(Jan. 10 to 24)

Post Tourney News
Akebono starts practice
Akebono put on his mawashi or white loincloth around his waist to train on the dirt ring on Feb. 1. The last time he was at practive was Nov. 6, 1998. He has been trying to recover from a hip pain. During that time, Akebono has been receiving acupunture and training at a swimming pool. It is still early to tell if he can take part in the coming tourney.

Chiyotaikai is Ozeki
On Jan. 27, Chiyotaikai was visited by messengers from the Japan Sumo Association, declaring his promotion to ozeki in the next tourney. It's been 5 years since an ozeki was born. He is the first ozeki for the former Chiyonofuji who runs the Kokonoe stable today.

Fighting Spirit Award:
Chiyotenzan, Chiyotaikai
Outstanding Performance Award: Musoyama, Chiyotaikai
Outstanding Technique Award: Akinoshima

Final day
The bout of the day and of the tourney was held between Chiyotaikai and Wakanohana. The point was, if Chiyo defeated Waka, they would go into a playoff. That's what exactly happened. Chiyo pushed forward with thrusts. Waka moved around him and tried pulling him down as he was falling off the ring. The judges declared, the 2 left the ring simultaneously, so they moved on to fight another bout. This time, Chiyo took hold of Waka's body and pushed him down the ring. Chiyo clinched his first ever Emperor's Cup. He even secured a promotion to ozeki--the second highest title in sumo. It took Chiyotaikai 9 tourneys since becoming a makuuchi wrestler to reach the champion class title. The Prime Minister's Cup was presented by the very man, Keizo Obuchi, which is quite unusual. John Glenn and other astronauts who were on the space shuttle Discovery arrived in Japan this day for a week visit, and witnessed the most exciting bouts with Japan's first woman astronaut, Chiaki Mukai. By the way, in other major bouts, Takanonami lost to Kotonowaka. Takanohana was on his way to push Musashimaru out of the ring, but Maru twisted his body and on the contrary, pushed the yokozuna out of the ring. Both finished the tourney with 8 wins 7 losses.
Michiyo's Note: Chiyotaikai had an incredible look on his face after the bout. Even during the award ceremony, he was overjoyed. His stable master, the former Chiyonofuji was trying to soak up teas as he stood on the ring during the start of the ceremony.

14th day
Takanonami couldn't resist Kotonishiki's shoves at all. The ozeki succumbed to his 8th loss, meaning he will be in danger of losing his title if he loses more than 8 next tourney. Takanonami is said to have pain in his left leg. Takanohana had no chance to fight off Chiyotaikai. That's because Chiyotaikai went into him with such energy. He thrusted the yokozuna and pulled back. Takanohana dropped. Wakanohana defeated Musashimaru by walking him out. Wakanohana kept his lead, and Chiyotaikai is the sole co-leader. The 2 will fight eachother on the final day for the Emperor's Cup.

13th day
Chiyotaikai pushed Tohki out for his 11th win. The 2 weak ozeki faced eachother. Musashimaru took Takanonami out. Maru is 7- 6 whereas Takanonami --the other way around. Wakanohana charged toward Musoyama. However, he appeared to have gotten carried away that when Musoyama moved to the side, Waka fell. It's the yokozuna's first loss this tourney. His young brother Takanohana beat Kotonowaka and marked a majority win. In other news, Asahiyutaka announced his retirement the previous day, therefore, Terao who was scheduled to face him was awarded a win.

12th day
Chiyotaikai pulled back. Akinoshima took advantage of that move and pushed forward. Chiyotaikai is down to 2 losses. Akinoshima is with 9 wins. Both ozeki won their bouts--Musashimaru to Tokitsuumi and Takanonami to Kotoryu. Musoyama and Takanohana each had a hand on eachother's belt. Both attempted with one hand to hurl the other, but Takanohana could not withstand Musoyama's power and fell. Takanohana is with 7 wins 5 losses. Kotonowaka had a look of strong determination to defeat Waka, and attacked the yokozuna quite powerfully. Then on the verge of the ring, Kotonowaka appeared to have thrown Waka out of the ring, but he actually fell first while Waka withstood with one foot inside the ring before tumbling down. It was a great bout. Wakanohana has inched closer to winning the Emperor's Cup.

11th day
Takanonami won only his 5th bout this tourney by taking out Tohki. Chiyotaikai faced Musashimaru this time. The sekiwake shoved the ozeki with full force twice, and stepped aside. Maru could not stop himself from falling forward. Both ozeki have a 5 to 6 record--a disappointing record for such high ranking wrestlers. Wakanohana demonstrated his great skill by hugging Kotoryu out. Takanohana had shaky moments, but was able to overwhelm Tokitsuumi.

10th day
A long bout was held. It was between Akinoshima and Kotonishiki. The two fought for 3 minutes and 21 seconds until finally, Kotonishiki used an underarm throw putting Aki on his belly. Musashimaru got his record to a tie by defeating Minatofuji. Takanonami was helpless before Chiyotaikai's thrusts and succumbed to his 5th loss. Chiyotaikai clinched his 9th win. It was a matter of a fraction of a second that it took Takanohana to fall on the ring to Kotoryu's thrust. Wakanohana extended his lead pushing out Tokitsuumi.

9th day
Chiyotaikai added another win to his record by pulling down Musoyama. Takanonami had difficulty defeating Tokitsuumi. It was on the edge of the ring that the ozeki threw the up and coming wrestler. Musashimaru was constantly attacked in a long bout against Kotonowaka. He was walked out for his 5th loss. Takanohana and Wakanohana were both victorious. Waka leads the pack followed by Chiyotaikai.

