In addition to whatever else may happen during the Nagoya basho, one item of great anticipation and excitement must be Hakuho’s imminent claim to one of the few records in Sumo that does not yet bear his name – the total win records currently held by Kaiō and Chiyonofuji.
Prior to his injury in Nagoya 2016, it seemed that Hakuho would claim these records early in 2017. But foot surgery, and a hard fought recovery prevented him from seriously challenging for his record until the upcoming 2017 Nagoya basho.
His first mark is Chiyonofuji at 1045 career wins – this only requires Hakuho to win 9 bouts. Provided he does not injure himself, this should not be difficult. Following that is the great Ozeki Kaiō at 1047 – or just 11 wins for Hakuho.
We will be counting down the wins to this mighty achievement during the Nagoya basho, starting in just 9 days.
Since the final day of Natsu, it was easy to know that the Nagoya banzuke was going to be a wild tangle of re-ranking and fresh faces. It’s publication on June 25th did not fall short of that idea, and in fact further review of the ranking sheet indicates that sumo fans are in for a wild ride this basho.
Chief among the factors for chaos are the sizable number of young rikishi who are making their upper Maegashira debuts in Nagoya. Many of these young men are healthy and strong, and are eager to make the most of what will likely be a short stay in the top half of sumo’s top division.
These freshly elevated rikishi will face an entrenched and determined San’yaku, most of whom are well rested, in good health and ready for battle.
Takakeisho – Ranked at an impressive Maegashira 1 West, this newcomer has only been in sumo since Aki 2014. Let that sink in, he’s only 20 years old, and he has been almost unstoppable. He has won 4 yusho: Jonokuchi, Jonidan, Makushita and Juryo. He turned in an 11-4 record for both prior basho as a Maegashira. Some sumo fans will wonder where this guy came from, and what he is all about. While I am not predicting a kachi-koshi for him in Nagoya, it’s going to be interesting to see what he does against the top men of sumo. Because he is M1w, you can expect him to face the likes of Hakuho, Harumafuji, Terunofuji, Takayasu, Goeido and Mitakeumi. One thing is certain, Takakeisho will be challenged.
Hokutofuji – To date this rikishi has only ever had one make-koshi tournament. Now he enters Nagoya Maegashira 2 West. He has won three yusho: Jonidan, Sandanme and Juryo. He is big, he is powerful and he is patient. Watching him compete reminds me a great deal of Takayasu. He has the potential of being a significant factor of the Maegashira ranks for some time if he can stay healthy, and if he does not get discouraged by the level of competition at the top end of sumo. As Maegashira 2, you can expect him to face the Yokozuna and Ozeki corps during the first week. I especially hope that we get to see him against Terunofuji and Harumafuji, as their unique and somewhat unstoppable form of sumo will present a level of competition that Hokutofuji has yet to encounter.
Ura – A fan favorite, Ura may be doing almost as much as Kisenosato to energize the fan base in Japan. In addition to his unorthodox and anything-goes sumo style, he seems to be a genuinely nice and personable guy. He struggled to bulk up and then to learn how to manage his mass prior to entering Makuuchi, but during Natsu it was clear he had found some manner of recipe to bring his unique brand of sumo into the upper division and make it work. Now at Maegashira 4 East, he will certainly face at least a handful of San’yaku rikishi. This could include (during the first week) : Yoshikaze, Kotoshogiku and Mitakeumi.
Kagayaki – Kagayaki seems to get overlooked, at least up until now. He is a quiet, un-assuming rikishi who seem to just want to train and compete. Japan loves this kind of guy, and sumo is built on the shoulders of men like this. Like Kisenosato, he took the slow road to his rank, and has been griding hard since he joined sumo at age 16. Unlike some of the other rising stars, he cannot show a string of yusho or a rapid rise. But he never gives up, and never gets discouraged. Even when he suffers a set back, such as in 2015-2016 when he bounced between Juryo and Makuuchi, he just kept training, kept working hard. At Maegashira 4 west, he will face the same card that Ura does, and we will see him take on (at minimum) Sekiwake and Komusubi opponents.
