Bruce’s Aki Banzuke Comments


With the publication of the Aki banzuke, it’s looks that the Aki basho will feature another circus of injuries, and another shining opportunity for the up and coming rikishi to further their advances. Some comments on the banuke

  • Takayasu: Ozeki 1 East – The only healthy Ozeki now the lead man for the group, with both Terunofuji and Goeido kadoban and at risk of demotion.
  • Yoshikaze;  Sekiwake West – There was a big question on who would get Sekiwake, and now we know that the Berserker is out man. He joins Mitakeumi in the toughest rank in sumo.
  • Kotoshogiku: Maegashira 1 West – Tough to think of the former Ozeki now down with the rank and file, but he continues to under perform. We hope he retires soon with some dignity remaining.
  • Onosho: Maegashira 3 East – Hoo boy! Onosho now has his chance to mix it up with the big men of sumo. I am sure he is going to get pounded into the clay, but it will be interesting if he can make a showing as strong as Ura’s
  • Ura: Maegashira 4 West – Losing just a single slot, moving from East to West, Ura is once again possibly going to face some punishing rounds in the joi. With his Nagoya injuries possibly still not quite healed, he needs to be careful.
  • Endo: Maegashira 14 East – Dropping 11 slots from Maegashira 3, Endo’s injury plagued Nagoya performance has given him a brutal boot to his pride.
  • Wakaichiro: Jonidan 4 East – Our favorite Jonidan rikishi now sits near the top of the division. A winning record will propel him up to the next higher division (Sandanme) for the Kyushu basho in November.

Video / Audio podcast later today fans, lets get ready for Aki!

15 thoughts on “Bruce’s Aki Banzuke Comments

  1. Does anyone here use the mobile app for sumo, the Grand Sumo app? In it, Wakaichiro is listed as being from Nagasaki, and that his real name is Ichiro Yangu. Anyone know what this is all about?

    • I do use that app. So Ken Young aka Wakaichiro aka Ken Ichiro Young was indeed born in Nagasaki Japan to an American father and a Japanese mother. For much of his life he has lived in the United States, and has lived in Texas. He has maintained ties to his Japanese family, and from what I can gather, visited them as frequently as possible.

      When he decided to enter the world of sumo, he was technically Japanese by birth, and so did not count as a foreigner in terms of the Sumo Kyokai. So his name Ken Ichiro Young was converted to Waka (New / Young) Ichiro, and his shusshin listed as Nagasaki. Does that help?

      • Was he really born in Japan? My impression from early coverage of his entry into ozumo was that he’s US-born, but now that I’m reviewing it, it wasn’t said explicitly either way so I dunno.

        • So I apologize – some of that information may have come from speaking with him directly. If any of it is wrong, I blame only myself for the mistake. I did get a chance to talk to him in Tokyo in May, and he is a genuinely nice guy.

        • Don’t get me wrong Bruce, I genuinely don’t know for sure, and I figured you might have first-hand information from him so I asked.

          • I think this is an interesting case of the ambiguity of “出身”. Instead of birthplace, this can be translated as where you’re “from” that in English and Japanese both seems more ambiguous. Kisenosato was born in Hyogo but lists his shusshin as Ibaraki. I was born in one city but moved 6 months later. As a military brat it’s harder to pin down where I am “from” or where I was raised some we moved so much. I claim Pinehurst though I didn’t live there until I was 12 and in middle school. Anyway, the word 出身 seems to convey more ambiguity than 出生地.

          • Yeah, Chiyo(no)o is another case like Kise – born in Okinawa, but has chosen to be “from” Kagoshima where he only went to high school. In a way it’s actually more like the concept of “representing [country X]” from international sport, although that notion really doesn’t have much of a use in modern pro sumo. (On the other hand, in the really old days of provincial daimyo serving as patrons of sumotori…)

            And all that is complicated by the Japanese koseki system, which can mean that a rikishi may well decide to have a listed shusshin that’s neither his birthplace nor a long-time place of residence, but simply where his family is from. That’s effectively what might be the case with Wakaichiro if he’s in fact born in the States. I’m still curious if he is, though. :)

          • And that reminds me…one odd thing I’ve noticed in amateur sumo is in the Japanese “national Olympics”, the Kokutai. The kids in the under-18 sumo competition all seem to represent their actual home prefecture, even if they’re going to high school in a completely different one (usually to train in one of the big sumo programs like Saitama Sakae’s), while the university students in the senior competition are invariably representing the prefecture their university is located in. Not sure if that’s a Kokutai rule, or if high schoolers simply can’t legally change their place of residence…

        • Well, Musashigawa has another USA-shushin rikishi, Musashikuni. Hatsu dohyo in 2013. So by the current rules they could not have accepted Wakaichiro if he was born in the USA. The foreigner cap is not decided by the fuzzy rules of shushin, right? So my guess is that he was actually born in Nagasaki.

          • Wakaichiro has dual citizenship, as far as I know. He could declare himself non-Japanese for shusshin purposes if he wanted to (other guys have*), but being a Japanese citizen they can’t legally require him to do so. As the child of a Japanese woman he’s eligible to be “from” Japan, no matter where he was born.

            * Kotoanbai recently, for instance:

            (And I just realized I screwed up in my reference to Chiyonoo – he’s actually from Kagoshima and attended school in Okinawa, not the other way around.)

        • Regarding the dual citizenship, this is only possible because he is under 21. By the time he reaches the age of 21, he’ll need to make a choice, at least as far as I know the current Japanese law.

          I suppose he can declare himself a tamago zushi for shusshin purposes (seems that the rule is fuzzy enough). But the question was whether or not he was born in Japan, and I think having another foreign-born in the same heya, unless that foreigner is using a fuzzy shusshin, is a good indication that he was.

          Then again, I suppose we can just ask him.

          • As far as I know the Japanese government doesn’t actually chase after dual-nationality people to confirm that they’ve dropped their other citizenship, so unless somebody draws attention to himself by flaunting his dual status it’s relatively easy to keep both even after age 20.

            And for sure the Kyokai has no interest in doing it. As far as they’re concerned, Wakaichiro is Japanese then, now and forever, unless he specifically declares not to be so any longer. And even then they might still treat him as Japanese for slot purposes, because that’s what he came in as. (After all, that’s how they treat foreigners now.)


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