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Hatsu 2020 Basho Discussion (SPOILERS)

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While my personal notes only go back to 2007, I think it is fairly safe to say that rarely if ever have there been four gold stars surrendered in the first three days of a tournament.  Perhaps the database can confirm or refute that.  #notacomputerguy

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Wow, I guess crazy bashos are the new normal. 

Although he didn't show it much today, Endo is one of the best technicians in the current Makuuchi. His bouts are very exciting to watch, you never know what he's going to pull. And what's best, he's looking comfortable pulling it off. I hope he'll do well this basho. 

I'm very happy to see Hokutofuji on fire. I've always thought he deserves much more attention than he's getting for his attacking sumo and politeness on the dohyo - just look at his post-bout bows! I'd love to see him get a score that would ensure his well deserved return to sanyaku. 

Hakuho... to me it feels as if he hasn't lost with a simple pulldown so easily as today in a long long time. That's how the maegashira lose, not the mighty Hakuho. 

And I'm loving all the post-bout reactions this time. Yesterday it was Endo's tongue, today Hokutofuji's hand, just like a basketball player who's just made a three that he knew will go in (ironically Kakuryuu knows a bit about this pose). 

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Just now, Amamaniac said:

So much for my notes...  (Hitthewall...)

Maybe the database is wrong. :-)

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3 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:
4 minutes ago, Amamaniac said:

So much for my notes...  (Hitthewall...)

Maybe the database is wrong. :-)

No, I'm just getting old.  (Anotheryearolder...)

Databases don't have that problem. 

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On a Juryo note, even though Ichinojo is struggling I really appreciate seeing him actually ATTACK. We're used to seeing his Boulderness just lean and wait and move a little then repeat. Even though he is probably still injured I appreciate seeing him try to gambarize.

Asanoyama is showing good sumo, I'm hoping to see that continue this basho. Hopefully he can grab 10 or 11 wins.

Enho is putting on quite a show this far up the banzuke!

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6 hours ago, Amamaniac said:

I have always been confused by the practice of zabuton throwing, despite knowledge of the original practice that zabuton throwing evolved from.  

What stuck in my mind is that the NSK makes repeated written and PA appeals to fans to refrain from the practice (even introducing fines for those who might have attempted it during President Trump's visit).  The fact that sumo fans defy the requests to refrain from zabuton throwing always struck me as evidence that the throwing is an expression of frustration and disgust.  I assumed that joy is easier to contain than frustration.  Furthermore, if the practice is meant to "cheer for the upsetter", why do we frequently see zabutons falling close to (as if targeted at) the Yokozuna/loser as he leaves the ring and heads back to the shitakubeya?  

Well, I checked with a Japanese friend and fellow sumo fan in Tokyo, and he affirmed that the practice of zabuton is one of pleasure, cheering for the underdog.  (I've revised my original post accordingly...) (Oops!)

 

They could make like in Fukuoka and sew two of them together, good luck trying to throw those. The Fukuokan one's appear larger overall.

Today when the flying started someone used their own as shields to hide under.

I can easily imagine that it hurts to be hit by them.

Anyway, goal "see Hakuho do the doyho-iri live" - accomplished, goal "see sumo at the Kokugikan" - accomplished (the oyakata merchandise in Fukuoka on 2018 was better).

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3 minutes ago, Morning said:

They could make like in Fukuoka and sew two of them together, good luck trying to throw those. The Fukuokan one's appear larger overall.

Today when the flying started someone used their own as shields to hide under.

I can easily imagine that it hurts to be hit by them.

Anyway, goal "see Hakuho do the doyho-iri live" - accomplished, goal "see sumo at the Kokugikan" - accomplished (the oyakata merchandise in Fukuoka on 2018 was better).

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences (welcome to the Forum, and let me have the honour of presenting you with your first like).  Sounds as though you've "seen sumo at the Fukuoka International Center", ... but somehow missed Hakuho's dohyoiri!  That must have been back in November 2018, because the GOAT has competed in every other Kyushu tournament since becoming Yokozuna.

What surprises me is that the spontaneous "outbreaks of purple rain" (as Otokonoyama so eloquently put it) don't result in a huge pillow fight!  Rather than hiding under their zabuton shields, fans up front should start tossing their zabutons towards those behind them.  ;-)  

It might well hurt to get hit by a flying square disk, but they are cushions after all.  And I have never heard of anyone being in any way injured by them (Has anyone ever been injured?).  Frankly, I'd rather be hit by a flying zabuton than crushed by a flying (off the ring) rikishi. ;-)  But I'd risk my physical well-being any day to be able to sit ringside.