Onosho – While not in the upper Maegashira ranks, Onosho is worth a mention. Due to the blood-bath in the upper half of Makuuchi in Tokyo, he finds himself launched from Maegashira 14 to Maegashira 6. This huge move up the banzuke will present him with a vast increase in difficulty. He will face off against the likes of Ura, Endo and Ikioi. With any luck, he will gamberize, and present a strong challenge.
Andy and Bruce get together for a 30 minute discussion on banzuke published today, for the upcoming July tournament in Nagoya. We cover the highlights, who we think is ready, and the absolute mad scramble from May’s ranking sheet.
I learned some banzuke projection lessons from Natsu, and stuck closer to my quantitative system, with fewer subjective adjustments. This worked much better, as detailed below. I also think that Nagoya was easier to predict, largely due to many fewer rikishi with 8-7 or 7-8 records.
The San’yaku went exactly to form. The only real question was whether Kotoshogiku would hold on to the second Komusubi slot, and he did. The meat grinder also went almost exactly as predicted, with only Endo and Ura switching positions. Ura had a better computed rank, and I thought Endo would drop further after his 6-9 record, but given his popularity and how well he did against the San’yaku, relatively speaking, this isn’t a huge surprise. Ura might have a slightly easier schedule at M4e than at M3w, which he can use in his first tournament this high up the banzuke, although he’ll still get at least a taste of San’yaku opponents.
The lower maegashira ranks are always harder to predict, but even here, all the projection misses were by one rank, and involved switches of rikishi who had identical computed ranks. It’s hard to see a consistent pattern in NSK’s choices of Takanoiwa above Aoiyama, Okinoumi above Chiyotairyu, Takekaze above Takarafuji, or Kotoyuki above Chiyomaru. In the coin flip M16 slot, Gagamaru got the nod over Kaisei.
Overall, my projection resulted in 28 “bullseyes” (correct rank and side), 3 additional correct ranks on the wrong side, and 11 misses, all of them by one rank. Among the maegashira projections, there were 17 bullseyes, 3 hits, and 11 misses. I’m gaining some confidence that the projections can give us a good early idea of what the official banzuke ends up looking like.
After the long summer break, it’s time to begin the ramp up to the hotly anticipated Nagoya basho. Later today (in about 6 hours from this post), the Japan Sumo Association will post the banzuke online, as well as release thousands of printed copies.
If you want to take a look at Tachiai’s projections via contributor Iksumo:
One of the interesting by-products of my dive into Miyagino-beya’s silver medal squad was uncovering a potential new jewel in Enho. For a stable that produces very little in talent behind possibly one of the greatest rikishi ever to walk the earth (and let’s be honest, Miyagino-oyakata can be forgiven for that), it was curious to see a newcomer blast his way to a 7-0 yusho in the lower levels.
When looking to see whether this was at all something he shared in common with the current crop of sekitori as a possible signal of success, the answer was overwhelmingly yes. Of course, it is not the only signal, and as with many other sports, so much can go wrong (injuries, confidence, new trainer, etc.). But several top level rikishi put up multiple such records in their early (first year) basho and many more did it at least once. So this then begs a new question: out of the hundreds of men trying to break their way into professional sumo, is it possible to use this indicator to pluck names from down the banzuke – and if it is, when do we expect to see them bringing honour to their heya? If they don’t manage it, how much harder is it to then reach the top? This will be the first part in a series to attempt to try and figure all of this out.
First things first, let’s look at the most recent crop of 70 sekitori. We can use the March banzuke as a guide to figure out if there’s a story here because any makuuchi/juryo promotions/demotions aren’t going to massively change the calculus and the turnover from juryo to makushita doesn’t meaningfully affect our sample size (and we’re not only interested in who might make it to Juryo 14W someday).
