First peek at the likely Aki banzuke

This assumes no retirements.

Yokozuna ranks: no change. Hakuho 1e, Harumafuji 1w, Kisenosato 2e, Kakaryu 2w.

Ozeki ranks: “No gifts” Takayasu 1e, kadoban twin #1 Goeido 1w, kadoban twin #2 Terunofuji 2e.

Sekiwake: special prize winner Mitakeumi 1e, “extracurriculars” Yoshikaze 1w.

Komusubi: Tochiozan 1e/ “The Mountain” Aoiyama 1w.

I don’t think they’ll do it, but by the numbers alone, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Tochiozan to jump over Yoshikaze for the Sekiwake slot.

Conveniently, there are exactly 5 good candidates to round out the “joi for sure” ranks, M1e-M3e: Tochinoshin, Tamawashi, KotoshogikuHokutofuji, and Onosho. Yes, I do see Tamawashi falling all the way out of san’yaku alongside Kotoshogiku. Tochiozan and Aoiyama’s cases for promotion are just too strong to ignore. This is certainly controversial, as 7-8 Sekiwake have tended to only be demoted to Komusubi. So is jumping Tochiozan and Aoiyama ahead of Tochinoshin, who accumulated a less shiny record against a much tougher schedule. Will there be one open san’yaku slot or two, and who will fill them? This is much less straightforward for Aki than it usually is, and the banzuke may be less “by the numbers.”

From there, it’s slim pickings, with the next 3, quite likely to be pressed into at least some joi duty again given recent history, being Chiyotairyu and Shohozan, all the way up from M10, and everyone’s favorite new face, Ura, probably just moving over to the West side at M4w.

Down at the other end of the banzuke, Kaisei will be back in Makuuchi, and may jump as high as M12. He should be joined by Yutakayama, Asanoyama, and Myogiryu, with Aminishiki just missing out on promotion, who should be joined at the top of Juryo by the yusho winner Daiamami. I’m looking forward to Asanoyama’s Makuuchi debut. Dropping down to Juryo to make room should be Tokushoryu, Sokokurai, Kotoyuki, and  Gagamaru.

I’ll post full banzuke predictions for Makuuchi and Juryo as we get closer to Aki.

24 thoughts on “First peek at the likely Aki banzuke

  1. What a weird situation with san’yaku. I knee-jerk started to argue about Tamawashi dropping all the way out but once I reviewed the records…man. Someone gets the short end. If ever it was a time for 3 (or 4?!) komusubi…

    • There are certainly 4 deserving candidates, but I don’t think the ranks and records fit the usual scenarios in which an extra slot is created.

      • I’d feel a lot better about Tamawashi falling out of san’yaku if he’d only picked up 5 or 6 wins. But 7-8? After multiple basho of winning record at sekiwake? Or M2w picking up 9 wins and only moving up to M1e/w? I think if I close my eyes to the gaudy numbers they put up in Nagoya, as crazy as this sounds, I’d leave both Tochiozan and Aoiyama out of san’yaku. I know there’s plenty of precedent for jumping up to san’yaku from far down the banzuke, but…what a logjam.

        How about Tamawashi stays in at K1w, Tochiozan joins him at K1e, and the other two are at M1? Ugh, what a mess. You are probably right in your forecast, but it just doesn’t sound right. Three at komusubi makes a ton of sense to me here.

        • “What a mess” really sums it up nicely. It’s not going to be easy to sort out the mix of terrible and mediocre records for spots further down the banzuke either.

    • Thanks! Shodai and Takakeisho should both drop from M1 to M5 after their 5-10 performances. At least Takakeisho has the excuse that it was his first time in the joi ;-)

        • But he seems to have not been too rattled by it. So complements to Takakeisho for being a good sport. He will be back before long, and hopefully next time with improved defensive sumo. It’s all in the feet, you see.

      • That’s not too bad. I was worried he was going to plummet down the banzuke like Chiyonokuni did after Natsu. I really hope he learns to be more consistent after this basho.

