“Sports Another Story” explores the hidden stories of contemporary athletes. This time, on November 27th, we will present the background of the bond between Aen Seki, who won his beloved first victory at the Chiaki Raku Grand Sumo Tournament in Kyushu, and his master, Master Sasayama.
“I’m proud. It’s kind of a lie… I’m still proud. I received emails every day from my master asking me to concentrate more, so I concentrated and went with it without thinking about the stars .』
~ From the article distributed on November 27, 2022 in Tokyo Shimbun TOKYO Web (Comments from the interview with Aen and the winning wrestler)
The Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament opened at the Terunofuji rest area without a Yokozuna. The Nagoya tournament in July was the second maegashira, Ichinojo, and the autumn tournament in September was Tamawashi, the third maegashira.
In fact, at the end of the 14th day, Takayasu, the leader of Higashi-Maegashira, was the only leader with two losses. Ozeki Takakeisho and Nishimaegashira 9th Tier were chasing this with 3 losses with a difference of 1 star. The winner was narrowed down to these three.
The climax of the finale is the head-to-head confrontation between Takayasu and Aen. If Takayasu wins, the championship will be easily decided, but if Aen wins, they will be tied with 3 losses and will be in the championship game. Furthermore, when Takakeisho finally defeated Wakatakakage, it was a decisive three-way battle.
Takayasu is a former ozeki wrestler, but has yet to win the title of makuuchi. Takayasu succumbed to the tenacious Aen, probably due to the pressure of getting his first win, and Takakeisho also won, so the three of them tied for 12 wins and 3 losses.
In this case, the Grand Sumo Tournament uses a unique method called “Tomoe Battle” to determine the winner. It was a system where the three players alternated until one of them won two games in a row, and this was the first time in 28 years since the 1994 spring tournament (Akebono, Takanonami, and Kitouriki) that the final game of the Tomoe had maintain it. a battle was held (strangely enough, Aen. year was born).
As a result of the lottery to determine the order of battle, Takayasu and Aen, who just won the main draw, will face off again. Aen was quiet against Takayasu, who had lost the first place in the “winner win” and was not quiet inside. What a change! Takayasu fell to the ring with a crash.
Aen has no time to rest, and this time he faces Takakeisho. Disheartened by the opposing ozeki, this time Aen went ahead and attacked his spirit, and before he knew it, the ozeki had split the ring. Three wins a day, including the Honwari. After defeating former ozeki and ozeki, Aen won his first comeback victory.
“In my head, I had the videos of Ozeki and Takayasuzeki that I had seen. I came with an image. . .
-From the article published on November 27, 2022 in “Chunichi Sports” (comments in the interview with Aen and the winning wrestler)
Finally Aen gets the gift cup. To be honest, it wouldn’t have been strange if I had gotten it sooner.
Born in Koshigaya City, Saitama Prefecture, after graduating from Nagareyama Minami High School in Chiba, a sumo powerhouse, he entered the Shikoroyama stable. After stepping on the first cycle in the summer of 2013, he gradually climbed the ranks with his expertise, pushing sumo, and was promoted to the new jury in the spring of 2015. Until then, I used my real name “Horikiri”, but when I became a sekitori, I changed my name to my current name “Abi”.
In fact, the nickname of his teacher, master Katsuyama (formerly sekiwake, Terao) is “Abi”. As the master has used his own nickname as his pupil’s name, we can see the extent of his expectations. In addition, the character “Aen” has the meaning “burn and fight like Ashura”.
Aen fulfilled that expectation and took part in the tournament at the beginning of 2018. In 2019, he was promoted to the first three roles (Komusubi) in the Nagoya tournament. I was 25 at the time. It was thought that he would soon become an Ozeki, but Aen causes various “problems”.
Originally a bad personality, he was a hot topic for his reckless actions and comments, but in November 2019, he uploaded a video on SNS in which he tied the hands and feet of a jury close wrestler with tape. This prank went viral on the internet, and he received a verbal warning from the society.
In February 2020, immediately after a Japan Sumo Association training session, he told reporters, “I was sleeping so I didn’t hear anything.”
Furthermore, five months later, it was discovered that he had been going in and out of the “night shop” secretly during the period when the new coronavirus infection was spreading and people were asked to refrain from going out unnecessarily. At this time, the fact that he made a false report to the society’s hearing also became a problem, and Aen submitted a retirement notice to the society through his master.
However, the association did not accept this letter of resignation. Instead, we decided to remove the 3-place suspension. Aen moved to Hakusan’s stable, and was told not to go out for the time being unless it would interfere with his daily life, and that he would live under the supervision of his master.
Aen re-examined himself during this period. In March last year (2021), when he returned to the ring in the spring tournament, the position dropped significantly and he was 56th in West Makushita. He also lost his sekitori status. Of course, in this situation, the ability is too different, and the makushita won with all seven victories. However, according to the person himself, it seems that he was under pressure to take on a lower ranked wrestler in a situation where “winning was natural”, and it was quite painful mentally.
Regarding last year’s spring tournament, which was where he returned, Aen said:
“This is where I learned the joy of being a sumo wrestler. I was able to win sumo wrestling with all my strength, mentally and physically.”
~ “Asahi Shimbun Digital” From the article distributed on May 26, 2021
In the following summer tournament in May of last year, he won two consecutive makushita titles and returned to jūryō. He no longer speaks arrogantly as before, and now gives polite answers to interviews.
Juryo won the autumn place in September last year. He returned to makuuchi at the Kyushu tournament in November, and suddenly won the Fighting Spirit Award with a good result of 12 wins and 3 losses. And this year (2022) 12 wins and 3 losses in the first place in January. He was promoted to sekiwake for the first time in the spring tournament in March, and retained three positions in all three roles.
Behind the scenes, my master, Oyayama Oyakata, supported this spectacular “V-shaped recovery”. The master himself was also charged with being responsible for supervising his apprentices, and was sentenced to a 20% reduction in remuneration for six months.
“I caused you trouble, so train hard and pay back.”
~ “Chunichi Sports” From the article distributed on November 27, 2022
In this way, Aen returned to the sanyaku in a situation where he changed his mind and was fulfilled physically and mentally. However, in September, he had to undergo surgery on his injured right elbow and left ankle, so he had to take a break from the tournament.
Aen placed the Kyushu Tournament after the break as a “place of rehabilitation”. I guess that’s why I was able to get it without thinking. From the start of the race, we were able to keep winning runs and get our first win, which is a great achievement.
During this time, Oyayama Oyakata was hospitalized due to poor health. I am not going into Kyushu. It seems that Aen, who was supposed to return to the place where his master was absent, received an email from his master every day. This phrase really stuck with me.
“It’s important to focus on the first thing and win sumo”
-From an article published on November 28, 2022 in “Nikkan Sports”
Before stepping into the ring, Aen carved these words into his heart and piled up wins. After winning the championship, the first thing that came to my mind was my master’s smile.
“Apart from coaching, he’s like a father, and when I was young, I talked about the woman I was dating. Ever since I started, my goal has always been to surpass my master, but I wonder if I took another step forward.』
~ From the article published on November 28, 2022 in “Nikkan Sports” (comment Aen)
With this, Aen’s return to all three roles is certain. My goal is to be promoted to Ozeki, something my master was unable to achieve.