Banzuke prediction for Haru 2020

The first basho has been pretty eventful, with a yusho deciding bout on senshuraku, a surprise winner, and, unfortunately, injuries and a big name retirement – Goeido.

The dust has vanished by now, so this should be a good opportunity to try to guess next basho’s banzuke !

First of all, let’s have a look back at last basho’s banzuke:

Who will drop out ?

How to demote an injured rikishi hasn’t always a clear-cut answer. However, having seen Tomokaze demoted to juryo in January hints at subsequent demotions for Kotoyuki (M3, 0-0-15) and Meisei (M5, 1-7-7). Apart from these inevitable downfalls, everybody looks to have hold up his own, except Kotoeko, whose 2-13 record asks for an obivous demotion – let’s hope he can bounce back.

Who will join maku’uchi ? Lower maegashira issues

Firstly, it’s important to note that, due to Goeido’s retirement, another slot will be opened at maku’uchi’s bottom. I wonder when’s the last time we had a maegashira 18 in the top division…

Just retired: former ozeki Goeido, now Takekuma

It means that the three demotions and Goeido’s retirement will provide four spots. I think the solution is quite easy this time – Nishikigi and Daimami’s impressive 11-4 records will bring them back to maku’uchi, whereas Kotonowaka and Hidenoumi’s 8-7 at juryo 2 has brought uncertainty, but they seem the ideal candidates to complete our banzuke. Kotonowaka would then be shin-maku’uchi.

Set for his maku’uchi debut ? Kotonowaka

Chiyoshoma (J1, 7-8), Wakatakakage (J5, 9-6), Daishoho (J5, 9-6) and Terunofuji (J13, 13-2) all seem to have narrowly missed their chance. But they will all be in good position to storm back to maku’uchi in May.

The middle of the pack – mid maegashira issued

Having determined who will (most likely) be demoted and promoted, let’s not see how our banzuke should shape up:

Our answers about promotions have settled a few spots at the bottom of the banzuke.

The middle of the banzuke has been pretty hard to draw. If you acknowledge Ryuden, Yutakayama and Kagayaki are due to fill some upper spots, and seeing a bunch of make-kochi starting from M9, the result looks a bit artificial.

I surprised myself, in particular, moving Aoiyama down to quite a few slots, despite an afwul 4-11 record at M8 – he finds himself no lower than M12.

Some rikishi (Takanosho, Sadanoumi, both 7-8) haven’t lost a single rank – they’ve just been moved from East to West.

Anyway, I think the banzuke has a pretty decent configuration.

The san’yaku battle – upper banzuke issues

Let’s finish our topic in original fashion – with the top ranks !

Both yokozuna, having won just one bout, should just retain their ranks. As a consequence, Kakuryu, the west yokozuna, will be marked as both yokozuna and ozeki – Takakeisho is the only remaining ozeki after Goeido’s retirement.

Asanoyama failed to get ozeki promotion but has secured his east sekiwake slot with a 10-5 performance.

The debate on who will fill the remaining places is wide open, and guessing right is no simple task. Three candidates are needed after Takayasu, Abi and Daieisho’s make kochi. All three are easy guesses, would I say – Endo (M1, 9-6), Hokutofuji (M2, 11-4) and Shodai (M4, 13-2).

Some believe Tokoshoryu will reach san’yaku. However, I’m quite certain he won’t be promoted that far. Remember Kyokutenho, back in 2012 ? He won the yusho at M7, with a 12-3 record – and ended up at maegashira 1.

Last basho’s surprise winner: Tokushoryu (left)

I might have promoted him a bit too shily, though…

Anyway, the order of Endo, Hokutofuji and Shodai’s promotion is anyone’s guess. I believe the key here is to have in mind that the board is looking for ozeki candidates – the sooner, the better. And I tend to believe Hokutofuji, of the three, will be first on their minds – hence, he’ll grab the second sekiwake slot. And finally, Shodai’s impressive 13-2 record should outclass Endo’s 9-6 result at M1.

What’s your opinion on this banzuke ?

20 thoughts on “Banzuke prediction for Haru 2020

  1. Love your forecast, but the physical banzuke itself will be one to own, with a Yokozuna-Ozeki and a rare Maegashira 18, some nice rarities in print. I am really intrigued to see if Kagayaki and Onosho end up at M5, as they will be at the rank I think they will start testing themselves for their 2020 campaigns.

    I would also state that dear Mitakeumi continues to be a steaming train wreck…

    • Hope you haven’t taken it too badly 🧐 but I asked everybody by email if someone wanted to participate 🤓

      • No worries, I don’t check that account very often, and nothing is stopping me from doing my usual “crystal ball” post.

  2. I’ll post my full prediction as usual, but a few comments:
    1. Shodai ahead of Hokutofuji.
    2. Meisei and Kotoyuki stay, Kotonowaka and Hidenoumi occupy J1e and J1w.
    3. Tokushoryu ahead of Kagayaki.
    4. Lower banzuke maegashira demotions (Ishiura, Aoiyama, etc) are too lenient, and as a result the kachi-koshi guys will be ranked higher, and Nishikigi should be ranked higher than M15.

