Happy New Year!! Happy Year of the Dog, ‘bow wow’, or in Japanese, ‘won won’. It would be nice to put behind us the “dog’s breakfast”, which we collectively experienced the week after the Kyushu basho. What might have got lost in the noise, is that we will see 2 new sekitori step out in front of the curtain, along with 3 rikishi returning to the paid ranks.
Our first shin sekitori is Mitoryu - Ms4e 6-1, Nishikido-beya, Mongolia, who is 23 years old (makushita tsukedashi debut May 2017). Interestingly his first sumo gig was Sumo World Championships for amateur sumo competition organized by the International Sumo Federation. He won the Openweight at both the 2014 and 2016 tourneys.
Our other new sekitori is Akua - Ms4w 5-2, Tatsunami-beya, Ibaraki, who is 27 years old. Was he the beneficiary of Harumafuji’s intai? We will never know, but we can see what happened on the banzuke, folks only move up when another rikishi moves down, or retires. Interesting, his shikona has a cool story. His oyakata supposedly got the idea for the name from the Aqua World public aquarium in Akua's hometown. Akua followed the typical path into sumo as other of his countrymen. He attended Tottori Johoku High School, and from there he entered Nishikido-beya. One benefit of attending high school first is that their Japanese language are significantly better, after this years in high school
Moving on to our returnees, let’s begin with Kizenryu - Ms2w 4-3, Kise-beya, Kagawa, 32 years old, 8th promotion (joint all-time record). He has been in and out of of the paid ranks since he debuted back in Natsu basho 2013. He is one of Ura’s preferred asageiko partners. Ideally all this practice with Ura has contributed to his ability to return the paid ranks an 8th time. It must be noted that he hails from a famous sumo college, Nihon University, which only adds to his sumo portfolio. Let’s hope he can keep climbing the banzuke ladder, making this his last promotion from Makushita.
Our next returnee is Daishoho - Ms3e 5-2, Oitekaze-beya, Mongolia, 23 years old, 2nd promotion. Born in Sapporo, he took up skiing as a young boy, as he came from an area famous for its ski slopes. He also played basketball at school. However his father was an amateur sumo enthusiast and encouraged his son to try the sport. In his third year of junior high he took part in the National Junior High School Sumo Championships, held in Tokyo.
And finally let’s congratulate our last returnee, Tochihiryu - Ms10w 7-0 Y, Kasugano-beya, Shizuoka, who is 30 years old, this is his 5th promotion.
As always, what goes up, something or someone goes down. There is the 5 rikishi turning their silk mawashi for cotton. Here’s a few of the rikishi stepping back behind the curtain.
Yago (J14w 7-8) . This is only his 3rd tournament. You may recall from our previous issue, Yago nailed a perfect 7-0 record and the Makeshita Yusho! Again as a college sumo champion, he was allowed to enter sumo at the Makushita Tsukedashi 15 rank.
Terutsuyoshi (J9e 4-11). He is 22 years old, 168cm, 115kg, is Isegahama’s lowest-ranked sekitori. With his small stature and his bad knees, his body has not been able to manage the paid ranks level.
Daiseido (J12s 2-9) Since changing his shikona from Sasanoyama, this is only the 2nd time he has posted a losing record.