Ichinojo in the joi?

Just a quick observation. The joi denotes the top group of rikishi comprising the San’yaku (named ranks) and the top maegashira who face the San’yaku. Given that the basho is 15 days long, this group numbers 16 active wrestlers. “Active” is the key here. In recent years, when everyone has been healthy, the San’yaku has usually numbered 11 rikishi, so the top 5 maegashira, M1e-M3e, would make up the rest of the joi. When someone had to pull out, lower-ranked rikishi got pulled up to face the top-rankers.

This brings us to Aki. As everyone knows, 3 of the Yokozuna pulled out before the start of the basho, lowering the San’yaku number to 8 and extending the joi boundary down to M4w (Ura). Ura, of course, also had to withdraw, as did Takayasu and Terunofuji. Even with Aoiyama’s (ill-advised?) return, this leaves only 13 of the top 19 ranks active, and calls for 3 more wrestlers to get pulled up to face the San’yaku.

Which brings us to the title of this post. Guess who is number 22? None other than the gentle giant, Ichinojo. If my math is right, he will soon be facing the likes of Harumafuji, Goeido, and Mitakeumi. This should be…interesting. Of course, the makers of the torikumi could pull up other, lower-ranked rikishi to share the burden, but usually they just go with the next guy by rank, and Ichinojo has a good-enough record at the moment that he is definitely in the line of fire.

I’m curious whether and at what point some of the 6-1 and 5-2 guys from lower down the banzuke get brought up to face tougher competition if they keep hanging around at or near the top of the leaderboard, though this likely won’t be until the last couple of days of the basho. It is interesting to note that current co-leaders Daieisho and Daishomaru are from the same heya and can’t face each other.

5 thoughts on “Ichinojo in the joi?

  1. We are in bizzaro land with this basho, I am guessing if the sub M8 guys are still in competition for the yusho by day 10, they will start facing the san’yaku.

  2. Taking the last point about low-ranked wrestlers with good records, there does not seem to be any hard or fast rule on this one. Last November Ishiura was allowed to run up a mark of 10-1 against other low ranked wrestlers and even then it was Ikioi (M8) who ended his streak. In 2014 Ichinojo got to 9-1 before he was matched against Kisenosato (and won).

    Those are two examples that stick in my head as the wrestlers involved were making their debuts. As Daieisho and Daishomaru both have a fair amount of experience I would guess the move up would come sooner for them. If either of them gets to 8-1 I think they would go up against sanyaku opposition.

    If only we could get the 2014 Ichinojo back; he was a match for anyone in the division. Maybe his coach could whisper in his ear before each bout that the opponent just said something nasty about his mum.

  3. Another factor in the torikumi decisions now is Harumafuji. Guessing by the decision to throw the poor Aoiyama at him right now, the schedulers intend to give the Yokozuna a light schedule to ensure that he gets his kachi-koshi safe and early before they have to match him up with Sanyaku again.

    So I think they’ll avoid pairing him with Dai{shomaru,eisho}, just in case, and pair them with the likes of Tamawashi. Or if they want to make it interesting, with Goeido and Onosho.

    Now, Ichinojo is a good question. It would seem that he’s a good candidate for Yokozuna fodder under these conditions. Only… he already has two kinboshi from Harumafuji. That’s playing with fire. So the real question is – who do they feed to the Yokozuna?

  4. Just back from a weeks holiday and catching up on Aki. Can anyone fill me in with what’s been happening?

    • Hahahahaha. Haha. Hah.

      (Not laughing at you, of course)

      Moti has been calling in Wacky Aki. You should honestly just watch every day on YT to catch up because telling the story would take out most of the fun. More injuries, weird leader board, bizarre upsets, even more bizarre finishes.

      And then, all of a sudden, normal sumo resumed. Last few days have been normal. Maegashira and a henka-Goeido in contention.


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