(Mar. 12 to 26 at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium)

Musoyama is ozeki
On Mar. 29, two messengers from the Japan Sumo Association visited the Musashigawa stable in Osaka. Wakamatsu (former Asashio) and Hatachiyama (former Hokutenyu) declared to Musoyama that his promotion to ozeki has been approved. 28-year old Musoyama accepted the promotion saying that he will tackle sumo-do or the way of sumo as an ozeki should. Musoyama clinched the 2nd highest ranking in sumo 7 years after his professional debut. Before that Musoyama practiced sumo as an university student.

Still, Waka (now Fujishima) plans to join the local tour after the tourney, to perform a yokozuna's ring entrance ceremony.

Outstanding Performance Award:
Outstanding Technique Award: Musoyama
Fighting Spirit Award: Takatoriki, Miyabiyama

Final day
Several popular rikishi welcomed this day with an even record. Terao, ranking maegashira number 12, moved forward, but was pushed out by Kaiho. The popular rikishi marked a majority loss meaning he will be demoted next tourney. Kaio on the other hand, drove out Tamakasuga to secure a majority win. Takanonami who had regained his ozeki title lost. He ended the tourney with a 7 to 8 record. If he loses more than he wins next tourney as well, he will be demoted again. Another ozeki, Chiyotaikai, thrusted down Musashimaru with his right for his 8th win. Musashimaru finished with 11 wins 4 losses. In the final bout, Takanohana and Akebono clashed against eachothers. Taka, with his right pushed Akebono at the verge of the ring. They appeared to have fallen down together. But the win was given to Akebono. Now, the highlight was of course the bout between Takatoriki and Miyabiyama. If Miyabiyama won, a 4-wy play off could've been possible. Miyabiyama took off and attacking Takatoriki powerfully. Miyabiyama shoved him toward the end of the ring. But, Takatoriki shifted away. That put Miyabiyama off, and he crashed down the ring. Fans threw cushions toward the ring to celebrate Takatoriki's Emperor's Cup win. Takatoriki at first showed a blank expression. But immediately, his eyes grew watery. As he waited by the ring to serve purified water to the next contender, he was choking up tears. It's the first time ever in sumo that the lowest ranking makuuchi division rikishi clinched a tourney. And he did so in his 18th year in sumo at age 32 years and 6 months, making him the oldest sumo wrestler to clinch his first Emperor's Cup. His father-in-law, the former sumo great Taiho is believed to have said that it's the happiest moment for him.

14th day
Terao wrapped his right foot around juryo rikishi Junmonji, and pushed him out to bring his record to a 7 even. Tosanoumi secured a majority win by defeating Kyokushuzan who marked his 9th loss. Tochinonada tried to hurl Musoyama with his right, but that hand slipped and he was on the contrary pushed down. Miyabiyama won too for his 11th win over Chiyotenzan. Dejima in a compact move pushed out Tohki for his 10th win. Takanonami did not have a goot start, but was able to push out Chiyotaikai to bring his record to an even. Takatoriki, this time was matched up with the great big Akebono. During their prelude to the "real" bout, the two stared at eachother. Even after they'd walk away to get a pinch of salt, their eyes would meetk. The fans roared with excitement. Even though the fight was not ready to start, Takatoriki would do his shikiri way behind the starting line to distract the yokozuna. However, Akebono was in control of himself. He aimed with his right side at Takatoriki and took him out. Takatoriki marked his 2nd loss. Musashimaru who was watching the bout from the side of the ring looked relieved to see Takatoriki lose. And he in his bout shoved toward Takanohana. Taka resisted further push, and with his right, threw Maru down. . He turned the action around. While Takatoriki still is the sole leader, he is followed by 5 rikishi with 3 losses.

13th day
In the juryo division, the saltshaker had a terrible fall. Mitoizumi fell deep into the audience, and even banged his foot into Terao's face. Terao was waiting for his turn in the makuuchi division. Mitoizumi was able to get up, but could not get back to his side of the ring to bow. He was on the ambulance immediately after. As for the results in the upper rankings, Miyabiyama gave thrusts non-stop and pulled back as Tamakasuga came forward. Takanonami drove out Chiyotenzan. The ozeki is 6 to 7 Musoyama took Chiyotaikai out to secure his 10th win and his promotion to ozeki. Akebono grabbed Tochinonada's belt and pushed him down. Dejima whammed toward Takanohana. Taka could not resist, and was taken out. Having succumbed to his 3rd loss, he had given Takatoriki the chance to clinch the Emperor's Cup this day. Takatoriki and Takanohana belong to the same sumo stable. In the final bout of the day, Musashimaru carefully took action while Takatoriki tried to fool him by shifting his movement. Then Takatoriki slightly lost control, turned around, and Maru took advantage of the moment and pushed him down. Although it was not an upset, the audience roared with delight and even threw cushions toward the ring. Takatoriki looked very disappointed as he got up from the fall. Nevertheless, Takatoriki still leads with one loss. Musashimaru became the sole runner up with 2 losses.

