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Now in the 29th Year of Publication!
ln This Issue
On the Coyer - Ozeki Kaio holds the Tennoshihai after winning the Osaka Haru Basho (photo by Clyde Newton). On the Back Coyer - Kaio takes his turn to be introduced to the Emperor and Empress at the TenranZumo on the 14th day of the j anuary tournament in Tokyo. (photo by Clyde Newton)
Editorial Staff: Clyde Newton Editor and Publisher Andy Adams Associate Editor Ryo Hatano Senior Editor Shinobu Suzuki Staff Columnist Lora Sharnoff Staff Columnist David Meisenzahl Staff Columnist Mark Newton Staff Columnist Mark Schreiber Guest Columnist C. Newton Photographer C. Newton, S. Suzuki Translators AlI subscription checks should be made out to: Sumo World/Clyde Newton. AH checks and correspondence should be mailed to: Clyde Newton, tditor & Publisher Sumo World 1-2-16 Inokashira, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0001, japan Tel/Fax: 0422-47-5715 e-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: <http://www.sumoworld.com> Please send registered mail only to the foHowing address: Clyde Newton cio Foreign Correspondents' Club ofjapan Yuraku Denki Bldg. 1-7-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100,japan Annual Subscription Rates: j apan: Regular Mail--V3,900; Express Mail: V4,900
* ln This Issue,
Editor's Box * Akebono Retires! By Clyde Newton * Akebono's Tegata * Akebono's Il Yusho By Andy Adams * Akebono's Career Record * Hatsu Basho Roundup * Akinoshima-Part 111... By Shinobu Suzuki * Hatano-san's Column * Onogawa Oyakata Dies *Then & Now: Sumo Magazines (111) By C. Newton * New Techniques By C. Newton * juryo Results, Review of Taiho Book * Behind the Curtain/Makushita Rsults * Ham Basho Preview by M. Newton * Aki Basho Banzuke Makunouchi Division: Rankings and Profiles juryo Division: Rankings and Profiles Makushita Division: Top Ranks * Hatsu Basho juryo Hoshitorihyo * Hatsu Basho Makunouchi Hoshitorihyo
2 3-4 5 5-7 8 9-11 12 13 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 21-26 28-30 30 31 32
SUMO WORLD is a bimonthly magazine published in English on sumo for the foreign community in Japan, the US. military stationed inJapan, foreign tourists visiting Japan and sumo fans in Hawaii, mainland United States, the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, Brazil and Latin America, Asia/Oceania and elsewhere in the world. Subscribers who do not pay by credit card (via kag.com) are strongly recommended to send cash by registered mail (dollars or yen) or by international postal money orders. This saves time and money both for Sumo W orld and subscribers. Make out aH checks, including those for subscriptions, back issues, books, etc., to Sumo W orld/Clyde Newton, payable by a US. bank or the US. branch of a non-US. bank or in pounds sterling payable by a British bank in the UK. Please do not send checks addressed in any way other than Clyde Newton / Sumo World. Please do not send bank drafts or remittances payable by ajapanese bank. As for J apan, aHthose living outside Tokyo should pay by postal cash envelope (genkin kakitome) or postal check.
(continued on p.8) ." Our thanks to"Sumo" of Baseball Magazine-sha for use of photos
Kaio (right) defeats fellow ozeki Musoyama on the senshuraku of the Haru Basho
By Clyde Newton
Kaio' s Chances for Promotion It was touch and go for Kaio, but finally he clinched the yusho in a decisive manner. Undefeated until the 13th day, the 28-year-old ozeki looked certain to take the title until he clashed with the yokozuna. N ever before had he looked so impressive. However, he was overpowered by yokozuna Musashimaru on the 13th day. He lost again the following day to yokozuna Takanohana, thereby throwing away what seemed to be an insurmountable lead. He thus went into the senshuraku with a 12-2 record, as did Takanohana and fellow ozeki Musoyama. Kaio fared poorly under pressure during much of the 1990s, when he was ranked at sekiwake or komusubi and the prenennial ozeki candidate. However, he looked more determined than ever on the senshuraku. Musoyama, making his first impressive performance in a year, was as close to the yusho as Kaio. Yokozuna Takanohana would take on the winner of the Kaio-Musoyama bout, if he won his own clash with Musashimaru. The two powerful ozeki grappled fiercely for 12 seconds, but Kaio held back Musoyama's fierce charge and finally managed to throw his opponent down by uwatenage. Minutes later, Takanohana lost listlessly to Musashimaru, and Kaio thus automatically won his second yusho without having to face
the yokozuna in a playoff. Kaio has thus become, for the first time in his career, a true yokozuna candidate. According to the rules, or more accurately, recent practice, he will become the 68th yokozuna if he wins the yusho again in the Natsu Basho. Given the fact that the two CUlTent yokozuna are not as impressive as they once were, and as the other ozeki are erratic at best, Kaio's chances of becoming his heya's first new yokozuna in exactly 90 years are probably as high as 50-50. One disturbing factor in Kaio's candidacy at this juncture is the fact that he lost to both yokozuna in March. To be promoted to yokozuna, ozeki are supposed to be capable of defeating, or at least competing on even terms with the incumbent yokozuna. Theoretically Kaio could win the yusho again in May with a 12-3 or 13-2 record, lose to both Takanohana and Musashimaru again, and still be promoted despite a 0-4 record in his bouts with the top rankers. The Yokozuna Shingiiinkai (Yokozuna Deliberation Council)appears to be rather favorably inclinced towards Kaio at this point. One of the members of the council even hinted that Kaio might be promoted on the strength of a mnner-up record in May. ln the last decade, ail new yokozuna have won the two tournaments immediately preceeding their 3
promotion. Until the 1980s, standards were quite lax; resulting in the elevation of a few rikishi who weren't ready to be yokozuna. Futahaguro was promoted in 1987 without having won even one yusho. Only one member of the council, former Justice Minister Inaba Osamu, raised strong objections. Futahaguro was a dis aster as a yokozuna, and was virtually expelled from sumo at the end of 1987, still only 24 years old and without any yusho to his credit. Inaba was vindicated, and promotion standards became relatively strict in the early 1990s. Asahifuji, Akebono, and Takanohana were promoted only after they achieved impressive yusho in two consecutive tournaments at ozeki. With memories of Futahaguro fading, yokozuna promotion standards are becoming less strict. Wakanohana was given the nod in May 1998 on the basis of two less-than-impressive yusho (13-2 and 12-3). A year later, Musashimaru was promoted on the strength of two 13-2 yusho. Further, the current head of the council, Watanabe Tsuneo-the president of the Yomiuri Shimbun-can be very crusty when basebalI is involved (his company owns the Yomiuri Giants), but where sumo is involved, he is quite liberal. As a rank-and-file member of the Committee, he strongly supported the promotion of Akebono in 1993, despite misgivings from sorne of the other members. Kaio must be credited for having come a long way in the last year. Seemingly stuck in the sanyaku
on a permanent basis, he came out of his funk dramatically last May, with a 14-1 yusho at komusubi. Though rather erratic untillast year, Kaio has won in double-digits in aIl the tournaments since his first championship. Sorne rikishi seem to go downhill after marriage, or at least there is an old adage to that effect. Kaio, however, seems to have strongly benefited from his marriage. His wife, a former pro wrestler, has put him on a special diet, and is constantly encouraging him. While Kaio turns 29 this summer, and should thus make an alI-out attempt to achieve yokozuna promotion now, the previous yokozuna from his Tomozuna Beya- Tachiyama-was nearly 34 when he made his move inJune 1911. Despite his age at promotion, Tachiyama went on to become one of the greatest yokozuna of aIl time. Save for one controversial bout, he would have won 100 consecutive bouts. Tachiyama reigned for seven years at yokozuna, and retired at 40 while still the leading force in sumo. Tomozuna Beya did not win a single Makunouchi yusho fromJune 1916 to May 2000-84 years. Kaio now has an opportunity to restore at least a measure of the heya's greatness. Obviously he is no second Tachiyama, but given his performance over the last year, there is every reason to expect that Kaio will at least make a reasonably strong and stable yokozuna if he is promoted. But he still faces the greatest challenge of aIl in May.
