Kaioshoryu

Hakuho retires

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Quote

And Arthur and his knighthood for a space
Were all one will, and through that strength the King
Drew in the petty princedoms under him,
Fought, and in twelve great battles overcame
The heathen hordes, and made a realm and reigned.

SXVqTAp.gif

Long live the King!

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I have mixed feelings about hakuho's intai. On the one hand it feels like a shock, something you logically knew was bound to happen, and happen soon, but you could never imagine it actually happening. Yet here it is. He's the greatest of all time, even people that hate him have to acknowledge that, in the dohyo, at least, he was leagues above anyone else (which is where it counts, in my opinion, nobody tried to say kakuryu was the greatest of all time.) Yet it doesn't feel sad, or even disappointing because his status for the last 2-3 years has pretty much been retired with "guest appearances". Personally i feel this moment would have felt much more like what it is, the end of the career of the greatest of all time, had he not dragged out his career years more for what turned out to be 5-6 more completed tournaments. I am glad though, that in his very last match, he could still make the case that he was the best. He quite literally went out in a blaze of glory, in retrospect.

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6 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

I’ve only just realized his name is spelled wrong in the thread title: Hakuko.

Oops, not good. I'm by no means a Hakuho fan, but meant no disrespect to the greatest rikishi of all time by spelling his name wrong. I hope a moderator can correct my mistake. 

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12 minutes ago, Kaioshoryu said:

Oops, not good. I'm by no means a Hakuho fan, but meant no disrespect to the greatest rikishi of all time by spelling his name wrong. I hope a moderator can correct my mistake. 

I'm pretty sure you can, too!

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6 hours ago, Akinomaki said:

The YDC was told by Hakkaku that Hakuho has filed his resignation. Chief Yano acknowledged his records but at once repeated the critical comments, that they wanted him to reflect on his deeds and show remorse. And on top, Yano wants him to show proper remorse/reflection of his conduct before he should start raising deshi as an oyakata. https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2021092700970&g=spo

Yano has the report in mind, which doubts that foreign born oyakata can properly convey the Japanese values of ozumo.

His mind is blank in respect to the many successful deshi Hakuho has already raised.

Unbelievable how much flak he is getting. Don't Ishiura, Hokuseiho, Enho, the youth in the Hakuho Cup count for anything at all? Sure there were hinkaku violations and some of it was hurtful, but there have been oyakata less suited to the task than he. In criticizing past transgressions the YDC sounds spiteful, continuing a policy to set foreigners apart as being no good. I am sure that Hakuho will be a great oyakata and shisho raising great deshi, tons better than a certain other who raised horrible deshi and almost tore the NSK apart. Just my 2cents, YMMV.

Edited by orandashoho
EnHo, of course.
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Is it just me, or is five thread pages (half filled with my own one-liners) in more than 24 hours a little low for the fact that the most dominant rikishi of all time has called it quits?

Says more about the peculiar status of Hakuho than a thousand words.

 

Curious days.

Merkel gone, Hakuho gone.

Quo vadis, blissful stasis?

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I have followed sumo closely (from afar) for over thirty years. While Akebono will always be my favourite rikishi, none has my respect more than Hakuho. Truly the GOAT in my eyes from what he has accomplished on the dohyo. I hope that what he can accomplish as an oyakata will add to this legacy.

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34 minutes ago, yorikiried by fate said:

Curious days.

Merkel gone, Hakuho gone.

Quo vadis, blissful stasis?

Are you talking Angela?

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40 minutes ago, yorikiried by fate said:

Is it just me, or is five thread pages (half filled with my own one-liners) in more than 24 hours a little low for the fact that the most dominant rikishi of all time has called it quits?

I think many people heed the lesson of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".  At least I am (/was).

"Speak only good of the recently retired."

"Hakuho is retired.  Good."

Edited by Gurowake
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25 minutes ago, TakanohanaFan said:

Hakuho should surely receive ichidai toshiyori kabu given his achievements. When will it be given to him?

Little to no chance, given the report earlier in the year where it was recommended ichidai toriyoshi no longer be issued, as well as the general animosity YDC/NSK appear to have for Hakuho, highlighted further by YDC Chief Yano's comments Akinomaki's earlier post.

