Haru Juryo Banzuke Forecast

Hidenoumi, Shimanoumi, and Tsurugisho

After I posted my Makuuchi banzuke forecast, Josh asked if I could put together one for Juryo. Sure, I said, not realizing what I was getting myself into. It turns out that the Juryo banzuke is particularly tricky to piece together this time. The reason is that with the (at least) 5 best-performing rikishi being skimmed off to Makuuchi, there are not a lot of good records left in Juryo. Only four additional rikishi managed at least 9 wins, while five went 8-7, and most of these came from way down the rankings. As a result, there will be a lot of good banzuke luck to go around. Here’s my projection, but my confidence in it is not very high:

Green/red: winning/losing records in Juryo. Blue: Makuuchi demotions. Black: Makushita promotions.

Even with 3 top-division wrestlers dropping down to Juryo, and 4 Makushita men coming up, it’s tricky to fill out the remaining 21 ranks without promoting rikishi with losing records, and I wonder if the banzuke commitee might be forced to relax this constraint. To make the banzuke work, I left the 5 rikishi with minimal 7-8 losing records at their current rank, and many of those with 6-9 records only went down a rank. I’ve also made no effort to interleave the Makushita promotions into the ranks, leaving them at the bottom.

Some notable rankings: Shimanoumi and Chiyomaru separated themselves from everyone else, and assuming that the banzuke committee leaves them in Juryo this time, they will be in pole position for promotion with winning records at Haru. Tachiai favorite Enho is projected to receive a generous bump from M8 to M3, and is also in good position to try to earn promotion to the top division. The Makuuchi dropouts—Kotoyuki, Daiamami, and Daishomaru—will be fortunate to be ranked this high, and can keep their visits to Juryo short with strong performances in Osaka.

36 thoughts on “Haru Juryo Banzuke Forecast

  1. Ha – sorry for putting you through this! Much intrigue here – will be interesting to see how closely this resembles the final list

    It’s such a small division that when you get a clustering of results combined with a large amount of turnover, it makes everything a bit tricky. Wouldn’t be surprised if they put Wakamotoharu a little higher, but other than that I don’t know what else really you can do.

    Scheduling is going to be awful what with 3 sets of brothers and a bunch of Kise-beya guys. I wonder if we see more Makuuchi-Juryo cross-pollination than usual

    • I don’t think they schedule across divisions unless there an odd number in Makuuchi, but I could be wrong…and they could also bring up guys from Makushita…

    • Rather than “three sets of brothers”, one should think of them as “Three guys from Arashio beya, three guys from Chiganoura beya, and a set of brothers – one of whom belongs to Kise beya”. Which makes it all even more complicated.

      • Fair enough although if you go that route, then really you’re looking at “three guys from Arashio beya, three guys from Chiganoura beya, four guys from Oitekaze beya, and five guys from Kise beya, and a set of brothers – one of whom belongs to Kise beya and one of whom belongs to Oitekaze beya”

        And then of course you’ll have a Tomozuna pair and a Kokonoe pair

        • If my math is right, a total of 378 pairings is possible in Juryo (28×27/2). 210 bouts need to take place over 15 days (28×15/2). The various heya/family conflicts remove 23 of the possible pairings, so it seems like they shouldn’t complicate scheduling THAT much…

        • Yes, of course. My point was merely that when brothers are members of the same heya, it’s less significant that they are brothers. Hidenoumi and Tobizaru are kind of an anomaly.

          • Yeah, the brothers not being paired against each other rule is usually irrelevant since they almost always are in the same heya. Tobizaru and Hidenoumi are the only exception currently. The fact that so many are from Kise-beya is the real problem, especially since one of those is Hidenoumi, and Tobizaru’s heya, Oitekaze, often has a lot of members in the area too; there will be 4 next basho in Juryo. At various times Kokonoe- and Chigonoura-/Takanohana-beya also had significant numbers in Juryo that made things tougher, but this coming basho shouldn’t be any harder than what we’re used to seeing.

    • It was a fun exercise. I was all like, well Juryo is usually pretty straightforward, and then I looked 8-O

  2. Wouldn’t it save them a bit of head ache if they just kept Kotoyuki at M17e, and decided to promote only four?

    • It’s awfully hard to justify keeping an M13 with only 4 wins (it hasn’t happened since 1959, when Makuuchi was bigger). And the promotion cases are all quite strong—even Shimanoumi and Chiyomaru would be easy picks over Kotoyuki.

      • This is a little tougher to gauge since things have changed markedly in the social media era, but I’m curious if there’s any meaningful precedence/signal for a situation where you have two rikishi in about the same case, with one trying to avoid demotion and one trying to get promoted (let’s say, for the sake of argument, it’s Chiyomaru and Kotoyuki), and the banzuke committee gives it to the one with much more public popularity. Given that, for example, Chiyomaru is used extensively by the NSK in marketing and merch, I do wonder if that ever comes into people’s thoughts, even if not explicitly in conversation, to break a tie.

        Again, not saying it’s the case this time, but I do wonder as the media landscape changes if it’s something that comes into the fore a little more.

        • I could see that being more of a motivator, even if 100% subconsciously, if the NSK’s worried about selling tickets following Kisenosato’s retirement.

          • Apparently, they needn’t worry. The ticket sales are going “at about the same pace as before”.

        • I feel like popularity does tend to play into banzuke making a bit in general, with popular rikishi sometimes ending up half a rank or a rank higher than the numbers would justify. It can go in the other direction too: Takanoiwa was significantly under-ranked in Kyushu.

        • I think it would come down to perceived kyujo risk when they made the decision. Kotoyuki should be in Juryo.

  3. Given all the space that’s open, I would imagine that Wakanotoharu will be ranked ahead of the 8-7 J14s. I know promoting guys from a lower division past KK guys in the higher division shouldn’t be done lightly, but when someone wins the Yusho from a position they only needed a KK or maybe a 5-2, they’ll be given quite a boost into Juryo. Quite often there’s simply no one to displace to put such a Makushita Yusho winner all that much higher than other promotees, but that’s not the case this time.

      • I agree with that prediction a bit more. I think you are too soft on Aminishiki and Takanosho and at least Wakamotoharu will get a higher bump up to around J10 I think. Arawashi and/or Takanoshocould slip in between the other promotees,
        Both Kotoyuki and Daiamami are very lucky, as they should be in posotion to immediately return to Makuuchi (given a strong performance). Not something you usually get a chance after a 4-11 at M16.

        • I agree; I wasn’t trying to be soft on those guys, but didn’t know where else to put them. Moving Waka up helps to keep the overpromotions and underdemotions in check a bit.


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