(January 7 to 21 at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena)

Akebono has tendered his resignation to the Japan Sumo Association on Jan. 22. 31-year old Akebono was the Kyushu Tourney champion and the first American yokozuna. He has come down with pains in both knees which is speculated to come from a contrasting balance of his thin legs and a big body. His retirement was rumored from time to time. He said during a press conference that even when he sits still, his legs give pain. He assumed the stablemaster name "Akebono" and plans to coach. On Jan 29, the Japan Sumo Association announced that it will offer Akebono a bonus of 100 million yen for his contribution to sumo. His 11 Emperor's Cup victory is regarded to have been the top reason for such huge amount. It's a record tie with that given to Chiyonofuji when he retired.
Michiyo's Note: Did you know that Akebono fought last year even though he was in great pain??? ...and on top of that took the Emperor's Cup??? Well, he did. And this time, he DID give a hint that he lost the will to give another shot. Whatever was the REAL reason, we'll certainly miss him. No doubt I will. I first met hime when he was promoted to juryo. I don't know how many more times I got to talk to him thereafter. I remember very vividly how he'd always talk about how much he was commited to sumo.

Outstanding Performance Award:
Outstanding Technique Award: Tochinonada
Fighting Spirit Award: Wakanoyama

Final day
In the juryo division, the popular Terao tried to swing his motion, and in the end, he stepped back and shoved down Tamanokuni for his 8th win. It's speculated that Terao ranking juryo number 2, will be promoted back to the makuuchi division next tourney. Tochiazuma failed to take off properly twice, but defeated Takanonami anyway. Tochiazuma finished with 10 wins. And new sekiwake Wakanosato did too by throwing Kotoryu on the ring. Musoyama pushed out Kyokutenho to win his 9th bout. Miyabiyama managed to secure his 8th win by throwing down Kotomitsuki. Dejima, who has for the first time in 9 tourneys have to take a majority loss at least did not make things worse. He took out Kaio as Kaio pulled back. Seattle Mariners Kazuhiro Sasaki was among the fullhouse to watch the main bout of the tourney. The 2 yokozunas face eachother. They clashed into eachother. Then as Takanohana seemed to reach for Musashimaru's belt, he was shoved and fell forward on his hands. For the first time, Taka's record was tainted this tourney. So they went into a playoff. But before it, Takanohana redid his top knot and practiced against a pillar. Musashimaru was ready to return to the ring without even going back to his dressing room. And the bout, took off. They tried to go for eachothers belts, Maru cut off Taka's grip, but Taka did not give up. In the end, Maru was forced out. It was a very competitive, high level performance by both. Takanohana at last clinched the Emperor's Cup. It's the first in 14 tourneys, and his 21st overall.

14th day
The makuuchi division was fought before the Emperor and Empress and a fullhouse. Takanonami was beaten by Chiyotenzan and had to take a majority loss for this tourney. Tochinonada, surprisingly, overwhelmed Tochiazuma to secure a majority win. Musoyama was able to throw the up-and-coming Wakanosato on the ring to clinch his 8th bout. Miyabiyama furiously attacked Tamakasuga for a 7 - 7 record. Musashimaru got a grasp of Kaio to take the ozeki out to keep his chance of fighting for the Emperor's Cup with Takanohana. . And Takanohana had no problem defeating Dejima to add another win to his perfect record.

13th day
Tochiazuma seems to be perfectly back in shape. He drove out Wakanoyama for his 9th win. Takanonami thrust out Tosanoumi to earn his 6th. The ozeki rankers were in a turmoil. Tochinonada charged straight ahead to defeat Miyabiyama. The ozeki is down with his 7th loss. Kyokutenho shifted position and Dejima totally lost control of the bout. Dejima faced his 6th loss. Musoyama tumbled to the floor as a result of Kotoryu's underarm throw. Kaio tried to keep Takanonaha from clinching his belt, but the yokozuna proved skillful, and walked the ozeki out. And a surprising bout. Wakanosato tried to throw Musashimaru by the neck. His arms slipped off. Still the Hawaiian-born fell. Blue cushions were thrown toward the ring for the first time this tourney. Now, Takanohana is the sole leader with Maru one step behind.

12th day
Takanonami got hold of Kotomitsuki's arm and swung him out. Kotomitsuki succumbed to his 10th loss. New sekiwake Wakanosato secured a majority win by throwing Dejima. The ozeki is 6 to 6. Kaio pulled back non-stop while Musoyama went forward. Musoyama fell Kaio is with 10 wins while Musoyama with 7. So how did the yokozunas fair this time. Musashimaru drove out Kyokutenho and Takanohana defeated Miyabiyama. So both clinched their 12th straight win.

