Natsu Banzuke Prediction Postmortem

Natsu 2018 Banzuke

Well, the May tournament rankings are out. As usual, my forecast got a lot right, and some things wrong.

The Hits

I got the composition of the Sanyaku right on the money, and missed only which side the two Komusubi would be ranked on, which was always a tossup (Mitakeumi got the more prestigious East side, although I’m sure Endo is content with finally making it into the named ranks). Similarly, the only discrepancy in the M1-M3 ranks is the side switch between Shohozan and Abi at M2. Tamawashi moves to one rung away from a Sanyaku return, and Kaisei, Abi, Daieisho, and Yutakayama get well-deserved big promotions. It will be interesting to see how Abi and Yutakayama fare in their first tournament in the joi (and Daieisho in his second; his first, exactly a year ago, also at M3e, ended in a 4-11 record).

In total, I predicted 16 of the 42 slots on the banzuke exactly, and for a further 13, I had the rikishi at the correct rank, but on the wrong side. An additional 5 misses were by half a rank (e.g., I had Shodai at M5e, while the official ranking has him at M4w), and 3 were off by one full rank. That accounts for 37 of the 42 slots.

The Misses

In the Haru banzuke, the rikishi who finished at 7-8 in the previous tournament were dropped to a lower numerical rank. My predictions followed that pattern, but the banzuke committee allowed 7-8 Shodai to keep his M4w rank, and merely moved Kagayaki from M8e to M8w, while Yoshikaze, Okinoumi, Chiyonokuni and Ishiura all dropped in rank; hard to see the consistency there.

I knew the M4-M6 area of the banzuke would be difficult to forecast, and so it proved. In addition to keeping Shodai at M4w, which resulted in a lower rank for Ikioi, the committee also switched my rankings of Chiyoshoma (M10e, 9-6) and Chiyotairyu (Ke, 4-11). This resulted in two of my two-rank misses. The other came when the committee moved Aoiyama all the way from M17e to M13w, although he only went 8-7. Perhaps they were giving him credit for his “loss” to Myogiryu on Day 5?

The other big misses came at the bottom of the banzuke. I changed my mind multiple times on the promotion/demotion scenarios. To recap, there were six Makuuchi rikishi who deserved to be demoted, yet only three Juryo men clearly earned promotion. Beyond the obvious three, the banzuke committee opted to demote Onosho, who was kyujo for the whole tournament, yet kept in Makuuchi both Myogiryu and Nishikigi with records that had always resulted in demotion in previous tournaments. The beneficiary of Onosho’s trip to Juryo? Uncle sumo, Aminishiki.

Three rikishi benefiting the most from banzuke luck: Chiyotairyu, Takakeisho, Aoiyama. No rikishi really have a big complaint.


13 thoughts on “Natsu Banzuke Prediction Postmortem

  1. You again show your skill in forecasting this really difficult matter. I think Onosho’s drop to Juryo is going to spell trouble for some folks in sumo’s 2nd division, provided he is healthy now. Abi’s in the thick of the joi now, and I am going to expect a significant pounding from the battle fleet. Looking forward to this tournament!

    Closing question – Will NHK World go live again on day 1?

    • I wouldn’t be surprised the see Onosho really run up the score I’m Juryo, as you say assuming he’s healthy. And I will predict “yes” on the NHK live :)

      • Fun with sumo database

        Since the turn of the century, on 7 occasions a rikishi has been demoted from the top 5 ranks of makuuchi to juryo after posting a 0 win/kyujo tournament, and then returned to fight the next tournament

        on 5 of those 7 occasions they have scored a kachi-koshi and an immediate return, and 4 of those 5 featured 12 wins or better (including 2 yusho)

        small sample size but guys who have his pedigree/experience typically bounce straight back

          • That’s a good catch, so I went back in and expanded the search to capture the next two ranks as well over the past 10 years (so, M1-7).

            It added 2 additional rikishi both coming back from injury who posted 14 win yusho.

            The sample size is obviously too small to be meaningful and you can make stats mean whatever you want, but it is an interesting stat

    • To really surprise me, NHK World could broadcast the whole darn thing…hint, hint, hint It would also be interesting to see if they cover or broadcast some of the lower ranks. There’s sure to be excitement with Onosho in Juryo, and Enho and Ura down in Makushita! I’ve got my fingers crossed that Onosho AND Ura are healthy enough to compete.

        • I don’t think it’s been 6 months already. He had his surgery at the end of December, IIRC. As I recall, we predicted he will not be back before he hits Sandanme. So I’m not holding my breath.

          • I was looking over Tochinoshin’s record last night and noticed he had 3 full basho off before he came back and dominated Makushita and Juryo. So I figured Ura’s return may be close. But, Tochinoshin’s recovery has not been without its hiccups, as well. I hope you are right and Ura and Kisenosato stay home until they’re 100% genki.

            • Remember, though, that Ura did not have the surgery right away. He tried to participate in the jungyo and only after hurting his leg even further did he opt for the surgery. He did it in late December, so he only had two kyujo after it.

              • Thanks for the replies Andy and Herouth. I had also been thinking that an Ura return would be a bit early!

  2. Somehow your Chiyo-no-switcheroo made me smile. Kokonoe oyakata has nothing to complain about (Especially not with Chiyonoumi right at the top of makushita needing only the slightest of kachi-koshi to join the hordes of Kokonoe sekitori).


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