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    1. 2007-05-29 Hakuho Tsuna Preparation
    2. 2007-05-30 Hakuho becomes yokozuna
    3. 2007-05-31 Hakuho receives belt
    4. 2007-06-01 Hakuho at Meiji Shrine
    5. 2007-06-03 Interview with Hakuho
    6. 2007-06-20 Hitorizumo Ritual
    7. 2007-06-25 Hakuho on the Banzuke
    8. 2007-07-06 Hiro's Pre-basho Sum Up
    9. 2007-07-23 B4 Post-Basho Summary
    10. 2007-07-26 Kotomitsuki promoted to Ozeki
    11. 2007-08-01 Asashoryuu Suspended
    12. 2007-08-02 Some Losing Techniques
    13. 2007-08-04 Tachiai Techniques
    14. 2007-08-23 Asashoryuu Scandal Update
    15. 2007-08-29 Asashoryuu Goes Home
    16. 2007-09-04 Upcoming Basho Update
    17. 2007-09-04 Hiro Tries Out
    18. 2007-09-28 Basho 5 Sum Up
    19. 2007-10-07 Tokitsukaze Dismissed
    20. 2008-05-27 Basho 3 Kotooushuu
    21. 2008-11-29 Ama News
  3. Individual Tournaments Pages
    1. Year 2007 Basho 1
    2. Year 2007 Basho 3
    3. Year 2007 Basho 4
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Basho 1 of 2007

Video clips and Pictures

Day 1


Ohtsukasa-Tosanoumi Ohtsukasa managed to defeat Tosanoumi.


Takamisakari-Kokkai Then later in the Takamisakari-Kokkai match, somehow Takamisakari blindly (literally) caught K.'s leg and toppled him. It was so close I was sure they were going to call a mono-ii, but they didn't. This picture shows the moment of contact for Kokkai, and Takamisakari has just an inch or so to fall still. How do those judges call such matches so accurately? The answer is that their mistakes are just as spectacular.

Day 2


Iwakiyama-Kakizoe. The gyoji not only failed to keep out of the way, he called the winner wrong, resulting in the first gyoji reversal in over a year in Grand Sumo's top division, according to the announcer. That's why the upper ranked gyojis carry the small swords - if they are reversed, they must offer to slit their bellies in shame. It's a big deal. But who, including the gyoji, expected big Iwakiyama to suddenly give way like this? If this were an American sport, you wouldn't see an elderly, frail judge in this tiny ring with battling giants - it's a sure setup for gyoji injury. Yet it doesn't seem to happen that often.


Kotoushu-Tokitenku. After Kotooushu did an inexplicable and truly execrable henka on Day 1, I hoped he would show fine sumo on day 2, but no such thing. Instead he comes out with a tsuppari attack! Who does he think he is, Terao? K doesn't know how to do tsuppari in a way such that his opponent doesn't get an easy opening. Tokitenku thrusts his palm into Kotooushu's throat and pushes upward... and keeps pushing... and pushing... suddenly he gets an idea, and takes K's nearby lower thigh and Kotooushu is totally helpless. Tokitenku deposits him rudely on his backside like a bad puppy. Nice sumo, Tokitenkuu! The kimarite is watashikomi.

Day 3


Homasho-Kotooushu. Karma is karma. Kotooushu! What did you think would happen the first time you had a close judgment on the dohyo, after that shameful henka you did on day 1? Did you really think the shimpan would reverse this gyoji's obviously bad call as a favor to you, you the Ozeki who promised when he got his high rank that he would seek not to bring dishonor to the rank of Ozeki? Have you learned how sumo works yet? Respectful, humble, hard working Homasho listens to advice and tries his hardest to follow it -- you could learn a lot from him! Regardless of karma and my obvious personal glee, it is unpardonable for the shimpan to use tactics like this. By not calling a mono-ii, they dragged themselves down to the level of a misbehaving Ozeki. Homasho fought a good match, but he did not win this one. Abuse of power is even worse than abuse of rank. They owe him one and they know it. Watch Kotooushu's future matches to see him collect on this debt.