What I’ve done here is split the sekitori into four categories: those who managed multiple 7-0 records in their first 6 full tournaments (post-maezumo), those who managed it one time, those who didn’t manage it, and those who didn’t manage it but were already in Juryo well before their 6th tournament (owing to entering the banzuke at makushita level as an amateur champion). This doesn’t tell the full story but it is somewhat telling that half of the professional ranks managed an early zensho. Of course, you’d expect the wrestlers who have been contending for titles their whole career to float towards the top, and so let’s see if that’s what we’ve got:
This confirms those suspicions. Makuuchi contains a higher number of rikishi to have put a zensho on the board their first year at least once (Kisenosato registered his first in his 7th basho otherwise this would have been more extreme), and as you’d expect it also contains a larger number of amateur champions who fast tracked their way to the top (and stayed there).
For the next parts in this series, we’ll start to look at how long it took these sekitori on average to reach juryo, and then start to look at the success rates of those who score this record and start to identify commonalities among them (kimarite, stature, etc), to model out who we might expect to charge up the banzuke soon and give us some more lower level candidates to track over the coming year. Again, this is just one of many signals – and there are many other intangible variables (stable, personality/confidence, etc) but it will be interesting to dig in and get an understanding of how impactful it is.
With the banzuke announcement just a few days away, it’s time to revisit the Heya Power Rankings series. Thanks to everyone who commented on the first version of this post – this time I’ve been able to make the key update of stacking the bars vertically, and hopefully by the time August rolls around I can get them sorted properly and then we’ll really be off and running!
For a refresher on the methodology and calculations behind these rankings, visit the original post. I’m pretty happy with how this held up for the second version – for example the accomplishments of Tochinoshin (kachi-koshi and jun-yusho from M12) are ranked equivalent to Tamawashi’s kachi-koshi at S1, and that seems fair. Without further ado:
And in “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):
(+1) Isegahama. 124 points (-1)
(+2) Miyagino. 107 points (+57)
(-2) Tagonoura. 75 points (-55)
(+5) Kasugano. 58 points (+24)
(-2) Sakaigawa. 50 points (-10)
(+5) Oguruma. 42 points (+15)
(-1) Kokonoe. 41 points (-2)
(-3) Izutsu. 40 points (-5)
(-2) Oitekaze. 34 points (-4)
(+3) Kise. 33 points (+9)
(+7) Isenoumi. 33 points (+18)
(+3) Dewanoumi. 30 points (+10)
(-5) Sadogatake. 29 points (-6)
(-2) Kataonami. 25 points (even)
(-5) Takanohana. 24 points (-6)
(-2) Hakkaku. 23 points (even)
(-1) Tokitsukaze. 20 points (even)
(**) Onomatsu. 20 points (+15)
(**) Takadagawa. 17 points (+8)
(**) Minato. / (-3) Tomozuna. (both 13 points)
Isegahama takes the top spot this month on a slightly diminished score owing to quality AND quantity: Terunofuji’s second straight jun-yusho and consistent levels of performance across the board push them up to the summit. Miyagino vaults up as the greatest gainer on points owing mostly to Hakuho’s zensho-yusho (we’re not currently giving a bonus score for a 15-0, but this is something to think about), and Ishiura grabbing a KK didn’t hurt.
Kasugano takes a big jump up the listing owing to a big performance from Tochinoshin which more than offset declines elsewhere. Yoshikaze’s special prize gives Oguruma a boost, while all four Kise rikishi grabbed winning records to propel the stable forward with modest gains. Isenoumi is the greatest chart gainer with just two rikishi, but Nishikigi’s Juryo yusho and Ikioi’s regained form give the heya a big boost. Dewanoumi’s sole contributor Mitakeumi grabbed a special prize and he’ll likely have a good shot to maintain his score next time out as he will in all likelihood fight at a higher level.
Finally, 3 new heya hit the chart as Onosho’s performance drives Onomatsu, Kagayaki and Ryuden’s solid performances put Takadagawa on the board, and Ichinojo grabs a kachi-koshi for Minato.
