When Sumo Takes A Breather

Utagawa Hiroshige-Night Snow at Kambara,

After the intensity of 2018, fans may find themselves suddenly going cold-turkey on sumo news.  The thing to note is that during this time of year, there are a handful of jungyo stops, and then everyone takes a breather prior to the release of the banzuke on Christmas Day. The team at Tachiai will scrounge, as always, for any rumblings in the sumo world, but for the most part the news-makers are out of sight and not up to anything obvious.

Many rikishi take a block of time off during this period (especially once jungyo finishes) to spend time with families during the New Years break.  Some of the foreign-born rikishi may take trips back to their home country for a visit, too.

So never fear, dear readers! While it may be a quiet time for sumo news, Team Tachiai is still here, and we will share anything that comes to light. But expect light coverage for the next three weeks or so.

12 thoughts on “When Sumo Takes A Breather


  1. How about some 2019 predictions to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

    Here are mine:

    Yokozuna retirements: Kisenosato
    Yokozuna promotions: none
    Yusho winners: Hakuho (2), Kakuryu (2), Takayasu (1), Onosho (1)
    Ozeki demotions: Tochinoshin (really hope this doesn’t happen, but I’m worried injuries might catch up with him)
    Ozeki promotions: Takakeisho
    Sanyaku regulars: Onosho, Hokutofuji, Mitakeumi
    Rising up the banzuke: Ura
    Falling down the banzuke: Ichinojo
    Retirements: Takekaze, Terunofuji

    Any one else fancy joining in with some wild speculation?!


    • Sir I accept the challenge:

      Yokozuna retirements: Kisenosato, Kakuryu
      Yokozuna promotions: none
      Yusho winners: Hakuho (2), Takayasu (1), Takakeisho (1), Tochinoshin (1), Mitakeumi (1)
      Ozeki demotions: Goeido
      Ozeki promotions: Takakeisho
      Sanyaku regulars: Mitakeumi, Ichinojo, Tamawashi
      Rising up the banzuke: Tomokaze
      Falling down the banzuke: Abi
      Retirements: Yoshikaze, Ikioi,

      Go on, I’ve been fiddling about with this for ages, so I’ll let it stand.


      • tigerboy
        i mostly concur with your well considered predictions

        exceptions are- goeido will stay ozeki
        ikioi will keep going

        let’s hope lovable yoshikaze hangs it up
        he’s already injured more than enough


      • Tigerboy – if you’re right about the number of yusho winners it’s going to be an interesting year!

        I agree with wuli about Goeido, he’s a very wily operator in terms of maintaining his rank – eg henka-ing his way to a kachikoshi last basho before withdrawing. Ultimately though the criteria for maintaining the Ozeki rank are so generous that it will in all likelihood come down to who (if anyone) gets a bad injury.

        I agree that Yoshikaze and Ikioi both have to be in the retirement watch list. And we haven’t mentioned Aminishiki who I think may hang in there for another year!


        • Kakuryu, much as I love him and his smart, smooth and elegant style of sumo is 4 years past the median retirement age for a modern yokozuna and his chronic injury problems aren’t going to get any better. 2018 was his Waterloo Sunset: he got the two yusho which will see him remembered as a “solid” yokozuna who maintained the dignity of the rank. He seems like a calm, logical and intelligent man and I think that at some point in 2019 he will sit down, measure his potential future gains against the long-term injury risks and decide that it’s time to go.


    • So I will add my predictions too.

      Yokozuna retirements: Kisenosato
      Yokozuna promotions: Takayasu
      Yusho winners: Hakuho (2), Takayasu (2), Kakuryu (1), Other (1) (my pick would be Mitakeumi, but who wants to promise that Ichinojo isn’t sleep walking down to M10 before rising again)
      Ozeki demotions: none
      Ozeki promotions: none
      Sanyaku regulars: Mitakeumi, Takakeisho
      Rising up the banzuke: Tomokaze, Toyonoshima&Aminishiki return to Makuuchi, asanoyama will make next step, Endo may reach a Sanyaku spot again, but won’t retain
      Falling down the banzuke: Miyogiryu&Tochiozan will M10 or less by the end of the year
      Retirements: Arawashi is limping for the better part of this year and doesn’t seem to improve

      I expect January tournament to have a better attendance of top ranks … if it’s as thin as Kyushuu, then Takakeisho can clinch Ozeki, if not his run will come to an halt. He may start a second run towards the end of the year.
      Takayasu (barring injuries) will have a year like Kisenosato on 2016, only that due to the absence of the Yokozuna for a good part of the year, he will have no trouble clinching to Yusho and a few Jun-yusho.
      Kisenosato will retire by the time his stablemate gets promoted.
      Tochinoshin and Goeido will hang on through the year, but we may see Tochinoshin Kadoban multiple times. I think his reign as Ozeki ends in 2020, when the young guard will finally take over.
      Giku could retire after Kyushuu next year. I’m sure he will do it at home.

      Onosho will be the black horse, but I think he is still regaining his health, so I see him bounce up and down a bit this year, while regaining his form and broadening his arsenal. He may not be a regular, but I’m sure he will be in Sanyaku by the end of the year.

      Nishikigi will be the surprise of the year, as he manages to hang around the top Maegashira ranks.

      Hokutofuji and Yutakayama will need this year to both find their genki and the right balance in their sumo. Both will bounce up and down the banzuke in Ikioi-style.

      I think neither Kakuryu nor Hakuho will retire before the olympics, unless they break a hip or something worse. After that I agree with tigerboy, that Kakuryu will bid his farewell and Hakuho may as well do so.

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