Dejima-Asashoryuu.    Here's the match you came to this site to see. Look at Dejima's concentration and bearing before the tachi-ai. This former Ozeki, whom I have accused of being "indecisive," has the look of a man with a plan. The Kinboshi that results from his determination causes the whole Kokugikan to explode with applause and thrown cushions. Watch Asashoryuu afterwards - he faces Dejima but he does not bow. This is bad behavior on the part of the Yokozuna, and will not win him friends, fans, or ultimately, sympathizers. .English-side announcer Murray Johnson remarks "now the cat is among the pigeons". This adds a palpable air of excitement to the front-runner race. And now Ama has a chance to win the yuusho! That would be a tournament to remember. It could happen.

Tamakasuga succeeds at a neck throw.

Day 4

Tamakasuga-Jumonji. It is wonderful to see this in slow motion. Just as Jumonji realizes that Tamakasuga isn't going backwards anymore, J realizes he had better switch to a close-in grip to go for the win, which seemed imminent. But T saw that coming and held out at the tarawa long enough to transform it into a great opportunity for a neck throw. Look at the smile on his face on the way back to the shitakubeya - he knows he is still undefeated at 4-0. That's something the Yokozuna can't say.

Tamakasuga continues his streak.

Day 5

Tamakasuga-Asofuji. Tamakasuga is on quite a roll, showing a lot of self-confidence as he relentlessly pounds Asofuji to the edge, and then forces him out. Being only day 5, it's too early for the Sumo Association to start putting undefeated lower ranked men against much higher ranked opponents, but if he continues like this he will come up against the sanyaku men very soon, as early as Sunday I would guess.

Takamisakari suffers humiliation at the hands of Kasugao.

Day 6

Takamisakari-Kasugao. Poor Takamisakari, every inch of him expresses misery and humiliation after being thrown so perfectly and so quickly by Kasugao today. Kasugao strides back to his side as if he had done his duty to show childlike T. a lesson. Even the announcer says, "Oh, don't cry Takamisakari, it's only your second loss." Or is T. more than the dimwit he appears? Perhaps he feels that the only way he can offset the exciting loss is to escalate the drama.
Hakuho waits for the perfect moment.
Asashoryuu executes a rare kimarite.

Hakuhou-Rohou. Rohou could have avoided this loss - he uses his strength to slow down Hakuhou at first. But Hakuhou waits for the mistake. When it comes, he is like lightning and Rohou can do nothing. It isn't good when your opponents know you will eventually do something stupid, and all they have to do is wait for it.

Asashoryuu-Kyokutenhou. Wow, a "komatasukui" -- an upper thigh scooping body drop. A jarring way to lose. Asashoryuu may still harbor a bit of his own mortification after his loss to Dejima. To his way of thinking, mortification is something to be inflicted on someone else, anyone else, including his fellow Mongolian Kyokutenhou. Asashoryuu executes the potentially bonebreaking move as if he were dropping a bag of garbage into a ditch.

Tokitenkuu reaches for the okuri.

Day 7

Tokitenkuu-Hakuho. One of the weirdest bouts I've seen lately. Tokitenku does a great job here in getting to the right side of Hakuhou by holding H's right upper arm preventing him from easily turning. (see photo) T. seems to be amazed that H. isn't defending himself. T. decides to continue reaching and pulls himself into a total okuri position. H. gives up - expecting the instant pushout - and it doesn't come! Are both these wrestlers asleep or what? While T. is dozing, H. leisurely reaches over with his right hand and pulls himself around, reversing the okuri. A move I've never seen before. Finally Tokitenku wakes up, realizes he must act now or say goodbye to the last of the advantage he's gained, so he pushes H. out for the anticlimactic win. Go home and catch up on your sleep, guys.
Kotooshu steps to his left to avoid Dejima's charge.
Kotooushu-Dejima. I'm not at all happy about Kotooushu's win here either. Once again he resorts to a henka! Not only that, but a failed henka. The freeze-frame shows that even with K's long left arm he did not manage to get his fingers around the vertical mawashi strap so that he could convert his henka into a thrust-down or a rear push-out. Dejima, to his credit, reads the move fast enough to begin pivoting before it is too late. But I'm not the only person deprecating his reliance on slimeball tactics - now more information about K's henkas comes over the sound channel. Clyde Newton: "...rather cowardly for an Ozeki to resort to that kind of thing." Murray Johnson: "Well, he was told off for it early in the tournament, by his oyakata." Good. But he didn't take the advice, did he?
Asashoryuu negates Ama's speed by holding him in the center until he tires.