Tagonoura lose their grip on the top, but this is simply owing to Kisenosato not winning (in any capacity). Their top 3 spot should be relatively safe however, with Takayasu’s promotion confirmed, and both of them when on-form now represent title challengers. Elsewhere, Sakaigawa takes a hit just owing to Toyohibiki coming off a Juryo yusho onto a make-koshi and not much support among the rest of the crew beyond Goeido. Meanwhile, Kokonoe’s quality doesn’t translate to quality as despite 6 sekitori, only 3 could manage winning records and the toppermost – Chiyonokuni and Chiyoshoma – ran into a san’yaku slaughterhouse.
Takanohana could be set for another dip, with Takagenji heading out of Juryo and Takanoiwa and Takakeisho likely swapping ends of the banzuke. Tomozuna’s fortunes will also likely get worse before they get better, with Asahisho likely following Takagenji, moviestar Kyokutaisei set for a drop down to the nether regions of Juryo, and Kaisei looking like he may only be a couple tournaments behind.
Shikoroyama (not ranked) should grab their second Juryo rikishi as Abi should certainly be promoted (5-2 at Ms1), and one would think Iwasaki (6-1 at Ms2) would join him in the pro ranks to give Oitekaze a shot in the arm. If Daishoho can get his act together soon and join up later this year, the stable would have a truly impressive number of rikishi in the top 2 divisions.
Kise had a great basho at Natsu as outlined above and they may also be ready to call on reinforcements soon: they boasted 7 rikishi between Makushita 1 and Makushita 12 and while none look like certain promotion candidates for Nagoya… ALL of them scored winning records, as did 2 of the 3 just behind (so that’s 13 of their top 14 with a kachi-koshi – bear in mind some stables don’t even have that many rikishi in total!). As always with the larger stables, a number of these guys are journeymen and also-rans, but the names to watch here are Shimanoumi (5-2 at Ms5W won’t get the job done this time, but he’s scored no less than 5 lower division unbeaten yusho and will be determined to get back to Juryo after fighting back from a period out of competition), and former university man Kizaki (who has raced to the top of Makushita in a year with 7 straight KK, including a pair of yusho).
As of Sunday June 18th, there are three weeks until the start of the Nagoya basho, and just one week until the release of the banzuke. As stated multiple times, my poor spreadsheet is unable to cope with the chaos coming out of Natsu, so as I put together my guess at a banzuke, please take mine with a huge grain of salt.
The break between Natsu and Nagoya is kind of unusual, in that there is no tour between these tournaments. As a result, many rikishi take small breaks to visit family, travel, consult physicians or just rest.
As reported here earlier, all of Japan seems to have celebrated Takayasu’s Ozeki promotion with gusto, and he has been working hard to further improve his sumo. There have been significant limits on Takayasu’s training, as his sparring partner, Yokozuna Kisenosato has been struggling to overcome injuries to his right pectoral and right arm. His stable has stated without any reservation that Kisenosato will participate in Nagoya for the full 15 days.
Pectoral injuries are tricky matters, and for the most part they require surgery to correct. It’s clear that Kisenosato has not had surgery, and will likely try to “rest and let it heal naturally”.
The good news is that in this past week, Kisenosato has been doing full contact training once more with other rikishi, including Takayasu. Even better news is that he is now training without tape on his chest or arm. This is, in the words of his stable, to get him ready for competition next month.
But reports are that he is still not at full strength on his left side, and is not consistently able to deliver power from his chest with both arms.
Hakuho is a legend, and if you are reading this site then you probably know this. The meteoric rise, all the titles, all the techniques, all the style and lately, all the attitude. There’s a lot that’s interesting about Hakuho, and you could probably do a whole site just about him. However that’s not only why you’re here, and so we’re going to talk about Hakuho in the context of not really talking about Hakuho.