More info on this earlier thread regarding the status of ichidai toshiyori: 

 

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1 hour ago, yorikiried by fate said:

Merkel gone, Hakuho gone.

We've been so blind. SHE was the last Horcrux!

34 minutes ago, TakanohanaFan said:

Hakuho should surely receive ichidai toshiyori kabu given his achievements. When will it be given to him?

Never, because racism.

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2 hours ago, yorikiried by fate said:

Is it just me, or is five thread pages (half filled with my own one-liners) in more than 24 hours a little low for the fact that the most dominant rikishi of all time has called it quits?

Says more about the peculiar status of Hakuho than a thousand words.

Probably more reflective of the fact it was A) only rumors to begin with so people maybe held back until things were more certain and B) there is far too much to say. I know I decided to post only a short initial reaction and to take my time over a more thoughtful retrospective of his career. How can you just fire off a paragraph or two about the most successful rikishi of all time?

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Memories of Hakuho ---------------

I was hoping to be able to get back to Japan again and to be able to watch Hakuho once more in person but it is not to be.  I'll have to be content with my memories of the only basho I was able to attend -- Aki 2014 from Days 8 to 15.  The most memorable bout was on Day 14 between Hakuho and Ichinojo, who was making his Makuuchi debut.  Just before the bout started, I could feel the excitement in the air at the Kokugikan.  I don't think any other bout generated as much tension.  Because Ichinojo was making his debut, no one, including Hakuho, could foretell who would be the victor.  Ichinojo was huge and looked menacing with his hair hanging down (it wasn't long enough for a topknot).  As the bout started, the noise of the crowd rose to a fever pitch.  It was so loud, I couldn't hear my husband or  my friend trying to say something to me.  The bout ended quickly with a magnificent throw by Hakuho.  Incredibly, the noise in the Kokugikan increased.  People were clapping, cheering, yelling, shouting and screaming.  It was pandemonium and the atmosphere was electric!  It was like nothing I've ever witnessed before.  You never hear this on the live TV broadcast because it would be impossible to hear the announcers.  It took about 5 minutes before the incredible roar died down.  I'll never forget it.......

Two days before this, on Day 12, I was lucky enough to be able to meet Hakuho at Miyagino Beya after having watched him train for about one hour.  He spoke to about a dozen reporters and then I was introduced.  I had learned some Mongolian phrases so I was able to trot those out.  Amazingly, he understood me!  I told him he was very handsome and he seemed quite embarrassed.  I was told much later by a Mongolian man that commenting on someone elses looks is not something that is done in Mongolian culture. lol  Despite my behavior, I was invited (not by Hakuho) to have lunch with Hakuho, his trainer, and our mutual friend, the one who introduced me.  Just the four of us.  We sat on the floor in the kitchen around a low table and ate chanko, sausage, natto and fresh peaches.  Hakuho had a beer & offered me one.  He was polite but rather reserved.  I don't think he knew quite what to make of me, a 65-year-old American female sumo fanatic, with him as my favorite (at the time).  He made polite conversation, asking me if I was traveling alone, where I was from, etc.  When I told him that I was traveling with my husband, he asked why my husband had not come to meet him.  OMG, I couldn't tell him the truth!!!  My husband, though a casual sumo fan, didn't care about meeting Hakuho!  He said he'd rather visit the Sword Museum.  So my friend had to gently tell Hakuho that my husband was only a casual fan and wasn't able to come.  Hakuho didn't understand and after the explanation was repeated, he still looked confused.  I don't think he had ever heard of anyone who didn't want to meet him!!   Soooo awkward! lol 

