Nagoya Wrap-up and Predictions

The upper ranks

There will be no changes in the composition of the Yokozuna, Ozeki or Sekiwake ranks, and at Komusubi we will exchange 10-5 M3 Takakeisho for Shohozan, who took a 3-12 beating. I assume that Kakuryu’s 3-3-9 record will keep him on the East side ahead of 3-1-11 Hakuho. By winning their senshuraku bout, Goeido ensured that he will stay on the East side and keep Takayasu on the West side of the banzuke.

Will 8-7 East Sekiwake Ichinojo trade places with 13-2, yusho-winning West Sekiwake Mitakeumi? Prior to 2007, this would have been a no-brainer. The banzuke committee reshuffled the Sekiwake ranks after each basho based on performance, just like they do now with the Yokozuna and Ozeki. But starting in 2007, an 8-7 East Sekiwake has never been moved to the West side in favor of a better-performing West Sekiwake. Of course, in that time we haven’t seen a West Sekiwake performance quite like this one! The closest parallel was last March, when in the middle of his Ozeki run, Takayasu went 12-3 at S1w and was ranked at the same position the following tournament despite outperforming then-S1e Tamawashi (8-7) by four wins.

The new joi

Yutakayama, Ikioi and Kaisei will find themselves at the top of the maegashira ranks in September. It’s hard to know where to draw the joi boundary these days, given the frequent absences in the upper ranks. In Nagoya, M4e Kaisei faced all the key San’yaku rikishi who were still around, and while the bouts against top-ranked opponents thinned out from there, they extended all the way down to M6w Chiyotairyu. By the stricter definition, the new joi should also include Chiyotairyu, Shodai, Chiyonokuni and Endo, while the looser definition would add Abi, Myogiryu, Onosho, Asanoyama and Kagayaki. There’s more reshuffling than turnover in this group, with the only newcomers to the top 12 being Yutakayama, Myogiryu, Onosho and Asanoyama, who take the places of promoted Takakeisho and underperforming or injured Kotoshogiku, Daishomaru, and Yoshikaze.

The bottom of the banzuke

Speaking of Yoshikaze, his last-gasp victories on the final two days should be just enough to keep him in the top division! He should share the bottom rung of the banzuke with Ishiura, who pulled off a similar escape act. Victories by both men mean that Arawashi’s final-day victory was too little, too late, and he should occupy the top rung in Juryo at Aki. He’ll be sharing it with Aminishiki, whose chance to yet again beat his own record for the oldest age of return to Makuuchi evaporated with his senshuraku loss and victories by both Yoshikaze and Ishiura.

To recap, it should be 3 up, 3 down (and no epic churn, sorry Bruce ;) ). Takanoiwa and Kotoyuki return to the top division, along with newcomer Takanosho, while Arawashi will be joined in Juryo by Makuuchi debutants Meisei and Kotoeko, who need to regroup after a rough introduction to the top division.

As usual, I will have a full banzuke prediction post up sometime in the next couple of weeks, once I’ve had a chance to fully digest the results, so don’t forget to check the blog even between the basho :)

22 thoughts on “Nagoya Wrap-up and Predictions

    • You can, of course, but other than Aminishiki, there aren’t any even borderline promotion candidates in Juryo. The next-best combination of rank and record belongs to Yago, and it would take real carnage in Makuuchi to promote a 10-5 J8. The only way for there to be more movement is if we see multiple Makuuchi retirements. There just aren’t going to be many promotions when the top 4 ranks in Juryo all went make-koshi.

      • I think Yago will find himself at J2 or thereabouts for Aki, look for a blistering performance that may possibly elevate him to Makuuchi! his sumo is going from strength to strength at a realistic pace so fingers crossed. that said, i hope for a return of our berserker ;-) and a definitely stronger Kyokutaisei – he may have ended up a bit shell shocked but he’ll learn from his 2nd top level experience.

  1. Personally I’m happy Ishiura will very likely remain in the makuuchi devision. We’ve got enough big bad monsters in the top division already, it’s always refreshing to watch the little guy battle it out with guys twice the size of him. Speaking about big and bad, Chiyomaru needs to recover from his now 3 consecutive losing records and step up his sumo a bit. Same goes for Abi, him being successful is so important for the future of Sumo.
    I predict Takakeisho having a hard time at Komusubi next basho with all the top rikishi coming back but I hope to be positively surprised.

    • I’m hopeful that Takakeisho’s chest-to-chest oshi win over Asanoyama heralds an expansion of his core repertoire beyond wave-action tsuppari and dodge+slapdown. (Onosho is more advanced on that front though.) I’ve heard it suggested that Takakeisho’s arms might be a little too stumpy for effective yotsu-zumo…

      • You can’t wrestle on the belt if you can’t each the belt. According to the database Takakeisho has recorded a grand total of 2 yorikiri wins in his pro career. And one of those was his final day win over Asanoyama which looked a dubious kimarite call by the guys in the booth.

        • Weird. Takakeisho’s left hand brushed Asanoyama’s belt but there was no grip; his right hand was on Asanoyama’s thigh. How is that not oshidashi?

          • Maybe the video judges had gone for a bathroom break and left the work experience boy in charge. I must admit that I didn’t notice the error until I looked up Takakeisho’s stats. Then I went back to watch the video and was pretty startled. There is no imaginable definition of yorikiri that covers that technique. The next time that my cat Bob jumps up on the bed and I push him off I’m claiming yorikiri: and cats don’t wear belts (generally).

            • What is the exact definition of yorikiri, by the way? I heard that it was about the belt but I’ve seen plenty of times when the pushing guy didn’t have his hands on the belt, just wrapped generally around the rikishi, called as yori-kiri. E.g. what Harumafuji did to Goeido last Aki.

              • Yorikiri is a frontal force-out with close body contact, as opposed to oshidashi, frontal push-out, with hand contact. Yorikiri does not require a belt grip; see, e.g., many of Kotoshogiku’s gaburi wins. I just rewatched it, and I think the Takakeisho kimarite call was correct.

              • Opinion would seem to be divided on the matter. NHK tells us that it involves a belt grip but then adds an appendix which says that what Kotoshogiku does also counts. Most other online sources mention a belt grip. What is the kimarite Gospel?

              • A google translate on the the Japanese WP article makes it all crystal clear:

                Crocodile (choppy) is one of the hands of sumo wrestling. A technique that puts your opponent outside the doors while advancing in front or side by bringing their bodies into close contact with their opponents as they are in a quadruped position. It is one of the most obvious decisions to see. Even in the case of getting off the helmet, when you release the hand from the spinning side, you have to settle by pushing the breast.

                Errrm, so to win by yorikiri you chop your crocodile, push the breast, and get your helmet off. Got that?

              • Can we call it the crocodile🐊 rock then? I believe we already have a theme 🎶 to play thanks to Elton John every time the move is performed as you’ve outlines 😉

    • I don’t really see the importance of Abi for the future of sumo. It was fun to watch when he entered Makuuchi and he always has high fighting spirits, but his sumo is so one dimensional, that it grows old really fast.
      This last basho he beat Kaisei by Henka, an injured Kakuryu right before he pulled of, Shohozan, Yoshikaze and Shodai, who all weren’t there this tournament and Aoiyama on final day in a match that meant nothing. Not a single quality win. He has to improve a lot to mean anything for the future of sumo. Not saying it’s impossible, but there hasn’t been much development yet in the short time he is around.


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