Interview with Akinoshima: Part N By Shinobu Suzuki This interview was held on the aflernoon of September 27, 2000 in the shitaku-beya at Ryogoku Kokugikan, while Akinoshima was waiting jĂ r his appearance on the dohyo in a charity sumo exhibition.)
s: After the 1999 July tournament, you were appointed as a member of the morals and discipline observation group for jungyo; what were you responsible for? A: 1 was appointed even before that time and our tasks were quite simple, like making lower ranking rikishi aware of how sIoppy they are dressed in pubic, such as at a train station or otherwise failing to main tain the dignity the rikishi are expected to have. N owadays, however, the scope of our activities has been widened, and incorporates part of the responsibilities of the oyakata, such as encouraging rikishi who are reluctant to train properly. S: Your accumulated experience in the sumo world made you a perfect candidate for that position, didn't it? A: No. Only the length of the time you spent as a
rikishi counts. S: You mean that theSumo Kyokai simply picked sekitori as fuki-iin on the basis of how long they have been rikishi, and not on the basis of personality, achievements as a rikishi and the like (laughter). S: 1 have another question regarding Kotonishiki and Kaio. You were on the verge of promotion to Ozeki in May 1999. But Koto and Kaio were obstacles for you, both defeating you and crushing your dream of reaching ozeki. A: 1 don't think Kaio has treated me to terrible experiences but Kotonishiki taught me sorne lessons. He even told me that "the sumo world is not as lenient as you think." If Koto had not been in the sumo world 1 would have already been ozeki and could have won the yusho a few times. S: You once said you sought technical advice from Wakanohana regarding breaking an opponent's hold on the mawashi? A: Yes, you are right. S: When did you ask Wakanohana this? A few years after he joined the sumo world? A: No, just a few weeks after he joined the heya. 1 noticed he was extraordinarily good at breaking a grip on the mawashi despite his negligible experience in the sumoworld and 1 sim ply asked him sorne questions about techniques concerning 'mawashi no kirikata.' His techniques were inborn. S: AIso, you said the quality of your own tachi-ai is only jonokuchi level. Is this your own opinion or sorne one else's? A: It's mine as weIl as other people's. S: Would you explain how po or your tachi-ai is in layman's terms? A:The angle at which 1 clash with an opponent is not good and 1 aIlow him to get either of his arms under my arms as he pleases (laughter). Although my initial charge is effective, 1 have no techniques to foIlow it up, like tsuppari, so opponents are able to counterattack after overcoming my initial charge. 1 would like to thrust my opponents immediately after the initial charge, but my lack of tsuppari skills prevents me from adopting such a strategy. To make things even worse, my arms are not long enough to reach down to the mawashi of my opponents. The increase in both weight and height of rikishi has made my opponents' mawashi even further away. 1 cannot do what 1 would like to do at the tachi-ai and this is why 1 rate my tachiai as being jonokuchi level. S: Have you been trying to alter your dohyo strategy? A: Yes, 1 have. S: How? A: If you establish your own style at an early stage of your career, you lose the flexibility to accommodate the constantly changing situation in which you have to compete as you get older. With me, fortunately enough, thanks to lack of an inquisitive mind, 1 failed to develop my own style(laughter), and my inborn
ability which allows me to deal with any type of opponent. ln the past few years l have been trying to develop a distinctive style of sumo, though l have not yet succeeded in finding it. l think it is within my reach since l am in as good shape as ever. l will be ozeki when l have solidified my own dohyo strategy. S: You once said you have been trying to shorten the length of your bouts by quickly moving forward on the dohyo, since you have usually been cautious on the dohyo. When did the change in your strategy take place? A: It took place when l turned 30. S: You also said you have changed your method of training, and now attach more importance to quality than to quantity and that it is better for you to practice intensively with high ranking sekitori for a short period of time. A: Yes, l have changed my strategy. As l am already past 30, the quality of keiko is more important than quantity. It is mu ch better for me to train with the top Makunouchi rikishi to the limit of my strength, sin ce they allow me to take the offensive from the start, like clashing head-on. Without suffering you gain nothing. When l train with lower rikishi, since l am short, l have to straighten my upper body with my chest protruding. This upright posture crept into part of my dohyo strategy to the extent that l take this position instinctively, making me extremely vulnerable when opponents take the offensive. S: Last year you said you finally got the knack of tachi-ai after being in the sumo world for 17 years. A: Yes, l did. ln reality, you may feel you have got it but you realize you haven't. S: You once said you did not feel sufficiently energetic when you were about 30, and this was evident in your performances from May 1995 through March 1998, when you failed to achieve kachi-koshi in every tournament - a total of five - when you were ranked in sanyaku. A: That's true. l was not able to do as weil as l wanted. One reason why l was not in good shape was minor injuries l was sustaining that resulted in mediocrity and the other was pain in my lower back that resulted in numbness in my legs. To overcome these problems - while basically maintaining the traditional forms of keiko - l adopted a new method, lifting heavy weights, sometimes a low-ranked rikishi, to strengthen muscles left undeveloped through the established sumo training methods. S: W ould you elaborate on this? A: It takes a long time to explain in depth (Iaughter). S: ln February 1993 when Fujishima beya merged with Futagoyama beya, you moved from Futagoyama beya to a nearby apartment, leaving the room you occupied at Futagoyama beya vacant so as to inspire the low-ranked rikishi of the heya to train harder with a view to reaching Juryo, which entitles rikishi to a private room at their heya. It was very thoughtfuI of you to act that way. A: l did so sim ply because the merger brought the number of the rikishi beyond what the heya could accommodate. S: Do you have any guidelines for instructing low ranking rikishi, and how do you train them? A: It is more complicated than it was before. The 6
way it worked, say a generation ago, is no longer applicable to youths of today. ln the old days, it was enough to beat a low ranker to correct his shortcomings, while instructing him and ordering him to do shiko, teppo and suriashi. Nowadays, apprentices are not sufficiently physically strong to withstand the traditional methods of training handed down through many generations. The difference in physical strength between the old generations and present younger generation cornes from lifestyle- the older generations helped their parents from an early age, whereas today's youth is indifferent to household chores. It was fortunate for me that l was born as the son of a fishing couple living in a town facing the Setonaikai in Hiroshima-Ken and started helping my parents on holidays at the early age of six, such as by drawing up fishing nets and carrying fish to the market These chores helped me become strong. Nowadays, however, kids, spend most of their childhood playing computer games, avoid work which requires strengths, and end up hefty, but with little stamina. The resultant bulkiness is not a negative factor, but obesity without strength tends to lead to injuries. Therefore, new recruits these days take about two years just to develop their physiques ad-