12th day
Miyabiyama with both hands on Tochinonada's belt throws him down for his 9th win. Takatoriki with his left hand slaps Musoyama, moves away to the left. That puts Musoyama off and he drops. 32-year old Takatoriki who is ranked last in the makuuchi division looked proud. Musoyama has fallen behind in the Emperor's Cup race with his 3rd loss. Dejima had a fairly straight forward bout. He walked out Akinoshima. Chiyotaikai moved forward, attacking Takanohana with fervor. Then the yokozuna pushed back. He practically fell on top of the ozeki to win hiw 10th bout. At the edge of the ring, Kaio attempted to throw Musashimaru with his right, but at the same time, Maru was pushing Kaio. The yokozuna fell and Kaio went out of the ring. To the fans, it appeared as if Maru's right hand touched the floor before Kaio landed outside, but after the bout the judges all came on the ring to determine the winner, and they decided that the bout should be retaken. In the second try, Kaio was powerless. He was easily take out. Maru therefore clinched his 10th win, while Kaio is down to 6-6. Takanonami as he fought Akebono lost balance and dropped. Now, only Takanohana and Musashimaru are second to Takatoriki in the race.

11th day
Terao jumped and the moment Ootsukasa was dumbfolded, the 37 year old griped behind his head. Terao in the end pushed out the opponent to improve his record to 6 wins 5 losses. Kaio too marked the same record by defeating Kyokushuzan. When Takatoriki came on, the audience cheered out loud. He jammed into the big Tosanoumi. With his left hand, got behind Tosa's head, and thrust him down. Takatoriki remains unbeaten. Musoyama got Tamakasuga by the throat and won his 9th bout. Dejima defeated Chiyotenzan for his 7th win. Takanonami withheld and lifted Kotoryu slightly off the ground and drove him out. The ozeki is 5 to 6. Musashimaru and Akinoshima both prevented the eachother from getting the belt. But Maru did and with his right threw Aki on the floor. Chiyotaikai moved around to take Akebono off balance. And he in the end pushed out the yokozuna. Akebono succumbed to his 3rd loss. In the final bout, Miyabiyama gave thrusts at Takanohana. Taka returned the slaps, and furthermore got hold of Miyabiyama's belt and drove him out. Takatoriki is followed by Takanohana, Musashimaru, and Musoyama.

10th day
Takatoriki kept on pulling back, but then he suddenly with his right, thrusted Oginishiki down. Surprisingly, Takatoriki recorded his 10th straight win to keep the lead. Miyabiyama attacked Tochiazuma effectively for his 8th win. So did Musoyama defeat Kyokushuzan. Two ozeki faced eachother. Chiyotaikai drove Dejima out by walking him out. Both are with 6 wins 4 losses. Akebono and Takanohana both marked their 8th victory. Akebono did so by defeating Kotoryu, and Takanohana over Takanowaka. Takanonami used to beat Musashimaru from time to time when both were ozeki. But in past 7 meetings, Maru had won all. So it was just natural for fans to expect the ozeki to lose again. But what happened was, the ozeki got hold of Maru's belt with both hands, and pulled the big yokozuna over to finally drove him out. The spectators threw their blue cushions toward the ring as a result of the upset.

9th day
Takatoriki drove out Asanowaka to remain the only one unbeaten. Tosanoumi got hold of Miyabiyama and threw him out. Miyabiyama is down to 2 losses. Kaio showed that his victory the previous day was not accidental by thrusting Tochiazuma down. Chiyotaikai, this time was able to win. He pushed out Kotoryu. Dejima too defeated Kyokushuzan. However, Takanonami was powerless. He skipped out the ring after Tamakasuga's shove. The main highlight of the day was tense. Musoyama tried to shove out Takanohana, but the yokozuna kept his head down. In the end Taka drove Musoyama out. Taka and Musoyama are both with 7 wins 2 losses. Other yokozuna were victorious. Musashimaru easily beat Takanowaka, and Akebono took out Kyokutenho.

