Thursday, June 7, 2007

Behind the Curtain - March 2000

Anyone who follows sumo knows that the January Grand Sumo Tournament was won by sekiwake Musoyama. Most of you already know that it was Musoyama's first yusho ever. But how many of you know who took the yusho in the Makushita division, otherwise know as behind the curtiain; The yusho winner was Makushita West No. 36, Nodera from Matsugane stable.

If when Nodera gotten his perfect 7-0, he had been ranked Makushita 15 or higher, then he would have been automatically promoted to the Juryo division, and literally would have come out from behind the curtain; Only sumo wrestlers in Makuuchi & Juryo fight everyday of the 15 day tournament, all other sumo wrestlers only fight 7 of the 15 days the tournament is held. Of course Nodera could repeat his 7-0 result at the next basho in Osaka, then he would be promoted into Juryo and become a sekitori. The upper layer of Makushita is probably the toughest part of sumo, it is not likely that Nodera will do this.

Who will be stepping out from behind the curtainin the March 2000? The one Makushita wrestler who is to definitely be moving up to the ranks is Makushita West No. 1 Tamarikido from Katanoumi stable, whom finished with a very good 6-1 record. His shikona, or fighting name, should look familiar to you, because this is not his first trip to Juryo. He spend two tournaments in Juryo, September 9 in Tokyo and November 9 in Kyushu. It was his poor 6-9 in November that send him back behind the curtainfor this past tournament. Look for Tamarikido to stay ranked in Juryo most of 2000 and beyond.

It definite that Tamarikido gets to step in front of the curtainfor a 2nd time, due to Juryo West No. 10 Tamanonada and his poor 5-10 showing. We can expect Tamanonada to travel down the ranks, back into Makushita for the next tournament. Interestingly enough, Tamanonada is also from Katanonami stable, so they will see one stablemate dropped back to Makushita while the other takes his place, rising to Juryo. Like Tamarikido, Tamanonada entered sumo at the very bottom of Makushita because he did sumo in college. Tamanonada spend three straight tournaments in Juryo, getting as high up the banzuke as Juryo No. 7. Look for his return visit to Makushita to be a brief one, he ought to return to Juryo for the May tournament, held in Tokyo.

Besides Tamarikido and Makushita champion Nodera, there were no outstanding tournament performances from the remaining sumotori that would qualify for promotion. No other Makushita wrestlers will be moving up to Juryo for March.

On the foreigner Makushita beat, there is good news regarding Makushita West No. 25 Hoshiandesu, who got a nice 5-2 result for this past basho, along with his very good 6-1 result in last November's basho. He appears to be making a solid charge up the banzuke to return to the Juryo division. Ex-maegashira Yamato, now owner and chef of Kama`aina's in Tokyo, mentioned that Hoshiandesu had dinner in his restaurant recently, and told him that he was thinking seriously about retiring this year. Perhaps his recent above average results means that he want to make a final run for Juryo, or maybe even better, before he leaves the Sumo World.

By the way, dining at Kama`aina's seems to bring good luck to a sumo wrestler. Musoyama was seen having dinner twice during the last basho. See what happened to him.

Finally, another foreign sumotori we don't hear much about is Brazilian Makushita East No. 8 Kuniazuma. One reason why is that he was kyujo for the past two tournaments, which is very dangerous since being out injured that long could plummet a wrestler from Makushita all the way to Jonokuchi!

Kawika ©

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