A Look at the Kyushu Banzuke

The banzuke for the November tournament has been posted. And, in what has to count as a big surprise, the committee actually went with four Komusubi. As discussed in my banzuke forecast, this follows the most recent closest precedent we had, all the way back in 2006, but deviates from recent practice of not creating extra slots unless there is no other choice. Moreover, the two new Komusubi are in what I would consider the “wrong” order, with M1e Hokutofuji (9-6) on the East side, and M2w Asanoyama (10-5) on the West. Usually, an extra win counts for more than a one-rank difference.

I did make (but didn’t post) a draft of the banzuke for the four-Komusubi scenario, and it was largely correct down to M10, with only Meisei ahead of Takarafuji and Kotoyuki ahead of Aoiyama differing from my prediction. Meisei and Takarafuji are two of the biggest beneficiaries of the extra san’yaku slots, getting promoted way higher than they otherwise would simply because there’s no one else available to fill those M2-M3 ranks. Enho (rising from M11 to M6) and Tsurugisho (M14 to M7) will be fighting at by far their highest career ranks. Shodai limits his demotion to M10, but it will still be his first tournament as a double-digit maegashira since he made his top-division debut at M12 at Hatsu 2016.

Below M10, placements got increasingly chaotic, as it was difficult simply to fill the available ranks without promoting make-koshi rikishi. As a result, Ishiura jumps four full ranks, from M15e to M11e, despite finishing with only an 8-7 record. I was surprised to see him ranked above Chiyotairyu and Ichinojo, and even more suprised to see Chiyotairyu ahead of Ichinojo, as he recorded only one more victory at three full ranks lower on the banzuke. Also oddly, Terutsuyoshi is ranked between Kagayaki and Nishikigi, despite the fact that the latter duo posted identical 6-9 records at M13e and M13w, respectively. The four promotions from Juryo (and the corresponding Makuuchi demotions) are as predicted, but Chiyomaru gets a very generous placement at M13e for someone who finished 8-7. Wakatakakage makes his top-division debut at the new lowest rank in Makuuchi, M16e, with M16w and M17e going away to compensate for the two extra san’yaku slots.

Why do rikishi care so much about getting to 8 wins? The four rikishi ranked 7-8 (M3w Tomokaze, M4e Tamawashi, M5w Ryuden, and M7w Kotoeko) got the most lenient treatment possible this time, keeping their Aki ranks for Kyushu. But the 8-7 quartet (Daieisho, Myogiryu, Sadanoumi, Ishiura) jumps anywhere between 2 and 4 ranks!

Do you have thoughts on the rankings? Let us know in the comments!

18 thoughts on “A Look at the Kyushu Banzuke

      • I have a feeling you’re well positioned for an assault on the GTB #1 position now after avoiding the carnage here…

        • My 4-komusubi draft would actually have scored quite well, but I never seriously considered entering it, despite it being my personal preference, as I viewed it as the least likely of the 3 options. I kept going back and forth between 2 and 3 komusubi, and just couldn’t make up my mind by the deadline.

  1. Maybe with Asanoyama they’re thinking he was harshly treated previously when he didn’t get komusubi after his yusho. Can’t argue that they don’t both deserve to go on the sanyaku payroll

  2. I don’t feel there is anything wrong with this banzuke. Looking at recent performances there are four rikishi at komusubi now and each of them deserve the rank without a doubt.
    We talk a lot about this transitional period we are experiencing right now and it looks to me like the commitee is also acknowledging the changes and is acting accordingly and correctly in my opinion.

    • Oh, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and I personally would have gone with 4 komusubi, but I didn’t think the committee would, given several recent instances when similarly deserving rikishi were snubbed.

  3. I really like this development. With 5 Yo-Zeki and 6 Seki-subi, it makes a nice sized elite group. Also acknowledges the pretty sharp line between the recent performance of the M1 and K2 rikishi.

    Will be exciting to see who among these sanyaku will survive and thrive.

    • Who else would you put at M2e? The only plausible candidates would be Meisei and Takarafuji, and Myogiryu fought a harder slate of bouts. And even M3e, which is really the lowest position he could be, would still be a 3-rank bump…

  4. I think this looks very exciting! Very happy to see Hokutofuji back at komusubi! And I guess Enho vs Ichinojo might still happen, even though the rankings gap between them is wider than expected?

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