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7 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

We’ll see. Hakuho could go on a run and end with 12/13, which could easily be enough. Harumafuji even managed a yusho with 11. These days 12/13 seems to be the norm for a championship. I’d rather see a new face though!

That is certainly true, but if he's posting losses against the appetizers it does not bode well for the tougher matches ahead.

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4 hours ago, Rocks said:

Goeido? So awful. I expect he stays in for a while with the loss of both Yokozuna on the radar. He can still get his 8 wins.

I don't see where those 8 wins are coming from on his current form. I think Takayasu is also going to struggle to get 10. If both these lads fail I think the ozeki promotion guidelines could be elasticated a little for Asanoyama. 13 wins or 12 wins and the yusho could be enough. 

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18 minutes ago, Dwale said:

That is certainly true, but if he's posting losses against the appetizers it does not bode well for the tougher matches ahead.

The high makuuchi lineup this time seems a lot harder than the previous basho : Endo, Myogiryu, Hokutofuji, Mitakeumi ... that's a hell of appetizer. The matchups become far easier in the middle part : Tamawashi, Okinoumi, Shodai, Meisei, Enho (and Takarafuji if it goes this far). If they decide to stay active, our yokozuna and ozeki should get a few wins. Not that a 9-6 Kakuryu gives much hope for the futur.

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My man Hokutofuji with kinboshi #7 in only 20 makuuchi tournaments ! The bright side of just missing out on sanyaku so often (Clappingwildly...)

Edited by Katooshu

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17 minutes ago, Tigerboy1966 said:
4 hours ago, Rocks said:

Goeido? So awful. I expect he stays in for a while with the loss of both Yokozuna on the radar. He can still get his 8 wins.

I don't see where those 8 wins are coming from on his current form. I think Takayasu is also going to struggle to get 10. If both these lads fail I think the ozeki promotion guidelines could be elasticated a little for Asanoyama. 13 wins or 12 wins and the yusho could be enough. 

You may be one of the first to point out here that Asanoyama is on a legitimate Ozeki run.  10-5 followed by 11-4.  That gives him two straight (Ozeki-worthy) double digit win results, and a total of 21 wins over two straight tournaments.  If he can get 12 or 13 wins this month, as you suggest, his total would be 33 or 34, for which Ozeki promotion would be pretty much a sure thing.  If he can secure a championship here (even with 12 wins), it would be very difficult to deny him that promotion.  

However, let's say he only manages 11 wins, and Takayasu fails to get reinstated and Goeido drops to Sekiwake, then a more flexible view may be taken.  But just how flexible would the Judges Committee (?) be?  Would 10 wins be a deal breaker?  After all, a 32-win-total has been more-or-less the bare minimum for promotion.

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I feel Hakuho tempted fate in his interviews about how his secret is out playing his opponents. Really eager for today's bout.

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54 minutes ago, Amamaniac said:

You may be one of the first to point out here that Asanoyama is on a legitimate Ozeki run.  10-5 followed by 11-4.  That gives him two straight (Ozeki-worthy) double digit win results, and a total of 21 wins over two straight tournaments.  If he can get 12 or 13 wins this month, as you suggest, his total would be 33 or 34, for which Ozeki promotion would be pretty much a sure thing.  If he can secure a championship here (even with 12 wins), it would be very difficult to deny him that promotion.  

However, let's say he only manages 11 wins, and Takayasu fails to get reinstated and Goeido drops to Sekiwake, then a more flexible view may be taken.  But just how flexible would the Judges Committee (?) be?  Would 10 wins be a deal breaker?  After all, a 32-win-total has been more-or-less the bare minimum for promotion.

There a few funny possibilities.

E.g. an ozeki shoot-out bout between the 2 sekiwake on senshuraku, with Takayasu at 9-5 and Asanoyama at - well:

If Goeido fails to get 8, Asanoyama may only need 10 11-12 wins to be promoted (there has to be a 2nd ozeki on the banzuke), else I'd say he needs at least a runner-up result with 13 wins. If both he and Takayasu finish 9-6 and an ozeki is needed - I guess also then Asanoyama would be the one, he's higher ranked and has more wins in the last tournaments. But what if he has 8-7 and Takayasu 9-6 in the end?

Forgot that both yokozuna have to retire this basho for that scenario

Edited by Akinomaki
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How do you now carnival season is coming? Yep, right, Yokozuna handing out kinboshi left and right like candy. Both should visit Düsseldorf in February. Large japanese community and one of the 3 biggest carnival parades in Germany.

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Did either Yokozuna go kyujo yet?   Regardless, I foresee a first time yusho taker by the time this is all over.   Endo, perhaps.

Two basho ago, I predicted  Enho will never make it to Sanyuku.   Prove me wrong, Enho!

