STUMP » Articles » Sunday Sumo: Congrats to New Ozeki Kirishima! » 4 June 2023, 17:59

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Sunday Sumo: Congrats to New Ozeki Kirishima!  


4 June 2023, 17:59

Sundays are when I get to indulge my hobbies, and sumo is to the fore right now.

As I mentioned last week, Kiribayama, then sekiwake, had the most unique winning moves in the May tournament, though he ultimately did not win:

But now… it gets confusing, because there are consequences to great performances.

But first! Thanks to the ladies from Texas!


Sumo Kaboom is my favorite sumo podcast.

In their most recent episode, they gave me a shout-out! (I linked to the timestamp where they gave me a shout-out).

Sign up for the Sumo Kaboom bingo notification – I play every tournament!

Alas, I had a make-kochi bingo last tournament (a bingo of losing records), and I was sad to see Hokutofuji lose to complete my bingo.

Changing Names Upon Promotion

So, here is the confusing bit: professional sumo wrestlers use shikona:

It’s a single name they wrestle under, professionally, and some of them use their real names, kind of like how Madonna or Cher perform under versions of their birth names.

But most use stylized ring names, based on qualities they want to valorize, and linkages to the sumo stable they are associated with. In the non-sumo world, think of celebs like Sting, Twiggy, and Bono – they perform under names that aren’t their birth names, but indicate aspects they want to be associated with.

Other than when they enter pro sumo, wrestlers will sometimes change their shikona on substantial promotions — such as promotion to a new division, and in Kiribayama’s case, promotion to ozeki, the top rank below Yokozuna.

Welcome, Kirishima!

Kiribayama has now changed his shikona to Kirishima is the bottom line.

There are reasons for the change – as mentioned, a large promotion can be a reason for changing shikona. But Kiribayama had a prior Kirishima, also a prior ozeki, as a coach.

Thanks to /r/SumoMemes!

Kiribayama Kimarite

Before we move on to the era of Kirishima, I thought to take a look at Kiribayama’s winning moves.

He’s used 30 different kimarite in his career wins, and I went looking for which of his moves were of vastly different percentages from the usual.

For example, he rarely wins via oshidashi, unlike most sumo matches:

Oshidashi is just pushing somebody out of the ring.

Kiribayama most often used winning move is yorikiri, which is another method of getting people out of the ring, but it’s not distinctive in percentages.

To be distinctive, in terms of what has high percentages —they are the moves that are throws. But there are multiple throws. Below are a few selections.

Mongolian Wrestling

This is pretty usual for many wrestlers from Mongolia, especially if they’ve been brought up in traditional Mongolian wrestling, where there’s no ring to push people out of. You pretty much have to throw people:

Young Kirishima:

Game Face

And now for something completely different (well, it’s still sumo)

Row by row, that’s:

1. Terunofuji (current Yokozuna)
2. Hakuho (ex-Yokozuna, now Oyakata Miyagino – he’s a stablemaster now)
3. Takakeisho (currently Ozeki)
4. Hoshoryu (currently Sekiwake)
5. Ura (my fave! and currently Maegashira 4)

Ura does not have an intimidating game face. That’s the point.

As Stu & I say, he’s the Tigger of sumo – he’s so super-bouncy!