Tag Archive for baruto

23 Jan Photo of the week


This POTW is in celebration of Estonian Baruto and his first tournament win the January Tokyo Sumo Tournament. There is already suggestion that if he wins the next tournament he could become one of two top-ranked wrestlers (a ‘yokuzuna’). The only yokuzuna at the moment is Mongolian Hakuho. Currently, all the top wrestlers, who have a chance at becoming top-ranked are non-Japanese. The Japanese media emphasis this point and the media hang their hopes on Japanese Kisenosato.

Baruto is in the blue mawashi, on the left.


Kisenosato is on the left, facing the camera.

Baruto wins

In sumo news

Estonian, Baruto (Kaido Höövelson; left, blue mawashi), won his first sumo tournament. He is the new kid on the block, an has ascended the ranks of sumo quite fast whilst gathering many fans in Japan. He was undefeated until today when he faced top-ranked wrestler Hakuho (who defeated him), but still Baruto had enough wins to secure the tournament and the Emperor’s Cup. His mother flew from Estonia to sit with his wife in the crowd to see him claim the tournament. Upto this point, everything about Baruto’s win today mirror’s Bulgarian Koto-oshu and Mongolian Harumafuji’s ascents. However, Koto-oshu and Harumafuji have only won one Emperor’s Cup, and haven’t returned to the fiery form they displayed ahead of their first (and only) tournament wins.


Another July summer Grand Sumo Tournament held in Nagoya has come and gone. This was one of the best tournaments yet, and the most unattended. Following the match-fixing scandals, fans did not have the appetite to go to their national sport. There were no reports of TV viewer numbers, but the only sold-out day was the final day. When I attended (day 12), there was less than half of the seats taken, whilst the cheapest seats were sold out, many of the box seats that are normally bought by companies and families remained empty.

Day of upsets

The final day saw the top-ranked Mongolian yokuzuna Hakuho (pictured below) was defeated by Estonian Baruto, leaving Hakuho with one of his worst records of 12-3 (win-loss). Whilst fellow Mongolian Harumafuji (pictured below) who now seems recovered from his injuries was denied his first undefeated record by rival Kisenosato. Harumafuji ended the tournament with 14-1, but had already won the Emperor’s cup yesterday.


Currently the sumo world is recovering from crisis including match-fixing, deaths in training, and ties with the yakuza. For all past blog entries on Japanese sumo please look here. Also, look for Sumo Metaphors, for a summary of troubles and appropriate photos to match.


For images of sumo please see my Asia Photo Connection and PhotoShelter portfolios.


Hakuho before his bout against Okinoumi, July 2011.

Harumafuji faces fellow Mongolian Hakuho, July 2010.