The Prospect of A Nokozuna Aki Basho

We have known since banzuke day that Yokozuna Hakuho was recovering from double-knee surgery undertaken in August, and was unlikely to even start Aki. Now word from Japan that Yokozuna Kakuryu is declaring himself “not ready” for the Aki basho, and should be considered doubtful to compete.

With the prospect of no grand-champions in the September tournament, the Emperor’s Cup will be a wide-open contest. The Ozeki will be motivated to possibly claim a start of a promotion run, but in this era, even strong members of the rank-and-file have to be considered contenders if they can remain strong into week 2. Some fans will remark (and rightly so) that a basho without a Yokozuna is a weak basho, but these broad, multi-way brawls to advance have their own glorious appeal. We will miss the Yokozuna dohyo-iri, but the possibility that we will have an all-out slug fest between the Ozeki, the San’yaku and most of the joi-jin is compelling to me.

4 thoughts on “The Prospect of A Nokozuna Aki Basho

  1. I think the odds are this championship run will likely be a 13-win (even 12-win?) affair. Very interesting for what it implies about more competitors in the race on the final weekend as well as for all these guys hoping to start promotion runs. Mitakeumi could be ozeki in November. Shodai or Daieisho by Hatsu. Terunofuji? Then those Tsuna runs you mentioned…oooooo.

  2. The ideal outcome would be for one of the contenders to step up, and stamp out his authority with a convincing win. I think most of us don’t believe that will happen, but if it did, it would be a solid step forward in the transition Josh was addressing recently. The permanent Nokozuna state is unlikely to be more than 12 months away, so the sooner these guys establish a new pecking order, the better.

  3. The vacuum at the top will suck Tochinoshin and Kiribayama into the jo’i (and a few others given the number of stablemates up there). This is an opportunity for a few would-be ozeki to rack up big scores.

    “The time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things
    Of ambitious sekiwake, and the grabbing of brass rings
    And Mongolians both young and bold
    And the men who would be kings”

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