equately for sumo. S: What it was like when you jOined the sumo world 18 years ago? A: ln those days we started practicing sumo immediately after joining the heya. ln my case, 1 began keiko in a full-fledged way on the second day of my life at the heya, grappling about a hundred times. 1 faced no difficulties physically in doing so. What 1 would say now about today's youths with their large physiques is that they possess hidden potential as rikishi if they are developed suitably. A: How about their will power, is there any difference between the old generation and the younger one? S: Regardless of wh en you live, you will find a lot of people with unconquerable will power and many weak-minded persons as weIl, but 1 am afraid the ratio of stronger people has become lower lately among the younger generation. ln the old days, most youths who knocked the do or to the sumo world worked very hard before giving up, since they usually had no means to earn a living after they returned home after throwing in the towel. ln contrast with this, about 90% of the younger generations are provided with a path for escaping when they encounter hardship in sumo, by their parents who are always ready accept their sons when they come back home, regardless of their excuses for giving up. S: What is the most essential prerequisite for rikishi to have a successful career? A: Devoting to training and will power. ln martial arts like sumo, practicing single-mindedly is worthwhile even if you lack talent, since you can achieve something valu able throughout your life in return for the effort you have made. S: Suppose you were elected as Chairman of the Sumo Kyokai. Which issue would you tackle first? A: 1 would abolish the regulation requiring rikishi to touch the dirt with both fists at the tachi-ai, and restore the old mIes. S: ReaIly, why? A: The adoption of that regulation has deprived sumo of exquisiteness, and has transformed the tachiai merely into the start of a 100 meter dash. It results in less exciting bouts. An amateurish way of thinking about sumo - initiating a bout at the signal given by the starter - crept into the sumo world since this system seems the only way to ensure fairness at the tachi-ai. There is a movement in J apan to introduce sumo as an event in the Olympie Games and people concerned advocate transforming the tachi-ai into the equivalent of the start of a track race, since this seems impartial to the competitors. ln the recent Aki basho 1 observed several tachi-ai timed perfectly for both contenders, but the gyoji ordered them to stop, claiming either of them or both had insufficiently planted their fists on the dirt at the tachi-ai. But it was shame to stop the bouts which have started with ideal timing. S: Sometimes a bout that starts before the time is up is intermpted by a gyoji because of seemingly imperfect touching of the fists on the dohyo. A: That is ridiculous. That is contrary to the Sumo Kyokai's objectives. S: ln the old days bouts basically started with the
rikishi placing their fists firmly on the dirt, but in the Tochi-Waka era of the 1950s, this custom changed. A: No, you are wrong. What people said about Yokozuna Futabayama in the 1930s was that he never refused to start a bout if his opponent dashed forward against him. 1 watched quite a lot of films of his bouts and noticed his fists occasionally were off the dirt, to adjust his timing in accordance with the initial movement of his opponent when he was behind his opponent in the time sequence. ln the old days, there were no shikirisen (starting lines) on the dohyo, so rikishi were not necessarily required to plant their fists at the moment of the tachi-ai, although in the shikiri pro cess rikishi have to put their fists behind the start line. ln principle, 1 am not against the idea of putting your fists firmly on the dirt but against enforcing the regulation to the letter. The result is that we lose the dynamism of sumo, due to the excessive attention rikishi have to pay to touching the ground. S: You have studied so much about sumo, haven't you? A: Yes, 1 have a lot of video tapes showing Futabayama in the late 1930s and the early 1940s. 1 would like to repeat that Futaba sometimes made an incomplete tachi-ai, although 1 am reluctant to use these words, without putting his fists on the ground to synchronize his motion with that of his opponent. S: You would implement this particular program if you were rijicho of the Sumo Kyokai. A: You are right. Beside this 1 would like to enhance bouts. 1 cannot stand hearing people talking about whether or not fixed bouts exist. ln my opinion, rikishi should be severely punished if they compete in su ch a fashion that fans suspect fixing. S: You once said you are very happy because you chose sumo, which you love, as your career? A: Yes, you are right. S: You started practicing judo at a gym mn a younger brother of your father when you were a third grader, but when did you begin practicing sumo? A: Along with judo, he trained me in sumo. He took part in the National Sports Meet and represented Hiroshima Prefecture in sumo about 10 times. S: You were fOl"Cedby your uncle to sit in front of the TV set at his house to watch the sumo pro gram in the evening during tournaments and gradually developed a liking for sumo as time passed, finding yourself sitting of your own will before the TV set a couple of years later.
Both Rands on the Dohyo - Akinashima (right) places bath his hands an the dahya during the shikiri priar ta a recent baut with Katanawaka (right).
A: Yes, 1 was completely fascinated by sumo, and believed that dying was an option if my sumo carrier from my fifth year at elementary 1 began thinking of ended in utter failure. As escaping from the heya was for me, since this meant death to me joining the sumo world when 1 reached 170 cm. 1 was unthinkable much better at judo than with sumo, but 1 could not (half jokingly), 1 never thought of quitting. earn a living from judo since it is not a professional S: Then, has your sumo carrier been full of fun? sport. A: No, 1 have survived a lot of the rigors of the sumo S: You were given a chance of practicing with world but 1 had no places to go to since my parents' Takamiyama (now Azumaseki Oyakata) when you finances did not allow me to be accepted back (half were a fifth grader, at a local tour held in Hiroshima. jokingly, laughter). 1 was brought up under the A: Yes, those days my favorite rikishi were constant fear of being bit with the clenched fist of my father. Therefore it was not so hard for me to survive Takamiyama and Takanohana, now our mentor Fatagoyama Oyakata. On jungyo, local kids are the grueling training sessions at the heya (half jokpitted against the top rikishi as an attraction. 1 was ingly,laughter). S: It is understandable for me that a career in the very pleased when 1 faced Takamiyama. S: And you were bounced back down below the sumo world is not filled with pleasant things, but dohyo. rather with a sense of satisfaction on achieving one of A: Yes, on that occasion my uncle and sumo athletes your goals. representing the prefecture had bouts with rikishi A: Even, now, keiko gives me little pleasure. A and sorne of them downed rikishi who intentionally reason why 1 practice single-mindedly lies in the fact yielded to the amateurs. This led me believe 1 was 1 endeavor to beef up my powers for myself, not for someone else. capable of defeating Takamiyama, so that 1 rammed Takamiyama head-on, to the extent that 1 felt giddy. S: But, you have always loved sumo. 1 was forced back by the momentum with which 1 A: Yes, 1 have. Although 1 am married, 1 would not collided with him, and found myself sprawling below hesitate to divorce if my wife were to become a the dohyo. At that time 1 was also amazed by the hindrance to my carrier. bulging muscles of the rikishi, as solid as those of S: Really? You have two children with her. Why has elephants, unimaginable for me, 1 was totally im- your wife, Motoko, lately adopted Chinese char acpressed. It was hard for me to believe they were ters for her name, replacing the former ones? creatures of this world (laughter). A: A Buddhist monk recommended us to change the S: You met Takanohana (now Fujishima Oyakata) for Chine se letters for her name on the grounds that the the first time while he was in Hiroshima on a local number of strokes of the letters is not suitable foi me tour when you were an eighth grader. Who introin building up my strength. duced you to Takanohana? S: If changing the characters for the name of a A: A friend of my uncle, who graduated from Nihon rikishi's wife works positively to boost the husband's University which produced yokozuna Wajima, took power, there is no better news than this, because it us, my uncle and myself, to Taka's shitaku-beya. enables us to become strong without practicing There Taka asked me whether 1 would become a (laughter). 1 know your aim was to get sorne psychoprofessional rikishi and 1 replied promptly, 'Sure, logical support, right? sure' inviting an expression of surprise, 'What are A: Yes, you are absolutely right. you trying to say,' from my uncle. Could you imagS: Time is running out, you have to prepare to appear ine a 14-year old boy who responds positively withon the dohyo shortly. 