8th day
This time, Chiyotaikai smashed fellow sekiwake Kotonowaka down on the ring for this 7th win. Musashimaru halted his losing streat at 3 by taking out Aogiyama. However, the other ozeki faced another defeat. Takanonami was constantly attacked by Musoyama by the belt and finally taken out. He is down to 3 wins 5 losses. The yokozuna brothers both won. Wakanohana still leads with a clean record. He's become the first to mark a majority win.

7th day
Chiyotaikai appeared to have made the right move by pulling Tosanoumi towards him, but he in that flow of action, left the ring. It's Chiyo's first loss. The 2 ozeki lost again. Takanonami was defeated by Minatofuji, while Musashimaru to Kotonishiki. They're both down to 4 losses. Aogiyama started out with thrusts. He took off to speedily that when Wakanohana moved away, he had no choice but walk out the ring. Waka is now the only one who's fought the tourney perfectly. His younger brother was driven to the edge of the ring at one point, but was able to comeback and take Tochiazuma out for his 4th win.

6th day
Young spectators in kimono were noticed among the crowd in the sumo arena. They were celebrating their coming of age. Chiyotaikai was able to celebrate another victory by easily defeating Kaio with thrusts. Musashimaru did not. His loss in fact, was a careless one. As he tried to make his way around Tamakasuga, his left leg touched the outside of the ring. Another ozeki Takanonami lost too. He was taken out the ring by Tamakasuga. Both ozeki have now a 3-3 record. Wakanohana and Takanohana won their bouts.

5th day
Kotonishiki is performing nothing like he did last tourney. He lost easily to Takatoriki who had not had a win until yesterday. Chiyotaikai and Tochiazuma were literally slapping eachother, until Tochiazuma seemed spaced out. He couldn't get up on his own 2 feet for a while after the bout. Chiyotaikai kept his record clean. Up in the high rankings, Musashimaru was taken down in seconds by Kaio. It's the ozeki's 2nd loss. Both yokozuna brothers won today.

4th day
Takanohana lost again. He couldn't even get hold of Tamakasuga's belt during the bout. Takanohana gave thrusts, Tamakasuga then attacked his throat. The 2 would separte from eachother twice to observe eachother's next action. Tamakasuga-- with his head down, and flexible use of his knees kept his balance. Takanohana on the other hand lost balance and was driven out of the ring. Both ozeki won, and so did yokozuna Wakanohana. He defeated Tosanoumi.

3rd day
Tochiazuma was doing great defeating both ozeki for the past days. This time, he was too far underneath Akinoshima to start with. He was taken out after turning his back towards Aki. Ozeki Takanonami lost his 2nd bout in a row to Aogiyama. Aogiyama attacked the ozeki's throat and pushed him out. Musashimaru won a easy bout against Tosanoumi. Wakanohana beat Tamakasuga. Takanohana got hold of Kaio's belt, pulled him close and walked Kaio out the ring for his first win this tourney.

2nd day
Kotonishiki, who wrestled so well against the yokozuna the previous day was pushed down by Aogiyama. Musashimaru fought a careful bout--slowly thrusting out Takatoriki. Tochiazuma who defeated Maru a day ago pushed out the other ozeki--that's Takanonami this time. Takanohana faced Tosanoumi. Tosanoumi gave his usual loud grunt as he clashed into the yokozuna. Tosanoumi's power overwhelmed Taka, shoving him out of the ring. Takanohana succumbed to his 2nd loss. Wakanohana won his 2nd bout by taking down Dejima. Waka is already the only undefeated champion ranker.

1st day
The Emperor and Empress looked on eagerly from the royal seat on the 2nd floor. Retired former ozeki Konishiki watched sumo as one of the spectators for the very first time. He was seated at the far back of the ground level area. The rikishi who is regarded to be closest to attaining ozeki status, Chiyotaikai faced the arrogant Takatoriki. Chiyotaikai's thrusts did it. Tochiazuma faced the Hawaiian born he's never defeated. It's Musashimaru. What happened was, Tochiazuma shoved Maru out the ring. Kaio who is engaged to marry a former pro wrestler, and the man who is assumed to divorce soon, Wakanohana was matched up. Waka swiftly moved back while Kaio pushed forward and won by thrusting him down. Probably on of the most exciting of the tourney was set on the 1st day. Last tourney champion Kotonishiki faced yokozuna Takanohana. Kotonishiki prevented Takanohana from getting to his belt. The action stopped for a while, and then Kotonishiki got hold of the yokozuna's belt. Koto shoved and defeated Taka to an underarm throw. Taka tumbled down the ring. Red cushions were thrown toward the ring by excited spectators. It's the 2nd time in a row that Kotonishiki overwhelmed Takanohana.

Pre Tourney highlights
Wakanohana separated from wife!?
It's been splashed on Japanese gossips papers and magazines since Jan. 6 that Wakanohana may possibility divorce his wife of 4 years. It appears true that he has been away from his family since the end of December, instead, sleeping at his stable. During a ring entrance ceremony on Jan. 7, sumo fans cheered on his younger brother Takanohana while they kept silent when Waka was performing.

Akebono cannot make it again
It was disclosed on Christmas Day, that Akebono will not be ready to take part in the tourney due to a herniated disk. According to his physician in Hawaii, he will need another 4 to 6 weeks to get back in shape. He missed the previous Kyushu tourney. It's the 10th tourney he will miss.

Kotonowaka and Kotonishiki
The two top rankers belonging to the Sadogatake stable have been given a shove to champion class rankings. Kotonowaka has been promoted to sekiwake while last tourney winner Kotonishiki surged all the way up to komusubi from maegashira number 12.

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