Heya Power Rankings: August 2017

Welcome to the third installment of the Heya Power Rankings. The purpose of this series is to gauge how the various stables are performing relative to each other, and track their progress over time. Now that we’ve been looking at this over the first four basho of 2017, we can start to identify some trends.

For a refresher on the methodology and calculations behind these rankings, visit the original post. Let’s jump in:


And in “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):

  1. (+1) Miyagino. 107 points (even)
  2. (-1) Isegahama. 95 points (-29)
  3. (+1) Kasugano. 78 points (+20)
  4. (-1) Tagonoura. 75 points (even)
  5. (+4) Oitekaze. 48 points (+14)
  6. (-1) Sakaigawa. 47 points (-3)
  7. (+-) Kokonoe. 43 points (+2)
  8. (+-) Izutsu. 40 points (even)
  9. (+3) Dewanoumi. 35 points (+5)
  10. (-4) Oguruma. 32 points (-10)
  11. (-1) Kise. 25 points (-8)
  12. (+1) Sadogatake. 22 points (-7)
  13. (-2) Isenoumi. 20 points (-13)
  14. (+-) Kataonami. 20 points (-5)
  15. (+-) Takanohana. 18 points (-6)
  16. (+-) Hakkaku. 18 points (-5)
  17. (+-) Tokitsukaze. 15 points (-5)
  18. (+1) Takadagawa. 15 points (-2)
  19. (-1) Onomatsu. 13 points (-7)
  20. (**) Nishonoseki. 13 points (+5)


Well, there aren’t really that many, which may come as a surprise, but less points were awarded on the whole due to there only having been 2 special prizes this time, and a clear jun-yusho (Aoiyama). We can probably isolate 5 clear “winners” this time out:

Miyagino takes the top spot on the same points total as last time, so this is more a product of Isegahama not getting the production despite having twice as many rikishi. The only change here is that Yamaguchi and Ishiura trade make- and kachi-koshi, as of course Hakuho wins another yusho.

Kasugano makes another big points gain off the back of Aoiyama’s pushy-thrusty jun-yusho, but this isn’t as spectacular a gain as it would have been for another stable as it replaces Tochinoshin’s jun-yusho last time out. That being said, all three rikishi here performed well and even if they lose points for not mounting a championship push next time out, we should see some promotions and hopefully their inevitable fall down the power rankings won’t be so tough.

Oitekaze makes a big move up the charts off the back of Daiamami’s Juryo yusho. The fun might stop there. The stable is otherwise looking at a series of demotions (including the worrying health of top man and “Mr. Popularity” Endo) in spite of this, and will lose Tobizaru to Makushita in September.

Dewanoumi has moved up to the limit of what they can achieve without special prizes, yusho challenges or Ozeki promotions from Mitakeumi. Worryingly for a stable of 16 rikishi, only 2 of the men behind Mitakeumi have put up back to back kachi-koshi (and one of them is 33 year old Kihonoumi), so it’s going to be up to him for the foreseeable future. Finally, Shohozan propels Nishonoseki onto the listing in the final position, off the back of a nice tournament.


Andy referenced that he wanted to see what would happen to Sadogatake on this chart and the results are surprising – they actually move up a spot, but again this is just due to less points having been awarded in total, as the stable has lost 8, 6 and 7 of our points in each of the past three tournaments. Mostly this is of course due to Kotoshogiku fighting at lower levels and not winning, but this slide is going to continue as we’ll see demotions for all 3 sekitori. Kotodaigo will fight at his highest level in Makushita at Aki, but unless he has a big tournament then we won’t see him at Juryo until the new year, at which point the situation could be considerably more dire and there aren’t many more reinforcements coming any time soon.

Isegahama‘s drop is largely down to Terunofuji’s downturn in performance and Harumafuji’s failure to challenge for the yusho, but a decent tournament from either (however unlikely) could see them regain the top spot next time out. Kise takes a bit of a hit owing to Ura’s injury-influenced make-koshi, but will have a decent spot at at least holding their position next time out due to a pair of Juryo promotees in Kizenryu and Daisedo. The rest is much of a muchness, but a word for Isenoumi who will be reliant on Ikioi regaining his form to move back up the listings.