11th day
Takanowaka pushed down Takanonami for his 3rd win. Kaio had a bad start against Akinoshima. But he managed to fight back and send the veteran rikishi out the ring. Tochiazuma successfully pushed out Miyabiyama for his 7th victory. The ozeki face his 5th loss. Dejima won by thrusting Tamakasuga down. Musoyama from time to time tried to resist Takanohana's shoves, but in the end could not. Musashimaru squeezed Kotomitsuki's arms with his and took the young one out. Both yokozuna have so far fought perfectly this tourney.

10th day
Takanonami defeated Tochinonada with an overarm throw. Wakanosato drove out Tochiazuma after a bout exceeding a minute. They're both 6 to 4. Musoyama pushed forward and with a thrust of the throat, took Kotomitsuki out. The result of the bout gave Kotomitsuki a majority loss--the first time for him in a pro tourney. Dejima pushed down Akinoshima on his back. Kaio was quick to defeat Miyabiyama securing a majority win. Musashimaru took out Tosanoumi. And Takanohana too overpowered Kotonowaka.

9th day
Miyabiyama drove out Kotoryu. Dejima tried to push toward last tourney's new star who has not been doing well this time. But Kotomitsuki stopped the ozeki and put his head lower and won. Dejima faced his 4th defeat while Kotomitsuki picked up his 2nd win. Kaio was strong. He beat Tochiazuma. Musoyama managed to take out Takanonami. Tamakasuga tried to avoid Takanohana's hand from getting his belt, but the yokozuna showed superior technique to win. Musashimaru practically only used his right hand to push Kotonowaka out. The 2 yokozuna still are the co-leaders with a clean record.

8th day
After several twists and turns of the bout, Takanonami managed to push out Tochisakae for his 3rd win. Kotomitsuki was easily thrust down by Kaiho losing his 7th bout. Dejima was taken out by Tochiazuma going down to his 3rd loss. Kaio had a smooth bout over Wakanoyama. Musoyama appeared to take Tochinonada out, but couldn't and the bout turned out to be a difficult one. In the end though Musoyama drove his opponent out. As Takanowaka pulled back, Miyabiyama pushed to win. Hawaiian born yokozuna shoved at Akinoshima's throat to add another victory to his perfect record. Takanohana successfully beat Wakanosato, also to his 8th straight win.

7th day
Mongolians Kyokutenho and Asashoryu faced eachother. The newer Mongolian won with a thrust out. Kotomitsuki lost again. It's his 6th in a fight against the more vibrant up and coming Wakanosato. Kaio shoved against Kotonowaka to win his 5th bout. Musoyama managed to push forward too and defeated Tosanoumi. Miyabiyama pushed but then for some reason place Takanonami back in the middle of the ring. Takanonami in the end took the current ozeki out. Dejima fought his low charging style to defeat Takanowaka. He is as Miyabiyama 4-3. Takanohana pulled Tochisakae's belt toward him to give the younger wrestler no chance to fight back. Tochinonada pushed Musashimaru. The Hawaiian born withheld, and on the other hand, got a chance to fight back and took Tochinonada out. The 2 yokozuna kept their record clean again.

6th day
Musoyama went forward and pushed Tochiazuma. But he was stopped and lost. Miyabiyama managed to push out Kaiho this time for his 4th win. Dejima put his head down low and drove out Kotonowaka. Kaio attempted to throw Takanonami, but in the end pushed the former ozeki down. Takanonami is down to 5 losses. Musashimaru slapped Tochisakae, and that degrading act appeared to surprise Tochisakae. He couldn't fight back. Takanohana was able to take out Tosanoumi. The 2 yokozuna won again.

5th day
Takanonami already lost his 4th bout when Wakanoyama shoved him out. Last tourney's star Kotomitsuki came down too. Up and coming Wakanosato fought non-stop to defeat Tochisakae. Tosanoumi slapped behind Miyabiyama's head to put the ozeki down. Dejima was able to this time, drive out Kaiho. Kaio had no trouble pushing out Takanowaka. Musoyama smashed against Akinoshima and pushed the veteran out. Tochiazuma fought well, but in the end, Takanohana drove him out from behind. Musashimaru easily pushed out Tamakasuga. So the 2 yokozuna remain the top runners.