    • I think it’s always interesting to see how Juryo records are treated vs makuuchi. There’s clearly no fixed formula given massive variances in how far up the makuuchi rankings Juryo promotees end up.

      On this occasion for example how does Nishikigi’s 11-4 in Juryo compare with Kaisei’s 8-7 in makuuchi? My answer was that Kaisei’s rank and record is a bit better so had him at M14 and Nishikigi at J15.

      I also thought Tokushoryu might go as high as M4 assuming the Yusho tips the balance against equivalent rank and records

      • I think they basically slot the Makuuchi guys where they « belong » based on rank and record, and then slot in the Juryo guys wherever there are gaps, as long as that’s not too high. That’s why last time all 6 promotions ended up in the bottom six ranks.

        • The balance between promotion and demotion is always tricky. For example if a M14 goes 5-10 and a J3 goes 9-6… do they both take the lift, or not?

          I think Wakatakakage’s promotion was a tight case. Not even mentioning the Tomokaze / Tokushoryu dilemma from last Basho!

          • In the example, 5-10 at M14 is a strong case for demotion, so the rikishi would only get to stay if there’s no reasonable promotion candidate to take their place. 9-6 at J3 is a reasonable if borderline promotion case, so the Juryo rikishi would get the nod. Wakatakakage (9-6 at J3) over Azumaryu (6-9 at M15) was actually a very similar and slightly closer real-life case. Tomokaze/Tokushoryu wasn’t quite as close, but the question was whether Tomokaze would get any special consideration for being out with an injury; had he gone 0-15 in the ring, it would have been fairly clear.

    • I agree with the first 3, but havent thought enough about the 4th point, however my guess would be that both Ishiura and Aoiyama pair up right in front of Giku.

  3. Kagayaki in front of Onosho is…bold. And I somehow doubt Ishiura in front of Chiyotairyu and Chiyomaru in front of Kotoshogiku are going to happen.

  4. I have Endo going to Sekiwake over Shodai and Hokutofuji at East/West Komusubi, respectively. While 9-6 is not as impressive as 11-4 and 13-2, Endo is already at M1e. He also fought seven sanyaku rikishi, and went 5-2 in those matches, beating both Yokozuna, both Sekiwake, and going 1-1 against the two Ozeki. I don’t see any reasonable scenario where a rikishi beats two Yokozuna, two Sekiwake, and an Ozeki, goes 9-6, and moves up half a rank from M1e to Kw. Though I 100% agree that what order Endo/Shodai/Hokutofuji end up at is anybody’s guess, and no order between those three would really surprise me.

    I also have Enho moving up higher for the same reason. While 8-7 is not outwardly impressive, he fought both Ozeki, both Sekiwake, and both Komusubi, and went 4-2 with a victory over one Ozeki and both Sekiwake, as well as adding on a victory over M1e Endo. I feel that this pushes him above Okinoumi, who finished with the same 8-7 record, but went 3-4 against the same six sanyaku and Endo. Although I also have Takayasu and Abi dropping a bit further, which opens up more space at the top.

    • For a reasonable scenario, you need look no further than Endo himself back at Haru 2018. Ranked M1e, he went 9-6, with victories over two Ozeki, a Sekiwake, and a Komusubi. His rank next basho? Kw. There are other similar outcomes in the past also. In general, performance against the upper ranks just doesn’t figure into the rankings all that much.

    • I tend to apply the mathematical logic – of two rikishi perform 8-7 performances, they should more or less move up at the same speed. But of course this is no exact science – you have a point, too.

      I noticed fallen san’yaku wrestlers recently do not fall too far off the banzuke – for the very reason the mentioned, I guess! They fight all the big guys.

    • Wait…by “pushes Enho above Okinoumi”, you mean you outright expect him to have the better rank on the next banzuke? Or just that Enho’s 8-7 promotion will be larger than Okinoumi’s?

      • It sounds like the former, which of course is impossible, as a lower-ranked rikishi cannot jump over a higher-ranked rikishi with the same record. Although I’m beginning to question some of what I think of as hard-and-fast rules, after they didn’t promote Yutakayama and Terutsuyoshi despite winning records last time.

  5. Makuuchi Banzuke
    East Rank West
    Hakuho Y Kakuryu
    Takakeisho O
    Asanoyama S Shodai
    Hokutofuji K Endo
    Daieisho M1 Yutakayama
    Takayasu M2 Okinoumi
    Mitakeumi M3 Ryuden
    Enho M4 Tokushoryu
    Abi M5 Onosho
    Myogiryu M6 Kagayaki
    Takarafuji M7 Tamawashi
    Shohozan M8 Kiribayama
    Takanosho M9 Tochinoshin
    Sadanoumi M10 Tochiozan
    Chiyotairyu M11 Terutsuyoshi
    Ishiura M12 Nishikigi
    Kotoshogiku M13 Ikioi
    Tsurugisho M14 Chiyomaru
    Kaisei M15 Aoiyama
    Azumaryu M16 Daiamami
    Shimanoumi M17 Meisei
    Kotoyuki M18

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