Nagoya ’18 Banzuke Crystal Ball

Meisei_banzuke

Don’t want to wait for the official banzuke announcement on June 25th? The Crystal Ball is here to give you a good idea of how it’s likely to play out.

Upper San’yaku

Y1

Kakuryu

Hakuho

Y2

Kisenosato

O1

Goeido

Takayasu

O2

Tochinoshin

Natsu saw Kakuryu take the yusho, Hakuho put up a creditable performance, and Kisenosato sit out. As a result, there is no change in the Yokozuna rankings. Goeido at least showed up, unlike Takayasu, and as a result, he takes over the O1e slot, with the shin-Ozeki Tochinoshin entering the upper ranks at O2e.

Lower San’yaku

S

Ichinojo

Mitakeumi

K

Tamawashi

Shohozan

Ichinojo did just enough at 8-7 to stay at Sekiwake, and Tochinoshin’s promotion allows him to move over to the East side. Mitakeumi moves up to West Sekiwake. Both Komusubi slots are open, one by promotion and the other by demotion, and should go to M1e Tamawashi and M2e Shohozan, the two highest-ranked maegashira to earn winning records.

Upper Maegashira

M1

Shodai

Chiyonokuni

M2

Kotoshogiku

Ikioi

M3

Abi

Kaisei

M4

Kagayaki

Takakeisho

M5

Daishomaru

Yoshikaze

Due to the depletion of the San’yaku ranks by injury, everyone ranked in this part of the banzuke at Natsu took a turn in the meat grinder. Most actually held up pretty well, with Tamawashi and Shohozan earning San’yaku promotions, and 5 others (in bold) holding on to the upper maegashira ranks. M3e Daieisho and M4e Chiyotairyu only managed 5 and 6 wins, respectively, and will fall out of this group. Falling the hardest will be M3w Yutakayama, who could only eke out 2 wins in his first tournament in the joi.

The opposite outcome in this games of chutes and ladders belongs to Chiyonokuni, who earned 12 victories from M11w and whom I have moving all the way up to M1w. His career-high rank, M1e, was at Natsu 2017, and ended in a 2-13 beating, from which it took him a year to work his way back. Taking lesser jumps up the banzuke are those from the mid-maegashira ranks with positive records (in italic): Kagayaki, Takakeisho, Daishomaru, and Yoshikaze.

Mid-Maegashira

M6

Chiyotairyu

Takarafuji

M7

Daieisho

Endo

M8

Chiyoshoma

Kyokutaisei

M9

Myogiryu

Onosho (J)

M10

Chiyomaru

Aoiyama

M11

Nishikigi

Sadanoumi

Being in this relatively safe part of the banzuke represents a promotion for Kyokutaisei, Myogiryu, Aoiyama, Nishikigi, and Sadanoumi and a demotion for Chiyotairyu, Daieisho, Endo, and Chiyomaru. Chiyoshoma and Takarafuji are treading water. Takarafuji, in particular, is forecast to benefit from good banzuke luck and hold on to his ranking at M6w despite a losing 7-8 record. He should be demoted, but the three guys I have ranked right below him all had worse make-koshi records and receive fairly lenient demotions as it is. Also making his Makuuchi return here is recent mainstay Onosho, who we hope continues his rapid re-ascent of the rankings.

Lower Maegashira

M12

Kotoeko (J)

Arawashi

M13

Asanoyama

Yutakayama

M14

Tochiozan

Okinoumi

M15

Ryuden

Hokutofuji

M16

Ishiura

Meisei (J)

Here we have the second-strongest promotion candidate from Juryo, Kotoeko, making his Makuuchi debut after narrowly missing out in the previous tournament. Kotoeko, 26, started in sumo in 2007, under a name which I kinda wish he’d kept just so we could listen to announcers trying to get it right—Kotokashiwadani. He’s been in Juryo for the past 12 tournaments.

The only Makuuchi holdover in this group with a kachi-koshi is Tochiozan, who moves up from M15e to M14e after going 8-7. Arawashi and Asanoyama each went 7-8 and get minimal demotions due to good banzuke luck, Yutakayama lands here after plummeting down the banzuke, while Okinoumi and, especially, the trio of Ryuden, Hokutofuji, and Ishiura are lucky to remain in the top division.

I have the last spot going to another rikishi making his Makuuchi debut—Meisei—who takes the place of Takekaze, the last man I have going down to Juryo. Meisei is only 22, having started in sumo in 2011. He’s had 7 fairly strong consecutive tournaments in Juryo, going 9-6, 9-6, 9-6, 7-8, 8-7, 7-8, and 10-5, so hopefully he’ll be ready for his first taste of the big leagues.

17 thoughts on “Nagoya ’18 Banzuke Crystal Ball


  1. I expect that Sir. Tochinoshin will be ranked as O2w following past precedent to keep the east and west side balanced with the same number of Rikishi. See Aki 2014 for one example.


  2. I hope Endo can heal up and return to San’yaku soon. Chiyonokuni is going to be in for a very hard tournament in July, I wonder if he will be able to keep his rank.


    • Endo has a high chance of going the way of Kisenosato. He has an injury that requires surgery and, apparently, he’s decided not to have the surgery done.


      • It is emotionally difficult to press the “Like” button, so I won’t. But the Endo comment is Spot On. Sadly. Sumo is difficult enough with two biceps.


  3. am thrilled with the crystal ball positions of Yoshikaze and Kyokutaisei – fingers crossed!


    • It seems like a very favorable banzuke overall. Nobody gets promoted less or demoted more than they “should” based on their records, and quite a few rikishi do better than that. Perhaps because Tochinoshin’s promotion allowed everyone to move up half a rank “for free”?


  4. I follow a guy called Niichan on Twitter, who also makes banzuke predictions. He placed Tochinoshin at O1, and explained that although it’s customary for shin-ozeki to be O2, in this case the existing Ozeki are both kadoban while he had a very good record in Natsu, so he expects him to be placed above them.


    • There are a few Tochinoshin boosters who have pre-promoted him to “most serene dai-Oyokozuna” who somehow even outranks the exalted Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan. Time will tell, and we will watch with great interest.


      • Well, I tend to take that guy seriously. He’s the one who explained the reason for the exposed shoulder when tsukebito hand chikara-mizu to the wrestler when there is no kachi-nokori, and recommended sumo books to me. He is also the one who predicted it would be Amakaze who would drop to makushita last basho, and explained why. Of course, the decision whether to prefer custom or results is a matter of debate among the shimpan, not a rule, but I would not dismiss the idea as just a “fan’s wishful thinking”.


        • Who else other than Amakaze could they possibly have dropped to makushita there? Anyone with half a clue about banzuke-making knew that was going to happen, so that’s hardly an indication of particular expertise.

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