I like to dig into data. With limited time, though, it’s difficult to piece too much together. However, I was able to pretty quickly assemble the current Makuuchi banzuke with each rikishi’s birthdate. It makes sense that the older guys are toward the top of the banzuke. There aren’t too many geezers who continue this bruising lifestyle well into their thirties once they start sliding down and getting demoted.
Sometimes looking at data visualizations instead of scouring newspaper articles, you find new, interesting perspectives. The first thing I noticed looking at this data is there’s someone here whom I have not been paying enough attention to: Takakeisho. All eyes have been on other wrestlers and this young man has just gotten lost in the mix. I remember watching his progress in the lower divisions but when he hit Juryo, I seemed to lose him in the shuffle.
Takakeisho began his sumo career as Sato, taking on the present shikona prior to his makuuchi debut in the last tournament where he finished with a 7-8 losing record. He’s not had the stellar record of a Shodai or Hokutofuji but he’s close. He’s got four yusho under his belt in the lower divisions, including three very successful tournaments and one yusho in Juryo. Physically, he’s not tall but he’s got girth. Definitely not as big as a Gagamaru, though. He was able to get wins over ailing Tochiozan and Okinoumi but I think that was more of an indication of how badly these guys were hurt than anything else. Given his youth and his quick rise, he’s another one I’m going to watch.
Secondly, seeing how far Takekaze and Yoshikaze are below the trendline was no surprise and pretty much everyone but those two falls in a very small band along the line. We can kind of see who are the guys we expect to retire in the next year or so and who we expect to be around for another 5 years or longer. This is why Terunofuji’s health is so crucial. He’s so young and so high up there that one figures there’s time to sit and heal properly, even if it means demotion.
The R-square is miniscule on this, though, so I’m really hoping to go deeper. I’m going to expand this to Juryo next, then add-in more variables as I find them. This is fun for me to do with sports statistics because this seems to be the way to find the unknowns. Everyone knows the stars but occasionally these totally random people show up with amazing records of efficiency or power.