8th day
Takatoriki pushed and pushed but since it wasn't good enough he moved around Tochinonada and drove him out. Takatoriki became the only makuuchi rikishi to secure his majority win this day. Miyabiyama pushed out Kotoryu for his 7th win. Takanowaka tried to fool Dejima by shifting his position to the side, but it was an useless attempt. Dejima at last clinched his 5th bout. Takanonami tried his usual hugging style, but Musoyama with his right hand thrust him down. The ozeki is down to 3 - 5 while Musoyama is 7 -1 . Kyokutenho threw out Chiyotaikai for his first win over an ozeki. Musashimaru had a quick winning bout over Chiyotenzan. Akebono's shove got Tamakasuga off balance that he wobbled out the ring. Kaio who's been trouble by his bad knee this tourney charged toward Takanohana,pushed and pushed. Kaio finally took the yokozuna out.
Michiyo's Note: You'd wonder after seeing that bout-- was that for real. Who would have imagined Kaio fighting so well suddenly.

7th day
Takatoriki slapped Tohki. That put Tohki off balance and he automatically walked out. Takatoriki is still unbeaten. Miyabiyama drove out Kaio for his 6th win. Musoyama won too. He pushed out Takanowaka. Takanonami's left leg went up as he was attacked by Tochiazuma succumbing to his 4th loss. Chiyotaikai was shoved down by Wkanoyama. Chiyo and Dejima who lost to Tosanoumi both are 4 to 3. Kyokushuzan took his position near the edge of the ring, and Akebono on seeing that moved closer to the face off line. When the bout took off, Akebono pushed forward and won. The other yokozuna clinched their bouts too--Takanohana over Tamakasuga and Musashimaru to Minatofuji.

6th day
Takatoriki attacked Asanosho's throat to clinch his 6th win. Tohki tried to throw Chiyotenzan by the neck but failed. He succumbed to his first loss. Musoyama drove out Kaio. Chiyotaikai pushed out Kyokushuzan. Tochiazuma who ended Wakanohana's sumo career the previous day went against Dejima and pulled back. Takanonami was defeated by Miyabiyama's tricky shift of movement. Takananohana threw down Wakanoyama. And Wakanohana's turn to fight came, but of course, he was not there. Kyokutenho who was looking forward to his first challenge against Waka was automatically given a win. During his no-fight victory ceremony, the audience was silent. Waka earlier came to submit his retirement document to the Japan Sumo Association. He was given the name Fujishima. Fujishima used to be owned by his father. Back to other bouts--Musashimaru grabbed Kotoryu's arm and took him out. Akebono was stopped to proceed his booming action, but he withheld from falling, and slightly gripped Tosanoumi's foot to topple him. Takatoriki is the only one with a perfect record.

5th day
You may not get too many chances to see a high ranking rikishi with his hair down. Well you did this day in the juryo division. Tomonohana, as he was fighting Akinoshu, his hairdo suddenly fell apart. With hair all over his face, he kept on going with pushes. It appeared that at one point he was at a loss, but twirled all the way around and gets Akinoshu out. Tohki kept his perfect record by defeating Ooikari. Musoyama charged forward as usual, but Kyokutenho changed sides, and pushed the sekiwake down. Musoyama succumbed to his first loss. There were many upsets in the top rankings. Kyokushuzan with an underarm throw defeated Takanonami. Kaio pulled down the back of Chiyotaikai's head. Miyabiyama drove out Akebono. But the most disappointing of all upsets was no doubt Wakanohana. The yokozuna was matched up with Tochiazuma, who went to the same high school, Meidai Nakano. The crowd as it has during this tourney cheered on Waka in unison calling out his name. The bout took off. Tochiazuma got a better start. Waka tried to get into him, but couldn't. In the end the yokozuna lost. After the bout, he was reported to have said that he's doing what he could. On returning to his temporary stable, he is said to have mentioned to his stable master that he would like to retire. At 9 pm, he, with his stablemaster, alias father Futagoyama gave a press conference. He announced that he no longer had the mental strength to overcome his physical disadvantage. Waka is one of the smaller sumo wrestlers at 180 cm. and weighing under 130 kg. As the 66th yokozuna, he was unable to win the Emperor's Cup. Waka, after recording a majority loss during the autumn tourney last year was instructed by the Japan Sumo Association to keep out of the next tourney. He came back to fight this tourney although he was still out of practice.
Michiyo's Note: Along with his brother Takanohana, he contributed to bringing back fans to sumo. He is definitely one of the well-loved sumo wrestlers of our time.

4th day
Kyokushuzan leapt high and that put Miyabiyama off. The Mongolian with his left hand hurled him out. Takanonami had a pretty smooth bout. He took out Kaio. Chiyotakai pulled Tosanoumi toward him to topple him down on the floor. Dejima's lost himself after slightly being out of balance. He turned his back toward Kotoryu and naturally, pushed out. Musashimaru swiftly took out Kyokutenho. The 2 with perfect records, Akebono and Musoyama faced eachother. Akebono got hold of the ozeki hope's belt. But it did not really bother Musoyama. With his right hand, he gave a great big thrust that threw the yokozuna out of the ring. As Akebono went to his position to bow, he snickered. Both Hanada brothers were able to win. Takanohana to Tochiazuma, and and Wakanohana to Tamakasuga. The fans applauded wildly to Waka's victory, for if he cannot show that he can win, he'll surely be forced into retirement.

