(May 7 to 21 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan )

Since it was tough decision for the Japan Sumo Association, they decided to take a vote in whether Miyabiyama should be promoted to ozeki. 7 voted for, 3 against. With a majority, Miyabiyama was given the title on May 24. He's the fastest ever promoted to the rank--that's in only 2 years since his debut. It'll make the Musashigawa stable, run by former yokozuna Mienoumi, the most flourishing with 1 yokozuna and 3 ozeki.

Outstanding Performance Award:
Outstanding Technique Award: Tochinohana
Fighting Spirit Award: Tochinohana, Kaio, Miyabiyama

Final day
A rare incident occurred. The refree gave the win to Oginishiki, but his opponent Tohki's foot was not confirmed to have gone out. The head of judges, Sakaigawa, announced a rematch. In the 2nd try, Tohki slipped and Oginishiki thrust him down. Oginishiki finished with 6 - 9 while Tohki 9 - 6. Terao gave thrusts all th way through until finally seeing Hamanoshima off balance go the back of his neck and threw him down. Terao ended his 15 years in the makuuchi division with 5 wins 10 losses. Last tourney champion Takatohriki lost to Kyokushuzan's thrust succumbing to his 13th win. This tourney's hero, Kaio came on to fight Tamakasuga. Tamakasuga tried to fool Kaio with a sideward movement, but was not effective enough. Kaio clinched his 14th win. He had to wait for the result of the final bout to decise his tourney victory. Meanwhile, Miyabiyama defeated Takanonami for his 10th win. Judges say depending on votes, Miyabiyama still has a chance to be promoted to ozeki. Chiyotaikai and Dejima attacked eachother. Chiyo did not take long to shift to the side to thrust down Dejima. Chiyo recorded his 11th win while Dejima his 7th loss. Finally, 2 yokozuna's turn came. Akebono on taking off, slapped Takanohana and went for the belt. But Taka got a better position and pushed out his opponent. They both finished with a 13 - 2 record. With Akebono's defeat, the Emperor's Cup automatically went to Kaio. The komusubi was all smiles as he moved toward the ring once again for the award ceremony. But as the national anthem played, his expression changed. It appeared that his eyes began to water. But he was back to a smile as he received the Prime Minister's trophy from the new head of state Yoshiro Mori himself. Kaio's been regarded as one of the top candidates to reach ozeki ranking for 6 years, but it may be that finally, he's on the right track.

14th day
Terao and Mongolian Kyokutenho had eachother's belt. Terao tried to push Kyokutenho, but Kyokutenho reversed his position to win. Terao is down to 10 losses. Akinoshima tried to force Miyabiyama down but didn't quite make it. That put Akinoshima off balance, and Miyabiyama grabbed the hind part of Akinoshima's belt to throw him on the ring for his 10th win. Tochiazuma appeared to have control of the bout for a while, but as he pushed, Kaio shifted his body slightly and with his right pushed Tochiazuma out. Takanonami could not reach new makuuchi rikishi's belt. Tochinohana succeeded in defeating another ozeki. But Takanonami with his 8th defeat has lost his ozeki post for the coming tourney. It's the second time he falls from the champion class ranking. Akebono banged into Chiyotaikai and drove him toward the edge of the ring. The ozeki pushed back, but the yokozuna in the end took him out. Takanohana stepped forcefully toward Dejima, gave thrusts and took the ozeki out. Kaio and Akebono are tied with 13 wins and Takanohana the runner up.