4th day
Sekiwake Wakanosato drove out Takanonami for his 3rd win. The ozeki rankers were disappointing again. Dejima was thrust down by Tosanoumi. The ozeki is down to 3 losses already. Chiyotaikai who was slated to fight Takanowaka withdrew from the tourney. His right leg injury is estimated to take 2 months to recover. Takanowaka naturally won--his first bout of this tourney. Kaio was drive out by Tochinonada. Tamakasuga pushed down Musoyama. Miyabiyama survived by shoving down Akinoshima. The 2 yokozuna won again. Musashimaru powerfully drove Tochiazuma out the ring. Takanohana defeated Kotomitsuki to an overarm throw.

3rd day
Chiyotaikai gave Tochinonada thrusts, but suddenly lost balance and fell on his bottom. The ozeki could not get up after that. He had to be taken by a wheelchair. Kaio at one point swinged Kotomitsuki by the arm, then pushed the youngster out. Musoyama charged at Kaiho, but that strong move got back at him. Kaiho stepped away, and out went Musoyama. Kotonowaka and Miyabiyama fought a long bout. The bout had to be stopped in the middle, since Miyabiyama's belt was loosening. In the end, the big Kotonowaka gave an overarm throw to win. Dejima dashed forward, and Tochisakae shifted his move. The ozeki was shoved out. Kaio was the only ozeki who won. As for yokozunas, Takanohana talked out Takanowaka without any problem. Musashimaru did the same against Takanonami. Both yokozuna kept their record clean.

2nd day
For the first time in the makuuchi division, Mongolians met. They're Kyokushuzan and new maegashira Asashoryu. The youngster went forward slapping the other, and pushed the veteran out. Tochiazuma was successful this time. He moved forward and pushed down Tochinohana. Last tourney's star, Kotomitsuki got himself under Akinoshima, and toppled the veteran in an underarm throw. Kaio was almost put off balance, but was able to take out Tochisakae. Musoyama drove down Takanowaka who lost his balance. Miyabiyama pushed out Wakanosato as he also fell. Dejima got into his style of sumo by charging ahead. Since, it was not effective enough, he pursued to the other side of the ring to drive out Tochinonada. Chiyotaikai dashed forward. Takanonami tried to stop him, but Chiyo brought his right leg around the former ozeki to take him down. Kaiho flew away as Musashimaru pushed the guy with just his right hand. Takanohana took control of the bout at his pace. The yokozuna, in the end, thrust down Wakanoyama.

1st day
20 year-old Mongolian Asashoryu is the youngest in the makuuchi division. He gave Daishi thrusts which appeared effective enough to take him out. However, Daishi kept himself within the ring. Asashoryu, looking surprised immediately pushed Daishi again to secure his first win. Tochiazuma who was out from the middle of last autumn tourney is back. He is fighting as maegashira no. 4. But he fell on his back as Akinoshima toppled him by getting the back of his belt. In the ozeki ranking, Musoyama was quick to get hold of Kotonowaka and defeat him to an overarm throw. Miyabiyama fought toward Tochisakae and pulled back to win. Dejima was locked in Takanonami's arms around his, and pushed out. Chiyotaikai aggressively attacked up-and-coming Kotomitsuki and pushed him out. Kaio did not have a good start. He could not get Wakanosato's belt. And in the end, lost to an underarm throw. Takanohana lost his grip of Tochinonada's belt once, but quickly got hold of it again and forced the opponent down. Takanowaka tried to do what he can against Musashimaru. He in the end tried to fool the yokozuna by pulling back, but that just got himself out of the ring first.

Pre Tourney highlights
Akebono withdraws
It was learned on Jan. 4, that Akebono pulled out from the new year tourney. He said that his knees were too painful to fight. It's the 14th time Akebono misses a grand tourney.

Tohki kills pedestrian
The sumo world was hit by a shockwave. Tohki hit a woman in Osaka on Dec 18 and killed her. And he wasn't supposed to be driving. On Dec. 27 the Japan Sumo Association asked Toki to pull out of the New Year tourney and he consented. Depending on the result of police investigation, he may also need to pull out from the Spring tourney. His stable master is also punished by the Japan Sumo Association with a 2 stage demotion. He will surely lose his high ranking and fall to the juryo division in the spring ranking. What's worst is that his famed Takasago stable have no makuuchi players then. It's the first time for this to happen in its 123 year history. The stable was once home to popular rikishi such as the former Mitoizumi and Konishiki.

Kotomitsuki rises all the way
Kotomitsuki who won 13 bouts as a low ranking maegashira last tourney was promoted up to sekiwake, or the 3rd highest ranking in sumo it was learned on Dec 20. Also Takanosato and Wakanosato who are also 24, were promoted to sekiwake and komusubi respectively.

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