Asashoryuu-Ama. The amazing thing about this video is to observe Asashoryuu's plan unfold. After his initial game is skillfully defended against by Ama, Asashoryuu goes to his fall-back plan. He has decided to win by an arm-lock throw. In the stiff-arm standoff, Asashoryuu suddenly goes for it - and fails! He is able to use his surging power to force Ama back into the clinch. Ama is tiring. Asashoryuu knows he only has to wait a few seconds and he will have another chance. He lunges again and tries for Ama's same arm, and this time Ama defends too slowly. Asashoryuu gains a hold and spins about. Ama is slammed to the clay with an awful twist to his shoulder and elbow. Two days in a row, Asashoryuu has used a rather cruel technique. Trying to compensate for a loss, his reliance on inflicting pain and fear does not reflect well on his character. He does this too often.

Kotooshu succumbs to his own tactics.

Day 8

Ama-Kotooushu. Aha! Vengence visits Kotooushu, in the form of lightning-fast Ama! An expert step to the left, and Kotooushu is sprawled on his stomach. Ama's henka is the "best" one I've seen in a long time. As vile a practice as it is, at least when used by an undersized rank-and-file wrestler against an Ozeki, it might be viewed as less a sin. But wait, isn't Ama one of the few rikishi who have taken an oath never to execute a henka? Do I remember correctly? Keep watching the video until it gets to the interview. Demon Kogure asks permission to direct a question to Ama, one that the announcers have not dared to ask out of politeness. Demon: "Didn't you say last year you would not be changing your tactics..." Ama smiles, looks embarrassed, strokes his face: "...I was just going to go for the side, and it just turned out to be this way..." Right. Demon doesn't believe this story and neither does anyone else. But think back. What Ama actually said, was something to the effect that he promised to always stick to the kind of sumo that the fans wanted. Is it a Clintonesque prevarication, or could one possibly honestly say that at that moment, with that one opponent, what the fans really really wanted was for someone to humiliate Kotooushu with his own recent tactics? Because, more than its questionable sumo value, the real reason the henka is disfavored is that it can make an honorable rikishi look like a fool to fall for it, like inviting someone to sit and then pulling the chair out from under them. "Make Kotooushu look like a fool, Ama." Is that what the fans wanted? We'll never know everything that happened in this sequence of events, but I think my analysis makes the most sense.

Mainoumi narrates the Japanese side.

Day 9

Feature. Mainoumi as guest commentator picked these 10 matches as being especially interesting ones of the first 8 days.


Day 10

Ushiomaru-Tamakasuga. Tamakasuga was the sole leader, but now he is having trouble winning. I get the feeling that his opponents are now psyching themselves up to treat him as a tough man to beat - and so they are beating him. Ushiomaru's throat lunge (see picture) leads to unbalancing T. and by keeping up the pressure U. gets the win.

Tokitenkuu-Homashou. Tokitenkuu throws every one of his techniques at Homasho. Homasho valiantly keeps up, defending against two leg sweeps and perhaps he even obtains an advantage - but the speedy pursuit is too tricky to keep up while avoiding the bales, so H. loses his balance, just enough, to give the win to T.
Kaiou cannot muster any offense on day 10.