13th day
Terao who is maegashira number 13, tried to kick Sentoryu of the juryo division. But his foot did not reach the American rikishi, and instead was pushed out. The popular rikishi is down to his 9th loss, but he said to reporters he plans to continue sumo in the lower division next tourney. Kaio banged against the heavy Tosanoumi and thrust him down for his 12th win. Miyabiyama and Tochiazuma fought a competitive bout. In the end, Miyabiyam earned his 9th win. Takanonami slapped Tamakasuga's face as he stood up to fight. It wasn't effective though. The ozeki was driven out and succumbed to his 7th win. Chiyotaikai attacked Takanohana non-stop with all his energy. Finally Chiyo drove the yokozuna out and down the ring. Taka could not get up for a while. His shoulder and back was covered with dirt. Akebono put on a fierce look before the bout. The Hawaiian born thrust out Dejima. Now Kaio and Akebono are the only two tying for the lead. Takanohana is along in the 2nd group.

12th day
Terao appeared to be attacking Kinkaiyama for a victory. But he didn't fight quite strong enough. The veteran was on the contrary pushed down and succumbed to a majority loss. His post in the makuuchi which he held for 15 years is in danger. Oginishiki was no match for Kaio. Kaio did not allow his opponent to take any action and pushed him out. Tochiazuma pulled down Kotoryu for his 9th win. The up and coming Tochinohana's record is so good, he was for the first time matched up with an ozeki. Chiyotaikai gave thrusts after thrusts. Tochinohana amazingly, withstood them. Then the young one moved forward and pushed his body on the ozeki, making him fall. It was an immense victory for Tochinohana, his 10th. Dejima charged forward to take out Kaiho. The ozeki marked his 9th win. Takanonami tried to take Akebono off balance. But he failed to be tricky enough that Akebono caught up and pushed the ozeki out. Takanohana with his right, threw Miyabiyama on the ring. Succumbing to his 4th loss, Miyabiyama's chance to become ozeki has become slim. The top contestants are still Akebono, Takanohana and Kaio who's all won their 11th bout.

11th day
Tochinohana and Kaio faced eachother. Kaio with his right arm, squeezed Tochinonada and threw him down. It was a quick process. Tochinohana is down to 2 losses while Kaio earned his 10th win . Miyabiyama drove out Asanowaka to secure a majority win. Two ozeki were matched up. Dejima went forward, while Takanonami moved backwards and Dejima took the big guy out for his 7th win. Takanonami is down to 5 losses. Chiyotaikai with thrusts defeated Oginishiki for his 9th win. Takanohana pushed down Kyokushuzan who's down to his 9th loss. Akebono took out Kotoryu. Both yokozuna marked their 10th win, tying with Kaio for the lead.

10th day
Tochinohana won another bout. This time he grabbed Kotonowaka's belt and his head tucked underneath the big guy, and drove him out. Kaio also clinched his 9th win by forcing out Takatoriki. Miyabiyama appeared disperate that he was about to fall while driving out Tosanoumi. The ozeki hope still hasn't lost hope for promotion with his 7th win. Chiyotaikai took control by aggressively giving thrusts at Takanonami and won. Dejima threw Kotoryu with his left hand for his 6th win. Akebono and Takanohana have both earned their 9th win to tie in the leading pack.

9th day
New makuuchi rikishi Tochinohana beat another newcomer Jumonji to secure a majority win. Kaio with his right squeezed Kotoryu's arm and hurled him. Kaio's also marked a majority win. Miyabiyama pushed and pushed and finally defeated Tochinonada to an overarm throw. Chiyotaikai looked overwhelmed but managed to step aside and thrust down Takatoriki. Dejima, however was totally lost. He was forced out by Tochiazuma. The ozeki's record is down to 4 losses already. Takanonami drove out Asanowaka for his 6th win. Takanohana quietly took out Tamakasuga while Akebono blasted Tosanoumi out the ring. Both yokozuna clinched a majority.

