Nagoya 2003. However, he went 2-4, and withdrew. He tried again in that Kyushu Basho, but went 3-5. Finally, he decided to retire too, leaving the morning blue dragon (Asashoryu) as the sole Yokozuna in sumo.

Edited by Terukuni
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Calling Hak/Kak/Haru/Kise a 4 Yokozuna era is a bit much, it's more of a stint. And from my POV the lack of competition in the last decade is the NSKs fault. The conditions for new rikishi are so unappealing nowadays that the majority of the top talents don't even think about entering. Instead we get tons of people like HZK who are ok with never getting near the paid ranks. That's not how you build up competition.

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@Asashosakari i was referring to Terukuni bringing up the old 4-Yok-eras. And the latter part was for the going down with a whimper talk. The top dogs can only go down with a whimper, if there are no serious contenders. And the NSK is not that good at inspiring possible contenders to enter sumo. Imagine you had a quite succesful high school or college career, but not successful enough for a TD-slot and if only out of sheer bad luck. So start from scratch in mae-zumo or accept that nicely paid job offer witha guaranteed rent? I absolutely love the fact, that even untalented, but dedicated guys like HZK can enter and have a long career. But how many possible Yokozuna, who are not THAT dedicated are scared away by the thought of possibly being an underpayed punching bag for the lesser talented for some years before having the chance to cash in?

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1 hour ago, Benihana said:

possible Yokozuna, who are not THAT dedicated

With this statement you've confirmed that I was correct to click on "confused" on your previous post...

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17 hours ago, Churaumi said:

Hakuho will limp on until the Olympics, it’s really a question of if Kakuryu stays healthy enough to outlast him or not. Could go either way. The only speculation I will make is that one of the two of them will retire before the other.

I just very much hope he does. His losses in the recent basho and his overall performance really make me doubt his ability to perform at Yokozuna for much longer. It does seem a bit weird to write this about someone who just finished the last tournament as runner-up with a 12-3 record, but well, that's Hakuho.

I expect Hakuho to retire first and Kakuryu to battle it out a few basho more. However I would be suprised if he ever reaches the 10 yusho mark.

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37 minutes ago, Asashosakari said:

With this statement you've confirmed that I was correct to click on "confused" on your previous post...

Yeah...you can’t make yokozuna if you’re not dedicated to it. If you never had the dedication then you also never had the potential to become a yokozuna. Philosophizing is hard.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Churaumi said:

Yeah...you can’t make yokozuna if you’re not dedicated to it. If you never had the dedication then you also never had the potential to become a yokozuna. Philosophizing is hard.

What if dedication comes with success?

 

Hakuho will stay until the Olympics for the dohyo-iri. What's after? We won't know until Hakuho tells us.

Edited by Benihana

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20 hours ago, Benevolance said:

I kind of expected either Goeidou or Takayasu to take advantage of the current power gap and get the rope.

I am a big Goeido fan but even in my wildest dreams I find it hard to picture Goeido of all people getting the rope. Actually, I would be happy if he could avoid the drop to Sekiwake in Aki.

As to Takayasu, if he managed to stay healthy, then maybe... but after two years at Ozeki he is yet to win his first yusho.

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Posted (edited)

To be honest, Hakuho reminds me of Chiyonofuji in 1989-1990. Chiyonofuji won Yusho, which Hakuho did earlier this year, but also had some setbacks that year too. I think that Hakuho is set for the Olympics, but then he will likely go 3-3 and retire. By then he will be 35, which is how old Chiyonofuji was when he retired. That loss to Kotoshogiku made me worry, to be honest. But he can still get at least 12 wins.

Edited by Terukuni

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Also, if there is going to be another Yokozuna from this era, something like the Kotozakura promotion would have to happen, somehow some Ozeki grinds up two Yusho or equivalent scores, like Kotozakura (and Mienoumi) did so. As a Yokozuna, I would not really be expecting much, but you never know.

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37 minutes ago, Terukuni said:

To be honest, Hakuho reminds me of Chiyonofuji in 1989-1990. Chiyonofuji won Yusho, which Hakuho did earlier this year, but also had some setbacks that year too. I think that Hakuho is set for the Olympics, but then he will likely go 3-3 and retire. By then he will be 35, which is how old Chiyonofuji was when he retired. That loss to Kotoshogiku made me worry, to be honest. But he can still get at least 12 wins.

A lot of people are doubtful about Kakuryu lasting much longer, but if Hakuho completes the Aki basho, it will be the first time he's finished two basho in a row in over 2 years. Chiyonofuji is a bit different.

Maybe we can start calling him Half-Time Hakuho

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Benihana said:

Hakuho will stay until the Olympics for the dohyo-iri. What's after? We won't know until Hakuho tells us.

Stay until Olympics AND get his Japanese citizenship, then he will retire.

(if his ichidai-toshiyori is also approved)

Edited by code_number3

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6 hours ago, Benihana said:

What if dedication comes with success?

 

Hakuho will stay until the Olympics for the dohyo-iri. What's after? We won't know until Hakuho tells us.

Still have to be dedicated enough to get good enough to succeed. Even that is a hard row to hoe for a lot of these guys.

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I also think that this era may crumble like the Chiyonofuji era. In 1990-1992, the main yokozuna retired, and the rikishi from that era began to decline, like Kirishima, for example. By 1995, two new yokozuna were active, and I think something like that may happen.

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The era will end with a banglike whimper, followed by a whimperish bang.(KimuraZatoichi...)

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On 03/08/2019 at 11:47, Churaumi said:

Hakuho will limp on until the Olympics.

Despite having a bicep injury that was not 100% healed, Hakuho was in contention on senshuraku in Nagya and ended up with another jun-yusho. He continues to have a record of first or second place finishes in over 75% of the bashos he has entered. I do not call this "limping on" or anything even close to it. I'm sure that just about every rikishi around would love to limp around the way Hakuho is doing. 

As for yokozuna candidates to possibly replace him and Kakuryu, the answer at present is simple. There are none. Aside from the yokozunas, there doesn't seem to be anyone around who is able to put together two consecutive yushos or a record close to it. Hakuho and Kakuryu have maybe a year or so left in their careers and there is a very good chance that after they are gone, no one will be able to take their place for an extended period of time. And whoever eventually is promoted, since he is following the greatest rikishi of all time and a much less successful but still highly regarded yokozuna,  it will be difficult to call him a worthy successor. As they say in show business, he will have "a tough act to follow"--an extremely tough one.

I expect that following the Hakuho-Kakuryu era, there may be another one called the "No yokozuna era". From the way things look now, at a time where there are many talented rikishis but very few really outstanding ones, that era may last for quite a while.

 

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There won't be another "no yokozuna era", simply because the entry pages for several sumogames won't allow for that.

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