1 still have a lot of questions to out any hesitation to an invitation into the sumo ask you so if you don't mind, 1 would like to have world (laughter). follow-up interview before long. S: Did you get any objections to the ide a? S: 1 have enjoyed taking with you about various A: No, basically no objections. The matter 1 had to topics for a long time and 1 appreciate the cooperasettle was which heya 1 would choose from since 1 tion you kindly offered to me. Thank you. had already made up my mind to become a rikishi. A: You are quite welcome. Thank you. (concluded) S: Didn't you make up your mind to join the sumo world in your fifth year at elementary school and (Sumo World - Continued from P.2) your parents approved your plan, right? A: My mother had been rather reluctant to give me Yen checks drawn on Tokyo banks are acceptable the go-ahead signal partly because around six senior so long as no handling charge is involved. We are high schools had been offering me scholarships due by credit cardo now set up to receive payment to my potential in judo, before 1 graduated in March 1982. 1 tried to persuade her saying 1 could not earn (See pg. 18) AlI subscribers should print their name a living as an amateur, so it was reasonable for me to and address in block letters. AU communication go into the sumo world at the young age of 15. My with Sumo W orld can be in either English or J apafather, on the other hand, told me 1 should join the nese. sumo world with such invincible determination that NOTE: ALL MlLITARY SUBSCRIBERS 1 would die if 1 could not make myself a respectable rikishi. ARE ASKED TO lNCLUDE THE NAME OF S: Does he have any experience in sumo? THE COUNTRY lN WHICH THEY ARE A: No, not at aIl. He is merely an ordinary fisherman STATIONED lN THEIR RETURN ADDRESS-(laughter). Therefore 1 was so determined to succeed lN BRACKETS. when 1joined the sumo world in March 1982, that 1 8
Haru Basho Roundup/Hi-lights Smnmary of the Haru Basho The Osaka Haru Basho tends to be unpredictable, in much the same fashion as the Nagoya Basho. The weather tends to be exceptionaily unstable in March, warm one day, cold enough to snow the next. This results in the rikishi catching more colds than in other basho, and thus pretournament favorites tend to fall by the wayside. Actually this March was unusuaily warm, and fewer rikishi had coIds, but the basho still turned out to be surprising. Yokozuna Takanohana was favored to win again in March, for his first consecutive yusho in three years, but he feil to new sekiwake Tochinonada on the third day, and yokozuna Musashimaru bit the dust on the same day, at the hands ofNo.2 maegashira Chiyotenzan. Meanwhile,ozeki Kaio got off to a very strong start, and was only undefeated rikishi after the fifth day. While Musoyama was in top shape for the first time in a year, and gave Kaio a run for his money, the other two competing ozeki-Miyabiyama and Dejima, performed very poorly. Kaio was, in general, very impressive. He looked like a yokozuna on most days-until he faced yokozuna himself. At 12-0 going into his bout with Musashimaru on the 13th day, the Tomozuna Beya ozeki appeared to have a reasonable chance to become the first rikishi to attain zensho yusho (15-0) in the Makunouchi since 1996. But it was not to be. Kaio lost to both yokozuna, thereby giving up the lead that he had struggled so hard to main tain for more than a week. However, despite his disappointing performance against the two yokozuna, Kaio was exceptionaily strong in his senshuraku bout with ozeki Musoyama. Both yokozuna shared runner-up honors with Musoyama at 12-3. While their performances were decent, Takanohana and Musashimaru seem to have their best days behind them, though both rikishi are likely to be around for quite a while yet. The less said of the ozeki other than Kaio and Musoyama-the better. Chiyotaikai was absent, while Miyabiyama failed with a poor 7-8 record. Dejima just barely kept above the water for most of the basho, but made a desperate effort at the end, easily overpowering
Tochinonada Upsets Takanohana New sekiwake Tochinonada (right) upsetyokozuna Takanohana on the third day. Tochi now has a 2- 70 record against Taka in their rivalry.
Asashoryu on the senshuraku, to finaily win his eighth bout and thus avoid demotion to sekiwake. Dejima was struggling with a high fever the last few days. Musoyama and Dejima are now clearly the weakest of the ozeki, and will remain in constant danger of demotion unless they train harder. Tournaments in which the sekiwake are strong are usually very interesting, but it was a very mixed bag at Osaka. While new sekiwake Tochinonada, who has finally come into his own after being in the doldrums for the last few years, achieved kachikoshi and upset yokozuna Takanohana, a strong enough performance to qualify for the shukunsho. Wakanosato totaily, and inexplicably, collapsed, falling to a poor 6-9 record. The muscular sekiwake lost to ail the yokozuna and ozeki he faced.
Remarkable Comeback - 38 year old Terao thrusts No. 7 7 maegashira H amanoshima out on the 73th day, to recordhis eighth win. Terao was the oldest rikishi to be promoted back to Makunouchi since 7939.
Though in poor condition with a painful injury, komusubi Tochiazuma defeated yokozuna Musashimaru and three ozeki, to finish with a 9-6 record. Kotomitsuki went out ofhis way to prove that his 13-2 performance last November was no fluke. The NO.3 maegashira was once again a Musashigawa Beya killer-he upset yokozuna Musashimaru and ozeki Dejima and Miyabiyama. Two maegashira turned in outstanding performances that brightened what might otherwise have been a run-ofthe-mill basho. NO.10 maegashira Tamanoshima, competing in only his second tournament in the top division, was insecond place as late as the lOthday, witha9-1 record. He proved to be no match for the joi-jin opponents he faced, but his 11-4 record indicates that he is a strong rival to Kotomitsuki. Veteran former sekiwake Terao, at 38 the oldest rikishi to be promoted back to the Makunouchi in over 60 years, fared amazing weil, and managed to achieve an 8-7 record against considerable odds. The popular Terao looked remarkably rejeuvenated, with the powerful thrusting he used so effectively in the pasto Terao is now the last survivor of the Sanpachi Gumi generation (born in 1963). Terao deserved to be awarded the kantosho for his impressive display of fighting spirit in March. 9
Marathon Struggle - Maegashira Takatoriki (left) and Kotonowaka (right) take a breather in their eight minute struggle on the third day. The clash between the two agingformer sekiwake was one of the longest in recent memory in Makunouchi. Koto finally won.
Asashoryu Triumphs - No. 6 maegashiraAsashoryu oustsfading former ozeki Takanonami on thefifth day. Takanonami ended up with a 6-9 record.
Musashigawa Beya Killer - NO.3 maegashira Kotomitsuki overpowersMusashimaru on the 7th day, to hand theyokozuna his second loss. 10
Still No Match/or Taka - Yokozuna Takanohana slaps down sekiwake Wakanosato by hatakikomi on the 8th day. Takanohana now has a 6-0 record against Waka.
H apless Dejima- Ozeki Kaio hurls down fĂ¨llow ozeki Dejima by oshitaoshi on the 9th day.
Not Ăšz the Same Class - Undefeated ozeki Kaio (right) easily throws out ozeki Miyabiyama. Miyabiyama finished with a losing 7-8 record, his second make-koshi at ozeki.
Fancy FootworkKomusubi Tochiazuma survived Musashimaru 5 onsalught on the 72th day, and threw down the yokozuna by hikiotoshi. It was Maru 5 third loss.
Sole Lead Lost- Yokozuna Takanohana downs ozeki Kaio by uwatedashinage on the 74th day. Kaio 5 second consecutive lossput Taka and ozeki Musoyama intofirst place with Kaio going into the senshuraku .
â€˘â€˘ Takanohana in the Dust - Ozeki Musoyama hurls yokozuna Takanohana into the dust in their 72th day bout.
Yusho for Kaio- ln a disappointing, rather lackluster bout between the yokozuna, Musashimaru (right) bulldozes Takanohana out of the dohyo. Takanohana 5 loss automatically gave the yusho to ozeki Kaio. Taka and Maru shared runner-up honors with Musoyama.
Haru Basho Awards
Musashimaru Ends Kaio's Streak- Yokozuna Musashimaru quickly overpowers ozeki Kaio byyorikiri on the 73th day. It was Kaio 5first loss of the toumament.
-.' Yusho: * Jun-Yusho: * Jun-Yusho: '" Jun-Yusho: '" Shukun-sho: '" Shukun-sho: '" Kanto-sho: -.' Gino-sho:
Ozeki Kaio: Takanohana: Musashimarua: Ozeki Musoyama: Sekiwake Tochinonada: Komusubi Tochiazuma: NO.10 Mae. Tamanoshima: NO.3 Mae. Kotomitsuki:
y okozuna y okozuna
13-2 12-3 12-3 12-3 8-7
9-6 11-4 10-5
Dampatsushiki Held for Retiring Former Sekitori
Original Mentor路 The former Izutsu Oyakata (ex~sekiwake Tsurugamine), now 72, takes his turn to cut Akinoshu s mage at the Kokugikan on February 72, The final cut was made by the current Izutsu Oyakata, Tsurugamine s son. Akinoshu, 37, retired injanuary due to a heart attack he sujj猫red in keiko onjungyo in April 2000. Akinoshu will soon open a yakiniku restaurant in Tokyo.