3rd day
Musoyama and Tosanoumi who are the two in top shape were matched up. They went right into eachother and tried with all their might to break into action, but Musoyama with his left hand was able to thrust Tosa down for his 3rd win. Miyabiyama got hold of Chiyotaikai's belt for his 3rd win, Dejima forced himself on Kaio and then pulled back effectively. Takanonami was not taking the most advantageous position but got hold with his right hand the belt of Wakanoyama and threw him down. Tochiazuma shifted to the side of Akebono,and Akebono kept his eyes on the move. Tochiazuma tried to throw Akebono but the yokozuna tried to shove him. Both fell almost simultaneously and Akebono was given a win. Tochiazuma left the ring with a side of his face all bloody. Takanohana had no problem taking out Kyokutenho, but his elder brother did not fight his bout with the same easiness. Kyokushuzan managed his way around Wakanohana and took the yokozuna out. Wakanohana is down to a win and 2 losses. Musashimaru gave thrusts after another and in the end with both hands shoved Tamakasuga out the ring.

2nd day
Terao showed his thrusting technique and drove out Oginishiki for his first win. Hayateumi lost to Asanowaka. Kaio charged forward and took out Takanowaka. Musoyama moved quickly to push out Minatofumi. Dejima grabbed Kyokutenho and moved forward for his 2nd victory. Takanonami pulled back again but was unable to reverse the bout. Tosanoumi defeated the ozeki returnee. Chiyotaikai pushed down Tamakasuga. Kyokushuzan pulled back and hobbled around the inside of the ring, but Takanohana followed him throughout, and finally took the Mongolian out. Fans clapped in unison to cheer on Wakanohana. But the endangered yokozuna could not live up to their demand. He was attacked non-stop by Miyabiyama and driven out. Another yokozuna, Musashimaru lost too. The Hawaiian born hardly used his injured left hand. He was pushed out by Tochiazuma. Akebono was swift in defeating Wakanoyama. So 2 yokozuna and an ozeki faced defeat.

1st day
All yokozuna and ozeki--7 of them were in the line-up to fight before a full house in Osaka. Besides the ring sat Sakaigawa. He's the former chairman of the Japan Sumo Association who was asked to serve another post in the organizaion--as the head of a team of judges. It's a 2 year term. As for the bouts-- popular wrestler Terao turned 37 year old in Feb. His opponent was 35 years old Daizen who pushed the elder one out. New makuuchi rikishi Hayateumi thrusted down Ooikari for his first win in the highest division. Asanowaka was not the same. That's because he threw only a pinch of salt lightly on the ground instead of grapping a handful and hurling it up as high as Mitoizumi does. What happened was, the authorities in sumo felt that his action was not appropriate and warned Asanowaka about it. He decided that he will become a "new" Asanowaka. But it turned out, he was thrusted down by Tohki as the "new" Asanowaka. Miyabiyama wearing his fan shapped top knot drove Minatofuji out. Last tourney winner Musoyama had no problem defeating Kotoryu. Takanonami who made a comeback as ozeki was on the verge of losing. Kyokutenho pinned him to the edge of the ring and tried to shove him out. But Takanonami used his regular technique of reversing his position to shove the Mongolian out. Chiyotaikai shifted to the left as he stood up to fight. Tochiazuma was completely off guard and charged out. Dejima gave his trademark thrusts to take out Tamakasuga. Wakanohana was back after a half year absence from the grand tourney ring Fans were thrilled to see him that they'd react to just seeing him make his way to the ring. He was matched up with Wakanoyama. Wakanohana pulled back a number of times in the beginning-- a not so impressive action. But when that stopped Wakanohana got hold of Wakanoyama's shoulder and swung him down. Fans applauded with delight. Musashimaru who missed most of last tourney due to a hand injury was back with a bigger tummy. He had no trouble fighting Kyokushuzan out the ring. Kaio had a badly bandaged right knee. He did not try to give out much against Akebono, and easily left the ring. The final bout of the day, many speculated would end as expected. But it did not. Tosanoumi pushed forward against Takanohana. Tosa shoved harder, and pulled back. The yokozuna fell forward.

Pre Tourney highlights
Miyabiyama displays official hairdo
On the day the new listing for the spring tourney was announced, Feb. 28 Miyabiyama who was promoted to sekiwake for the first time showed that he can at last wear his hair in the offical fan shape. Because of his extremely fast promotion, his hair did not grow enough in time. He said he thought he looked pretty good in it.
Michiyo's Note: I'm not sure if I agree with Miyabiyama's comment. Do you?

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