One of the things that has been discussed quite a bit recently on the site is that there are some interesting story lines involving top rikishi and their relationships with others within their stable: Kisenosato and Takayasu, Terunofuji and Shunba, etc. There are also a number of rikishi at the top who hail from notable heya which have stacked the banzuke with talent. To name just a few: the Isegahama powerhouse, belly bop king Kotoshogiku topping the ranks of the prolific Sadogatake stable, and of course the incredible volume of wrestlers created of late by Kokonoe.
But Miyagino, Hakuho’s stable, hasn’t produced a whole lot of note beyond the man himself over the past 20 years. There are potentially numerous reasons for this. One of them is that they simply don’t carry many rikishi – there haven’t been more than a dozen at a given time since Hakuho’s emergence. Another might be that perhaps the stable just isn’t good at producing talent in general: Hakuho’s emergence in its own right was unexpectedly one of the greatest stories in sports after no other heya would accept him and Miyagino took him on only as a promise and/or had him foisted upon the stable, depending how you hear the story told. Still yet another reason could come from dysfunction at the very top: stablemaster and architect of legends Chikubayama was forced to give up the elder stock to Kanechika who obtained it by marrying the daughter of the previous holder (perhaps not a recipe for coaching excellence in any sport). Kanechika was a fun guy who, after eventually having to hand the elder stock back over to Chikubayama after getting snaffled in a match fixing claim, then had his assistant eat a whole tub of wasabi in addition to inflicting a bunch of other punishments upon him (what’s not to love?).
All of that turmoil can’t have been helpful, but let’s look at it by the books. Here are the four men who have been #2 to The Boss since his ascendance to top dog at Miyagino in March 2004:
Kobo: a journeyman and one of the first products of Chikubayama to become sekitori, he was already on the down slope by early 2004 and only made a solitary appearance (at Maegashira 17!) in the top division after Hakuho surpassed him. His career as a sekitori was over 3 years later.
Ryuo: a Mongolian who surpassed Kobo at Nagoya 2006, but whose career was spent almost entirely in the bottom divisions. He managed 4 tournaments in makuuchi and only one kachi-kochi (though he did manage to claim the scalps of young Kisenosato and Goeido during his brief stay). He finished his career with 4 unbroken years as a Makushita before calling it quits.
Yamaguchi: some 6 years later, he appears at Haru 2012 out of Nihon University and instantly becomes the second highest ranked in the stable upon his debut. Managed a single makuuchi bout as Daikiho before everything fell apart and he tumbled down to Sandanme. He has been working his way back up over the past 4 years however and seemed like a good bet to challenge for a makuuchi promotion in the near future before a catastrophic Natsu basho landed him with a 10 loss make-koshi in a tournament which, as this site has covered, was both a massively up-for-grabs and turgid affair. Still only 28 though, and with a lack of can’t miss talent at his current level, could be back in the big time by 2018 if he can string together some winning records over the rest of the year.
Ishiura: at Nagoya 2014, having just been dealt his first make-koshi after a strong start to his career (including two lower division yusho), Ishiura moves past Yamaguchi and he’s been at that level since. Notably, he possesses a pedigree the 3 aforementioned rikishi do not and makes quick work of the lower divisions, making his pro debut in 2 years. We’ve all seen quite a bit of him over the past 4 basho in makuuchi and his evolution from henka-addict to a more respectable rikishi trying to develop what he would probably describe as “his brand of sumo.” Namely, not being a particularly excellent pusher-thruster or mawashi man or as flexible as Ura, he seems to either run around a lot or just get in low and try to pull his man down, and will need some more developed facets of his game if he’s able to consolidate and push up the banzuke in a meaningful way.
Beyond these folks, there just hasn’t been anyone of quality at all in the stable since Hakuho started to dominate the sumo world, which makes Hakuho’s achievement all the more stunning in that no one else that his coach has coached has even shown promise of being a top level rikishi until Ishiura.
