Everything You Need to Know After Act One

Kisenosato-Yoshikaze

With Day 5 in the books, the curtain has dropped on Act One of the 2018 Hatsu Basho. We’ve seen some spectacular sumo so far, especially from many of the young up and coming rikishi on the Banzuke’s undercard. Although the Basho may have just begun, already so much has happened. Here is everything you need to know to get you up to speed after Act One.

Yusho Race

While the Hatsu Basho may have just begun and a lot can still change, five days of sumo has whittled the leaderboard down to just four men, all with perfect records going into Act Two. Starting at the bottom, these rikishi are Maegashira 16 Asanoyama, Maegashira 3 Tochinoshin, Sekiwake Mitakeumi, and at the very top and looking unstoppable, Yokozuna Kakuryu. Trailing them with four wins are Daieisho, Kotoyuki, Shohozan, Tochiozan, Chiyoshoma, Endo, Takayasu and Goeido. With so much sumo left the Yusho is just starting to heat up!

Kachi Koshi and Make Koshi

Again, it’s too early to tell who will be leaving Hatsu with their kachi koshi and who won’t, but after five days we have a pack of rikishi who are halfway to their coveted winning record. Asanoyama, Daieisho, Kotoyuki, Shohozan, Tochiozan, Chiyoshoma, Endo, Tochinoshi, Mitakeumi, Takayasu, Goeido, and Kakuryu all have at least four of the necessary eight wins and could pick up their kachi koshi by the end of Act Two. On the other side of the coin, there is a large group of rikishi halfway to receiving a make koshi. Takekaze, Aminishiki, Chiyonokuni, Ikioi, Okinoumi, Chiyotairyu, Ichinojo, and Hokutofuji all ended Act One with four or more losses and will have to get their sumo into top gear if they want to avoid a losing record.

Kinboshi

There have been five kinboshi awarded to Maegashira rikishi so far this Basho. Yokozuna Hakuho gave up kinboshi on Days 3 and 4 to Hokutofuji and Yoshikaze respectively. Kisenosato has relinquished the most kinboshi so far with three, going to Ichinojo on Day 3, Kotoshogiku on Day 4, and Yoshikaze on Day 5. Kakuryu is the only Yokozuna who has not yet caused a zabutan storm at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan.

Kyujo

Since the Tournament opened, only two men have withdrawn from competition. After suffering a defeat on Day 3, former Ozeki Terunofuji went kyujo citing health issues related to diabetes. His Basho may not be over, however, as his medical certificate only recommended take one week off so there is a possibility we will see his return sometime next week. The other man to officially withdraw from the competition was Yokozuna Hakuho, who appears to be suffering from a fractured big toe in addition to other old foot injuries. Fans will remember that these are the same injuries that caused him to miss the 2017 Haru Basho. There is a possibility that another two men will join the kyujo list by days end. Uncle Sumo Aminishiki’s participation tomorrow is questionable after he hit the clay hard during his bout with Chiyonokuni. The veteran rikishi has well-known knee issues, and needed assistance to leave the dohyo. The other man who may forgo competition tomorrow is Yokozuna Kisenosato, who after five days only has one win. With every loss he draws closer to a make koshi, which for a Yokozuna is extremely taboo, and Kisenosato will most likely pull out before that happens. We will have a better idea of their status this evening.

Update: Both Kisenosato and Aminishiki have officially withdrawn from competition, bringing the total number of kyujo rikishi up to four. However, depending on the severity of Aminishiki’s injury, we may see him make a return later on in the Basho.

The stage is set for Act Two, and the playing field is wide open. The next two acts look like they are going to be some of the best sumo we’ve seen in a while, and a great way to start 2018!

16 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know After Act One

    • Oh boy, that guy is determined! I wonder if the tumble he took of the dohyo today will make him rethink things a bit…

      Kise definitly has the heart of a Yokozuna, I just wish he had the body of one too.

      • I think Kisenosato is just being realistic. The injury probably isn’t hurting that much any more but the botched attempt to fight himself healthy means that he has a permanent weakness in his upper left quadrant. What we are seeing is the best we are likely to see. The authority like him because he is a great role model who puts bums on seats (or cushions). Kisenosato’s decision to fight on looks like his way of saying the powers that be “I just can’t do this anymore: please retire me”.

  1. Since I can’t resist looking up stats on past bashos, I thought I’d take a look at kinboshi numbers.

    Kyushu 2017 had six. Hatsu 2017 had seven. For more than that, you have to go back to Natsu 1956, in which Yokozunas Yoshibayama, Tochinishiki, Kagamisato, and Chiyonoyama collectively gave away *ten* kinboshi.

  2. Among the rikishi who already have at least four losses, the schedule from here on out should get a little kinder to Hokutofuji, Ichinojo, and Chiyotairyu…

    • Unless his confidence (or health) have been shaken, I expect Hokutofuji is about to rattle off a lot of wins. He looked good in all his defeats, he just ran into very high-caliber performances.

      (I hope!)

      • Barring injury, I would be shocked if Hokutofuji ends up with less than 8 wins. He has a great combination of toughness, skill and intelligence. Once he finds the ideal style of sumo for him (at some point he’s gonna deliver some high quality yotsu zumo, I think), he’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with. I’m predicting he’s an Ozeki by the end of 2019.

  3. I think Hakuho went kujio because he is tired of the unfairness of the members of the Sumo association,tired of a clearly hostile public without counting the death threats.I do not like what I see happening!

    • Very interesting, I’m not familiar with any of this, it’s all news to me. Is there more information on this anywhere?

  4. KIse doesn’t surprise me. He was instructed to come back when ready to compete for 15 days. By showing up on Day 1 he “agreed” to the 15, and unless he sustains a new and serious injury, I expect him to stay and end with the record he gets.

    There is only one honorable way to continue his career beyond January. He’s going for do or die. I hope he can pull off the miracle.

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