Yokozuna Dohyo-iri Was(RE: [sumo] Photo of Hakuho at Meiji Jingu

Joe Kuroda joe_kuroda at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 3 11:04:30 EDT 2007

--- John Racine <gaijira at ace.ocn.ne.jp> wrote:

>> I have no knowledge of anything specific, other
>> than the fact that
>> there are two different entrance styles.  That
>>   - Peterao
> That sounds right to me Joe.  Up until the 1930s
> everyone had their own
> variation.
Yokozuna Unryu and Shiranui started their yokozuna
reigns in 1861 and 1863 respectively.

The first known yokozuna to perform an "official"
dohyo-iri ceremony were Tanikaze and Onogawa in 1789
after they were issued the yokozuna license from the
House of Yoshida Tsukasa.

During the 70 year span after, we had the 6th yokouzna
Ounomatsu, 7th Inazuma, 8th Shiranui (the first), and
9th Hidenoyama. 

Obviuosly they did some sort of dohyo-iri ceremony as
we all know initialy a yokozuna license was a license
issued to the recognized ozeki to perform a formal
dohyo-iri ceremony in public and nothing else.

Suffice to say both Unryu and Shiranui carried on with
elements of the dohyo-iri done by the previous license
holders. But this is not to say they have perfected
the dohyo-iri styles as both styles became more
popularized and formalized by later yokozuna Tachiyama
and Umegatani. 

There are also drawings of the 13th yokozuna Kimenzan
doing his dohyo-iri with both arms extended a la
Shiranui style and  18th yokozuna Ozutsu clearly
bending his left arm during his seri-age as well.

If I may add a couple of more anecdotes here, one of
the yokozuna who is not considered to be neither Unryu
or Shiranui style is yokozuna Hitachiyama.  His
dohyo-iri had one arm extended and the other arm bent
like the current Unryu style but he is not included as
an Unryu style yokozuna.

The reason is another move of his in which he clapped
his hands twice in the center of dohyo followed by
both arms extended and then put his hands turned. So
it's possible that some yokozuna may do this
Hitachyama style one day.

I also like to point out the current notion about
Shiranui style signifying an offensive posture with
both  arms extended and Unryu with one arm bended to
show a defensive posture isn't something coming down
from the time of the original dohyo-iri yokozuna. 

It stems from a comment made during the WWII war years
by then retired sekiwake Kasagiyama. He told an army
general who asked him why yokozuna Haguroyama's
dohyo-iri was different from Futabayama's (Unryu

Kasagiyama was more intelligent and with quick wit
than many of his contemporaries as he told a most
convincing tale to the military man in just abut the
only way he could understand but without any basis.
Somehow this story arried back to the Kyokai and

Yoshibayama whose Shiranui style became well known was
 initially rather concerned that Shiranui style may
not have been true to the Ozumo tradition with its
inference of solely offensive nature. He even asked a
Kyokai historical consultant if his style was against
the Ozumo customs. He was told it was no way straying
from the true nature of Ozumo and he was reported to
be relieved and continued with the Shiranui style
which Hakuho has inherited.   

(Note: Not cross posted on SumoForum so please stop
this silliness about which is superior or has more

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