One of the signals of a fast moving rikishi is racking up multiple unbeaten records/yusho at the lower levels (in many cases back to back) in their first few basho, and so for this reason it will be worth keeping an eye on young Enho who went unbeaten in his first tournament at Natsu and will make his Jonidan bow at Nagoya. Many rikishi who have made a dent on the top division, including Goeido, Yoshikaze, Ishiura, Aoiyama, Hokutofuji, Takakeisho, Sokokurai, Ura, and the recently deposed Yutakayama, have managed this. Many, many others at the level managed at least a single early yusho in their first tournaments (notably, Hakuho did not, mostly owing to his unique development as a very slight rikishi in his younger days).
Given that the percentage of rikishi reaching the top level is so small to begin with, and the number of Miyagino rikishi reaching that level is just 2-3 per decade, it will be interesting to see if Enho can establish himself. Of course it is silly to read too much into a rikishi at this stage of their career, though his sumo best seems to be described as “composed.” He appeared unrattled in all 7 wins at Natsu and the only rikishi to even put up a serious challenge was his former university-mate Tanabe, who created a fight better than some of the stuff we get on the NHK highlights (Enho is the little guy):
Hakuho is obviously a force, and statistically he will retire in serious contention to be debated among the very greatest of all time. A lot of this comes from his background, his sheer desire to continue to develop, and his coaching. But it is curious in the context that his stable does not possess a particularly keen ability to scout and develop as evidenced by their lack of ability to put a second even competitive product onto the dohyo. Hopefully at least, with continued improvement from Ishiura and the development of rikishi like Enho, that could soon change.
Fortunately for us, Shunba has his own social media presence, on Twitter as @shunba_sekito, and here’s his blog. His blog is great. It’s often hard to find video of lower-ranked rikishi but in his latest post he provides links to Youtube videos of his bouts from the last tournament. Please visit his site and click on the links over there. Unfortunately, he finished 1-6 after his fantastic 6-1 Makushita debut. So he will slide back down the banzuke, likely around Makushita 45 or so.
Mitoryu’s (Torbold Baasansuren) first bout was available on SumoDB but they didn’t have videos of Yago’s bouts. Mitoryu finished makekoshi, 3-4, but Yago did well at 5-2 and will rise toward the top of makushita. We may see him in Juryo in September or November if he continues to do well. I will try to do a better job of keeping up with makushita.
As for a cryptic test tweet last week and a follow up tweet about Chanko that many seemed to enjoy, I’m working on a secret project (I’ve dubbed it Project X). I’m very excited about it and hope to provide details on it by the end of June.
Part of attaining the lofty rank of Yokozuna includes the privilege of having your shikona recorded for the ages on a monument at the Tomioka shrine in Tokyo. The Tomioka Hachiman Shrine is also known as the birthplace of Kanjin-zumō (勧進相撲), founded in 1684, and origin of the current professional sumo. In the days of the shogunate, the spring and fall tournaments were held within the shrine’s grounds, and thus is has a deep history in sumo.
The Yokozuna stone was built around 1900 AD by the 12th Yokozuna, Jinmaku, to commemorate all sumotori who reach sumo’s top rank. Today, it was Kisenosato’s turn to see the kanji for his name added to the monument, next to Kakuryu’s. As part of the ceremony, Kisenosato performed a dohyo-iri, with former dew-sweeper Shohozan moving up to sword-bearer, and Kagayaki taking the role of herald / dew-sweeper. The team appeared in the striking Red Fuji kesho mawashi set, leaving the “Fist of the North Star” set at home.
As with all things Kisenosato, the ceremony was attended by thousands who packed the grounds of the shrine.
Readers of the site will notice that our posting activity is very slow right now. The reason is that the sumo world is not really doing much of note during the period between Natsu and Nagoya. After most basho, there is a tour through one of the regions of Japan to promote sumo and make closer connections with the fans outside of the big cities.
After the Natsu basho, there was no tour. As a result, most of the rikishi took a well earned break to train, visit relatives, seek medical attention for long running problems, or just work out like mad. While the news cycle is very slow now, it is likely that some interesting developments will take place in the next month leading up to the Nagoya basho. Until then, news on tachiai may be rather thin, but rest assured, we are keeping both eyes on the sumo word.
