Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Ama! (Safari Joe does it again)
Sumo-watching strategy #55: buy a pack of AA batteries to sweeten the shop owner up, then ask them to stick the last ten minutes of the sumo on one of the display tellies. This is the sumo-watching technique equivalent of the oshitaoshi move, whereby a wrestler, lacking any more laudable ways to beat his opponent, simply pushes them over. Genius stuff. As for the telly watching, there was no way I was going to miss Ama versus Hakuho.
The result was not a complete surprise: Ama had won three of the previous four meetings between the two, and Hakuho certainly seems to find him difficult to deal with. This time, he made the mistake of rushing too much and trying to beat his opponent without the insurance of a dominant belt grip. End result: a couple of salarymen in the front row had the unexpected treat of having the yokozuna plonked down in front of them.
This left Bulgarian ozeki Koto-oshu the sole leader of the tournament with a perfect 10-0 record. If he can upset the odds and beat Asashoryu today, he'll have an excellent chance to win overall. If.
Cozeki (that's a made-up word: co-ozeki, heh heh) Chiyotaikai, meanwhile, is having a wretched time. With seven losses to his name already, he still has to face both yokozuna and Koto-oshu and looks doomed to finishing the tournament with a losing record.
Relegation from ōzeki
Like the other sanyaku ranks, but unlike a yokozuna, an ozeki may be relegated. For an ozeki, relegation is a two-step procedure. First, the ozeki must lose more bouts than he wins in a tournament; losing a majority of bouts is called makekoshi. At this point, the ozeki is called kadoban. If he wins a majority of bouts in the next tournament (which is called kachikoshi), he is restored to regular ozeki status. If, on the other hand, he loses a majority of bouts while kadoban, he is relegated to sekiwake.
Benefits of being an ozeki
In addition to a salary increase there is a number of perks associated with reaching ozeki rank:
He is guaranteed a higher rank in the Sumo Association when he first retires
He will be given a three year temporary membership of the Sumo Association on his retirement if he does not yet own a share.
He will receive a special merit payment on his retirement (the amount decided by his strength and longevity as an ozeki)
He has a parking space in the Sumo Association headquarters
He can vote in the election of the Sumo Association Directors
Normally he will receive additional support from his stable in terms of junior wrestlers to act as his manservants.
He can wear purple fringed ceremonial aprons (kesho-mawashi)
An ozeki can normally act as a dewsweeper or swordbearer for a yokozuna ring entrance ceremony.
He may be called on to represent the wrestlers on formal occasions such as when VIPs visit a Sumo Tournament, or on formal visits to Shinto Shrines.
Red indicates my favourite perk - DM