Osaka’s Crowded San’Yaku Picture


Ranking Puzzle For March Tournament

The January basho is not yet done, but already the next sumo tournament, held in Osaka in March, is likely to cause a parade of headaches for the Sumo Association’s banzuke team. Based on wins and losses, sumo wrestlers are demoted or promoted for the subsequent tournament.

In prior bashos, the ranks of Sekiwake and Komusubi have been killing fields, with the rikishi promoted to these ranks consistently being abused and leaving with loss heavy maki-koshi records. This would clear them out, and over-performing Maegashira 2/3/4 sekitori would move up for their turn being destroyed.

Hatsu 2017 is turning out quite differently, and quite possibly the number of qualified rikishi for the San’Yaku ranks (Sekiwake and Komusubi) could be overflowing. Lets take a look

  • Kotoshogiku – if he loses one more bout, he is demoted to Sekiwake. He can re-claim Ozeki with 10 wins in the next basho
  • Tamawashi – Currently Sekiwake, and 6-5, he stands a fair chance at a winning record. He would retain Sekiwake
  • Takayasu – Currently Komusubi, and already with a 8-3 winning record, he would typically be Sekiwake in March
  • Shodai – Currently Sekiwake, he will likely have a record good enough to retain Sekiwake or at minimum demotion to Komusubi.
  • Mitakeumi – Currently Maegashira 1, and blowing the doors off of everyone (8-3). Normally he would be elevated to Sekiwake.
  • Ikioi – Currently Maegashira 3, he will likely have a strong winning record. In past tournaments, this would be enough to promote him to Komusubi or even Sekiwake.

So, that gives us 4 to 5 eligible for Sekiwake, and maybe 2 eligible 3 for Komusubi. Traditionally there are 2 of each, but the Sumo association can mint as many as they want. The March banzuke may be a fun collector’s item.