Natsu Wrap-up and Nagoya Forecast

Upper San’yaku

Kakuryu added to his Yokozuna bonafides with his second consecutive yusho, his 5th overall. He has to be the early yusho favorite going into Nagoya. Hakuho showed some rust and was clearly fighting at less than 100%, but nevertheless stayed in yusho contention until the penultimate day. I hope that we see a stronger and more motivated dai-Yokozuna in Nagoya. Whither Kisenosato? Who knows.

Both of the current Ozeki will be kadoban in Nagoya, Takayasu after sitting out the entire tournament and Goeido after withdrawing on Day 9 with a 3-5 record. We can only hope that they will be sufficiently recovered from their injuries to attempt to achieve the 8 wins they need to maintain their rank. And of course, the big news of the basho is that we will have a third Ozeki, Tochinoshin!

Lower San’yaku

Ichinojo did just enough to defend his Sekiwake rank, and Mitakeumi will join him after recording 9 wins. Nagoya will be Mitakeumi’s 9th consecutive tournament in San’yaku, and will mark his return to sumo’s third-highest rank, which he held for 5 straight basho before Natsu.

The Komusubi ranks were determined on the final day, and should go to M1e Tamawashi and M2e Shohozan. Tamawashi has been a San’yaku regular in recent years, and only bad banzuke luck kept him in the maegashira ranks for Natsu. Shohozan will match his highest career rank, which he previously held 4 times, most recently in 2014. Both men had to overcome tough starts, which is typical for the upper maegashira ranks: Tamawashi needed to win his final 5 bouts to achieve kachi-koshi, while Shohozan won 6 of his last 7.

Upper Maegashira

Narrowly missing out on promotion in a final-day de facto play-off with Tamawashi was Shodai, who should hold the top maegashira slot in Nagoya. He will be joined in the joi by M11 Chiyonokuni, who’ll make a huge leap up the banzuke after his best-ever 12-3 tournament. His previous trip to the top of the maegashira ranks resulted in a 2-13 implosion, so hopefully he’s better-equipped to handle that level of competition. Despite their losing records, Abi and Kaisei acquitted themselves well enough for another turn in the meat grinder, and while Kotoshogiku and Ikioi got roughed up after being pressed into joi duty at M5, and did not quite do enough for promotion, their 8-7 records will place them firmly in the joi in Nagoya. With the San’yaku ranks being replenished to ten, the joi line might not extend as far down the banzuke, but standing ready to take their turns if injury strikes are the top performers from the mid-maegashira ranks: Kagayaki, Takakeisho, and Daishomaru.

Lower Maegashira

Makuuchi newcomer and special prize winner Kyokutaisei fought his way out of the M12-M16 danger zone, as did Aoiyama and the habitual basement-dwelling duo of Myogiryu and Nishikigi, who both uncharacteristically earned double-digit victories. Taking another turn in the lower portion of the banzuke are Arawashi, Asanoyama, Sadanoumi, Tochiozan, and Ishiura. They’ll be joined by the worst performers from the mid-maegashira ranks—Okinoumi, Ryuden, and Hokutofuji—as well as by M3 Yutakayama, who predictably got pummeled after jumping 8 ranks into the joi, and who’ll continue his roller-coaster ride by dropping about 10 ranks. Yutakayama fought well despite the heavy loss total, and we can expect a much better performance from him in a more comfortable region of the banzuke.

Promotions and Demotions

Ishiura saved himself with his final-day victory, while Takekaze’s win was too little, too late, and he’ll be returning to Juryo. Daimami lost the elimination bout to Ryuden, and will also be going down. And Aminishiki will be seeing more of today’s Juryo opponent, Takonosho, in Nagoya.

Juryo yusho winner Onosho and runner-up Kotoeko should be ranked fairly high for Juryo promotees on the Makuuchi banzuke in Nagoya, while Meisei should occupy the very last M16w rung (Tochinoshin’s promotion eliminates the M17e rank). Just missing out is Akiseyama, who will have the opportunity to earn his second trip to the top division from J1.

16 thoughts on “Natsu Wrap-up and Nagoya Forecast

  1. thanks to all for an exciting Natsu and thanks to all Tachiai contributors and commenters! ;-)

  2. As a Kakuryu fan, it was hard to see him struggle ever since he was promoted to Yokozuna (I do think he was promoted too early even tho I’m a fan). He was doing an okay job but he almost wasn’t really in contention every basho. When he won that November Yusho during 2016, I thought ‘Wow! This is it! His efforts are being rewarded’ but then 2017 happened and he wasn’t participating in any basho and was in talks of early retirement. And now at 2018, I’m happy he finally gets some spotlight. Sure, there’s no more Harumafuji or Kise to defeat but still he’s showing that he’s rightful to be Yokozuna with 11 wins on the January basho and back to back yusho on March and May.

    • I’m not a Kakuryu fan, but I like his fighting, when he is really there. Unfortunately his Yokozuna run so far was very dissapointing. Too often he wasn’t close to be in contention fo the yusho. Even now like with most of his Yusho, he was heavily favoured by the absence/lack of health by some main contenders.
      But even with the competition relatively shallow this basho, he looked very strong and controlled. Much more stable than in the past. He is currently benefitting from some transition period. But you have to take advantage of that.
      I hope he can build on the confidence from consecutive yushos (and staying healthy I could see one more this year) and become a true Yokozuna. Someone who competetes for the Yusho every basho. Someone who regularly puts up 11 or more wins. Fingers crossed. His style of sumo is interesting for sure.

  3. Just back from holiday so haven’t been commenting so apologies for a few sporadic observations about the last few days:

    In the Tochinoshin v Kakuryu bout, Tochinoshin’s favoured technique was stymied by Kakuryu’s loose mawashi which prevented Tochi from being able to lift him out. Why wouldn’t the gyoji act to tighten the belt in this instance? Kakuryu’s mawashi was also loose v Hakuho the following day.

    Watching back the NHK highlights of day 14 and they were cut off in favour of an Abe / Putin press conference! I wanted Abi, not Abe!!

    Also not wanting to complain too much about NHK who do a great job making sumo available internationally. However I did find it odd that the Hokutofuji v Ryuden match was omitted from the highlights given it was one of the big controversies and taking points of the day. Feels like it was taken out given it didn’t present the sport in a great light.

    Great performance by Tamawashi and Shohozan to come back from their losses in the meat grinder to secure Komosubi promotions. Abi had been the favourite in my book as he had come out of the first week relatively unscathed but was unable to progress from there.

    Nice to see Kotoshogiku looking genki, hope it continues.

    And let’s hope for more genuine three way contests between Kakuryu, Tochinoshin and Hakuho!

  4. A little nervous to see Kisenosato give it a go at Nagoya, hopefully its not the last one. This tournament made me miss Harumafuji. Ikioi fought with a lot of heart, he seemed hurt everyday and to me showed a lot of toughness. Tochinoshiin Yokozuna by new years?

  5. Big thanks to Tachiai team, without your insights, sumo won’t be much of fun for me, a beginner. 15 days of full fights at highest level of their utmost physical ability are very hart, they deserve the biggest applaus. I’d like to wish every fighters to become fit and could prepare in the best way they can, so we will see them all genki in Nagoya again with all 3 Yokosuna and 3 Ozeki.

  6. Tochinoshin is now the third of the brilliant trilogy of European Ozeki, baruto and kotooshu both had what it took to become Yokozuna, but injuries held them back. Will the same happen for tochinoshin before he gets the belt

  7. Belated question. I would have assumed that Tochinoshin would slot in at O2e, But would the other two ozeki being kadoban alter this?

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