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Featured Rikishi - Kaiho

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Kaiho is 32 years old and has been a sekitori for 8 years. He is 178cm tall and has "always" weighed around 120-125kg which means he has always been almost the smallest makuuchi rikishi. Only Mainoumi and Terao and young Aminishiki were consistently lighter than him. Now only Ama is lighter than him in makuuchi. Well Ishide is around the same weight too.

Kaiho has very muscular frame and athletic sumo body. His sumo style is quite straight-forward for a small rikishi although he also wins quite a lot with okuridashi, hatakikomi etc. He has plenty of technical moves he masters well. Uchigake is one of his specialities which he tries often even though he only has 5 uchigake wins in makuuchi. More often he disrupts his opponent's sumo with well-timed uchigake attempt. He prefers shitate-grip and often wins with shitatenage. Quite strong sukuinage flip too and his makiotoshi is well-known (he has 6 makiotoshi wins of which 5 have come since Haru 2004, Musoyama and Kaiho have been unmatched in makiotoshi style and power, Oginishiki is the only rikishi who has 7 wins with makiotoshi since Hatsu 1990 but both Musoyama's and Kaiho's were more outstanding IMO). He has won with 32 different kimarite as a makuuchi rikishi including 5 komatasukui, 5 uchigake and 3 kakenage amongst others.

Out of 296 wins in makuuchi:

69 throwing techniques (uwate+dashi, shitate+dashi, kote, kubi, kake, suku,okurinage)

62 yorikiri+yoritaoshi+abisetaoshi

33 oshidashi+oshitaoshi+tsukidashi

15 tripping techniques (uchigake, sotogake, kirikaeshi, watashikomi included here too(

+ the rest

Kaiho is always the underdog against most sanyaku and high maegashira regulars but he gives them good fights and also has many delicious victories over high quality rikishi. Kaiho is known for being a really tough for Asashoryu both in keiko and honbasho. Also has had great bouts against KaioU in honbasho.

Kaiho's tachi is usually hanmi-shikiri style where he leaves his other leg further back so that feet are no on the same line. Before the last crouch down, he swirls his shoulders around once.

Kaiho is also known for his training diligence. Even worked out at the New Year's holiday couple of years ago saying "other rikishi don't work but I will use this time to work out".

His most famous heya-mate is Hokutoriki but lately Hakkaku-beya has developed new sekitori as Kanbayashi (juryo debut in Natsu 2005) and now Raiko (will debut in juryo in Aki 2005) have increased the number of sekitori in Hakkaku-beya to 4.

Kaiho broke his ankle on day 14 of Nagoya basho and will sit out Aki basho for sure and can't be in full form in Kyushu either. He is still strong and swift so come-back could work out. Depends on how difficult the ankle fracture was of course.

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Masumi Abe from sumo ML wrote about Kaiho 20.5.1998 like this:

Probably Kevin Carter is more qualified than me on this subject, but

I've been following Kaiho or used to be Kumagai since he won the middle

weight world title for Japan in Second World Sumo Championship in

Kokugikan a while ago. He was impressive in those days when he was a member of

strong Nichidai sumo team, and impressive now as Maku(no)uchi rikishi.

While his sempai Maenoumi and Tomonohana are struggling to survive in

Juryo, it's nice to see a new smaller and quicker rikishi beating other

bigger and slower rikishi, for change.

By the way, his shikona "Kaiho" is not an immitation of Taiho "the

great", but merely taking from Kaiho-maru, a boat his father owns. Taiho

means a great mythological bird from Chinese mythology, and Kaiho shares

the kanji "ho" with Taiho. Kai in Kaiho means sea or ocean in kanji.


Questions! (Showing respect...)

1. What is your favourite Kaiho-match-up? Meaning which rikishi's bouts against Kaiho you look forward to and why?

2. What do you think about contribution to makuuchi sumo?


3. Write a poem about Kaiho!

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This is my poem about Kaihou:

Knowing him has enriched my life

Always brought hope to the little guy.

Inch for inch, he is the best.

He looks a lot like Kaihou

Or not.

Under those eyebrows, a golden eye shines bright.


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Those who are not squeamish may want to revisit this photo to know he won't come back anytime sonn...


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Kaiho is known for being a really tough for Asashoryu both in keiko and honbasho.

I would most definately agree with this statement the ONLY reason he ends up loosing to Shoryu is if he is out muscled (really the only category in which he has been lacking his entire career)

So I suppose I always look forward to a Kaiho Shoryu matchup though unlikely, I also enjoy watching face off against much larger opponents.

