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Posts tagged sumo


You can jab your fingers into your eyes all you want sometimes; that doesn’t change the fact that you can’t unsee what you have seen.

Tokyo Sumo

sumo tokyo ryogoku

Tokyo’s 両国国技館

I would really like to photograph some sumo this summer. This is especially true now that I have “fast glass” that I know how to use. Alas, I will be in Japan during June and August, two of sumo’s off months so this adventure will have to wait until a future year.

Harumafuji (日馬富士) wins his third Sumo tournament

harumafuji kohei kotooshu foreign sumo wrestlers

Harumafuji beat Yokozuna Hakuho on the final day of the July Sumo tournament in Nagoya to go undefeated and clinch his third championship. It was the first time Harumafuji has gone 15-0 in a tournament. Hakuho has now won just one of the last four tournaments (after winning nine of the previous ten). Kyokutenho, after his rather lame championship in May, got bumped up to a higher rank, faced tougher competition, and ended up winning just two of his fifteen bouts.

Today’s photo is of Harumafuji grabbing Kotooshu by the neck in a 2010 bout. Kotooshu rebounded from this position to beat Harumafuji on this day.

Here is a video (with English commentary) of the final bout between Harumafuji and Hakuho:

Sumo full house (満員御礼)

相撲 maningorei manin gorei sumo tokyo

Manin Gorei (満員御礼) is a Japanese term meaning something like “thanks for filling the seats” that you only see in sumo, and only when the place is packed due to a sellout. The reason for this day being sold out was it was the final day of the tournament. As it turned out (although no one knew it at the time), this was Asashoryu’s final bout ever (in January of 2010).

The current (July 2012) tournament is more than halfway done. As of today Hakuho and Harumafuji are undefeated. Kotoshogiku and Kaisei are still in the hunt with only one loss each.

Kyokutenho (旭天鵬) wins his first sumo title at 37 years of age

oldest sumo wrestler to win a tournament

Kyokutenho is the oldest to win a sumo tournament in modern times

A rather strange sumo tournament ended in Tokyo this past weekend. Kyokutenho, pictured on the left in the above photo I took a few years ago, won even though he isn’t a Yokozuna or an Ozeki (the two highest ranks). Kyokutenho isn’t even a Sekiwake or a Komusubi (the next two highest ranks). Kyokutenho is currently a mere Maegashira (the lowest rank in the top division). Twenty-four sumo wrestlers were ranked higher than him going into this tournament. 24! With only 15 bouts, you don’t have to wrestle the top 16 sumo wrestlers when you are ranked that low.

Now here is were it gets really weird. If all of the top sumo wrestlers implode, like they did this tournament due to injuries and other factors, a lowly Maegashira like Kyokutenho can win the tournament (merely by posting the best record) even though he didn’t have to face the best sumo wrestlers! Kyokutenho didn’t have to face (the injured) Hakuho, Baruto, Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, or even Kakuryu (the new Ozeki). The only Ozeki he went up against in accumulating his 12-3 record was an injured Kotooshu, who pulled out of the tournament the next day due to the severity of his injury.

Let me put this in NFL football terms for those of you from the USA who may not really understand sumo. Imagine a mediocre team like the 2011 Denver Broncos being crowned World Champions even though they never had to play a team with a winning record. No games against the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, Saints, 49ers, etc.–instead, they only have to play teams like the Rams, Colts, Vikings, etc. and since they come out with the best record they win it all. No playoffs–a weak schedule, and lots of injuries to the best teams who would normally win, is all it would take. Such was the lucky fate of Kyokutenho these past two weeks.

Sumo Ring Entering Ceremony (土俵入り or dohyoiri)

tokyo japan sumo wrestlers enter ring aprons

With the May Sumo Tournament just over a week away from beginning, my random desktop background picked this photo for me (and you) today. Notice the rikishi with the green apron (keshomawashi or 化粧回し) in the back left. This is Kakuryu (back in 2009), who was just promoted (2012) to Ozeki after nearly winning the March Tournament. Ozeki is the second highest rank in Sumo.

After the tournament in which I took today’s pic (September 2009) Kakuryu (鶴竜) was promoted to Sekiwake, the rank just below Ozeki. Since then Kakuryu has bounced around between the Sekiwake, Komusubi, and Maegashira ranks. Perhaps he will be the next Yokozuna? He has defeated the only current Yokozuna, Hakuho, in the last two tournaments.

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