(September 9 to 23 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan)

Akebono cuts off top knot
At Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sept 29, Akebono's hair cutting ceremony took place. He had his son by his side while he performed his final ring entrance ceremony accompanied by Musashimaru and Musoyama. The first person to cut a piece of his hair was US ambassador to Japan Howard Baker. He is reported to have brought with him a message from the Secretary of State Colin Powell. Mr. Baker was followed by the French ambassador attending on behave of President Jacques Chirac who is a well-known sumo freak. Konishiki came on the ring too attracting a big applause from the crowd. When Takanohana's name was called, Akebono who was seated in the middle of the ring looked surprised. Already in tears, he could not hold back anymore. The two entered the pro sumo world at the same time and were great rivals. To finish the ceremony was the former Takamiyama, currently known as Azumazeki cut off Akebono's entire top knot.

Outstanding Performance Award:
Outstanding Technique Award: Kotomitsuki, Kaiho
Fighting Spirit Award: Asashoryu

Final day
All makuuchi rikishi and officials of the Japan Sumo Association offered a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks in the United States. In the juryo division, Tomonohana succumbed to his 10th loss, meaning he'll be demoted to makushita division if he intends to continue sumo. Terao lost too, finishing with a majority loss. In the higher ranks, Takanonami was pushed out by Daishi facing his 10th loss. This tourney champion Kotomitsuki was taken down by Tokitsuumi. He finished the tourney 13 to 2. Two Mongolians faced eachother Asashoryu was aggressive. He defeated Kyokutenho by clinching his 10th win. Dejima could not do much. He lost to Tamanoshima, his 10th loss. Musoyama could not stop himself from trotting out the ring in the bout against Wakanosato. It's his 5th loss. Musashimaru was driven out by Tochiazuma. For Tochiazuma it's his 12th win, while for Maru, his 6th loss. The outcomes in the highest ranking appear to have represented the total mood of this tourney.

14th day
It was up to Kotomitsuki whether he's clinch the Emperor's Cup. He had to face off twice, since the first time, his hands were not touching the floor. Perhaps, he was tense. He began with thrusts, then got a grip of Kaiho's belt with his right. Kotomitsuki threw Kaiho. It was his 13th victory, and a tourney victory for the first time. The 25 year old was a collegiate champion. In other bouts, Asashoryu tripped the great big Kotonowaka for his 9th win. Tochiazuma drives out Hayateumi to win his 11th bout. Dejima rolled down, defeated by Tochinonada to face his 5th loss. Musoyama was trying to force a throw, but Kyokutenho leaned on him and the ozeki fell. Musoyama is down with his 4th loss. Musashimaru was jittery. He was about to lose his balance but was able to drive out Wakanosato. It's the yokozuna's 9th win.

13th day
Kotomitsuki drove out Takanowaka this time to gain his 12th bout. Takanonami fell again losing to Wakanosato. It's the former ozeki's 9th loss already. Tochiazuma threw Tochinonawa for his 10th win. Dejima managed to win this time taking out Kyokutenzan. Still it's only Dejima's 5th win. Musoyama had a tough bout, but in the end, he tripped Tamanoshima for his 10th win. Musashimaru did not seem very powerful, but in the end took out Tohki to record a majority win.

12th day
Kotomitsuki was powerful. He took out Kyokutenho for his 11th win. It was up to the only rikishi with 3 losses whether Kotomitsuki would secure the tourney victory. But they did not allow this to happen., Tochiazuma drove out Tohki as he was pulling back. Musoyama pushed out Tochinonada. Meanwhile, Dejima lost his 8th bout to Tokitsunada. He will be demoted further in the next tourney. Musashimaru pushed out Kyokushuzan, and the refree together.

11th day
Asashoryu lost again. He was tripped by Tamanoshima, and fell on his back with Tamanoshima on top of him. The Mongolian's record is 7- 3. Kotomitsuki forced Wakanosato out of the ring as he was about to fall. So Kotomitsuki kept his lead with only 1 loss. Kaiho tried to hurl Dejima several times and in the end succeeds. Dejima faced his 7th loss. Takanonami was taken out by Musoyama. The current ozeki remained one of the runner ups with 3 losses. Musashimaru had his arms over Tochinonada, trying to get his belt, but he was toppled with an underarm throw falling on his knee first. What a disappointment for the crowd, seeing a yokozuna succumb to his 5th loss. And he was the first time a yokozuna gave away as many as 5 "kinboshi" in a grand tourney.