Hoshiandesu's Departure from the Dohyo - Argentinian ex~ NO.2Juryo Hoshiandesu had his dampatsushiki at the Kokugikan on February 4, ln this photo, Hoshiandesu s father, visitingfrom Argentina, cuts his son s mage. The final cut was made by Michinoku Oyakata (ex~ozeki Kirishima). Hoshiandesu, 32, is staying on japan, and is reporting considering various career options. Fellow Argentinian Hoshitango, now 35, is currently ranked close to the top of Makushita, and is aiming at another comeback tojuryo.
New Wakaimonogashira - Kasugano Oyakata (ex~Yokozuna Tochinoumi) makes the final cut at ex~No. 7 7 maegashira Tochinofuji s dampatsushiki in the basement hall of the Kokugikan on February 2. Tochinofuji, 37, was ranked inMakunouchi in two tournaments in 7993.
~ Farewell to Dewaarashi - Dewanoumi Oyakata (ex~sekiwake Washuyama) makes the tomebasami (final cut) at ex~No. 74 maegashira Dewaarashi s dampatsushiki at the Kokugikan on January 27. Dewaarashi, 30, retired due to diabetes, aflerfailing to make a successful comeback in Makushita. 12
End of the Line for Mitoizumi's Y ounger Brother- ExJuryo rikishi Umenosato, 36, the younger brother ofNishikido Oyakata (ex-sekiwake Mitoizumi) retired in January and had his dampatsushiki at the Imperial Ho te! in Osaka on February 24. ln this photo, ex-ozeki Konishiki takes his turn to cut Umenosato s mage. Umenosato competedfor 2 7 years, and was ranked inJuryo for one basho, in July 7993. He is currently helping brother Mitoizumi with arrangements for his own dampatsushiki inJune,
Kaio'sLong Struggle by Andy Adams Even as lilte as March 2000 when he narrowly scraped together a barely passable 8-7 record, Kaio was halfway through his eighth year in the top division and apparently going nowhere fast. His best annual record had come four years earlier in 1996 when he compiled a 60-30 mark for a .667 winning percentage, but two years later in 1998 he had barely broke even with .500 via a 45-45 record. By early 2000, the 28-year-old komusubi had been runnerup three times, including twice in a playoff for the yusho with 12-3records, he had 13 sansho to his credit and held the alltime record of 13 consecutive basho ranked at sekiwake. But it must have made Kaio cringe to see his longtime Makunouchi rival, Musoyama, gain promotion to ozeki after a yusho-winning 12-3 record in that 2000 Haru Basho, while he himself eked out an 8-7 mark. Kaio's chances of going beyond a lower-sanyaku rank and catching up with Musoyama seemed to be getting dimmer with each passing basho, especially since he was 27. The once-promising Tomozuna Beya star appeared to have reached a dead end. Despite an abortive debut in Makunouchi back in May 1993, when the No. 15 maegashira collapsed with a 4-11 record and was promptly sent back toJuryo inJuly, Kaio was proclaimed to have the potential to become one of the decade's brightest stars. After two consecutive 10-5records inJuryo, the 20-year-old youth from Fukuoka was back in the top division in N ovember 1993--this time to stay. Over the next seven years, Kaio never fell below .500 in any single year, even when he was sidelined for 22 days in 1997 with a sprained hip and pulled back muscles. During the two years-plus that he was setting a new record of 13 consecutive basho ranked at sekiwake, Kaio had compiled impressive records from November 1995 to November 1996ofll-4, 9-6,10-5,9-6,11-4,10-5,9-6 and 11-4.He even reached a five-way playoff with the latter record in the 1996 Kyushu Basho, although he lost a close bout to ozeki Takanonami in the first round. By early 1997, the 184-cm. (6-1/4) rikishi had reached his maximum weight of 172 kg. (379 lbs.). Although his 13 consecutive basho ranked at sekiwake had ended inJanuary with 6-9--only his third make-koshi (losing record) in three-and-a-half years, Kaio came through in the following March Tournament with his best-ever record up to that time of 12-3and his second runnerup performance in three basho. But in the four-way play-off, Kaio--who had upset Takanohana in the first week of the tournament--narrowly lost to the yokozuna in the first round of the playoff when Taka countered at the edge with a bout-winning armthrow. Going for ozeki promotion after his 12-3 jun-yusho in March 1997, Kaio severely injured his hip in his Ilth-day bout with ozeki Takanonami and was forced to withdraw the next day. He finished with a 7-5-3 record. The injury had a deleterious affect on his sumo in the last half of 1997 and all throughl998. He seemed overly cautious and hesitant in his sumo, apparently anxious to avoid any more serious injuries. He stumbled through 1998 with three 8-7 records and three 7-8 marks for a .500 winning percentage. ln 1999,Kaio gotgoingagain, however, scoring 10-5 in
March at komusubi and 12-3 (his second runnerup performance) at sekiwake in May, putting him on the brink of ozeki promotion for the fourth time in four years. He had lost his previous chance for promotion to ozeki because of an injury, but this time he blew it with a disappointing 8-7 record in May. Kaio had yet another chance to advance up the ladder of promotion to ozeki when he carved out a fine runnerup record of 11-4 at sekiwake in November 1999 that included upsets over yokozuna Takanohana, ozeki Chiyotaikai and ozeki Takanonami as well as long-time rival komusubi Musoyama and rising young star No. 1 maegashira Miyabiyama. But in the followingJanuary Tournament, he inexplicably collapsed with a 7-8 mark. And the 8-7 record he scored the following March at komusubi wasn't much better. Thus, after six-and-a-half years, the 28-year-old komusubi was no closer to ozeki promotion in March 2000 than he had been six years earlier in May 1994 in his first basho at a sanyaku rank. Time was quickly running out for the perennial candidate for ozeki, when suddenly a rejeuvenated Kaio launched a miraculous turnaround that brought him to the brink of promotion to yokozuna a mere seven basho later.
Shikishima Expected to Quit Former N0.1 maegashira Shikishima, who was absent at N0.3 makushita in March, has apparently given up hope of making a comeback, and is expected to announce his retirement at the beginning ofthe Natsu Basho. The 30 year old Michinoku Beya rikishi, who twice defeated yokozuna Takanohana, dropped out of the Hatsu Basho after the first day, with what doctors described as a heart ailment. AIthough Shikishima has not been hospitalized, physicians have told him to lose weight (he weighs 178 kilograms) and refrain from exercising.
Shikishima's mentor, the former Tatsutagawa Oyakata (ex-sekiwake Aonosato) retired from the Sumo Kyokai last November, when he reached 65. Ex-Aonosato transferred the Tatsutagawa myoseki to Minatofuji, so Shikishima does not appear to have access a kabu. However, he is eligible to remain with the Sumo Kyokai for two years as a juntoshiyori.
The Question of Kaio's Yokozuna Promotion by Ryo Hatano Without doubt, Kaio is the rikishi closest to yokozuna now. Of course, there are great expectations for the strong Kaio. However, 1feel everybody isjumping the gun a little. TV interviews and newspapers keep mentioning that the Natsu Basho will be Kaio's "tsunatori basho" (the tournament in which yokozuna promotion is at stake for him). And there are even voices saying that he can be promoted in May without the yusho, that runnerup would be sufficient. Perhaps there are those among the Sumo Kyokai leadership who hope to stimulate interest in sumo by creating a new yokozuna. It may be these people who are creating the premature speculation. And even Watanabe Tsuneo, the head of the Yokozuna Shingiiinkai (Yokozuna Deliberation Council) was clearly quoted for the record as saying that Kaio could be considered for promotion even ifhe was just runnerup in May. Even ozeki who win consecutive yusho are supposed to have sufficient dignity (or presence) and strength commensurate with the rank. Ali this does not even seem to be taken into consideration. Speculation about promotion is premature now, just because Kaio has won the yusho at ozeki. It is true that the yokozuna promotion standards do make mention of "two consecutive yusho or the equivalent." However, this is meant to be the absolute minimum. ln other words, the lowest common denominator for consideration. ln the old days, yokozuna had a presence like gods, while today yokozuna is treated simply as if it is the rank above ozeki.
