Monday, June 7, 2010

Behind the Curtain - July 2010

The summer heat is growing everyday which means that it's time for the beach and time to take the bullet train down to Nagoya for the Nagoya basho. This hot summer tourney we have two men stepping out from behind the curtain, along with two other reappearing in the paid ranks.

Fighting at Makushita #2 East, Kaisei notched a nifty record of 5-2 at the Natsu basho to earn his silk mawashi this tournament. Kaisei is 23-year-old Brazilian, who is 3rd generation Japanese and fights for Tomozuna stable. He is the fourth Brazilian to make the paid ranks.

Battling at Makushita #5 East, Sadanoumi recorded 5-2 to get promoted. He is another 23-year-old and is the son of former Komusubi Sadanoumi. When he heard that he was going to be shin-juryo at Nagoya, "My body started to shake! I wanted to become an osumo-san since I was 4." Sadanoumi has been trying very hard from the beginning of his sumo career, to gain weight, eventually adding 40 kilos to his frame. Every evening and night he trained alone with weights, never missing a session, and the fact that it finally brought about a result has him very happy and proud.

Listed last tourney at Makushita #1 East, Masuraumi squeezed back to Juryo with a 4-3 result at Tokyo. He is 21-year-old and belongs to Onomatsu stable. You may recall from our March article, he is an undersized wrester, who failed the first physical exam cause he was too short but passed the newly created secondary physical exam. This year, his two Juryo tournaments have resulted in a pair of 7-8 records, so he needs just a little bit more effort to pull off his first kachikoshi as a sekitori. This could be the tournament.

Finally, having fought from Makushita #1 West, Hochiyama, posted a respectable 5-2 make a return to the paid ranks. He is 28-years-old from Sakaigawa stable, who has been all the way up to Makuuchi. Hochiyama has been behind the curtain for over two years, clawing his way back up the banzuke. His fall in the ranks was due to diabetes. He got the strength he needed to make a recovery and a run back to the paid ranks from his family back in Aomori and his supporters. They were a key factor in his rehabilitation and return.

With these 4 wrestlers take slots on the banzuke as sekitori, 4 other wrestlers will have fall back behind the curtain to clear space.

Futeno at Juryo West #12 was 6-3 at the end of day nine but then lost 6 days in a row to end with 6-9 and an appointment with his old white cotton mawashi.

Kirinowaka at Juryo East #13 managed only 2 wins on days eight and nine to post a horrible 2-13 and a ticket to the makushita division.

Kaiho at Juryo West #14 won only 3 times to finish at 3-12 and step behind the curtain for July.

Sadanofuji at Juryo East #14 lost on the final day to Bushuyama to just miss getting his 8th win and will be in the unpaid ranks this summer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Behind the Curtain - March 2010

In Osaka, the cherry blossoms are here, and with them the honbasho arrives, where we have three debuts from behind the curtain, including one returnee to the paid ranks.

Tokushinho, from Kise Beya, fought at Makushita East 1 at the last tourney in Tokyo and registered a record of 5-2 to earn his return visit to the paid ranks. He started sumo with the fighting of name of Shiratsuka, over one year ago, at his debut to the dohyo in January 2009. Since that basho, he has been known as Tokushinho, stepping out from behind the curtain for two consecutive basho in 2009, September and November. After a one basho visited to Makushita, he is back in the paid ranks, listed at Juryo West 11.

Kurosawa, from Ounomatsu Beya, fought at Makushita West 2 last basho, recording a 4-3 outing to make his debut to Juryo. He will debut a new shikona this month too, Masuraumi. His previous shikona was actually his family name.

Masuraumi is only the 23rd sekitori from the Aichi Prefecture since the end of the W.W. II. He is is the third undersized sekitori coming out of the secondary physical exams introduced about 10 years ago. This exam was made available to new recruits who failed to meet the minimum height and weight requirements when applying to enter into professional sumo. Only two other wrestlers, who have taken the secondary physical exam, have reached Juryo, Toyonoshima and Sagatsukasa. He listed at Juryo East 14 for this Osaka basho.

Sadanofuji, from Sakaigawa Beya, fought at Makushita East 1 last basho, finishing with an impressive 6-1 record. "I want to do sumo like Iwakiyama-zeki. I am not that excited now, but I guess when I put on that white training mawashi, I probably will be.." His oyakata shared that, "He's the first sekitori with the "Sada" prefix I handed out. There are a lot of foreign rikishi. I hope he becomes strong and will face them well".

He is the sixth sekitori since the current oyakata, and ex-komusubi Ryoguku, re-established the Nakadachi stable (renamed to Sakaigawa in 2003), that includes Iwakiyama, Hochiyama, Goeido, Toyohibiki, and Myogiryo. Sakaigawa oyakata looks good having had back-to-back promotion to Juryo, recalling that Myogiryo was promoted to paid ranks last basho. Sadanofuji has the honor of being the 19th sekitori fom Nagasaki since the end of W.W. II, and the first since Dewanofuji was promoted back in 2003. Sadanofuji belongs to the same debut class of January 2003 as Futeno. He is listed at Juryo East 11 for this basho.

Nakanishi, from Ounomatsu Beya, fought at Makushita West 3 last basho, squeaking out from behind the curtain with a bare minimum 4-3 record. Like his Ounomatsu stablemate Masuraumi, he too will debut in Juryo and debut a new shikona, Daido. He has taken his new shikona from the name of his alma mater, Daido Middle School in Tokyo's Katsushika ward. "That's where the groundwork for my sumo was laid", he explained.

He missed Haru 2009 completely when he was within reach of entering juryo, and as a result dropped back to Ms45 because of a fractured jaw. Amazingly, he has come back with 5 consecutive KK to earn promotion this tourney.

He is the 39th sekitori from Tokyo since the end of W.W. II and third former member of the Senshu University sumo team to earn promotion to the Juryo Division following Musoyama (Fujishima Oyakata) and the first since Katayama was promoted for 2004 July Grand Sumo Tournament. He is listed at Juryo West 14 this tournament.

Ounomatsu stablemates Daido and Masuraumi are the first wrestlers to make their Juryo debut since the January 2008 tourney, when Kimurayama and Tochinoshin make a joint debut.

Finally it is nice to know that this is the first time since the 2000 May Grand Sumo Tournament for both the Makuuchi and Juryo Divisions to see three or more rikishi making their division debuts in the same tournament.