Natsu Basho will be the fifth tournament since Kakuryu’s last Emperor’s Cup. The West Yokozuna spent most of the time since then absent due to injury. But just last month, in a solid comeback, he ended the meet as runner up with 12 wins after being backed out by Hakuho in a final day tie-breaker. In May he plans to continue his quest for a 7th yusho, once again under the shadow of a healthy fellow Yokozuna.
The association of salaried wrestlers was originally scheduled for the 28th, but it was cancelled, like most things, due to coronavirus. As president of the wrestlers’ association, all Kakuryu had to comment on was continued encouragement to perform measures against the virus.
Even with the uncertainty of the upcoming basho, “It’s always important to be thoroughly prepared,” said Kakuryu. And like a broken record, “We’re doing what we can for now. Shiko, suriashi, etc. Focusing on those types of basic solo exercises.”
No news is good news for the Japan Sumo Association, as members report back no signs of further infection since Takadagawa et al. Shibatayama has heard little word from or about those hospitalized, except that they are undergoing treatment and will be retested. With no plans to hold the usual pre-tournament executive board meeting, Shibatayama explained, “Our staff are working from home, but everyone’s on standby if anything were to happen.”