I suppose my all time favorite match of him would have to be a truly gargantuan bout he had with Yokozuna Musashimaru a couple years back (in which he was victorious) landing him one of his "5" victories by uchigake. Very impressive...

As for his contribution to sumo I think its tremendous, proof that having skill and technique without a massive frame can be enough. Which is the reason why he is my favorite rikishi. I have always greatly admired those "lightweights" (Mainoumi, Tomonohana, Terao) who have the ability to stay for so long at the higher ranks inspite of their lower (and in the case of mainoumi significantly lower) body weight.

I really hope he gets well soon but even if he gets demoted I have no doubt he will come right back to makuuchi, Kaiho Ganbare yo!

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well ... i haven't been able to get down to write something about Kaiho since i was very busy lately, and barely managed to get online to play some of the games i usualy play ....

i guess it is the right time, even though we are in honbasho period, because Kaiho is absent and he deserves a bit of attention.

Kaiho is my favourite rikishi because he is the perfect expression (IMO) of the "small frame rikishi" who has a great fighting spirit and the exceptional technique to make him a great competitor in every bout.

he was born in Aomori in April 17 1973 and his real name is Ryoji Kumagaya. He entered Sumo in Hatsu 1996 (not counting mae-sumo) as Makushita Tsukedashi at Ms60e, and managed to get the makushita yusho in a play-off with Kyokutenho.

Since then he managed 31 kachikoshi,26 makekoshi and he was kyujo 2 times (both in Aki bashos).

He stayed in Makuuchi after his initial promotion for 33 consecutive basho (from Natsu 1998 to Aki 2003), dropped for one tournament in Juryo and managed to get back and make another run of 11 participation in the "big league". This run will end though due to his serious injury.....

He won 2 Gino-sho in his career, which are less than they should if you ask me ...

He only managed to get double digit wins in 3 bashos in his career (2 times 10 wins and once 11).

He is a "8-7,7-8" guy .... 13 times he got a 8-7 in Makuuchi and 8 times a 7-8.

His highest rank was Komusubi in Kyushu 2001, when he got only 5 wins, but he beat Ozeki Kaio,Sekiwake Kotomitsuki and M1 Wakanosato.He also beat his most usuall opponent Tokitsuumi.

He has one kinboshi against Musashimaru, in the best bout of his career.It was a great uchigake move and i encourage everyone to go see this match, just to realise that at least in Sumo size is not everything ... :-O

Kaikitsune already mentioned his curious tachi-ai positioning, along with the swirling shoulder move. I want to add that he always has his ankles,wrists and middle-index fingers wrapped with no apparent reason. He just tries to "play safe" ?

He has the best inashi in sumo (well ... Asahoryu's is pretty impressive too) and thats why he gets so many okuri wins.

The hatakikomis in his career are quite a few but surpisingly his losses are more than his wins by that kimarite. Same goes with hikiotoshi.

His shitatenage is very good and if that doesn't work there is always the kirikaeshi ... which he tries more often that he should.

My favourite match-up was with Kotoryu. They fought quite ofter since they were both middle-maegashira mainstays, and the technical possibilities in those matches were inumerous.Pitty that Ryu left the dohyos so soon ...

nowadays i expect hia matches with Kotonowaka, Tosanoumi and Harunoyama (because i like makiotoshi and he is the perfect victim).

as for his contibution to makuuchi ... i cannot think something earthshattering but i guess he helps to change peoples mind that sumo is all about overweight Japanese with diapers (yeah ... i know he IS japanese and that he wears a diaper ... but you get my point.. (Holiday feeling...) )

anyway ... i hope he will come back strong soon and get back to Makuuchi, where he belongs.

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He grew up in Aomori Prefecture which Sumo closely related to the high school.

And he was scouted and entered Nihon University.

He served the captain of the Nihon University sumo club, had Masutsuyoshi and Youtsukasa with him.

He competed fiercely with Dejima(Chuuou UNV), Tochinonada(Takushoku UNV), Tokitsuumi(Tokyo Nougyou UNV) then.

It is one of the bases which made them the success in grand sumo that their capability had rivaled on the very high level at that time.

His sumo style in college days was holding Hidari-Shitate, performing Kuisagari(Hold Mawashi and pin by own head with a position lower than an opponent in order to restrict a motion of an opponent.), and shifting to Dashinage or Ashiwaza(Uchigake or Kirikaeshi).