Kyokutenhou-Kaiou. Kyokutenhou succeeds in getting a grip. Kaiou is just too stiff, too slow moving to counter in time. Kyokutenhou actually manages to lift Kaiou in the air a tiny fraction of a second. Kaiou might have been able to regroup and reply but his toes had the bad luck to come down one inch on the bad side of the rice bale, and he cannot gain any footing. Kaiou now seems to have a pattern in which he appears slower and weaker every day as the tournament progresses. If he cannot make it through a whole tournament anymore, perhaps it is time for him to retire and enjoy his status as a former great ozeki. Kyokutenhou's win shows a good plan and good execution and is well-deserved.

Ama uses Uchimuso on Takamisakari.

Ama-Takamisakari. I think this is the most amazing match I've seen thus far this basho. Takamisakari is a strong wrestler, and Ama can't win in a straight strength versus strength match. Yet Ama has no choice but to go right to the mawashi when facing him. Once on the mawashi Ama is subject to T.'s throw attempts and his relentless pressure upright to force Ama out, but Ama maintains enough distance so that T. is at the wrong end of the fulcrum and cannot get enough leverage to finish him off. The picture shows the miracle moment - Ama saving himself at the edge here is quite an achievement. After this, T. goes into a clinch. Incredibly, I think Ama has actually begun to tire out Takamisakari. The end comes for Takamisakari in the form of a flash of movement from Ama's left arm. Uchimuso! A match which will not be quickly forgotten.
Kotooshu invites Miyabiyama to leave the dohyo.

Kotooushu-Miyabiyama. This match leads to the end of Miyabiyama's reign at sekiwake. To be honest, I don't think he was especially trying here. Not one tsuppari or thrust - instead, he goes for the belt. Kotooushu's sumo was clean and the throw, when it came, was rather like the flop of an already-dead fish into the pan.
Asashoryuu sets up for a throw.

Asashoryuu-Kotomitsuki. Kotomitsuki gains an amazing advantage following the tachiai against Asashoryuu. The difference is that Kotomitsuki isn't sure what to do next - and Asashoryuu is. The picture shows the moment when A. gets his hand under K.'s arm. Note that K. was still trying to get to A.'s belt, possibly a futile direction to go even at this early stage. K. might have done better by moving more. Or doing almost anything else, to prevent A. from gaining the advantage. A really interesting bout, to see the extent to which Asashoryuu can apply himself to solve a difficult predicament.

Kasugao begins his throw.

Day 11

Toyonoshima-Kasugao. The fun part of this match is the look on Kasugao's face afterwards! Kasugao apparently has come to rely on his kotenage arm lock throw. Toyonoshima demonstrates exactly why one should not try to rely too much on a single throw. The picture shows Kasugao about to begin to throw Toyonoshima. Now T. will quickly move his left leg forward until it hooks K's right knee. Sotogake! Toyonoshima advances to 9 and 2. I love watching matches like this one.
Toyozakura locks up Asofuji's right arm.
Toyozakura-Asofuji. Announcer Hiro Morita starts off this match by saying, "Both fighters have good agility and speed..." He could not have better forecast the match. A blazing (for sumo at least) fast match consisting of tsuppari, stiff-arms, pursuit, edge-avoidance, twists, and pivots. Watching the match over and over, I must give a lot of credit to Asofuji. Yes, he did lose, but his ability to squirm out of a bad situation shows an intuitive footwork that is really impressive. I think he might go far. Toyozakura seems (on close inspection of the video) to have paralyzed Asofuji with a painful wrist-lock. Otherwise one cannot explain why Asofuji does not simply twist one more time and get out of the hold. His wrist, or possibly his forearm, was already being pinned against the direction he would have had to go in order to get out of it. I can't be sure because his right arm was out of sight. The picture shows the instant just before T. obtains the lock on A's right arm, and you can see T. is already applying backwards force on A's right elbow. If A. had spun to his right he would have gone over the edge, so he had to resist instead of pivoting. That led to the checkmate. Fine sumo on the part of both.

Kasugao executes his favorite throw, the kotonage.