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23 minutes ago, Akinomaki said:

there has to be a 2nd ozeki on the banzuke

Yes but if there are fewer than 2 then a yokozuna acts as ozeki for that tournament. Back in 1981 there was a weird situation were they were down to one proper ozeki, Chiyonofuji, who then unhelpfully got himself promoted to Y.  At that year's Aki basho there were therefore NO actual ozeki and two Y had to fill in. After that tournament they promoted the 12-3 yusho winner Kotokaze even though he only had 31 wins in 3 tournaments. After Hatsu 1982 order was restored when Takanosato was promoted with 33 wins on the back of a 12-3 jun-yusho.

Edited by Tigerboy1966
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1 hour ago, Katooshu said:

My man Hokutofuji with kinboshi #7 in only 20 makuuchi tournaments ! The bright side of just missing out on sanyaku so often (Clappingwildly...)

My calculations suggest that he'll be taking home an extra 1.7M Yen per year (or ~$15,000 US).  Easy money, once you can do it! [Warning: please check my faulty Globetrotter algebra if needed]

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9 hours ago, Amamaniac said:

The last time Hakuho surrendered two gold stars in two successive days (yes, it has happened before) was the January 2018 Tournament.  He withdrew the very next day.  I will be disappointed, not surprised, if the GOAT decides to pull out of this tournament due to some heretofore undisclosed injury...  Will Kakuryu and Goeido follow suit?  Just when I thought we might get to enjoy a tournament with the banzuke more or less intact (i.e., minimal MIA cases), the threat of multiple kyujo looms...

Another incentive for Hakuho to withdraw: he'll be facing Hokutofuji, who has been steamrolling through both Ozeki and Kakuryu. 

I can't see Hakuho risking three straight losses, against the wrestler (along with Endo) who is in best form and who has a knack for extracting gold stars from unsuspecting Yokozuna.

 

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50 minutes ago, Kaninoyama said:

Another incentive for Hakuho to withdraw: he'll be facing Hokutofuji, who has been steamrolling through both Ozeki and Kakuryu. 

I can't see Hakuho risking three straight losses, against the wrestler (along with Endo) who is in best form and who has a knack for extracting gold stars from unsuspecting Yokozuna.

But Hakuho can't withdraw based on a fear that he will surrender an embarrassing third gold star.  He has to have some medical excuse.  I wonder if he is injured (completely possible) or if he is just tired and can't find the necessary focus.  It will be interesting to see what is behind his current slump.

Come to think of it, Hakuho has been wearing a white, cloth "boot" since day 1, which wasn't there last tournament.  Perhaps that is the issue.

Edited by Amamaniac
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Hakuho (and the other Yokozuna for that matter) have a tendency to start feeling aches and pains that might not have been there the day before when his record gets into treacherous territory. And it's true he could be dealing with an actual injury.

I'm fully expecting a kyujo announcement, although I'm hoping that won't be the case, as I'm going to the kokugikan today and want to see Hokutofuji collect another kinboshi with my own eyes. 

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It seems like there’s always been an unspoken rule that a Yokozuna with a poor start can go kyujo. After all, Yokozuna are the best, so if they’re losing, there must be something wrong with them! 

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4 hours ago, Amamaniac said:

You may be one of the first to point out here that Asanoyama is on a legitimate Ozeki run.  10-5 followed by 11-4.  That gives him two straight (Ozeki-worthy) double digit win results, and a total of 21 wins over two straight tournaments.  If he can get 12 or 13 wins this month, as you suggest, his total would be 33 or 34, for which Ozeki promotion would be pretty much a sure thing.  If he can secure a championship here (even with 12 wins), it would be very difficult to deny him that promotion.  

However, let's say he only manages 11 wins, and Takayasu fails to get reinstated and Goeido drops to Sekiwake, then a more flexible view may be taken.  But just how flexible would the Judges Committee (?) be?  Would 10 wins be a deal breaker?  After all, a 32-win-total has been more-or-less the bare minimum for promotion.

There was a bit of talk about this after the last basho. He’s not officially on a run but I also am of the mind that he may benefit from some generous thinking should Takayasu fail to regain his rank and Goeido drop to Sekiwake too. That scenario is not looking as outlandish as it may have six weeks ago. If both do happen, I think it’s a shoe-in with 12 wins and possible even with 11. That would be 33/45 (or 32) for Asanoyama and the only rule bending would be to overlook the M-K-S rank sequence. It’s certainly at their discretion to do that and one reason why it’s always made sense to have never written in stone what the promotion criteria are. 

Edited by Eikokurai
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The bout i'm looking forward to the most, is Enho vs. Tochinoshin.

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