Words of Encouragement to the Second Generation Minaminoshima Fathers and sons and brothers-Futagoyama Oyakata is the father of yokozuna Takanohana and former yokozuna Wakanohana III. Fathers and sons and brothers are no longer unusual in sumo. However, in the Haru Basho, Minaminoshima from Tonga made his debut. Minaminoshima's father, a rikishi of the same name, made his debut back in November 1974, when, alongwith three other youths from the Kingdom of Tonga, he was sent to join sumo on the orders of his king. The first Minaminoshima reached the upper part of Makushita. The old Minaminoshima brings back many memories for me. He reached the Makushita only five tournaments after beginning his career in Maezumo. 1was on friendly terms with the mentor of the Tongan rikishi, Asahiyama Oyakata (ex-maegashira Futaseyama), and often went to the heya to watch the Tongans train. Further, 1accompanied Andy Adams when he took a BBC film crew to Asahiyama Beya. The Tongans who made their debut in 1974 showed great promise, but the old Asahiyama Oyakata died suddenly in October 1975. The new 18th Asahiyama Oyakata (ex-komusubi Wakafutase) had problems with the old oyakata's widow, and the Tongans were trapped in between. The Tongans stayed with the old oyakata's widow, and were thus forced to leave sumo and return to Tonga. 14
And now the son of the old Minaminoshima who was among the original groups of Tongans is making his debut in sumo. 1 sincerely hope he has a successful career and would like to strongly encourage him. If the chance presents itself sometime, 1would like to meet him and talk of the days when his father was a rikishi in the old Asahiyama Beya. The new Minaminoshima is from Musashigawa Beya and is 17 years old. He will be ranked on the banzuke for the first time in May, inJonokuchi.
Women on the Dohyo The Osaka Basho is held every March. This year, as was the case last year, Osaka Governor Ota Fusae, a woman, requested the Sumo Kyokai that she be allowed to present the Osaka Governor's trophy to the Makunouchi yusho winner on the dohyo on the senshuraku. And this year, as was the case last year, the Sumo Kyokai declined her request. The Sumo Kyokai feels the need to preserve the ancient tradition that women must not set foot on the dohyo. W omen were prohibited from attending sumo bouts in the Edo Era. They were allowed to watch sumo from 1872, at the beginning of the Meiji Era, but the prohibition on setting foot on the dohyo stillremains in effect. It may seem strange today, when the sexes are equal, for women to still be banned from the dohyo on the grounds that it is sacred. However, it is the mission of the Sumo Kyokai to preserve traditions that have been handed down for centuries. The Sumo Kyokai told Governor Ota both last year and this year that it could not agree to her request, since it had to main tain the traditions and culture of sumo, which is part of Japan's ancient heritage. On a pers on note, 1 would suggest that the Sumo Kyokai, if again requested by the Governor to be allowed to step up on the dohyo, simply respond by saying that it does not need the Governor's Trophy.
Hamanoshima Acquires Onoue Toshiyori Name The Intai-Zumo for Ganyu Oyakata, former NO.l Maegashira Ganyu of Kitanoumi Beya, was held on J anuary. 218 men cut Ganyu's final oichomage, including Takanohana and Musashimaru. Ganyu invited 1,000 evacuees from Miyakejima to attend. The island south of Tokyo was totally evacuated last fall due to volcanic activity. Ganyu will remain with Kitanoumi Beya as an ichidai toshiyori, but must acquire his own kabu by April 2002, to remain in sumo permanently.
Sumo World Website www.sumoworld.com
Yokosuka Jungyo Pictorial - April 14, 2001 Photos by Clyde Newton
Keiko Session -ln moming keiko, promising Tamanoshima (left) pushes o</ki Chiyotaikai towards the edgeof the dohyo. lt was shocking so see how little most of the sekitori trained.
Local Gym- The city gynasium in Yokosuka holds less than 5,000 people, and filled quite quickly. Jungyo in the Kanto Region have beenfairly successfĂšl in recentyears. The gym is quite close to the Yokosuka Naval Base (U.s. Navy).
Beer Guzzler- The shokiri (comical sumo) rikishi take an abrupt break during their bout toguwe down afĂ¨w cans ofbeer among thefans.
Intoxicated Gyoji?- The gyoji of the shokiri bout abruptly halts the resumed bout to have a can of Suntory Malis beer. This is a new innovation in the centuries old shokiri.
Sumo Jinku- Makushita and lower rikishi take their turns singing sumo jinku-also an old tradition onjungyo and at hanazumo. Maegashira Daishi joined them a little Later.
Drawing for Tegata- The Sumo Kyokai holds a lottery at most jungyo, with 700 lucky winners given real tegata of the sanyaku rikishi. ln this photo, Shiratama Oyakata (ex-Maegashira Kotoisubaki) manages the lottery prize corner.
Juryo Dohyoiri- TheJuryo rikishi had their dohyoiri at about 7:00 p.m. The ranks are thinned out by absentees.
Yokozuna TsunashimeYokozuna Musashimaru s tsuna is tied on the dohyo by his isukebito. The tsuna is tied in shitaku-beya du ring honbasho, and only on the dohyo on jungyo or hanazumo.
Musubi no lchiban - Yokozuna Takanohana (left) clashes with ozeki Musoyama in the final bout of the day. Musashimaru only performed the dohyoiri at Yokosuka, due to a minor injury.
These are thefirst Sumo World photos taken with a digital camera (Olympus 27 GOU Zoom)
Then & Now: Sumo Magazines (III) By Clyde Newton The 1960s saw the rise of Taiho and Kashiwado and the Hakuho Era. It was a period of rapid economic growth for J apan, with the Olympics held in Tokyo in 1964. ln Sumo, Taiho dominated, winning six consecutive yusho on two different occasions. At the beginning of the Hakuho Era, there were four sumo magazines, at the end, only two. At the end of the Hakuho Era in 1969, there were only two sumo magazines, Sumo and Ozumo. Most of the magazines of the 1960s featured Taiho, Kashiwado, or Left-The March 1953 issue of the Daily Mainichi Sumo sometimes the other leading rikishi of the era, such as magazine depicts ozeki Yutakayama. Right-The August Yutakayama, Kitabayama, Tochihikari, etc. Printing 1963 issue of Sumo features ozeki Kitabayama. quality continued to rise.
Left-Ozeki Taiho was depicted on the coyer of the October 1961 issue of Sumo .. Right-Taiho featured on the coyer of the January 1962 issue of Sunday Mainichi's wartime magazine.
Left-Ozumo's February 1966 issue depicting yusho winner Kashiwado. Right- Yokozuna Taiho was featured on the June 1966 issue of Sumo.
Left-New ozeki Sadanoyama on the May 1962 issue of Daily Mainichi's sumo magazine Right-Sekiwake Tochinoumi appeared on theJune 1962 issue of Sumo. He won his first yusho at that time.
Left-The August 1968 issue of Ozumo depicts yokozuna Kashiwado. Right-Taiho and young Hanada (the future ozeki TakanohanaI) pose on the coyer oftheJanuary 1969 issue of Sumo.
Meishobu Revealed YOkozuna Futabayama vs YOkozuna Tamanishiki (uwatenage) 73th Day (senshurakuJjanuary 7938
Frame 1-Tamanishiki (left) Futabayama (right) at the moment of the tachi-ai.
Frame 2-The two yokozuna immediately try to secure advantageous holds on each other's mawashi.
Frame 3-The two yokozuna immediately try to secure advantageous holds on each other's mawashi.
Frame 4-Tamanishiki briefly has the advantageous position against Futabayama (back to camera).
Frame 5-Futabayama gets one hand inside on Tamanishiki's (right) mawashi, and starts to twist his foe around.
Frame 6-Tamanishiki (right) losses his balance and starts toppling to the dohyo.