It is with deep sorrow, and a little fear as I clutch my Michael Kiwanuka tickets for tomorrow, that I extend my condolences to the people of London, Manchester and Manila. The threat of terrorism is unfortunately an uncomfortable reality that hangs over high-profile, popular events and locations. We should be able to gather for work and enjoy entertainment without fear that we may not return home. I’m not going to leave this post up long…I’ll probably delete it soon because I don’t want to dwell on dark topics…but I wanted to express sympathy to those of you who may have been affected, or know someone who was.
It’s not something new. It’s been present in our literature, cinema and art for longer than Guy Fawkes masks have been around. Thomas Harris’s first book wasn’t about Hannibal Lector; it was a 1975 thriller about the race to stop a blimp from bombing the Super Bowl.
Throughout my childhood, the specter of hijackings hanged over the act of flying but the first time terrorism really registered as something in my consciousness occurred as a kid, visiting London in the 80s at the end of the Troubles, when unable to return to our hotel because of a bomb threat. Then, during high school, the attacks in Oklahoma City and at our own Olympic Games in Atlanta captured our attention. And though I knew about it, the sarin attack in Tokyo occurred but the gravity and reality of it didn’t really hit me until I found myself in Kasumigaseki station many years later.
The events of September 11th didn’t really surprise me. I had been in the lounge at the top of one of the towers of the World Trade Center 6 months before, watching the birds circling below my feet and wondering what would happen if a plane was lost in the city. It had happened before, and it has happened since. Usually by accident, but it wasn’t hard to imagine an event where it wasn’t. And over the past 18 years, whether it be Bangkok, or Nairobi, or Paris with frustrating regularity there seems to be another attack which has me concerned about friends I met at that location, or family I know who frequent it, or friends of friends, or friends of friends of friends.
I work in DC, next to the Navy Yard, and was at work when a laid off contractor slipped through security and killed 13 people, one of whom had been evacuated but succumbed to his injuries in front of the CVS. We were locked down that day, just as our kids were last year when a divorced security guard started killing random people in parking lots around Montgomery County. That reminded my neighbors of the heightened fears during the DC sniper events since one of the shootings occurred at the gas station a block from here. I’m pretty jaded now.
It is madness, and I offer no advice or answers. I have none. I can only offer my sympathy and hope that this last one was the last one.
Make-koshi at Natsu in red; kachi-koshi in green; (J) = promotion from Juryo.
That looks like a lot of red. So I counted, and 14 of the rikishi in this part of the banzuke had losing records at Natsu. I guess that’s why they’re here. Only 6 of the wrestlers here who were in Makuuchi at Natsu had winning records, most notably Onosho, who jumps all the way from M14 to M6. It’s probably to Onosho’s benefit that he takes a big jump up the banzuke but gets more experience before having to face the highest ranks. Conversely, Chiyonokuni tumbles all the way from M1 to M11 (see “meat grinder, the” in the previous post; everyone but Endo finds themselves here: Chiyoshoma, Tochiozan, Daieisho, Aoiyama, Okinoumi).
I learned my lesson from Natsu banzuke prediction and stuck entirely to the order dictated by my computed ranks. So the only decision was how to break ties. In general, I gave the nod to the rikishi ranked higher at Natsu. But in a few cases, I bumped up wrestlers with kachi-koshi above those with make-koshi: Tokushoryu and Chiyotairyu above Okinoumi and Shohozan, Daishomaru above Chiyonokuni and Arawashi, and Chiyomaru and Nishikigi above Kotoyuki.
Finally, Kaisei/Gagamaru seems like a complete toss-up. Kaisei went 7-8 in Makuuchi. His 7 wins include 2 over Juryo opponents and a fusen “win” over Kotoyuki. Gagamaru went 9-6 in Juryo, including 1-1 against Makuuchi opponents. Their recent performances don’t give any reason to expect anything more than a mediocre performance by either at the bottom of Makuuchi, with a good chance of demotion to Juryo after Nagoya. But someone has to fill M16e…