8th day
The two who wrestled against eachother during their collegiate years faced eachother. Dejima pushed and went forward with his head down and was able to defeat Tamakasuga. So far, the man who's standing out the most this tourney, Kaio faced Takanonami. The ozeki went forward faster, but Kaio caught him and moved forward, taking the tall guy out. Kaio won his 7th bout. Chiyotaikai and Miyabiyama gave thrusts at eachother. Miyabiyama pushed forward his opponent to the edge of the ring, Chiyo moved aside, putting Miyabiyama off balance. The ozeki hope succumbed to his 3rd loss. Akebono attacked Oginishiki quickly and won. Takanohana was taken to the edge of the ring by Tochiazuma. Taka was about to be pushed out, but he kept his one foot in the ring and the other up in the air, while Tochiazuma dropped out of the ring. Both yokozuna are tied for the lead with 7 wins and a loss.
Michiyo's Note: I was planning to update more in detail. But Keizo Obuchi who was Japan's Prime Minister until he collapsed from a stroke last month, died this afternoon, and my time was preoccupied with filing this tragedy.

7th day
Kaio charged ahead and took Tochinonada out. Kaio is still in superior shape. Tochiazuma defeated the tall Takanonami to an overarm throw. Both have a 5 win 2 loss record. Chiyotaikai gave thrusts after thrusts and in the end slammed Hamanoshima down on the ring. Dejima moved forward quickly, but it was not quite sharp enough. Tosanoumi stepped back and thrust the ozeki down. Dejima is down to 3 losses. Daizen tried to move erratically. But Takanohana wrapped up with bout by quietly taking him out. Even though Miyabiyama is regarded as a top ozeki candidate, Akebono quickly took control of the bout to drive him out.

6th day
There's no longer anybody with a perfect record. Those who were winning all bouts so far lost. It includes Tohki to Jumonji, and Hayateumi to Akinoshima. And another...you know who. Kaio beat up Takanohana powerfully by swinging the yokozuna down by the arm. The yokozuna succumbed to his first loss. Here are other major bouts of the day. Miyabiyama and Takatoriki slapped eaohother ferociously. Last tourney winner tried to fool the guy close to becoming the next ozeki a couple of times, by shifting motion. In the end Miyabiyama shove Takatoriki out. Chiyotaikai gave thrusts at Tochiazuma, but the ozeki got carried away and Tochiazuma pulled him down. Both marked a 4-2 record. Dejima charged forward and took out his old-time rival Tochinonada. Kyokushuzan, with his hand on Takanonami's belt swung the tall ozeki around several times. But his throws were not strong enough that Takanonami withstood them and drove the Mongolian out instead. Akebono attacked Tamakasuga's throat and won.

5th day
Miyabiyama's start was not good, but he kept his head down, which helped him keep himself in tact and push out Tamakasuga. Dejima pushed and shoved Takatoriki for his 3rd win. Takanonami tried to force his way, but Tochinonada got hold of the ozeki and threw him down. Chiyotaikai successfully pushed out Wakanoyama. Takanohana defeated Oginishiki to earn another win. And with Kaio's loss to Akebono, Taka is the only champion title holder with a perfect record.

4th day
Kotonowaka appeared well-recovered from his injury keeping his record clean by defeating Terao. Takatoriki crashed into Oginishiki and pulled back to win his 2nd bout. The highlight of the day was the bout between Kaio and Miyabiyama. Kaio took control of the bout from the beginning. Miyabiyama turned his back toward him and was pushed out from behind. Kaio added another win while Miyabiyama lost his first bout. Takanonami got a firm grip of Daizen's belt to win. Chiyotaikai thrust Tosanoumi down for his 3rd win. Dejima was about to be thrust down too, but keeping himself low, managed to push out Asanowaka before he himself went down. Akebono faced a tough opponent. Even though the yokozuna had Tochinonada pinned at the edge of the ring, the inferior rikishi withstood for more than 10 seconds. The 2 then were back in the middle of the ring. In the end though, Akebono walked Tochinonada out to improve his record to 3 - 1. Takanohana overwhemled Hamanoshima with an arm throw. He still has a perfect record.

