Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Behind the Curtain - November 2013

Halloween is over, the koyo is spreading across Japan, and it is time for the last tournament of 2013, along with the last chance for rikishi to step out from behind the curtain. There is a very small number of rikishi doing this, just three, one debut and two returnees.

Higonojo, Makushita 4 West, Kise beya, spent all of 2012 and the first 5 tourneys in 2013 sitting in the single digits of Makushita, and finally he breaks through to wear the white mawashi. He has competed in 35 tournaments, yet as a former college sumo wrestler, he has taken the fifth longest to make it to Juryo. Of the wrestlers who debut on the dohyo in November 2007, Higonojo is the very first to reach the paid ranks. And another data point, he is the 108th former amateur sumo collegian rikishi.

Kotomisen, Makushita 2 West, Sadogatake beya, first stepped out from behind the curtain at this year’s Nagoya basho, but could only manage 6 wins, returning to wearing the cotton mawashi for Aki basho.

Kimurayama, Makushita 3 East, Kasugano beya, spent the first three tournaments in the paid ranks, but suffered a horrendous 3 win tourney, landing himself back in Makushita for the previous 2 tourneys. Kimurayama’s first trip in the paid ranks was back in January 2008. He came into Juryo blazing, notching a 12-3 in only his second tournament as a sekitori and took the Juryo Yusho! He stayed a sekitori a little longer because of the May 2011 Technical Examination tournament, which is when numerous rikishi retired due to the match-fixing scandal. For example, his record was only 7-8 but he went up the banzuke from Magashira 17 to Magashira 15. An interesting fact, he is the only wrestler in the top three divisions from Wakayama Prefecture.

For these 3 to raise to sekitori, 3 had to fall to sumotori. Kitaharima, Takanoyama, and then Baruto’s intai opens up another slot for one more rikishi to wear the silk mawashi.