10th day
Miyabiyama had withdrawn from the tourney.His fall from ozeki ranking has become certain. Kotomitsuki continued to win by driving out Daizen. Asashoryu was thrust down by Tosanoumi, succumbing to his 3rd loss. Dejima was put down too, and with his 6th loss, his possibility to return to ozeki vanished. It was a slow face off between Musoyama and Kyokushuzan, but the ozeki clinched the bout with a push out. He's earned his 7th win. Musashimaru threw Takanonami to win his 6th bout. So Kotomitsuki takes the lead, while there is no longer anybody with 2 losses.

9th day
Kotomitsuki got a good hold with his right, Tamanoshima's belt, and drove him out powerfully to keep the tourney lead with his 8th win. Asashoryu remained runner up with his thrusts to beat Wakanosato. Dejima turned his back on Tochiazuma to be taken out. The former ozeki faced his 5th loss. Chiyotaikai was out, and Takanonami was automatically given a win. It's his 4th. The disappointment is that, Chiyo's absence means that they'll be no ozeki vs ozeki no ozeki vs yokozuna this tourney. Those remaining all come from the same Musashigawa Stable, and the rule is, stable mates do not fight eachother unless of playoffs. It's the first time in 9 years that such a thing is happening. Miyabiyama pushed forward, but Kaiho tried to get him to lose balance and he succeeded. It was actually a bad outcome. Miyabiyama appeared to have twisted his left leg as he fell and could not get up on his own. He's already recorded his 6th loss. And if he loses 2 more or fails to return to fight and gain at least 8 wins, he will fall from ozeki ranking. Musoyama drove Tokitsuumi to one end of the ring, and to the other end, and pushed him out. What a relief to see an ozeki win. It's his 6th so far. In the bout against the only yokozuna, Tamakasuga puleed back and then pushed out. Musashimaru lost again--his 4th bout in only 9 days. The tourney so far is looking very confusing.

8th day
In an exciting bout fought between 2 rikishi leading this tourney, Kotomitsuki took out Asashoryu to become the sole leader. Wakanosato slightly lifts up Dejima and takes the former ozeki out. It's Dejima's 4th loss. Miyabiyama turned his back on Takanonami and was drive out. Miyabiyama is down to 5 losses. Takanonami picked up his 3rd win. Musoyama clashed into Kaiho with his posture low. Perhaps it was too low. He was pushed down. Both are 5-3. Tosanoumi drove out Chiyotaikai, and the ozeki after this bout decided to pull out from the tourney. Tokitsuumi got himself under Musashimaru's belly. And Maru struggled to pick him out of there by getting the belt from the back. Maru did it, and clinched his 5th win. The sad truth at the end of the day is that there are no ozeki or yokozuna among the top 3 contenders.

7th day
2 former ozeki faced eachother. The younger Dejima was more energetic, driving out Takanonami. The bout between Tochiazuma and Asashoryu was a competitive one. The Mongolian fought better by taking Tochiazuma out and earning his 6th win. Former collegiate rivals clashed into eachother. But Musashimaru did not show the power he did the past few days succumbing to his 2nd loss. Tosanoumi won his 3rd bout. Chiyotaikai took out Tochinowaka. Miyabiyama threw Tokitsuumi near the verge of the ring. Kaiho tried to put to use a variety of skills against Musashimaru. In the end, he used his leg to trip the big yokozuna and fall on his back. Musashimaru lost his 3rd bout. There are no longer ozeki above rankers with less than 2 losses.

6th day
Takanonami was badly bandaged but still fought. He was driven out by Tamakasuga succumbing to his 4th loss. Kotomitsuki did not allow Tochiazuma to get hold of his belt, and walked him out for his 5th win. Dejima managed to shove out Kotonowaka with a bandaged forehead. Chiyotaikai wore a new green belt. He took out Wakanosato to get his record even. Miyabiyama pulled back, and that led to his loss--already his 4th. Musoyama gave powerful thrusts to push out Takanowaka. The ozeki earned his 5th win. One of the most exciting rikishi in this tourney, Asashoryu faced the yokozuna. As the bout took off, he went under Musashimaru's belly, and immediately got hold of his right leg, and took him out. Asashoryu picked up his 5th win, while Musashimaru lost his 2nd bout already.