Up Next

We noted last time that Kise had reinforcements on the way, and had a remarkable 11 rikishi fighting at Ms19 or higher in Nagoya. Two have been promoted, but 24 year old university man Kizaki may not be far behind. We highlighted his performance last time out, as he’s never suffered a make-koshi in his 8 competitive tournaments so far (including zensho-yusho at Jonidan and Sandanme). He’s taken a minute to acclimate to Makushita but might be on the cusp at Aki, after another solid 5 win performance in Nagoya at Ms7. Shimanoumi’s Juryo comeback bid was halted in Nagoya, but having put up 3 wins he should get another bite at it this time.

Arashio-beya has been feasting and more recently in famine depending on Sokokurai’s results, but Wakatakakage has been rocketing up the banzuke and could be around to provide backup soon. He’ll be due a big promotion to the top end of Makushita after a 6-1 tournament. Likewise, Takasago‘s Murata may be arriving soon to provide backup for Asanoyama having lost the Natsu yusho duel to Wakatakakage back in Sandanme, and having adapted almost as well to the next level of competition.

5 thoughts on “Heya Power Rankings: August 2017

  1. I have not been able to find any information on what is happening with Endo thus far, so it’s hard to tell if he is recovering well or not.

    Thoughts on Tagonoura? They are still very thin, with all of their power coming from their two top guys, one of which seems stubbornly determined to remain injured.

    • It’s a mess beyond those two (and you could argue at least one of those guys is a bit of a mess right now)

      They’ve got 6 guys who are 20 or younger in the lower reaches (with possibly another one to come) and the early results are all fairly ugly

      Takayasu of course made it to Juryo by 20 having taken the long and winding road but was (barely) 15 when he started. While you’ve got the guys like Nishikigi who took seemingly ages to become sekitori, when you’re talking about what it’s going to take to make an impact on this listing, they’re going to need a few fast movers to provide support

      Over the next year, Kise really is the stable to watch, for me. The guys they’ve got in the professional ranks are all very different and interesting and there are so many potential names to watch on the way, many of whom are young (since we’re tracking Enho it will be interesting to watch when Tanabe gets the better of him, for example, plus I’m bullish on Kizaki right now). As Asashosakari pointed out, some of these guys are all fairly old for the level being ex-university guys and are blazing through, and their progress will slow.

      It’d be interesting to start doing a prospect ranking for these stables like you see in baseball, I have a feeling you’d get a lot of the same issues that baseball has (ie. stats vs eye test in terms of how you project talent)

  2. I like the idea of looking at heya power rankings but I’m not very convinced by the metrics calculated. I think something like a chess ELO ranking system might work better. Basically looking at each rikishi’s bout and taking account of the ELO ranking difference and the result.

    Once you’ve run it for a few tournaments the heya power ranking would simply be the average rating change (which would account for the differences between small and large heya).

    I think if I get a minute to investigate properly I might mine some sumo.db stats and try something out that will do the calculations over a good period of time.
    At the moment you’re counting the rikishi’s performance at current ranking and the rikishi’s current ranking (which is obviously correlated, thus kind’ve double counting). You also count yusho’s but these are only really available at certain ranks. i.e. a high juryo has more earning power than a low maegashira because they can win a Yusho (15 points).

    • Been thinking a lot about this and I think realistically there’s a second, probably individual rikishi ranking that comes out of this type of methodology, and measures individual accomplishment based on strength of schedule.

      You raise good points about the points system, but I think just like the yusho is only accessible to some rikishi (though it would have been interesting to see how this dynamic changes if Aoiyama did the impossible), special prizes are also only accessible to certain folks. I also think it’s right to give more points for the Juryo yusho at J3 (for example) than a 4-11 or even an 8-7 at M14. Winning a division is a bigger achievement IMHO, but it’s possible that we can even that out by awarding the same amount of points for special prize as juryo yusho.

      Really what we were looking for here was: who’s got the most folks where and what have they actually done as a body of work? What direction are they moving? I accept there may be some correlation in ranking/result but I would reject double counting. We know that if you’re ranked between M4 and M1 there’s a good chance it’s not going to go well but if you are ranked there and it DOES go well, you should deserve some additional points on the board and certainly more than if you are ranked M7 and you get a kachi-koshi.

    • FWIW, the ELO approach has been used successfully by various people for a long time (since pre-SumoDB days), so it’s definitely useful for calculating rikishi performance ratings. I’m less convinced that it’ll work for doing heya stats using your proposed averaging method, but I have some reservations about the usefulness of aggregated heya data to begin with, so I’m probably not the best person to judge that.


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