That is, it was the same as the tactics which he is now using.

He actually made his debut of the grand sumo by complete victory(7-0) at the Makushita-Tsukedashi.

To my surprise, he floundered the period of one year or more in Makushita after that.

Although he was also injured, Hakkaku-Oyakata's instruction itself was the main causes.

Oyakata was a rikishi who has poor physique and persisted with a straight Atari(dash or rush) and pushing against the every rikishi.

I do not think that Oyakata tried to produce Kaiho as the second Hokutoumi.

Probably, Oyakata tried to give him the basic technique of sumo which lacked in him uniquely.

In the process, it was sealed in Inashi(The technique by the hand for changing the direction of the pressure from an opponent aimed to this), Ashiwaza(In this case, the technique to the leg by a hand is also included), Mawarikomi(The motion for being located in a opponent's side), etc. which were Kaiho's feature.

He must have had that forced serious difficulties also in a Keikoba(practice-dohyo) or the Honbasho-dohyo.

The difficulties completed his sumo style.

Probably, if either Oyakata or Kaiho was merely insufficient for a while, he had completely become the rikishi of another sumo style.

In that case, I guess that he was not able to give me the impression more than Mainoumi who is the senior of Nihon University, and his sumo style probably became like Asofuji who is the younger generation of his same high school in Aomori Prefecture.

Mainoumi's original sumo theory and its practice charmed many spectators, and he was indispensable to the sumodom.

However, I like Kaiho's sumo style for the very individual opinion of delighting me by more high-concentration sumo for a long period of time.

The most impressive feature of his completed sumo style is dashing against any opponents with his head to the front at the Tachiai.

Although he does not aim to push to the last like Hokutoumi, straight Atari at Tachiai is his pride as the manners of the Dohyo.

When taking victory or defeat into consideration, I could not think that the tactics were effective to Musashimaru or Dejima, but he adhered to pride stubbornly especially to the opponent with the good physique.

And I used to look at it with wry smile and respect.

It is one of the tactics of sumo not to be located in the front of the opponent who is superior in power.

When such a tactics is used at Tachiai, it is called Henka.

Since he was too proud to adopt Henka, in order to ease the handicap of the physique, there was only one means left behind to him.

That is Atari with proper height, angle, and speed.

In order to make it possible, he is always nervous about the timing of Tachiai.

Many in the rikishis who are in a slipshod manner about Tachiai and does not have a tactics, tend to plays cheap tricks(Matta, feint, Henka, etc,) diligently in order to make opponent's tactics fail.

Overcoming these obstacles, his perfect Atari without all power losses had performed the Denshamichi.

However, Atari was successful, then it mostly only just changed the situation into fifty-fifty.

After that, he had to move quickly so that he might not locate at an oponent's front and stop , and he needed to make sumo finish as soon as possible.

This chain of motions which begin from Atari are effective as a model for many rikishis who have a poor physique.

However, nobody can do having the preparedness and confidence for performing it with no problem, without going through hell.

Kaiho is the rare rikishi who got it, even so, but it was not that he continue being blessed with a victory, and was not able to become Wakanohana(-Masaru).

However, I do not think that his charm is inferior to Wakanohana just because his capability is no match for there.

He is one of a few rikishis who can make me have a feeling that results are not all.

Although this may be high-sounding ideas, the respect from the fans to his preparedness and confidence at least make up for the victory which he could not get.

Moreover, I do not also have the intention of measuring the limit of his ability on a basis that his ability was no match for there and his best reaching Banzuke was Komusubi.

I have the image that he is the rikishi who adhered to his own sumo style rather than the victory.

Moreover, in many Bashos, I think that his number of victories did not reach the limit of his capability.

I had already felt that at the May-Basho(1998) when his Shin-Nyuumaku with Wakanosato and Touki.

Contrary to what was generally expected, Kaiho got Kachikoshi on Day12 early most among three Shin-Nyuumaku rikishis.

However, after that, he was defeated successively three times and finished the basho.

It seemed in sight of me that three successive defeats was caused by an oppoent's cunning.

Also after a little regrettable Kachikoshi, the case which his orthodox approach serves as an enmity for him had not been unrelated to him for a long time.

And he rarely recorded the victory of nine or more victories.

However, I had not worried about drop to Jyuryo for him.

Therefore, in order for me to guess his result in a basho, I cared about only the position of his Banzuke.

The result of him in the Banzuke position where has match with the rikishi more than Sanyaku was around five victories.