Day 12

Kasugao-Kasuganishiki. The two Kasugas meet. Once again Kasugao resorts to his kotenage throw - when it does not succeed the first time he reaches deeper to set it up a second time. Is he becoming a "one trick" rikishi? That might be enough to keep him in makuuchi (if he is really good at it), but it isn't likely to get him further. Chiyotaikai might be a counterexample, though. From what I've heard, even Chiyotaikai's oyakata is surprised that C. is still an ozeki. Maybe the difference is that C. can put on a stunning tachiai, whereas Kasugao's tachiai consists mostly of him standing up and immediately reaching for his opponent's belt. That won't last. But it is enough to take care of Kasuganishiki.

Ama succeeds in okuridashi.
Ama-Kaiou. I almost imagine that Ama regrets having to be one of the rikishi who administer humiliating defeats to the great champion Kaiou late in the tournament, when he is obviously stiff, exhausted, and in constant pain. Kaiou can hardly twist his torso or pivot on either leg. Please retire, Kaiou. Your magnificent career is over and we would not like to see you set another record for the number of times an ozeki has gone to kadoban (on probation; candidate for demotion) status.
Hakuhou defends well against Kotooshuu's throw attempt.
Hakuhou-Kotooushu. It is an arm and upper body match, with Kotooushu unable to get the belt, and deciding to go for kotenage instead, while Hakuhou tries to defend and get in close to his opponent. The photo shows Kotooushu's closest point of winning, with a kotenage, but H. is not in the right position to go over K's hip (K. needs his right leg further forward). The opening allows Hakuhou to move in and walk Kotooushu back and out, exactly as one might move a heavy piece of furniture, by tilting it from side to side while applying pressure forward: yorikiri.

Kokkai makes repeated pulldown attempts while moving backward.

Day 13

Kakizoe-Kokkai. This one is a typical full-speed Kokkai retreat, while batting his opponent downwards, but this time Kokkai connects, and Kakizoe goes down. Then a mono-ii is called, and Kokkai loses his win because of his foot going outside. It makes sense that if you are going backwards, you lose the ability to see where you are about to put your feet. Message to Kokkai: Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress in attendance today deserve to see better sumo.
Tokitenkuu traps his opponent's ankle.
Tokitenkuu-Kisenosato. Ross Mihara and Kenneth Swensen both missed it initially. They first thought that Kisenosato more or less tripped himself up, but no - watching it a second time, they see that it is the rare kimarite "Chongake", the ankle-hook trip. Very clever, Tokitenkuu! Makiko excitedly makes the comment that only the Mongolians seem to know this technique. Watch the replay.

The stunned Toyonoshima is easily taken down.

Day 14

Ama-Toyonoshima. Ama comes out blazing with tsupparis, then does a rare ankle pick, kozumatori, to tumble Toyonoshima to the ground for a third loss. The commentators were bowled over by the rare kimarite, but watch the slow motion. The two sumotori trade blows over and over and then one of Ama's tsupparis, WHAM, connects with T's head and sends him staggering. Toyonoshima is disoriented after the wallop and easy prey for a fancy move. This match wasn't won with exotic techniques, it was won at the moment that one hit connected. Ama could have as easily done an okuridashi.
Asashoryuu overpowers an injured Tochiazuma.
Asashoryuu-Tochiazuma. Injured Tochiazuma gives a respectable effort here, but Asashoryuu plays a patient game of inches, improving his grip until he can begin an inexorable march to the edge. This win guarantees Asashoryuu's yuusho, his 20th, so he lets himself display a smile and a bit of a swagger. The video includes Asashoryuu's interview.

Chiyotaikai is airborne courtesy of Asashoryuu.

Day 15

Feature: Asashoryuu title matches. This feature puts the 20 title matches of Asashoryuu back to back, showing his path to attaining the great achievement of 20 yuushos. With 20 titles, it means that the Sumo Association may grant Asashoryuu a toshiyori, a position as a sumo elder, when he retires, and the right to set up a heya (sumo stable) under his own name, since a similar honor was given to Takanohana. The picture shows the moment in his 19th yuusho match in which he hauls Chiyotaikai up into the air.

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This page last modified: 11/30/2008 23:41:02