Tokyo November Day 11 – a juryo headache

Forget Enho’s woes, as well as Terunofuji’s deadly morozashi for the moment. I was first willing to focus on the lower juryo ranks / upper makushita ranks permutations, but realized things are a bit more complicated than that.

First of all, how many maegashira ranks will be alloted in January? Actually, both yokozuna’s fate has remained quite unclear so far – we will know more at the end of the basho. Terunofuji’s performances might cause further complications, although a direct ozeki promotion after, say, a 13-2 yusho looks like a (very) long shot.

Anyway, if both yokozuna were recommended to retire, two new maegashira spots would be created – and would be filled by two juryo guys. Here, again, two juryo rikishi would be missing, and would have to be replaced by non salaried wrestlers.

For the time being, let’s consider that both Mongolian grand champions will be able to participate in a make-or-break basho in January.

Secondly, if needed, Kotoshogiku’s retirement has to be remembered. Just as it happened after Tochiozan’s retirement this year, the former ozeki’s spot will be compensated by one more makushita promotion.

Demotion candidates

Let’s move to the lower juryo scramble. Three sekitori, with just one (!) win combined between them, are certain to leave the salaried ranks: Abi (J11w, 0-0-11), Nishikifuji (J13w, 1-10) and Fujiazuma (J14e, 0-11).

Abi will start 2021 on the non salaried ranks

Everybody else look in a good position to at least secure a place in sumo’s second division. Still, would be advised to get one more win:

  • Ura (J13e, 7-4), one win away from his kashi koshi,
  • Chinoyoumi (J14w, 7-4), also one win away from reprieve,
  • Takagenji (J12e, 6-5). Juryo 12 rikishi have endured demotion with a 7-8 in the past (the last suffering that fate being Toyozakura, back in 1998), but the banzuke then contained twenty six juryo wrestlers, compared to the actual twenty eight. Consequently, this tends to imply that Jokoryu (J12w, 7-4) is already safe.
  • and… Ikioi (J8w, 4-7)! We’ve seen demotions occurring with a 4-11 record, at juryo’s eigth rank: Wakanoshima, back in Kyushu five years ago, is the last rikishi to have suffered such a shock.

All in all, it seems that four wrestlers are not going to appear in juryo next basho. So, who is in line to take their places?

Makushita candidates

The obvious pick is Naya (Ms1w, 5-1), who unfortunately missed a juryo spot last time and who will be definitely moving up this time.

On his way to a juryo return: Yago

Yago (Ms2e, 4-2) also looks set for a juryo return, although one last win won’t hurt. Shiraishi (Ms2w, 3-3) could be set for an awaited juryo debut in January, but needs to win the remaining, decisive bout. He could be followed by Kitaharima (Ms3e, 4-2), who would once again take the lift – on the right direction, this time.

Should Shiraishi end up make koshi, the final spot would be wide open for grabs. Could be the lucky one: Bushozan (Ms4e, 3-3), Terasawa (Ms4w, 3-3), Kotokuzan (Ms5w, 3-3) or Ryuko (Ms15e, 6-0).

Looking further down the banzuke would be too optimistic, as Takakento (Ms6e, 4-2), Ichiyamamoto (Ms8w, 4-1) and Tochimaru’s (Ms8e, 4-1) positions seem too far down, even if they win out.

13 thoughts on “Tokyo November Day 11 – a juryo headache

      • Well, the last guy doing so from that rank did not end up promoted – Shimoda, in January 2006, remained in makushita.

        • But a guy got promoted from Ms16 in 2003. Shimoda was a Makushita tsukedashi – I believe it’s a special case.

          • Daimanazuru only got promoted because they added four new sekitori spots at the time. Wouldn’t have happened without that. (Neither would Hakuho’s promotion in that same basho, incidentally.)

            Shimoda getting passed over was only explained/excused after the fact, with some “it’s not equivalent to Ms15, it’s really between 15 and 16″ mumbojumbo by the chief shimpan at the time. I don’t remember any observers being aware of such a distinction prior to it.

      • His opponent will be Ito, a 21-year-old from Shikoroyama-beya who hasn’t done much wrong since his debut in May 2019. Only one MK so far, decent size, favours the belt… this is not going to be a gimme for Ryuko.

  1. I’d also like to note that it doesn’t really matter how many Maegashira ranks there are. The size of the division is always 42 men (“always” is an exaggerated, but it’s set at 42 in recent years), so regardless of Ozeki promotions, open san-yaku slots or what have you, the only element to affect promotions other than on-dohyo results are retirements.

    • Retirements also affect promotions only if they happen before the banzuke is drawn up, which is two days after the end of the tournament, so the fate of the yokozuna is irrelevant here.

  2. We have four definite slots opening up. Ryuko can end up as top promotion if he goes 7-0, else Naya is top. This means Naya is guaranteed. I would say that Yago is also guaranteed since he can’t finish worse than fourth. He could end up behind Ryuko and Kitaharima and will end up behind Naya, but should be ahead of everybody else.

  3. Naya did a pretty nice Giku memorial belly bump today;) I’m really happy that he isn’t just moving up with a mere 4-3 kachikoshi, but having another great showing.


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