In many cases, the result of him in the position not more than it was seven victories or eight victories irrespective of his condition good or bad.

According to the reverse view, only his result cannot be seen and neither his condition nor the rise and fall of capability can be judged.

I have judged it with the frequency of the victory by his Nage-waza(throwing techniques).

Although Nage does not necessarily regard me as suitable for his physique, I feel his natural gift for vividness in case he wins by it.

I think that only this much is not what is depended on his intense Keiko.

However, in order to tie to Nage of finish, it becomes conditions that he does not yield to an opponent's pressure.

When he who have a poor physique fulfills the condition, I judge that it shows his good shape.

He may dare persist to Nage against the opponent on whom his quick motion acts effectively.

I used to feel his margin for his restricting his motion intentionally.

The match with his good shape against the rikishi with the good physique turned into the place of appeal suitable for him frequently.

I have memorized vividly the scene from which Musashimaru, Takaninami, Dejima, and Kotonowaka became his victim.

It is one year or more ago that I looked at such a scene, and I felt decline in his strength recently.

However, in this year, he recorded twice the double figure victory which he has not attained since September, 2001.

He restricted the frequency of sumo of an orthodox approach remarkably by the decline of his physical strength, instead used Inashi abundantly in it.

Ironically, it seems that his restricted capability brought him the best result.

Although the position was contrary to the time of his yielding to cunning before, the example whose capability and victory of his do not correspond was reproduced.

However, I am not disappointed at his turnabout.

He uses the cunning technique for the short period left behind to him, after having continued performing the right sumo for a long period of time.

Compared with the rikishi who is not so as for the rikishi who has continued the sumo with an orthodox approach, accumulation of the damage to the body is remarkably large.

Even if he by whom a new handicap was added to the handicap of the physique performs however cunning sumo, I do not criticize it.

Moreover, since his cunning does not include deception or the tric like feint or tantalization or Henka in Tachiai, there was nothing for me to criticize anywhere from the beginning.

Although we could not expect any longer the forcibleness which he showed occasionally, many techniques which only the rikishi who knows everything about the Sumo do not limit his good point only to cunning.

As an example which makes such his presence felt, I want to introduce a match against Ama.

Ama is also the rikishi who adheres to an orthodox approach and has a poor physique.

Kaiho adheres to his sumo style, and, on the other hand, Ama adheres to the sumo which pleases the spectators.

I thought that both of them had occasionally exceeded worth of they own victory.

Although these two Sumo might show the same means and the same result, when service by Ama was sometimes superfluous, two were a completely different thing.

Although the opinion of the pros and cons probably exists about the superfluous showmanship in sumo, it is not necessary to have the worries at least in this bout.

It is because Ama does not have a margin to perform it and Kaiho's sumo does not allow it easily.

Furthermore, just fighting [ which had its best without affectation] produces frequently the sumo which pleases the spectators.

This sumo can satisfy all three, Ama, many spectators, and difficult me .

I put power into an introduction too much, and I just forgot to have been going to introduce the Torikumi itself carelessly.

The Torikumi was made Day2nd, 2005 in March.

The first day, Kaiho made Morozashi successful against Kasugaou at the moment of Tachiai, and obtained a perfect victory by Abisetaoshi.

On the other hand, Ama got a perfect victory against Takanowaka by Yorikiri with low Atari, Tsukihanashi and Morozashi too.

And a bout by them starts at last.

Ama performed from the beginning Morote-zuki(Pushing with both hands at one time) which was effective yesterday.

It was for avoiding that he is clung by Kaiho who exceeds by the sharpness of Tachiai, and a good position is taken.

Although the plan of Kumu(holding the Mawashi) from the beginning also existed as service for a spectator, he did not mistake the selection for a victory.

Kaiho opposed Tsuki-Oshi by Taguri(An opponent's arm is held and pulled) or Inashi as usual.

Victory was able to smile on which of Tsuki or Inashi as well.

The goddess of victory on the day made it successful that Kaiho inserted the left arm using Inashi.

By it, Ama who was losing the victorious opportunity locked Kaiho's joint of a wrist and an elbow, and he tried all-or-nothing Tottari(Throw with locking an opponent's joint of an arm).

Since Kaiho's balance collapsed greatly, at the moment of being visible in the match was over by Victory's caprice, Ama rotated and collapsed on the Dohyo early for a moment.

I thought that Ama's own momentum drove himself to Dohyo.

However, slow playback projected Kaiho's secret technique which is close to a foul.