5th day
The sole leader, Kitazakura lost to an overarm throw by Oginishiki thus tying with a whole big crowd now in the lead. Takanonami was taken out by Kyokuhenho for his 3rd loss. The energetic Asashoryu tried to throw Dejima but shifted to walking the former ozeki out. The Mongolian is 4-1 while Dejima 2-3. Miyabiyama was able to drive out Takanowaka for his 2nd win. Kotonowaka fell on his face first when Musoyama threw him. The ozeki clinched his 4th win. Kotomitsuki stood up too fast to fight Chiyotaikai, or you could also say, the ozeki was too slow. So the bout the restarted. They were both cautious about the timing of a face off. And when they both stood, Chiyotaikai charged forward while Kotomitsuki stepped to the side. The ozeki faced his 3rd loss, while Kotomitsuki his 4th win. Musashimaru this time, managed to take out Tosanoumi.

4th day
A surprise and disappointment was that Kaio pulled out. And that's without even a win. Musoyama pushed out Takamakusuga. Chiyotaikai pulled back and Dejima who went forward pushed the outgoing ozeki out. Both have 2 wins 2 losses. Asashoryu forced Miyabiyama down for his 3rd win. The final bout was a exciting one with both sides struggling to win. At one point, he appeared Musashimaru had pushed out Kotomitsuki, but Kotomitsuki was still within the ring, and instead drove the yokozuna out. It's Musashimaru's first loss.

3rd day
The bout between Takanonami and Kyokushuzan was retaken. The former ozeki appeared to be forcing the Mongolian veteran out, but in the end, Kyokushuzan threw down Takanonami. Dejima at last won by taking out Tamakasuga. As the 2 stood up, Asashoryu stepped back and Chiyotaikai fell on his belly succumbing to his first loss. Kaio pressured Takanowaka to the edge of the ring, but their positions were suddenly reversed. Kaio's chance to gain yokozuna ranking has practically collapsed. Miyabiyama won his first bout by attacking Tamanoshima and driving him out. Kotomitsuki and Musoyama fought a tough bout. But in the end, the ozeki won. Musashimaru took out Kotonowaka. Already Maru is the only champion ranker with a perfect record.

2nd day
Takanonami this time put all his weight on Hayateumi to push him down. It's his first win. Dejima moved foward but was thrown by Kotomitsuki. It's his 2nd straight loss. Kaio lost again. He tried to throw Asashoryu while pushed towards the end of the ring but was ineffective. Miyabiyama was taken out by Kotonowaka for his 2nd loss. Musoyama too lost to a push out by Tochiazuma. Chiyotaikai was the only ozeki invincible. He thrust down Tamanoshima. The only yokozuba, Musashimaru gave a powerful push at Takanowaka.

1st day
Terao, in the juryo division faced Koubo and pushed him out. Former ozeki Takanonami was taken out by Tokitsuumi. Another former ozeki, Dejima who fell to sekiwake after missing more than half of last tourney pushed forward. But at the edge of the ring was thrust down by Tosanoumi. Miyabiyama is kadoban ozeki, meaning if he markes a majority loss will also be demoted. He faced Kotomitsuki and lost. Mongolian Asashoryu pushed and shoved Musoyama. Appearing irritated by being pushed around, Musoyama gave a big slap. That seemed to have done it. The ozeki shoved him out. Chiyotaikai performed a fast bout pushing out Kotonowaka. Kaio and Wakanosato who appear to be around the same size fought eachother. Kaio is trying out for the yokozuna post this time, but lost the bout. Musashimaru, reached for the front part of Tamanoshima's belt and pulled him down.

Pre Tourney highlights
Kaio gets to challenge once again yokozuna post
Kaio has been placed on the east side of ozeki for in the sumo ranking this tourney. The list of ranking was announced on Aug 27. Tamanoshima was promoted to Komusubi for the first time, while Dejima was demoted from ozeki to sekiwake. Takatoriki was promoted back to the makuuchi division, while Terao did not quite make it. Terao's ranked juryo number one.

Back to Sumo Archive Index