Haru Story #1: New Faces in Makuuchi

Hello sumo fans! The 2019 Haru Basho in Osaka is just two weeks away, and there are several big stories to talk about before March 10th arrives. In this video, I briefly go over each of the new (and old) faces who will be joining Makuuchi for Haru.

The top division is getting a real shot of talent this March, and you won’t want to miss these guys!

Tachiai’s Interactive Banzuke

I’ve been going a little nuts with dashboards lately. I took the new banzuke and through this together last night. This is version 1.0. It currently only has the sekitori, and is in dire need of some TLC to pretty it up, but I thought you may enjoy it. Darker purple on the left side means there are more wrestlers in that heya. I just realized I need to add that legend.

Osaka Banzuke

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll note references Josh makes to several of the heya. There are many stables so the text colors are a bit…busy. But if you click on a heya’s name, it will highlight wrestlers from that Heya. I thought it was interesting to see how many Juryo wrestlers are from Kise beya.

Haru Banzuke Video Podcast

The video edition of the Haru banzuke podcast – It’s an hour of Josh, Andy and Bruce talking the upcoming March basho in Osaka. The team covers the banzuke, some of the more noticeable promotions and demotions, and our world renowned “Genki Report”.

Throwing caution to the wind, the team dives into sumo news, including Takakeisho’s continued bid for Ozeki, Tochinoshin’s kadoban troubles, and the fact that Takayasu is following Kisenosato’s bad habit of collecting too many jun-yusho’s without going all the way.

Yes, it’s true – Andy gets Bruce to express his outrage that the turgid slug Shodai is able to retain his Maegashira 3 rank with a make-koshi.

It’s long – it’s strong, and its here for your enjoyment.

Haru Banzuke Podcast (Audio Only)

Andy, Josh and Bruce discuss the Haru banzuke, and the upcoming tournament in Osaka. At seconds shy of 1 hour long, this is a super-sized podcast of non stop sumo fandom. We cover our favorites, who’s up and who’s down, our world famous “Genki Report”, and our always regrettable projections.

This is the audio version of the video podcast that will be live tomorrow AM US time.

How Did The Crystal Ball Do?

My Haru Banzuke forecast was right on target, if I do say so myself. In the upper ranks, the only deviation from the real thing was that I swapped the two Sekiwake after Tamawashi’s yusho, following what I thought was the precedent set when Mitakeumi and Ichinojo switched sides after the former won the Nagoya basho. Apparently, that was a one-off exception, and Takakeisho stayed on the East side despite finishing behind Tamawashi. Congratulations to Shin-Komusubi Hokutofuji on his sanyaku debut.

I am especially pleased with how close I was in the M1-M6 ranks, as this was a tricky area based on the Hatsu results, with a number of possible solutions. My only error was switching Tochiozan and Shodai at M3w and M4e, and I am beginning to see Bruce’s point about Shodai’s inordinate banzuke luck, as by all rights a 6-9 M1e should have stayed ahead of a 7-8 M3e.

In the M6-M12 ranks, I got a few things wrong. I thought Asanoyama would be promoted a rank after posting an 8-7 winning record at M8w, but (unusually) he was only moved to the East side, with Takarafuji taking the M7w slot instead, and Kotoshogiku filling the vacated slot at M8w. I also had the Ryuden/Yago and Yoshikaze/Chiyonokuni pairs in the wrong order.

In the lower ranks, I correctly called the number (5) and identity of promotions from Juryo. While I had Tomokaze making his debut at M13, I did not move him up quite far enough, as he ended up on the East side, ahead of Kagayaki. I am a bit surprised they let Kotoeko keep his M15w rank despite a 7-8 losing record, when there was room to demote him to M16e. In any case, this bumped Daishoho, not Toyonoshima as I had forecast, into the lowest promotion position. And as predicted, Yutakayama and Chiyoshoma were fortunate to hang on to the bottom two rungs of the Makuuchi ladder.

To sum up, I had the right rank for 33 of the 42 Makuuchi rikishi, and in 26 of these cases, I also forecast the correct side. Most of the misses were by half a rank, with the exception of Takarafuji and Toyonoshima (one rank) and Daishoho (one and a half). This is my best prediction by the total number of correct ranks, if not quite by Guess The Banzuke scoring, and my second top-ten finish in that game.

On to the basho!

Haru Banzuke Weekend!

It’s the weekend that sumo fans have waited 6 weeks for – the time when the banzuke for the upcoming Haru Basho in Osaka is published. We expect it to appear some time around 4:30 PM Eastern US time on Sunday, and we will of course bring you coverage, including one of our world famous Tachiai podcasts.

Our own prognosticator, lksumo, has already gazed into his formula and produced his forecast, but who knows what is actually going to be published?

Leave your forecasts, predictions and wild guesses in the comments.

Learning the Lingo: Episode One

Hello sumo fans! Here is a new series that I hope will be a helpful resource for new sumo followers and a good refresher for longtime fans of the sport of giants. Sumo is a very complex sport it can be easy to get overwhelmed and confused by all the vocabulary. In episode one of Learning the Lingo, I briefly go over and break down five sumo terms including sekitori, hanamichi, and sagari.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to see more of the series, please let me know. As always, thanks so much for watching!