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Impressions of Kyokutenzan about the jungyo in Mongolia

 

What are your personal impressions of the jungyo in Mongolia? 

Without making too many words, it simply was wonderful. For a country like Mongolia with difficult basic conditions it really was a success. Everybody did his very best. 

How did the mongolian people feel, how was the program of the event, which difficulties came up and what were your duties over there?  

I knew the mongolian people have a deep love for sumo but I didn’t know how much they really love it. The spectators, who left the bus at the circus already shouted loudly Kaio! Kaio! Or Takamisakari! The rikishi found a warm acceptance in the public, especially the japanese rikishi. People also were sorry that not all rikishi could come to Mongolia. I was asked often 'Where is Kotomitsuki?' or 'Where are the russian rikishi?'. There were less tickets than spectators so like often there was a black market for tickets and the ticket prices went up to $ 350,-.  

There was a reception with the governor, a reception with the prime minister, the celebration at the end of the event was done by the japanese embassy and also Hakuho made a big party. 

It was my job to make some coordinations backstage. There were visitors from Japan we had to care for like Hosoki Kazuko (a Japanese fortune teller) or the television team who filmed the jungyo. Enough to organize, interprete and helping out.

There were no real difficulties in my opinion. The weather was a bit uncomfortable, too cold for some rikishi. Of course there were complaints from some gentlemen who felt important enough to be invited to certain events, but weren’t, so they felt snubbed. But I must say the Mongolian team really made a good job and I pay tribute to them. 

We could read that some circles tried to prevent the jungyo, can you tell us something about it?

Some circles? This is a bit over the top, I think. It was a nice try of one single man. Fortunately this was more or less a private matter and couldn’t really hamper the jungyo. 

How did the mongolian rikishi feel about the jungyo, were they proud to show their skills in their home country, how did the young, non sekitori feel, who don’t have many chances to fly home? 

That was exactly what they felt, proud to show their skills at home. It was great for the rikishi of the lower divisions to return back home. Some of them havn’t seen their parents for four/five years, because they can’t travel home and can’t invite their parents to Japan. This was their opportunity to show friends and family what they are doing, what sumo is. And it was an opportunity for them to be spoiled a bit by parents and friends. There was a careful father who came to the entrance and was a bit concerned whether his son had enough to eat. He brought some food for him. The security didn’t want to let him in, so I took him backstage to his son (promising the security men to bring him back again). He had no ticket to see the sumo and I went to the auditorium with him (against my promise) and told him to look for an empty seat. I think he deserved to see his son fighting.  

The jungyo was the tribute for all the sweat, the labour and efforts in all the years. It was of no importance in this moment whether you were a sekitori or not. Everybody simply was proud to be a rikishi. I would have liked to take part as a rikishi but it’s enough for me to know that I was one of the first Mongolian to lay the foundation stone to make this jungyo possible. The jungyo was an important occurrence for the Mongolian people and will remain in history. 

There were some rumours that some officials from the kyokai weren’t so satisfied with the organization. Bad weather (not really a fault of the organisation), bad co operation, few free time for the rikishi. How do you feel about it? Too many difficulties to prevent another jungyo soon?  

I didn’t hear something like this from the officials. The boys didn’t like the bad weather and there was this delay in the flights. You can’t do anything about it. There was one day less in the program, so the rikishi had less time off. This supposed difficulties are hyped I think, where do these rumours come from anyway?  There will be another jungyo in Mongolia for sure. We still have two Mongolian yokozuna and around 30 mongolian rikishi. Some of them will have a great future. I don’t worry, there will be another jungyo in Mongolia. 

How did the Japanese rikishi feel about it, what were their impressions of the country and the Mongolian people? 

Some of them said they heard a lot about Mongolia and they were happy to finally have a chance to see it. They don’t have much time as a rikishi and can’t make big holidays so the jungyo was a great opportunity for them. They were overwhelmed how crazy the Mongolian people are about sumo. Kaio, who is a favourite of the people also in Mongolia, said, he wants to come back after his danpatsu and stay long to visit the countryside.