After a close call in a day 10 bout between East Makushita #44 Chiyonokatsu and West Makushita #46 Toshoyama, Stablemaster Azumazeki (former Komusubi Takamisakari) attempted to explain the results of a judge’s conference. But instead of conveying the decision the judges had made, Azumazeki-oyakata seemingly came up with his own answer while addressing the crowd!
Chiyonokatsu (Kokonoe-beya) set the pace from the very start, following up a solid tachiai with a textbook armpit push, then finishing with a watashikomi (thigh grabbing force down) for which Toshoyama (Tamanoi-beya) had no answer. The gyoji initially pointed East, however because the landing was so close, a judges’ conference convened. Soon after, head judge Azumazeki picked up the microphone.
“About the judge’s conference just now,” began Azumazeki, “the referee’s fan pointed East, but we wanted to discuss whether the two went down at the same time. The result of our meeting was that we saw both go down at the same time. We’ll have a rematch!” he explained.
Judges Asakayama and Takenawa exchanged confused glances, then remounted the dohyo, beckoning to Azumazeki. There seemed to be a mistake. After another meeting, Azumazeki began again.
“About the judge’s conference just now… the referee’s fan pointed East, however we wanted to discuss…” he repeated with an embarrassed waver in his voice, “The West wrestler’s leg… body… leg went out first. We’ll go with the referee’s decision. The East wrestler wins.”
A completely different result the second time around! How did he mess that up?
Judges Minato, Asakayama, Takenawa, and Edagawa berating Azumazeki in an unusual second monoii
Takamisakari, or Robo-cop as he was nicknamed, was a top division mainstay during the early 2000s. His crazy pre-bout psych-up antics and an all-or-nothing fighting style earned him vast popularity among sumo fans. After retiring from competition, he took on the elder name Furiwake. He has served as head judge at the Makushita level for several years. For the past year, after the death of former Stablemaster Azumazeki, Furiwake inherited the stable and elder name, albeit on a temporary basis.
Why “temporary?” Well, Robo-cop has not been known to handle administrative responsibilities very well. In fact, Azumazeki Stable is set to close after Haru Basho since there seem to be no eligible successors lined up. And today was not the first time Azumazeki-oyakata has crumbled under pressure during a monoii…
In this video from March 2017 (courtesy of Japan Sumo Channel), Shikoroyama-oyakata can be seen snatching the earphone from (then) Furiwake-oyakata’s ear, presumably due to Furiwake’s difficulty in communicating effectively with staff in the instant replay room. The meeting adjourned, and brand new head judge Furiwake made the call amid encouraging shouts from fans. He has been allowed to continue in the role, despite his inability to deal with the pressure.
Here’s another time Robo-cop could not seem to properly explain the judges’ decision. This time, the crowd can’t seem to hold back their laughter at the awkwardness of the situation. An inconsequential blunder in the eyes of the audience was an incredibly humiliating experience for him, and never being one to conceal his emotions, Furiwake begins crying. Quite hard to watch.
Still, we hope Azumazeki will continue to persevere, even in a role he’s not perfect at. From all of us who fumble under pressure and are not comfortable addressing an audience, we support you!
Source: Nikkan Sports