3rd day
Kaio continues to win. He pushed out Hamanoshima. Takatoriki marked his first win this tourney by thrusting down the hairy Wakanoyama. Miyabiyama easily drove out veteran Daizen. Ozeki Chiyotaikai pushed down Tochinonada. Dejima this time fought a tipsy bout and in the end was thrown down the ring by Oginishiki. Takanonami won powerfully by taking out Tosanoumi. Asanowaka tried to give Takanohana a difficult time by briskly changing the course of action, but in vane. The yokozuna drove him out. In the final bout,Tochiazuma shifted to the side, and it caught Akebono off balance. The yokozuna tumbled down the floor for his first defeat as Prince and Princess Akinoshima looked on.

2nd day
Takatoriki was thrust down, this time by Tamakasuga. Miyabiyama drove Kyokushuzan out for his 2nd win. Dejima went forward quickly to defeat Hamanoshima. Takanonami forced his way to take Oginishiki out. Chiyotaikai became the only ozeki to lose. He was driven out by Kaio. Birthday boy Akebono pushed out Wakanoyama to celebrate. In the final bout, Tosanoumi tried to push Takanohana, but in vane. The yokozuna finished him easily.

1st day
Junmonji, who is new in the top division challenged Kotonowaka who was out last tourney. The veteran rikishi won by driving the newcomer out. Aogiyama who also made a comeback from an injury fought Terao ferociously. But Terao kept himself inside the ring and thrust Aogiyama down. Akinoshima celebrated his 1000th bout in the makuuchi ranking by taking out Takanowaka. The next ozeki hope Miyabiyama was in a disadvantage positionwise, since Hamanoshima had his head under. Both did not move for awhile. Then Hamanoshima moved ahead, but Miyabiyama thrusted him down. Takanonami who is in danger of losing his ozeki ranking if finishes with a majority loss was able to defeat Wakanoyama. Asanowaka blacked out and fell after Chiyotaikai attacked his chin. Kaio got hold of Dejima's belt with his right and easily rolled the ozeki over. Kaio's power was incredible. Takanohana with speed drove Tochinonada out. Akebono gaver 3 thrusts to finish last tourney champ Takatoriki.

Pre Tourney highlights
A record number withdraw from the opening day of tourney
By May 6, 8 have decided not to fight at the Tokyo tourney. And they include some of the most popular names whom fans were looking forward to seeing. Besides Musashimaru and Musoyama, new makuuchi rikishi, Kotomitsuki withdrew. And in the juryo division, Kotonishiki who has been demoted, and Mitoizumi are included. In all 8 sekitori have pulled out--the most ever since the grand tourney has become a 6 time event a year.

Ring purification ceremony for public
The Japan Sumo Association disclosed its activity at the Ryogoku Kokugikan for the public to see again. On May 6., 600 fans watch while the dirt packed ring, for use during the 15 day tournament, undergoing a special purification ritual. There were offerings of rice, seaweed. The whole list of rankings was chanted in the Kokugikan entrance.

New ozeki and yokozuna withdraw
The Japan Sumo Association disclosed on May 4 that Musashimaru and Musoyama have dropped out from the tourney. The Hawaiian born yokozuna had hurt the back of his knee during practice, and has injured the same hand that took him out from the New Year's tourney. It'll be his 2nd time to miss a tourney. New ozeki Musoyama has strained his back--a bomb he's carrying.

General training opens to public
For the first time, the Japan Sumo Association allowed the public to view the general training of all top ranking sumo wrestlers. On Apr.30, it was held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena free of charge. There were 4500 people looking on. This practice session was held in a training room inside the Kokugikan compound. The purpose of this open training is to attract more fans to sumo, especially in Tokyo where a sellout crowd has been hard to get for the past years. Unfortunately, the fans did not get to see new ozeki Musoyama since he was not in shape.

Former Wakanohana approved huge bonus
Just retired Wakanohana will receive 70 million yen for his contribution to sumo. The Japan Sumo Association decided to give him the 2nd highest bonus ever on Apr. 27. The record is held by the former Chiyonofuji who was granted 100 million.

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