May 2017, Day 4, Yoshikaze v Kakuryu

Yoshikaze puts the second Yokozuna notch in his belt this tournament, handling Kakuryu with relative ease. The repeated hands to the face from Kakuryu appear to awaken something in Lil’ Hulk, who fights back with a renewed fury and soon has Kakuryu on the defensive. Kakuryu pushes down on the side of Yoshikaze’s head, sending him to the clay, but the Yokozuna’s foot is already out of the ring. Kakuryu picks up his third loss, while Yoshikaze improves to 3-1.


May 2017, Day 2, Chiyonokuni v Kakuryu

Chiyonokuni earns his first-ever kinboshi (gold star) victory over a Yokozuna today against Kakuryu. Kakuryu hits hard at the tachiai, but Chiyonokuni yanks down immediately and the Yokozuna has overcommitted. Kakuryu sits for a moment in disbelief at his 0-2 start to the tournament, while Chiyonokuni respectfully celebrates in the proper restrained style of a very slightly elevated chin.

May 2017, Day 1, Mitakeumi v Kakuryu

Mitakeumi upsets Yokozuna Kakuryu on Day 1, surviving a scare at the edge of the ring before clamping down on the Yokozuna’s right arm and bulling him out of the ring with gusto. Kid’s looking good.

March 2017, Kisenosato Yusho compilation

Yokozuna Kisenosato wins the March 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, earning his second-straight top-division championship with a record of 13-2, defeating Ozeki Terunofuji on the last day in a playoff. Over the course of thirteen wins (plus one playoff win) he used six different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (6), oshidashi (3), tsukiotoshi (2), kotehineri (1), okuridashi (1), and kotenage (1).

March 2017, Day 15, Harumafuji v Kakuryu

Odd finish to the tournament for two Yokozunas. The bout is a great one right up until the very end, a real tactical struggle that sees both men alternately attack and defend, neither able to finish off the other. Harumafuji makes one mighty charge, driving Kakuryu backwards, but Kakuryu fights back and pushes the other way. I can’t tell if Harumafuji hurts himself, or if he gets tripped up on the ref who can’t get out of the way fast enough, but he appears to stop trying on his way out of the ring. Very un-Harumafuji-like. The two Yokozuna both finish with a 10-5 record.

March 2017, Day 14, Kisenosato v Kakuryu

It’s over mercifully quickly. Yokozuna Kisenosato, after suffering some kind of chest or shoulder injury yesterday, shows up on Day 14 for his bout against Yokozuna Kakuryu but can’t provide any kind of resistance. Kakuryu ushers him undramatically out of the ring, and in a show of good sportsmanship, makes sure that Kisenosato doesn’t further injure himself by falling from the dohyo. Kisenosato falls to 12-2, and if he’s able to fight tomorrow he’ll meet tournament leader Ozeki Terunofuji, who has a record of 13-1. If both men finish the tournament 13-2 there will be a playoff for the championship, but Kisenosato’s chances tomorrow look fairly grim.

March 2017, Day 13, Terunofuji v Kakuryu

Terunofuji is a man on a mission. Almost two years after his first and only top division championship, he has another one in his sights. And he’s not letting Yokozuna Kakuryu get in his way. Kakuryu comes out strong, maneuvering for the double-under morozashi grip on Terunofuji’s belt, giving up the double-over to Terunofuji’s long arms. Terunofuji gets Kakuryu to the edge of the ring, but he’s only got one layer of the Yokozuna’s belt and can’t get enough leverage. Kakuryu tries to push forward and Terunofuji reverses his left arm to a deep inside belt grip, which gives him better control over Kakuryu’s hips. Kakuryu re-reverses his arm position on that side for a deep underarm grip of his own, but Terunofuji draws up his strength and muscles the Yokozuna towards the edge. One brief glimmer of hope for Kakuryu as he tries to swing Terunofuji around, but the Ozeki is too heavy. Good solid win for Terunofuji to finish 12-1. Tomorrow he meets Sekiwake Kotoshogiku for what promises to be an entertaining bout, and his last day opponent is still up in the air. Things were set for a final day showdown with Yokozuna Kisenosato, but whether Kisenosato’s Day 13 injury will permit him to continue in the tournament remains to be seen. If Kisenosato drops out, then Terunofuji will have a much lower-ranked opponent on the last day and a much easier path to his second championship.