On January 18, I attended Day 9 of the sumo tournament in Tokyo. Sumo tournaments are 15 days long, and are held every 2 months (3 times a year in Tokyo, once in Osaka, once in Nagoya and once in Fukuoka). This tournament is special because Chiyotaikai retired after being demoted from the 2nd highest rank of Ozeki to the 3rd highest rank of Sekiwake. Even bigger is that after this tournament, Mongolian Yokozuna Asashoryu announced his retirement after yet another scandal involving his bad temper. But I’m not going to talk about that. Instead, I have some photos and a video to share. After taking all of these photos, I realised how badly I need a new camera. I hope to buy one in the next 2 or 3 months.
So, I arrived at Ryogoku station in Tokyo shortly after 2 pm and headed over to the Ryogoku Kokugikan, which is where the tournament is held. I’d be able to see the top 2 divisions in their entirety, plus some of the 3rd division (Makushita).
At this point, the Makushita division was competing. Not many people were watching, as everyone comes for Makuuchi, the top division. However, it was interesting seeing some of the up and comers. I was hungry at this point, so I went to get something to eat. On my way back, I met Musashimaru! He’s a former Yokozuna, and currently a coach. He’s from Hawaii, so speaks perfect English. I went up to him and asked him how he was. He said, “Oh, I’m fine.” Then I went back to my seat after telling him it was nice to meet him.
I’ll take a moment here to describe the people who were sitting around me. On my right were an elderly couple. On my left was a group of middle aged people. In front of me was an American with a big camera. He was tall, and he kept leaning forward, making it difficult for me to see.
The Juryo division has finished, and now it’s on to the Makuuchi division. There are 42 wrestlers in this division. At the top is Yokozuna. At the time of this tournament, there were 2, Hakuho and Asashoryu, both from Mongolia. However, Asashoryu has since retired. Next is Ozeki, of which there are 4. They include Kotooshu (the popular Bulgarian), Harumafuji (the very talented Mongolian), Kotomitsuki (a mediocre Japanese Ozeki who had withdrawn earlier) and Kaio (the old guy, a longevity record-breaking Ozeki who is quite popular and has a very strong arm). Then it’s Sekiwake, of which there are 2, including Baruto (a young, tall Estonian) and Chiyotaikai (the former Ozeki who had retired earlier in the tournament). And then it’s Komusubi, of which there are 2, including Kotoshogiku (a promising Japanese sumo wrestler) and Kakuryu (a young Mongolian). The rest are all Maegashira. The very popular Takamisakari is a Maegashira, and he’s known for his arm pumping at the beginning of his matches. He’s also on commercials a lot. Well, back to the pictures.
Here is a video of Takamisakari versus Tochinonada. Takamisakari is on the left. Watch and listen around the middle when he pumps his arms. Sorry for the video quality.
The Grand Sumo Tournament was fun. It took me nearly 5 years to finally attend a sumo tournament, and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked it so much, I’m going to try attend every tournament in Tokyo. The next one is in May!