Nagoya Basho Summary
text by Lon Howard
photos by Barbara Ann Klein
|basho in Aki.
In Miyabiyama’s case, even though he exceeded the three basho/33 win target, he had no real shot once Hakuho was held back, because there have never been six ozeki at one time. Naturally unstated by the NSK, they weren’t about to break new ground for someone who had already been promoted to ozeki once ‘by mistake’, unless there were overwhelming credentials, so it was easy to cite an ‘insufficient content’ in Miyabiyama’s sumo and his four first-week losses. And, uh, his 10 wins did include a fusen-sho, which, though not officially considered, did cloud the overwhelming imagery necessary in this case. But…if he achieves 11 wins at Aki and Hakuho flubs his tsunatori try, there will be six ozeki on the Kyushu banzuke – barring an intai – like it or not.
Both Hakuho and Miyabiyama deserve kudos for digging out of their early basho holes to breathe life back into their promotion runs. Without that, there would have been little to maintain interest after ozeki Tochiazuma and Chiyotaikai ran themselves out of contention by day 11. Both men shot to 8-1 and faded just as fast, with ‘Zuma posting 8-7 and Chiyo, 9-6. Both did finish the basho, despite suffering left knee injuries on that dark 11th day. In Tochiazuma’s case, it apparently was a repeat of
Two years from now, the Nagoya basho of 2006 will be mostly remembered
for things that happened off the dohyo. Yokozuna Asashoryu’s 17th
of 25 yusho (a wild guess here) won’t trigger much for anyone and
neither will an infrequent kachi-koshi by a shin-komusubi. We
might’ve recalled everyone thinking “Hello Yokozuna” for ozeki Hakuho
as he crushed the yokozuna on senshuraku, except for the pronouncement
a few moments later that he was headed for Heartbreak Hotel instead of
Tsuna Tower. Since Asashoryu had cinched the yusho the day
before, Hakuho’s zensho-denying deed was deemed a non-event by the
shimpan group, who said no meeting would be called to discuss a
promotion. And since that left the number of residents at Ozeki
Inn unchanged at 5, the resurgent sekiwake, Miyabiyama, was left still
looking through the windows there, despite racking up 34 wins in the
last three basho.
Probably mindful of senshuraku interest, the Rijicho’s day 14 prattle had not ruled out a double promotion at tourney’s end if both men finished with wins.
||Neither Hakuho nor Miyabiyama disappointed the full house on
the final day, ending with 13-2 and 10-5 respectively; but the decision
not to promote either of them had clearly been made on some prior
date. Yet, there were plausible reasons for waiting in each of
their cases, so there needn’t be any grousing about cabals in
The shimpan’s displeasure that Hakuho let the yokozuna pull away from him early in the basho is firm ground in itself, and in addition, it’s been 19 years since an ozeki has been promoted without meeting the ‘two consecutive yusho’ standard. The last was Onokuni in 1987, and that promotion is now considered to have been a disaster (although for promotions prior to that, meeting the standard was the exception, not the rule). Finally, this is only Hakuho’s second basho as ozeki, and further, he has only one yusho to his credit. So to sum it up, with neither the second yusho nor a kettei-sen, it was felt his ozeki credits were still lacking. As was the case with Tochiazuma in Natsu, he will have a second tsunatori