        • 5-10 is nowhere near the disaster that Chiyonokuni’s 2-13 was, and it’s not like there are a lot of guys below him with great cases for higher slots ;-)

  2. iksumo – thank you for posting this and the final day summary. I really appreciate it as we had a family event on Senshuraku (yeah, poor planning on my part).

    Great analysis as always. I will likely post some commentary on it once everyone clears out of the house.

    • It was fun to jot down my thoughts; looking forward to your commentary. The Aki banzuke should be even more of a mess than usual, and that’s saying something ;-)

      • We are in a transitional period where the old guard is either fading or staging their last mad surge of glory. We now have the next generation (Tadpoles, because they mostly share the same body shape), in Makuuchi, and they are getting comfortable at the higher levels of competition.

        Before it fades from memory, please remember both Onosho and Ura’s really excellent sumo week 1. Ura especially radically diversified from his prior sumo he used in Juryo and lower Makuuchi.

  3. You’re right. It’s a mess. I want Mitakeumi – Yoshikaze at sekiwake with Tochinoshin – Tochiozan at komusubi. It’s scary to throw Aoiyama all the way up into the sanyaku…even after the jun-yusho. Sokokurai leapt from M10 to M2 after his 12-win jun-yusho so 8 ranks for Aoiyama would seem doable. If Tochinoshin had just managed 8 wins, I could see holding him out of sanyaku from M2. Aoiyama lost to M15 Nishikigi! He’s solid but not sanyaku solid. So, I want to put him at M1 with Hokutofuji. Since Tochinoshin and Hokutofuji managed winning records from joi ranks, I’ve got to give them the little rice ball slots.

    • Going by track record and strength of schedule, it should be Mitakeumi/Yoshikaze and Tochinoshin/Tamawashi. Going strictly by the numbers at Nagoya, it should be Mitakeumi/Tochiozan and Yoshikaze/Aoiyama. Not obvious how to weigh these, nor what historical precedent suggests. This is why I wish the schedulers had pulled up Tochiozan and Aoiyama to fight more higher-ranked opponents: they would have either proved themselves worthy or ended up with less gaudy records. Either way, there would be a more principled way out of this mess. I mean, what was Tochiozan doing fighting M13 Takarafuji on day 13, not to even mention Aoiyama facing M12 Takekaze on day 14?

      • Your idea of “Mitakeumi/Tochiozan and Yoshikaze/Aoiyama” feels correct to me. I expect Yoshikaze to stay at Komusubi, as he is playing an important QA position there, and he has no intention of vying for an Ozeki slot. I would say Tochiozan is also not going to push for Ozeki, so maybe for laughs they will slot Aoiyama at S1w. No, I do hope they don’t. I would rather not see the NSK pave some kind of easy path for him.

        Strange thing about Tochiozan, he does some of his best sumo at Nagoya. He seems to consistently excel during the July basho.

    • Tochiozan did beat Takayasu, Tamawashi head-to-head, and Mitakeumi, so he’s hard to dismiss. Other than Yoshikaze on the last day, Aoiyama didn’t really even face anybody.

      • What kills me is how long we have to wait for the right answer. It’s like I’m in college and have to wait for Christmas break to end before getting my grades from the fall semester. I wanna know now!!!

        • And to add insult to injury, they apparently decide on Wednesday, and then we have to wait for a month for it to be written out on the official scroll…

  4. Oh man, I’ll be at the Aki basho towards the end. If there could be four Yokozuna still healthy by that point, BOY I’d be stoked. Judging by the past few basho however, chances of that seem slimsky and nonesky as Chick Hearn used to say. Better throw an extra ¥100 in at the jinja. Here’s hoping.

      • I am searching the Japanese press like mad for any indication that Kisenosato is taking his gamey arm to the hospital.

        • Word out of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council and Kisenosato’s stablemaster is that Kisenosato has been advised to sit out until he’s fully healed. Let’s hope he heeds these calls and gets himself right, even if it means a kyujo in the next basho. He’s not doing anyone any good by hobbling out there before he’s physically ready to compete.

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