Futabayama and Tamanishiki: This May 1937 issue ofSunday Mainichi's sumo magazine depicts then ozeki (later yokozuna) Futabayama (1eft)and Yokozuna Tamanishiki. Tamanishiki (1903-1938) was the 32nd yokozuna. He won 9 yusho and was the strongest rikishi of his time. He operated Nishonoseki Beya while an active rikishi. He died from peritonitis brought on by appendictis whi1e on jungyo in Osaka in December 1938, still only 34 years 01d. Futabayama, the 35th yokozuna, is wide1y considered to be the greatest rikishi of all time. He won 12 yusho and achieved 69 consecutive wins between 1936 and 1939, a record that still stands.
Frame 7-Futabayama (right) is victorious Tamanishiki, who has fallen to the dirt. Futabayama achieved zensho yu~ho with a 13-0 record.
seven bouts consecutively. Rarely do rikishi sit out a few days and end up making kachikoshi, but Aogi joined the few rikishi who have accomplished this feat. Still it wasn't enough to gain him promotion back to Makunouchi. By Mark Newton Other Juryo rikishi likely to be promoted to Makunouchi are No.2Juryo Hamanishiki with a 9-6 Wakatsutomu won the Juryo yusho with a 10-5 record, and NO.l Juryo Wakakosho who won his record, defeating Toki in a playoff and at the same final two bouts to wind up an 8-7 mark. On the other time securing his promotion to Makunouchi. As of hand Toyozakura (No. 11 1-3-11), Kasuganishiki the 10th day Sentoryu and Harunoyama were le ad- (No. 10 5-10), Senshuyama (No. 12 6-9), and Komahikari (No. 9 3-12) will be demoted to ing with 8-2 records, followed by Toki, Wakatoryu, and Wakatsutomu at 7-3. The bottom fell out for Makushita for the Natsu basho. Tomonohana surboth Sentoryu and Harunoyama as they both ended vived by the skin of his teeth with a 6-9 record at up with 9-6 records. Wakatoryu lost three out of his Juryo No. 10. final four bouts, also ending up with a 9-6 mark. Wakatsutomu went into the final day with a 10-4 mark and in the sole lead but lost to newly promoted N 0.13 Juryo Takanotsuru, leaving him tied for first By David Meisenzahl place with Toki, who was the only rikishi to notch up What better way to top off the upcoming Natsu his lOthwin on the final day. ln the playoff Toki did basho than with not one, not two, but four rikishi not seem to have his usual fighting spirit, and being promoted from Makushita ranks, or 'behind Wakatsutomu walked off with the yusho. the curtain', to Juryo. Even better still, ail of them At 172cm, Wakatsutomu is the shortest sekitori, and he uses it to his advantage, trying to get his will be competing as shin-juryo, since it will be the very first time they have appeared in the juryo diviopponents to attempt to slap him down or move out sion. of his way, as they get frustrated wh en he charges Shimotori (6-1 at No.4 Makushita) is a college into them at su ch a low angle. His eighth win on the sumo champion from Tokyo Agricultural University Il th day came when Daishi tried to get Waka offbalance but this was what Waka was waiting for and or Tonodai. As the captain of the Sumo Club he led the university to the Croup Yusho at the Ali Nippon he pushed Daishi out. Wakatsutomu is likely to liven University Sumo Championship for the first time in up things in the lower half of the maegashira ranks 32 years in 1999. Because of his sumo achievements next tournament. Although Toki ended up with a 10-5 record, it in college, he entered professional sumo at the rank of makushita tsukedashi, the bottom of the makushita was quite an achievement considering he hadn't division, at last year's N atsu basho. His professional done any training for nearly three months. He will be career record is 31 wins and Il losses. He is a rikishi promoted back to the Makunouchi for the May tourfrom Tokitsukaze stable. He joins his Tokitsukaze nament. Beya colleagues Aogiyama Guryo) and Tokitsuumi Sentoryu seemed headed for the Juryo yusho with an 8-2 mark on the 10th day but faded in the last (Makunouchi) in the paid ranks. Shimotori had a single match at the last basho against a juryo-ranked five days, ending up with a 9-6 record. Having just On day 6 he defeated Senshuyama by married, Sentoryu stated he was determined not to sekitori. oshidashi. fall back to Makushita, and he was true to his word. Shimotori's debut inJuryo was postponed for one At NO.9 Juryo, the pressure must have been on him basho due a broken chest bone he suffered in Februas he missed the J anuary tournament due to an ary last year in an auto accident. Unlike Toki, he was injury, and he needed at least 6 wins to avoid demonot driving at the time of the accident; he was a tion to Makushita. passenger in the car of an acquaintance. Past injury At 9-2 going into the final four days of action, aside, his fast rise toJuryo shows that he is ready for Harunoyama appeared to be on the way to winning back to back Makushita and Juryo titles, but he lost an extended stay in the salaried ranks. Shimotori is his last four bouts. Haru appears headed for the currently using his family name for his shikona. Sumanofuji (5-2 at NO.2 Makushita) is from Makunouchi soon, and in a few tournaments may Nakamura beya. He entered sumo in the 1993 Haru join fellow Matsugane Beya rikishi Wakatsutomu basho. His career record is 183 wins, 146 losses and there. 36-year old Daizen came through with nine wins at 7 days absent due to injury. He has the honor of being the first sekitori from his heya since Saigo, Juryo No. 3 and likely promotion back to the back in the second-half of the 1990s. Makunouchi. Daizen never ceases to surprise with his Few may recall his heya alumnus' Saigo yusho via repeated comebacks to the Makunouchi. Ifhe is matched a six-way sandanme playoff in the 1997 Aki basho. with Terao in the May basho, sumo historians will have akamura boys appear to somehow favor the their work cut out trying to find that last time a 36 year-old The fall tourney; Sumanofuji took the yusho at last year's rikishi faced a 38 year-old in the top division. Aki Basho in Makushita. Sumonofuji's matches The most surprising performance in the March basho against juryo-ranked sekitori in the previous basho came from Aogiyama who was forced to withdraw after were very respectable; on the fourth day he defeated his loss on the first day. After sitting out the next three Kasuganishiki by tsukiotoshi and on the fifth day he days, Aogi came back to win 8 out of 10, including the last won against Senshuyama by oshitaoshi. He ought to able to hold his own in the lower juryo ranks.
Behind the Curtain
Wakatoba (4-3 at NO.2 Makushita) cornes out from 'behind the curtain' with a new shikona. It is not unusual for a rikishi to take a new shikona when he is promoted to juryo. ln this year's Ham basho, he was competing under the shikona of Yamada, which happens to be his family name. Replacing one's family name shikona when 'stepping in front of the curtain' is a somewhat common practice, though by the way, to date his fellow shinjuryo Shimotori has not announced any plans to change his surname shikona. Wakatoba's career record is 181 wins, 13710sses, and 18 absences due to injury. He is a member of Oshiogawa-beya. Just like his fellow shin-juryo rikishi Sumanofuji, Wakatoba was first listed on the banzuke for 1993's Osaka Ham basho. Last basho however, unlike Sumanofuji, he did not fare weIl against juryo-ranked wrestlers, with aIl three of his losses coming at the hands of sekitori. On the second day, he lost to Masutsuyoshi (8-7 at No.13juryo) by sukuinage. On the fourth day he lost to Kotokanyu (9-6 at No. 12juryo) by oshidashi. And on day 7, he lost to Kasuganishiki by oshidashi. Wakatoba's only victory against a sekitori was on day 6, when he won against Senshuyama by oshidashi. . For sorne fans, it is always a pleasant surprise to fllld a new foreign face appearing in the paid ranks. Wakaazuma (4-3 at No.4 Makushita) is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He entered the dohyo almost 10 years ago, in the 1991 Aki basho. His career record is 212 wins, 164 losses, and 23 absences due to injury. Waka joins Tamanoi stable's other Brazilian, Kuniazuma injuryo. Wakaazuma obviously has the desire to get out from 'behind the curtain' after his decade-long effort. He had no trouble with the pair of sekitori he faced last basho, defeating Senshuyama by oshidashi on the fourth day and Komahikari by oshidashi on day 9. He has the bulk and power to keep fellow his Brazilian company in the paid ranks for good stretch. You may have gathered that Senshuyama (6-9 at NO.12 juryo) did not have a successful basho at Osaka. He is expected to step back 'behind the curtain' yet again to the Makushita. As we have seen in last basho's results, there is a sense of fairness that most rikishi heading back 'behind the curtain' were unable to defeat the upcoming Natsu basho shinjuryo.
