The Rise of Oshi

After these first few days of Hatsu 2019, it seemed like a lot of bouts were being decided as oshidashi, so I thought I’d take a look at how the tournament fits in with the narrative around the declining use of yorikiri/ yoritaoshi to win tournaments and the rising use of oshidashi/oshitaoshi.

I am very tempted to lump the Top 5 throws category in with yorikiri since throws seem, to me, an extension of “belt work”. Similarly, hatakikomi could be a “pusher/thruster” tactic? Anyway, some of the 72 others could also be lumped in with one or the other but decided to just take any kimarite of less than 1% and lump them all into “other”.

It’s clearly too early to say anything about whether 2019 will see this trend continue or anything, but it was very interesting to see just how much things have changed over the past 30 years. It’s also interesting to look at just the sekitori bouts because the data for that in the SumoDB goes back a little further.

Juryo and Makuuchi divisions only

I just wanted to look back to 1985 because that’s the year Back to the Future takes place and it’s a great movie. My theory is, the fall of Communism lead to the collapse of Yorikiri. Then the real estate bubble and Global Financial Crisis lead to a brief bounce in its popularity as Socialist forces mobilized and governments moved again to the Left. After a brief correction due to Angelina Jolie’s leg in 2012, the Yorikiri leftists were on the march again, until 2016 when the world just went ape shit and the oshidashists took over.

Just kidding. It is interesting to see that yorikiri has had a couple of boomlets in these two divisions over the past twenty years. When I looked at just Jonokuchi through Sandanme, however, it looks like yorikiri is coming back in a big way. Again, it’s way to early to really tell…I’m just having a laugh while looking at pretty graphs.

Jonokuchi, Jonidan, and Sandanme divisions only

7 thoughts on “The Rise of Oshi

  1. I had always just assumed that all sumo experts knew it all goes back to the flux capacitor and agelina’s Joilie’s leg

  2. I’m severely disappointed you didn’t mention the affect that Jorts had on this data, Andy. They’re responsible for the plethora of henkas that we see today after all.

  3. Rise of Oshi as the winning kimarite could be attributed, in part, to the fact the Yokozuna and Ozeki (ranks where yotsu ability has often been touted as necessary most often than not) have had injury problems for most of the past 2-3 years.


    Yotsu specialist Kisenosato missing most basho and going intai. Kakuryu missing lots of basho due to injury. Hakuho missing basho due to injury. Harumafuji intai. All of these guys are phenomenal at yotsu zumo.


    Terunofuji falling down the divisions due to injury and health problems. Tochinoshin injury problems. Takayasu and Goeido have had injury problems. Kotoshogiku – though using hip pump over belt work generally – relies largely on yorikiri and has fallen down makuuchi. All of these guys favour yotsu zumo or at least implement it well.

    When more of these rikishi retire, it will be interesting to see whether the expected rise of the oshi favouring tadpoles continues unabated. Or will other yotsu favouring rikishi be able to rise more quickly, without getting regularly beaten by the likes of Hakuho and Kisenosato in the opening week. Ending the week between 2-5 and 0-7 by being comprehensively beaten by yotsu specialists, while they themselves are in the joi, could obviously reduce morale.

    Or maybe it’s none of what I just said haha

    • I think it would be damaging to sumo, though, to end up in a situation where you have yokozuna who are phenomenal at oshi and can produce great numbers based on this ability, but in cases where any opponent is able to grab the mawashi, they look helpless and without options (e.g Takakeisho today once his oshi was shut down at the tachiai).


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.