Will Mitakeumi (7-8) get to stay at Komusubi with a half-rank demotion, or will that slot go to Kotoshogiku instead?
As predicted, Mitakeumi is the West Komusubi. I guessed that after confronting this choice, the banzuke committee would give Kotoshogiku the consolation prize of top maegashira, but that honor went to Hokutofuji instead, leaving Kotoshogiku to settle for M1w. That’s two half-rank misses for the crystal ball.
How far will Tamawashi (5-10) fall from West Sekiwake? Based on recent precedent for sanyaku rikishi, I’ve given him the mildest possible demotion, to M2e, but he could easily end up a rank lower.
The banzuke committee went with a rank and a half lower, placing the former Sekiwake at M3w. Endo, Daieisho, and Chiyotairyu each benefited by sliding up half-a-rank relative to the forecast. Myogiryu also ended up a rank lower than predicted, with Okinoumi and Abi moving up half a rank as a result.
How big will Shimanoumi’s promotion be? Ranking him at M8e seems pretty reasonable to me, but anywhere from M7e to M8w wouldn’t surprise me, and the banzuke committee could opt to go even lower.
Well, color me surprised. The 13-2 Juryo yusho winner from the top rank in the second division ended up four full ranks lower than I predicted, all the way down at M12e. Notably, this is only one rank ahead of Chiyomaru (J1w, 10-5) and two ranks ahead of Tokushoryu (J4w, 9-6)! The last equivalent performance, by Osunaarashi in 2016, saw him promoted to M7w, so it’s hard to see how the committee would justify this decision. As a result, basically all of my picks from M8 to M12 were off by half a rank, with Kaisei the biggest beneficiary, sliding up from M9e into Shimanoumi’s predicted slot.
How far will Kaisei and Nishikigi fall? I’ve given them relatively lenient demotions because of their places in the joi and the caliber of the opposition they faced, but one could easily argue for placing them a rank lower. The same can be said about Tochiozan, but it’s harder to see who could move ahead of him.
As a result of Shimanoumi’s snub, Kaisei ended up higher by a full rank, and Nishikigi and Tochiozan by half a rank.
What will they do with the mess at the bottom of the banzuke? Having four exchanges between Makuuchi and Juryo makes the most sense to me, but anything from two (with Toyonoshima and Ikioi surviving) to five (with Takagenji trading places with Chiyoshoma) is possible. And when it comes to the precise rankings, any solution that avoids promoting someone with a losing record is a victory.
This is where the crystal ball shined, correctly predicting the exact composition and order of the final eight ranks.
To sum up, of the 42 ranks, the forecast hit 23 on the nose, and had the correct rank but wrong side for 8 more. Of the remaining 11 misses, 4 were by a rank or more, as noted above: Tamawashi, Myogiryu, Shimanoumi, and Kaisei.
Better luck next time. Does pretty much calling the Makushita joi count for anything?