Monday, March 27, 2017

Congrats to Yokozuna Kisenosato!

This was an exciting tournament for sure!  Newly promoted Yokozuna Kisenosato recovered from a late-tournament injury to secure his second championship in a row after a great playoff with Ozeki Terunofuji.  What makes this championship unusual is that Kisenosato won it right after being promoted to sumo's highest rank.  Usually being promoted to Yokozuna means media calls, appointments, and a lot of commitments that leaves less time for training and more distractions and many newly-minted Yokozuna struggle to be competitive in their first tournament after promotion.  In fact, Kisenosato almost set a record for most consecutive wins after Yokozuna promotion.  He set such a hype that all tickets were sold out of the tournament and I was unable to watch any matches in person this go around and I missed the playoff match since I was on a plane heading back from Japan.  Next time.  To celebrate, here are a few BBM cards of Kisenosato.


  1. I am glad he won, though to be honest I can't help but feel his victory highlights how the Sumo Association did him a disservice by promoting him too soon.

    The victory means he has won two consecutive yusho, which was the de facto standard for promotion to Yokozuna since Konishiki's days (when it was contrived to keep him from getting the rank). In their desire to see a Japanese Yokozuna, the Association ignored that rule (which was never formalized but still widely recognized) to promote him, which is sort of the equivalent of putting an asterisk next to his Yokozuna rank.

    We now know that if they had just waited two months Kisenosato would have qualified under the former two consecutive yusho rule and been promoted without anyone questioning his qualifications.

    I am hoping he will live up to the title (I am sure he is capable), but he still has to fight that "oh they eased up to let you in because you are Japanese" stigma. Compare how quickly they promoted him to Yokozuna with how long Takanohana had to wait (I think he had like 5 or 6 yusho before they promoted him, since despite winning so many it took him a long time to string two consecutive yusho together) and its kind of shocking.

    1. I definitely understand the two consecutive yusho argument and I think the NSK standards to promotion are dependent on politics and subjectivity depending on the era. A Jun-Yusho/Yusho string is not unheard of and a good handful have been promoted with such a record in the past few decades. The two yusho is a guideline and what is most important is can the wrestler live up to Yokozuna standards in terms of record and persona. A two consecutive yusho record forces the hand of the NSK and promotion is almost certain. A Jun-Yusho/Yusho record gives the NSK options if they feel the wrestler is not ready. I do believe that Kisenosato was promoted because of the "need" for a Japanese Yokozuna....something that has been missing in the sport for a while. The NSK is breathing a sigh of relief as this "proves" the legitimacy of his promotion and they can deny him being Japanese was the reason for his promotion and they can point to his record. Time will ultimately tell as the Yokozuna ranks are starting to clog and Hakuho is going to go on another yusho run I have a feeling.