Hakuho sounded excited when I told him in Mongolian that I had brought him a gift, but when he saw it was only a t-shirt with his favorite word on it (DREAM), he looked disappointed and didn't even say, "Thank you", not even in Mongolian or Japanese!.  It was probably a good thing, though, because I had bought a XXXXXXL, thinking he was a massive guy.  He' was not really that big, especially in the chest area.  To this day, I wished I had brought him a box of See's Candy, my favorite American chocolate.  I found out later that he has quite a sweet tooth.  (If any of you SF members ever want to try to see a training session or meet Hakuho at Miyagino Beya once he becomes an Oyakata, you might increase your chances of getting permission if you offer a big box of excellent-quality chocolate!  (No guarantees, of course.  Note:  Don't try to buy See's Chocolate in Tokyo, though.  At $3.00 FOR ONE PIECE!! [2014 price], that's ridiculous!  In the US, a one-lb box is less than $20.00.  I believe it's available only in stores in the western part of the US, and maybe at a kiosk at LAX (Airport in Los Angeles) or the International Airport in San Francisco, but it can be ordered online from Los Angeles, CA.  And then you could put it in your checked luggage on your way to Japan --- AFTER Covid, of course ....... sigh ...... whenever that might be!).

Hakuho has not been my favorite for quite a number of years, but at the time I met him, he was, and it was the highlight of our trip.  Here is a video of my most memorable bout.

 

Edited by sumojoann
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I recognize that bow twirler in the background!

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3 hours ago, yorikiried by fate said:

Is it just me, or is five thread pages (half filled with my own one-liners) in more than 24 hours a little low for the fact that the most dominant rikishi of all time has called it quits?

 Says more about the peculiar status of Hakuho than a thousand words.

A few points that feel like they might explain that:

* Normally we get an intai followed quite swiftly by an official NSK announcement with all the details on what's coming next - press conference, social media content, etc - which we know is a few days away, so there's just a lot of "who the what the?!" There aren't any press conference photos or statements or speeches or anything for folks to dissect.

* I know this forum is a hotbed of superfanz™ - but it's fair to say that Hakuho or not, global sumo interest is down significantly over the past 18-24 months. And Hakuho's ongoing absences have contributed to that as well, which is a little worrying in and of itself (unless you're someone trying to get sumo tickets in which case it's probably great).

* We've all known it was coming for over a year, when he said originally that 2020 was going to be his last year in sumo, plus he was under a ticking clock from Miyagino's retirement anyway.

I think it's shocking but not surprising, if that makes any sense. Probably describes the lesser reaction when it's something we knew was coming, the jolt of him not being anymore leaves some folks a little lost for words, and we're in this vacuum right now of information about what comes next.

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The mistyseas what do you base this statement on?

* I know this forum is a hotbed of superfanz™ - but it's fair to say that Hakuho or not, global sumo interest is down significantly over the past 18-24 months. And Hakuho's ongoing absences have contributed to that as well, which is a little worrying in and of itself (unless you're someone trying to get sumo tickets in which case it's probably great).

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4 minutes ago, specialweek 2 said:

The mistyseas what do you base this statement on?

* I know this forum is a hotbed of superfanz™ - but it's fair to say that Hakuho or not, global sumo interest is down significantly over the past 18-24 months. And Hakuho's ongoing absences have contributed to that as well, which is a little worrying in and of itself (unless you're someone trying to get sumo tickets in which case it's probably great).

Being an admin of another sumo site which experienced a fast growth to very high volumes of traffic over the past several years, traffic is always higher in tournaments where Hakuho participated and dropped when he was kyujo. Additionally, the months early in the pandemic when the Osaka basho was cancelled indicated a big drop off in interest, and that's never recovered, even with Terunofuji's great story. Since the start of the pandemic, there's been an indication that casual fans have other things to focus on now. Even where I live and work now, in a non-English speaking and non-Japanese speaking country that has a significant Japanese expat community, the talking points from casual Japanese sumo fans even are always: "is Hakuho winning" or "how did Hakuho do?" While that is anecdotal, it's very easy to draw the correlation with the above point about website traffic to understand that for casual fans anywhere, he is and has been the main hook.

I don't think - and this is me wearing my day job hat as someone who works in entertainment marketing - that there's been any decline in terms of the number of superfans. That may well have even increased, but in terms of the overall interest from casual fans, that's down quite a bit. I'd back that up from conversations I've had with folks in Japan who participate in the sumo economy, with the fact that no tourists are coming to Japan meaning there are less new fans discovering sumo for the first time, and the global economy around sumo has shrunk accordingly. Sumo is somewhat unique compared to most mainstream sports in that it's an aspirational experience for many of those in the English language community - you can go to a football match anywhere in the world but there's only one place you can go to sumo. That avenue has been shut off for nearly 2 years of tournaments now, so given that there's been no improvement in the digital availability of the sport, and (as pointed out recently by one of Gunning's excellent columns) very few efforts made at international fan acquisition, there's not much pickup of new casual fans. I don't think there's any coincidence that the mini-boom in online sumo fandom (which OGs on this forum will be at pains to point out was itself not comparable to the 80s/90s) around the time of Kisenosato's promotion corresponded with Japan ramping up tourism efforts quite heavily in anticipation of the Olympics. That doesn't impact the original point of why there are (relatively) few comments on this thread, but it can explain why global interest and new fan pickup is down.

