Hakuho Under Fire for his “Unsightly” Tachiai

Yokozuna Hakuho (34, Miyagino-beya) was given harsh criticism by the Yokozuna Deliberation Council (YDC), who called his technique “unsightly” and “excessive,” among other things.

On the 25th, one night after the final day of the Kyushu Basho, the YDC held its usual post-basho meeting at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. Hakuho had just raised the all-time championship record again, this time to 43 championships, after 14 wins and 1 loss in Fukuoka. The council took issue, however, with his frequent use of the harite (slap) and kachiage (elbow) at the tachiai, saying it is unfitting for a Yokozuna and needs to be dealt with by the Japan Sumo Association. At the same time in Fukuoka, Hakuho was telling reporters that he is aiming for 50 career championships.

Normally a routine meeting by the Yokozuna Deliberation Council is over in about 15 minutes, but this time it carried on for a half hour. The main focus was Hakuho’s tachiai. Regarding the harite slap and kachiage elbow strike, Chairman Yano Hironori (78, Industrial Employment Stabilization Center chairman) shared the general consensus of all 9 members, “It’s a bit excessive. For a Yokozuna, we think this behavior is unsightly.”

Particularly on day 12 when he faught Komusubi Endo, at the tachiai he used his slap and then elbowed Endo right in the face. He looked like he’d been knocked out, with blood streaming from his nose. “The most obvious example is the Endo fight. Do we really have to say more?” said chairman Yano with a scowl. He continued, “With 43 yusho (championships), a historical record, he’s a highly influential Dai-Yokozuna (Yokozuna with 10 or more yusho). I’d like to see Hakuho’s name go down in history like other great Yokozuna. [For the sake of continuous improvement] I requested that he be dealt with.”

The same complaint was voiced two years ago by the chairman of the time, Kitamura, who said, “10 out of 15 days” was far too frequent for Hakuho to use his slap-then-elbow tachiai. Today chairman Yano said bluntly, “The frequency isn’t the issue.” Director of public relations, Shibatayama (former Yokozuna Onokuni), said “the slapping is fine.” Two years ago, his use of elbows had diminished. But once again they are becoming more frequent. Before the council met, Hakuho had told reporters regarding his tachiai, “I’ve been doing it for a while now. If I don’t win I can’t survive.” He explained that he considers his techniques well within the rules of the sport.

Disciplinary measures wont happen until they have talked to Hakuho and his stablemaster. They hope to leave it up to Hakuho himself to make the necessary changes.

[Translated from: https://www.nikkansports.com/battle/sumo/news/201911250000702.html Original article by Takada Fumio]

One thought on “Hakuho Under Fire for his “Unsightly” Tachiai

  1. It is a legal move. It can be countered, but the other rikishi has to be faster. I do not blame a wrestler for using the forearm, it is a great counter to a pusher/thruster, and Hakuho is a master. If other wrestlers don’t like the forearm, then be ready to counter.
    I saw the Endo bout, and it was a viscous attack that Endo received, but if it is legal, why disgrace a Yokuzuna who is by far the best wrestler ever to enter the ring.

    Liked by 1 person

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