We have posted some responses from our viewers below that contain excellent commentaries as well as interesting sumo experiences.† Feel free to contribute to this page with anything regarding sumo you think will benefit the readers.
Submitted by Andy K.
time I see Takanonami in the Dohyo he seems to use the same technique: trying
to lock up his opponent's arms and sort of lift the guy out of the Dohyo.
I know that Takanonami is about 6' 5'', but it seems to me that this is a
losing technique. By locking up the arms and trying to lift out his opponents,
more times than not Takanonami seems to be the rikishi who becomes
unbalanced. Why does he persist with this unusual technique. Why not
take advantage of his height and long arms and use lots of head slaps
†nd offensive lineman type pushing?
Submitted by Harold F.
I cannot help but compare this time with the retirement of Taiho. Kashiwado was fading, ozekis Kitanofuji and Tamonoumi were promoted but not consistent or dominant. Then Tamanoumi died. Mienoumi, Takanohana 1? and Wajima were young Turks coming up. Old Wakanohana was commentator on NHK, enjoyed hearing his gruff "so des ney",
Have been detached over the years so did not see Chiyonofuji or Kitanoumi, or others.
Taiho and Takanohana were so classic and dominant Yokozunas, that their departures similarly created big holes in the sumo world. (I believe I liked Takanohana better. His stoic attitude along with his abilities were amazing. Taiho seemed arrogant and was not likable. Always wanted to see somebody beat him. Of course my 30 year gap may have clouded my memory and attitude.) There was the same uncertainty about the future, then as now. But now it seems that sumo is going the way of American sports. They are stronger and faster, so bad injuries more prevalent, and desire is suffering. Making the big bucks, so why worry? Takanonami is my extreme example of this. He has never impressed me. Seems he arrived, but didn't have heart to go all the way. Obviously Asashoryu does not fit in this mold. But now time will tell if the fire still burns. Think Tochiazuma has that fire, but appears destined to injuries.
Submitted by Andy K.
really enjoying the columns during this Basho and am learning more about sumo
each day. I am going to stay up late tonight and watch my first complete
basho (or at least complete day). I am very curious about the pre-fight
rituals and how long a complete day takes to watch. I hope my favorite
Takanohana starts looking like himself. In his prime Ė as recently as the
last Basho that he won -- he looks invincible. The guy has such great balance,
technique, low center of gravity, power, etc. that when
healthy mere mortals can not beat him. I also love the guy's ho-hum, unflappable attitude before each match. He is like the Bjorn Borg of sumo. As much as I like Taka, I hate Musashimaru. I know the guy must have great technique, to me, he looks like a huge slob in there. I always want him to lose. Every single match. Akebono sort of annoyed me as well (but less) for the same reasons. I am not such a big fan either of Asashoryu. His sumo is great and he is certainly very good, he seems obnoxious and even a bit of a braggart when he wins. He always seems to mock beaten opponents with his looks after a match. Anyway, keep up the great work!!
I certainly agree that Asashoryu shows mental toughness, I just wish a little bit more of Takanohana's class would rub off on him. Takanohana showed that you could be mentally tough and still exhibit class and sportsmanship. Asashoryu strikes me -- and I might be dead wrong since I only see highlights, etc. -- as sort of a Jeremy Shockey type -- super talented but too brash and arrogant for my tastes. If this were the SATs analogies section, I would say Takanohana is to Asashoryu as Walter Payton is to Terrell Owens. All this being said, I think the powers that be are being a bit too harsh on him. C'mon, I get the idea that if Asashoryu were Japanese, he would not need a 13 win Basho to get the promotion. Methinks the powers that be have a problem with the likes Maru and Akebono making Yokozuna. I think they should get over it. Sumo is a great sport and -- perish the thought -- needs to be marketed better in Japan and throughout the World in order to thrive. Just look at what the NBA is doing -- stars from all over the world have launched that sport.