Association, at the following address: Finnish Sumo Association P.O. Box 102 FIN -01801 Klaukkala, Finland E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.sumoliitto.net The price is $30 in cash, including mailing charges.
Baseball Magazine Publishes Historical Encyclopedia of Rikishi On April 25, Baseball Magazine Sha published the Ozumo jinbutsu Daijiten (English title Grand Sumo Encyclopedia). This monumental work of over 700 pages contains profiles of every Makunouchi rikishi from the Edo Era to today, with a vast array of statistics including date of birth, date of death (where applicable), place of birth, heya, debut, date reached juryo, Makunouchi, highest rank, height, weight, total Makunouchi record, etc. AlI the profiles are accompanied by biographical sketches and a photograph of each rikishi. The book also co vers the ozeki and yokozuna of the long defunct Osaka-Zumo and Kyoto-Zumo, as weIl as records of gyoji from the Edo Era to the present. A separate section lists the Makunouchi banzuke from the 1750s to the present, as weIl as the Osaka-Zumo Makunouchi banzuke from the Meiji and Taisho Eras. The quality of the research and information in the book is simply outstanding. It is probably the best book on sumo in print. For anyone who can read japanese, it is a must. The book is a hardcover enclosed in a case. The price injapan is V18,000 plus 5% consumption tax. The book is available at major bookstores injapan. For further information, contact Baseball Magazine (injapanese) at 0257-80-1231 (telephone) or 025780-1232. The book can be ordered anywhere in japan by chakubarai (C.O.D.)
Finnish Sumo Association
The Finnish Sumo Association is offering a unique video depicting 60 different sumo kimarite (techniques) performed by the best amateurs Nichidai (Nihon University) Sumo Club in Tokyo. The tape features the j apanese and English names for each technique, as weIl as the j apanese pronounciation. The video is available in VHS, PAL, or NTSC format. Many of the important techniques are filmed in slow motion. To order a copy of the tape, contact Mr. Simo Akrenius, the President of the Finnish Sumo 19
Natsu Basho Preview
Takanohana Favored Over Kaio By Mark Newton The Natsu basho could turn into an exciting tournament with ozeki Kaio gunning for his third Emperor's Cup and with it promotion to yokozuna. With sumo's popularity at an aH-time low, even if Kaio wins the tournament with a 12-3 record, defeating one of the two yokozuna, or cornes in runner-up with a 13-2 mark he has a good chance of being promoted to yokozuna. Fortune may smile on Kaio as Musashimaru has had to sit out most of the jungyo with an injury, leaving only Takanohana standing in his way. Takanohana seems to have regained the momentum he lost over the past several years, and is the favorite to take his 22nd yusho in the N atsu basho. Even though Musashi will not be in top shape he cannot be counted out, especially if a 12-3 is enough to take the yusho. Chiyotaikai will be returning to action after an ankle injury and is unlikely to figure in the race for the yusho. Dejima is in a prolonged slump and is likely to drop out of the running for the yusho in the first week. Miyabiyama will have his hands full just trying to hold on to his ozeki rank, so he too is likely to be out of the running by the lOth day at the latest. Musoyama is unlikely to match his 12-3 record in March, especially as his back injury could flare up again at any time. The May tournament will focus on Kaio's first attempt to gain promotion to yokozuna. Although he has won two yusho over the past year, he did not shine in the four tournaments between his two Emperor's Cups, winning 11 bouts in three tournaments and 10 in the other tournament. Sorne experts still harbor doubts about whether Kaio is ready for yokozuna. When Kokonoe oyakata (former yokozuna Chiyonofuji) was asked to comment on Kaio being "close to promotion to yokozuna, " he seemed hesitant to concur with the term "close." However, Kaio's record over the past four tournaments is in fact better than sorne of the recent yokozuna when they were going into the tournament they gained promotion to the coveted rank. If Kaio wins 13 bouts in May that will give a 36-9 record over the last three basho, the same as Akebono and Wakanohana III before they were promoted. If Kaio can get off to a good start, which means finishing the first week with at least a 6-1 record, he has a better than ev en chance over winning 12 or 13 bouts and with it promotion to yokozuna. Kaio miffed many chances for promotion to ozeki because his nerves got the better of him, and this could happen in May. He needs to focus on his tachiai and avoid engaging in what could be termed henka where he steps aside slightly to better his chances of grabbing his opponent's mawashi. Kaio is likely to succumb to the pressure and wind up with 11 wins. Takanohana showed last tournament that his 141 yusho inJanuary was not a fluke, and that he is a force to be reckoned with again. Now that he can handle 160kg on his frame, and he is free from injuries, it is hard to imagine Taka winning less than 12 bouts every tournament. He is the favorite to take 20
the tournament in May, as Kaio will be under heavy pressure, and Musashimaru will not be in top shape. 13 wins and the yusho. Musashimaru had to sit out most of the jungyo due to injuries, so he will probably have difficulty winning more than 11 bouts. However, ev en when he is not at his best, Musashi can be counted on to win at least 11 matches, now that he usually fights on the belt. If a 12-3 record is enough to win the yusho, then he has a slight chance to walk off with the Emperor's Cup. Musoyama returned to his pre-ozeki form with an excellent 12-3 record last tournament, nearly coming from behind to capture the yusho. Muso is capable of beating anyone around, and taking the yusho if he has his back problems under control. If Muso has been able to train sufficiently then he should be able to win 10 to 12 bouts. If his back problems flare up again he will probably end with 8 or 9 wins. Dejima barely held on to his ozeki rank, making kachikoshi on the last day, so the pressure will not be on him this tournament. Although he was suffering from hay fever, as well as a fever during the tournament, part of the problem was Dejima's lack of versatility. Recently his opponents have been coming up with tactics to overcome Dejima's initial charge. Dejima needs to vary his tachai more. 8 or 9 wins at most. Miyabiyama failed to make kachikoshi in March, and will be kadoban in May. It will be touch and go whether he can get his eight wins to maintain his rank. ln the March tournament, he injured his left wrist on the 9'h day in his bout with Wakanosato, and if he is not sufficiently recovered he may welliose his rank. 7 or 8 wins. Ozeki Chiyotaikai also faces an uphill struggle as he will probably being going into the Natsu basho with his right ankle still not fully recovered. An ankle injury is more serious for an oshi-zumo rikishi like Chiyotaikai, th an rikishi who prefer to fight on the belt. If he can get off to a good start he should win 8 or 9. Both sekiwake Tochiazuma and Tochinonada are likely to pull off sorne major upsets, and Tochiazuma seems likely to win 10 or more and launch another bid for ozeki promotion. Tochinonada is likely to have a letdown with 6 or 7 wins. Kotomitsuki's 10-5 record last tournament showed he is a future ozeki candidate. He will probably defeat most of Musashigawa heya rikishi again, and win about 9 bouts. The other komusubi, Asashoryu has made it to the sanyaku in only three tournaments. This promising rikishi should generate a lot of excitement in his bouts with the ozeki and yokozuna. 6 or 7 wins. The top five maegashira ranks will be filled with many rikishi capable of upsetting the yokozuna and ozeki. Wakanosato shou1d win 8 or 9 and return to the sanyaku, and Takanowaka, Chiyotenzan, Tosanoumi, Hayateumi, Takanonami and Tamakasuga are all capable of pulling off major upsets.
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