Juryo Announcements and Yokozuna News

The basho is over but the sumo news keeps coming. First, let’s start with good news: the new Juryo announcements. Leonid nailed it…except for the names, since those are new. Naya and Shiraishi will, indeed, make their silk-mawashio’d debuts in January. Both will also change their shikona. Naya is now Oho (王鵬), in an obvious nod to his Grandfather, Taiho (大鵬). Shiraishi is now Tohakuryu (東白龍). Also, Yago and Ryuko will return to the stiffened-sagari ranks.

In other news, the YDC got together and decided what we all knew, recommending retirement to Hakuho and Kakuryu was nuts so they issued a warning to the two, who are both expected now, to participate. In the intervening hours, it’s been interesting to hear of the backlash in the press for their double-standard: “encouraging” the Japanese Kisenosato but scolding the two Mongolian Yokozuna.

Also, American Presidents are not the only politicians with Twitter accounts that make the news. Hatoyama Yukio, who briefly served as Prime Minister and who apparently gets a mention in Barack Obama’s latest book, has weighed in on the injury situation in sumo. As Herouth reports, he brings up the idea that the Kyokai should move back to four tournaments per year instead of six.

I also wanted to mention you can expect Tim’s quiz coming out soon. He will also have a run-down of the spate of recent retirements. But importantly he will also try out a bi-lingual analysis of the latest tournament. Si vous pouvez lire, please enjoy! J’essaierai.

10 thoughts on “Juryo Announcements and Yokozuna News

  1. prime minister is right
    four is better

    all the rikishi will still be fighting injured, but hopefully not as injured as in six bashos a year era

  2. The real solution is to update their medical protocols from the 1920s and into the 2020s. It would be pretty easy to add modern sports science without infringing upon traditional training methods. Whenever you see an injury happen on the dohyo, much less a serious one where the chair needs to be brought out, the response is a bunch of yobidashi running around looking confused and seemingly no actual medical personnel backstage. Makes me wonder what percentage of rikishi end up with untreated concussions every basho. 10%? 90%?

  3. “brings up the idea that the Kyokai should move back to four tournaments per year instead of six.”

    As a Western fan, I would heartily agree. As much as I love seeing the tournaments every other month, I did notice how much more rested they looked after that cancelled tourny. Give them more time to rest and heal.

  4. As well as the difference in treatment between the Mongolian Yokozuna and Kisenosato, I also think it’s unfair on Hakuho to put him and Kakuryu in exactly the same bucket. Despite his injuries, Hakuho walks into any tournament he competes in a big favourite whereas Kakuryu hasn’t competed effectively for some time.

    4 or 6 tournaments isn’t the real issue, it’s the extreme punishment rikishi incur for missing basho through injury, forcing them to exacerbate injury by fighting hurt. Look at Ikioi, he can barely get up off the floor after his matches. I think they should allow a period of kyujo with demotions limited according to the rank of the rikishi when the kyujo started. Say sanyaku re-enter as a lower maegashira, mid to low maegashira in juryo, Juryo in upper makushita etc. Obviously there would need to be some limit on how long the absence could be and how frequently they could do it.

  5. It seems that Naya or his stablemaster have a big ego. I mean Taiho (大鵬) just means big/large phoenix, while Naya becomes Oho(王鵬), the king phoenix? ;)

    As for the 4 bashos … I don’t think that will change a lot. There will still be Jungyo, there will then be a tournament every 3 instead of every 2 month. Might make a difference for some, but the main thing that needs to change is the mentality to go out injured and compete. The later is probably part tradition and part banzuke pressure.

    • The thing is, injuries have come to a head this year, without Jungyo…and it isn’t coming back soon. I’m beginning to thing Jungyo isn’t an issue.

      • I don’t feel that injuries are particularly bad this year. Yes, the Yokozunas have a lot of downtime, but they are also at the end of their life cycle.
        The ,main problem seems to be that rikishi don’t take enough time to heal for smaller injuries, which makes them progressively worse and that a lot of the bigger injuries are treated “conservatively” or in other words the same way like in the 18th century … by doing nothing and sending a prayer for strength to the kami-sama. And that is probably related to the banzuke pressure that no one is willing to take off for 6 or 12 month to have something properly healed and rehabbed.
        I think one solution could be to soften the banzuke drop if you pull out injured before a basho. Treat it like a 6-9 or 5-10 instead of an 0-15. Gives rikishi a lot more leverage to heal.

        4 basho a year would significantly slow down younger rikishis climb up. It’s also very harsh on rikishi being injured in lower divisions. You need a Yusho to compensate for an 0-7 score or two consecutive 6-1 (and probably still end up slightly lower). So in all likelihood, you will probably be back after 3+ bashos, so every basho you take off costs you about a year. That would probably raise the incentive to fight injured in lower divisions a lot …

        • Below makushita, the promotion on a 6-1 is roughly the same as or even larger than the demotion on 0-0-7. Promotions on 7-0 are much larger.

          As for the sekitori divisions, “treat an injury absence like 6-9 or 5-10” will just never happen. Who’s ever going to show up with that rule in place when they’re ranked in an area where they’re unlikely to KK to begin with but not in immediate danger of dropping to another division? You’d need massively onerous restrictions to avoid abuse being rampant, which would likely leave so few rikishi eligible to make the provision irrelevant in practice. If injury protection comes back it’ll be as something easily managed, either the old kosho rule or some type of max-demotion limit.

          • I did a few queries the other day on sumo db and it seems that from top Makushita (like Ms1-3 or so) you would end up somewhere around Ms35 or 40 and from Ms10 more like 45 to 50. There is no way to regain that other than by a yusho or two 6-1 finishes.
            Maybe my queries were wrong or it is more lenient the further down you go the banzuke.

            Obviously you will need some restrictions and maybe 5-6 wins is a bit too leniet and it should be more like 3-4. Or maybe you need some system to get back up more quickly.


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