I also agree about the current stable of Ozekis. Other than Asashoryu, none seem worthy of the position. Maybe I am being a bit unfair to Chiyotaikai -- I like his head slapping, charge forward attitude. I had big hopes for Kaio, who is my kind of rikishi and who I thought, a couple of years back, could become the next great Yokozuna. But for his bad back and a bad initial charge, the guy seemed like he had the complete package. It is a shame injuries will probably deny him a shot a Yokozuna. Any way, gotta run and keep up the good work.
Submitted by Robert J.
wonderful but anonymous person sent me the address of your site. I
immediately accessed it and I have it posted with my favorites along side the
Offiicial Sumo Site and check it daily. I am enjoying the basho along
with other friends by watching on the satellite BS2 in our apartment in
Shanghai. We had an opening day party with sake that I picked up my last
trip to Nagoya.
It is too bad that so many strong wrestlers are injured. It will cast a pall on Asashoryu's ascendancy to Yokozuna, but I do hope it happens as we need some new blood and excitement in the sport.
A final comment: I wonder if your judgment of the supposed loss by Takanohana on day two is a bit colored by some prejudice. I watched the match and the re-runs through different eyes and saw Taka courageously avoid putting down his off hand, instead sacrificing his cheek, shoulder and elbow much like Waka did a few years ago. I think it was a close match, but I saw it as a tie and believe in the least that it deserved a replay. In most sports, you must BEAT the champion.
Thanks for your wonderful website. Keep up the incredible work.
in Nagoya for three years 1990 to 1993 as Chiyonofuji was king and the Hanada
brothers were new pretenders, and I have a banzuke with both Chiyo and the
Hanadas listed. It is framed and hangs above a doorway in our Iowa City
home. My favorite was always Kirishima and we all hated "Pepsi Man'
, Takatoriki with his Pepsi logo on his apron. Since 1993, I have
returned 13 times to Japan from other postings in Istanbul and in Saudi Arabia
to visit friends, play music in the bars and sometimes attend the basho.
I was able to watch videos sent to me by a friend in Nagoya when I could not
find a satellite feed. One memorable New Year's eve I even saw the sumo
exhibition from Paris while in a hotel room in Casablanca. I called my friend,
Ishi-san in Nagoya to complete the full circle of irony.
I do love the sport, but am not a serious 'expert' and have lost most of my Japanese language in the last 10 years. I doubt if I could figure out how to play fantasy sumo as I am a geezer who has never been involved in fantasy sports, but I will continue to monitor your site and am grateful for your enthusiasm.
Check my website www.housedogmusic.com
Submitted by Ted N.
high hopes for your site. So far the comentaries by Kenji and Mike are just
great. You covered most of my favorite stars for the coming basho
and filled me in on the accident report. I am looking forward to updated comentary durring the basho. I hope you post cool pix with some extra large suitable for printing or wallpaper. Some history would be helpful. I have only watched Sumo for the past five years on NHK and am always humbled by the awesome history of the sport. The great Yokozuna of the past, histories of various stables. I would also like to learn the way Shinto religion is expressed in all aspects of sumo.
I donít want to overwhelm you guys but I am pretty excited about your site!
Submitted by Harold F.
Always good to hear from sumo enthusiasts, and it plain to see you are really into it.
My sumo experience started when I was stationed at Yokota AB l967-72. The Taiho-Kashiwado era. We had daily pools in the NCO club, sometimes as many as 20 entries. Pick daily winners, big scoreboard on the wall and everything, and then our office had its own pool, Had a little traveling trophy, (about a 4" Emperors Cup) which they gave me when I left Japan, as I had won the most tournaments. Has 11 little ribbons for wins still on it. Andy Adams was reportoer for Japan times all during that period. Highlight was an invitation to our club to visit Yokozuna Kitanofuji. We took a bus load down on a Saturday to the heya, watched the morning workouts and ate chankonabe with him and the other rikishi for lunch. That man loves his Johnny Walker Black Label scotch.
Anyway since then, have lost touch. But still check the tournaments on the Mainichi web site and the sumo main site, and catch replays on ESPN . Kai and Wakanosato are favorites, but both disappoint at times, (as they all do) Of course Takamiyama was our favorite in the old days.