Personally I'd also throw into the picture the fact that the quality of makuuchi is poor at the moment with no meaningful new talents as a reason for the drop-off - which means more of the fan interest and debate has hinged on the exploits of Hakuho - but that's more anecdotal than empirical.

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Sumo for Japanese whether at home or living abroad is usually one of casual interest and while they are as patriotic as anyone, with no Japanese Yokozuna despite the brief Kisenosato period when interest was up, generally it is a topic not on most people's lips. The casual fan base has certainly risen according to NHK perhaps with the introduction of highlights and 3 days of live per basho. 

It looks like sumo will enter a very lean period. Uncertainty about Terunofuj's longevity and an apparent lack of strong opposition for him means quality and strong numbers may be rare. If Teru stays relatively healthy he should dominate. We may be waiting 2 years before it rebounds, perhaps more.

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I am glad Hakuho retired on a relatively high note with a zensho. Was a shame he did not really get to really participate in the olympics as he wanted and that BS petty report denied him elder stock. Not a huge deal as he will likely get the familiar Miyagino name soon according to the comments. Still surprised that the YDC are being so petty to even lash out at Hakuho after he already announced his retirement and hope he just ignores their requests. Not much to say as it was certain that he would retire this year and most opinions on him have already been expressed. 

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12 minutes ago, WAKATAKE said:

Hakuho's got plans. A new heya worth about 200,000,000 yen is being mentioned for building in Nihombashi. Worthy this means that he is going to move Miyagino or if he's opening another heya is up in the air.

https://www.nikkansports.com/battle/sumo/news/202109280000097.html

Wahey. Now that's what I'm talking about. That's a pretty swanky area of Tokyo too, barely 5 minutes walk out of Tokyo-eki itself. Land can't be cheap there, though, so I wonder what the motivation for building there is.

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I don't have any recollection of Sumo w/o Hakuho, of course, nor did I start following (2017) during his dominant years.  So it's hard to say what my impressions are.  I can certainly check the record.  His record is astonishing: since his second appearance at Sekiwake he entered 82 tournaments and lost about 140 matches.

I also know about his extracurriculars: the Hakuho Cup, the attempt to develop Hakuho-rice for Japan and Mongolia.  He seemed happy to foster goodwill between Mongolia and Japan. 

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26 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

Wahey. Now that's what I'm talking about. That's a pretty swanky area of Tokyo too, barely 5 minutes walk out of Tokyo-eki itself. Land can't be cheap there, though, so I wonder what the motivation for building there is.

One must wonder if it's to do a Kisenosato, but on a bigger (commercial) scale and with more resources. Build a modern environment but in an area where it's accessible to fans, and run a gift shop in an area where people with money spend money. We would (and will) go to Ibaraki to see Kisenosato's place, but casuals aren't going there. Meanwhile Hakuho's already got Chanko Ho in Ginza, so he's no stranger to putting properties where people with money actually are.

Given his track record of wanting to make generational impacts, he already seems to have figured out recruiting, and has been dedicated to youth and community initiatives, so I would posit that his exposure to fans at Miyagino beya (which seems to have been one of the more accessible stables for global fans) will probably have clued him in that he can steal a march on some of the dinosaurs of the previous era - whose idea of fansa is at most Jungyo - when it comes to cultivating fan relationships.

I would also imagine, thinking as a fantasy shisho, if you have to live where you work and so does your spouse, and you're well heeled, you'd want to build something spectacular in a spectacular part of town with good access both to Ryogoku and the shinkansen both for basho and for recruiting trips (especially with that stable's links to further flung parts of Japan and beyond).

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