Kaiho locked and pulled the finger of the hand of Ama who locks Kaiho's wrist.

Since fingers are a weak point for human, attacking them are forbidden in all grapple games.

Although I have seen the hidden technique which hide the opponent's fingers by hand and also attack in a certain game in the position of Udehishigi (Technique which bends the joint of an elbow to an opposite direction) which is the technique of juujutsu or juudo, naturally such mean trick is not allowed in a game.

Kaiho is the last man who would commit a foul intentionally.

Therefore, it seems that this secret technique was the result of his body reacting unconsciously.

However, supposing he judges that the elbow and wrist which he had hurt were made into the target by Tottari, Kaiho is the last man who never let Ama do as he prease too.

Even so, that I conclude that Kaiho attacked the finger of Ama as retaliation will only mean that I extended the wings of imagination too much.

Although there is no clear fact after all in addition to the thing which appeared also about both rikishis, it is certain that Ama's Tottari recalled Kaiho's fighting sprit, and made him earnest.

Even if I looked at such his performance, I did not deny his decline yet.

The basis is reduction of his forcibleness which I described also previously.

And I think that this thing and the bout against Iwakiyama on day 14th in September, 2005 which ended in tragedy are not unrelated to each other.

Iwakiyama at this time had got seven victories containing Kyujyo for three days by unfortunate injury and Kaiho had already got eight victories.

And they come from the same Aomori prefecture and, moreover, their single-mindness about Sumo are common.

The situation of surrounding this match showed that this match was not a bout which must win absolutely for Kaiho.

Moreover, if that is not right, Present Kaiho should not stop at that style of Yotsu.

This match was the special example in which he appeared on Dohyo without having a strategy at all.

If he was going to leave the body to flow of sumo, he should have done so to the last.

If he had got Kachikoshi by very good condition, he was able to reverse that situation by Shitatenage or Ucchari of the final stage in the bout.

However, according to my measure that I used also short time ago, it showed that his condition was not so that he has not got the victory by Nage during two Bashos containing that Basho.

Although he lapsed into the situation which cannot be reversed any longer by present him, in the position which has some distance in before the end of the Dohyo, he was not able to empty power by himself.

Although Iwakiyama also seemed to have saved power and fought from beginning to end in me, since he was more superior, he was further not able to empty by himself .

Did Kaiho have an illusion that own condition was good, by Kachikoshi in time earlier than usual?

Or didn't a sence of duty for the spectators, the responsibility for the Kyokai, and pride for his own Sumo allow him to give up easily?

Although I have seen a rikishi who stepped toward the foot out of Dohyo of his will, or a rikishi who lost while smiling, Kaiho is completely opposite to them.

On the other hand, a spiritless rikishi or sumo exist anywhere.

I look at them and have come to look at sumo by the viewpoint which cooled down gradually.

Existence of the rikishi whose physical strength declines, and yet who has backbone, awaken my subconscious for the sumo.

Even if I am seeing sumo with the tease, the wry smile, and the look which cooled down, there is a sense of the respect and worship to the rikishi in the depths of the heart worthy of an old sumo fan.

Such subconscious equal to a desire is realized the existence by a rikishi like Kaiho.

Among the tolerant persons who kept reading my endless monologue as far as here, anyone may be looking forward to future Kaiho's sumo more than before.

Also for that purpose, All we can do are to pray that this Torikumi (against Iwakiyama) is not recorded as sumo of the last in his whole life.

However, even if he announces a retirement in the near future, his Sumo will not finish yet.

I do not suspect that he possesses the necesary qualities of first-class to coach for younger rikishi at all.

By the foreign native rikishi's rise, although the style of sumo is differing from the former, I have not been anxious about this present condition, and I am enjoying that freshness rather.

And all the more because so, I feel the necessity for the soul and the technique of Kaiho being certainly inherited as a tradition.

I believe that both existence continues evolving each.


Edited by Susanoo

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Among the tolerant persons who kept reading my endless monologue as far as here

These kind of posts are exactly the kind I was hoping for when these featured rikishi - threads were implemented long time ago! These kind of posts about some rikishi add new viewpoints and bring up new ways to see some details of rikishi's sumo and career in ozumo in general. Your knowledge of the background of rikishi and way of publishing your ponderings about rikishi is highly appreciated always! My perspective expands at least with the help of those

I wonder if there has been any news in some Japanese sumo magazines about Kaiho's recovery progress or whether he has appeared yet on jungyo in any form.

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