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Posts tagged asashoryu

Asashoryu’s final yusho

asashoryu yusho sumo

朝青龍 明徳の最後の優勝

Between November of 2002 and January of 2010 Asashoryu dominated the sport of sumo. He was the champion 25 times. His main competition was Hakuho, who won the tournament 12 times during that same period. Since Asashoryu’s retirement, after his final victory–pictured above, Hakuho has gone on to win 25 more times, including the last two tournaments this year.

Yokozuna Asashoryu retires 横綱朝青龍の引退

asashoryu

After Asashoryu won the January sumo tournament, I predicted it would be his last time being grand champion, never imagining that it would be due to his retirement. I should have put some money down on that guess as he retired today.

Since the tournament he has been under fire for hitting someone in the early morning during the tournament. Then it turned out he lied about who the person was. Now it looks like the Japan Sumo Association may have told Asashoryu that if he didn’t retire, in order to stop making them look bad, they would take some strict actions against him.

Ironically, some may have thought, including myself, that the final day of the tournament may be Kaio’s last bout. Camera flashes were going crazy to capture what were his possible final moments in the ring. As it turns out, we were witness to Asashoryu’s final match, a defeat to Hakuho. Here are some more scenes from Asashoryu’s last tournament day as a professional sumo yokozuna.

Asashoryu’s final yokozuna ring-entrance ceremony (土俵入り) in three parts…

The final stare down between Yokozuna Asashoryu and Yokozuna Hakuho…

The last picture I took of the day… Yokozuna Asashoryu waving the Mongolian flag as he rides away from Ryogoku Kokugikan for the last time as Grand Champion.

More Sumo Photos

Some special events happen on the final day of a sumo tournament. One is a short demonstration or ceremony put on by the Yokozuna- and Ozeki-ranked rikishi before the final few bouts of the day. Above you can see Asashoryu, Kaio, and Harumafuji doing the sanyakusoroibumi (三役揃い踏み) which includes shiko (四股, ceremonial sumo leg raise and stomp). In the background you can see Hakuho and Kotooshu.

Ryogoku Kokugikan giant sumo murals

Ellie and Ryan are in front of the entrance to Ryogoku Kokugikan.

You can watch the top rikishi enter the grounds between about 1 and 2:30 p.m. on the south side of the building. Fans are supposed to stay behind the blue cones, but this little guy ran out for a handshake. Neither the rikishi (this is Toyonoshima 豊ノ島) or security seemed to mind.

January Sumo Tournament 相撲 平成22年1月 初場所

The recent January 2010 Sumo Tournament held in Ryogoku Kokugikan (Tokyo) held great promise of being one of the most exciting sumo competitions in a while until the last few days. Why? Because Ozeki-hopeful Baruto defeated all of the Ozeki and Yokozuna Hakuho (白鵬). There were several scenarios which showed Baruto winning the tournament, a rare achievement for a non-Yokozuna, non-Ozeki. There were other exciting possibilities, such as a five-way tie for first place which would have resulted in a mega-playoff on the last day, something I was hoping for since I had a ticket for the final day of the tournament.

However, Baruto was defeated by Yokozuna Asashoryu (朝青龍) and Toyonoshima (pictured above sitting down in the background) late in the tournament. Also, Hakuho was defeated by Ozeki Harumafuji and Ozeki Kaio. Both ozeki used henka (変化), a rather lame move in which the wrestler steps aside instead of confronting their opponent, to defeat Hakuho. I suppose Hakuho should have been looking for the henka technique a bit more. In any event, with Hakuho’s three losses, the only way a five-way tie for first could be achieved would be for Ozeki Harumafuji to defeat Yokozuna Asashoryu on Day 14 and Hakuho to defeat Asashoryu on the final day. The latter was very likely as Hakuho routinely beats Asashoryu these days. Harumafuji couldn’t pull off a Day 14 win, though, so there was nothing on the line on Day 15 with Asashoryu’s one loss compared to the three losses of the others.

Here is Asashoryu receiving his trophy for winning the tournament, the 25th time he has done so. I’m guessing it may be his last as both Baruto and Hakuho seem better at this point in time.

Asasekiryu 朝赤龍

And here Asashoryu is, beginning his victory parade and smiling for my camera, before heading back to his stable. Asasekiryu (朝赤龍) is by his side.

Below is a video I took of 白鵬 vs. 朝青龍 from very far away. Not only did the TZ7 do a decent job given the distance, but the battery died before I stopped recording. I thought the video wouldn’t record but it did! I guess the TZ7 has something built in that causes it to save the video with the last bit of juice. The battery really was dead. The camera wouldn’t even turn on, let alone show me if the video had recorded. I was very surprised to see the video saved on the SD card.

Hakuho loses again

On Day 13 (of 15) in the current tournament, Yokozuna Hakuho lost to Ozeki Taio, giving him three losses for the tournament and virtually assuring Yokozuna Asashoryu (who only has one loss) a tournament victory. If Asashoryu wins on Saturday, even if he loses to Hakuho on Sunday, he will win the tournament.

What if Baruto had beaten Asashoryu a couple days ago? A Hakuho win over Asashoryu would have then given Baruto the championship, which would have been the first by a non-Ozeki, non-Yokozuna in almost a decade. Instead, Baruto will have to settle for just a promotion to Ozeki instead.

Here is to hoping Asashoryu loses on Saturday (and isn’t awarded a stack of cash like he was in the above photo last September when I saw him) so that Sunday’s bouts (when I will be there) mean something.

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