New Juryo for Haru

As expected, four rikishi have been promoted to Juryo: crossing the heaven/hell boundary are Ms1w Takakento (5-2), Ms2e Bushozan (4-3), Ms3w Ichiyamamoto (4-3), and Ms5w Nishikifuji (6-1). This marks sekitori debuts for Takakento and Bushozan (pictured above) and returns for Ichiyamamoto, after an injury led to more than a year in Makushita, and Nishikifuji, who bounces back after a single tournament in the third division.

The corresponding demotions are not announced, but reading the tea leaves, it’s not hard to figure out that falling out of the salaried ranks are J14 Ryuko (6-9), J13 Ikioi (6-9), who’s been a sekitori for nearly a decade, J11 Oho (5-10), the wrestler formerly known as Naya, and J9 Kotoyuki (4-11), who, like Ikioi, hasn’t been ranked this low since 2011.

We can also look at who is likely to be fighting for Juryo promotion at Haru. Generally, there is a promotion zone, Ms1-Ms5, and it’s the 10 rikishi occupying these ranks who compete to reach sekitorihood. In very favorable instances, someone just outside this zone can move up, but typically, only a 7-0 record leads to promotion from the extended zone, Ms6-Ms15.

Nine of the ten slots in the promotion zone are clear: the four Juryo demotions listed above will be joined by two men with kachi-koshi records in the Ms1-Ms5 ranks who just missed out this time: Ms4w Daishoho and Ms5e Tochimaru, both 4-3. Also getting another chance will be Ms1e Kitaharima, who fell one win short at 3-4. And moving up into the promotion zone will be Ms8w Shohoryu (6-1), who came agonizingly close to the 7-0 record he needed, and Ms6e Hokutenkai (4-3), Takanoiwa’s nephew.

The last slot will go to either Ms2w Roga (3-4), or one of the following wrestlers with winning records further down the banzuke: Ms8e Murata (4-3), Ms13w Kaisho (5-2), or Ms17w Ryusei (6-1). My guess would be Ryusei, but I’m really not sure how to handicap the rank-record combinations in this part of the rankings. As commenter Jay points out, the 10th slot is presumably spoken for by Ms3e Kotokuzan—one of the Covid absentees from Arashio beya.

19 thoughts on “New Juryo for Haru

  1. I really liked Kotoyuki, mainly because he was a literally rectangular shaped human being. I will miss him.

    • I believe he sat out November to have surgery, and this basho may have been too soon for him. He’s only 29, and if he can get relatively healthy/fit, he should easily be able to fight his way back up in March.

    • If we don’t see any news about the Kasugayama kabu being vacated, Ikioi will not be retiring just yet. There is no need to scour, though – he is not in a position that requires that he retire before banzuke day. He has about 7 weeks to consider it.

        • Do you really think so? In the event that there is a retired rikishi in the promotion zone, wouldn’t the promotion zone be extended to 6e anyway (assuming not enough kachi-koshi in the ranks above it)?

          • Honestly not sure how “the invisible line” works in that instance. It’s extended anyway if they really need another promotion (see Enho), but if it’s between a 4-3 Ms5 and a 5-2 6e?

            • Maybe retirements are seen differently than absences, but Ms5w 4-3 Akiseyama got promoted instead of Ms6e 5-2 Churanoumi after Aki 2019, with Ms3w 0-0-7 Ryuko in the mix.

              • Thanks, that’s consistent with how I thought it would go, though I can’t find any relevant examples or counterexamples in the fairly recent instances involving retirement. Ms6e Chiyonoumi did miss after Takanofuji retired, but there were 4 promotions and he would have been only the 5th best candidate.

  2. What happens when wrestlers – especially previously high ranking veterans – fall out of the salaried ranks? Do they have to go back to being on floor sweeping duty etc. in their heya? Do they have to move back into the “dorm rooms”?

    • Not really. There are no hard rules for this, as technically they are just like everybody else. But nobody forces anybody to sell their house and divorce their wife. Generally speaking, young sekitori who were just a couple of tournaments in Juryo would probably go back to chanko, chores, and tsukebito duties. Veterans who live outside the heya will keep living there and raising their families, and will not do any chores. Of course, they won’t have tsukebito and will wear black mawashi. Those in between are a bit of a gray zone.

      • I’d be curious whether there were any recently-promoted sekitori who just kept on doing things like making chanko or cooking for the heya because they liked it. I could imagine some newly promoted 28yo who realizes that they’ll be lucky to have 6-10 tournaments in juryo and are not likely to go higher, so maybe they’ll just continue staying in the dorm to save money and perfect their recipes for opening a chanko restaurant upon retirement.

        • Even newly promoted sekitori get a private room. That’s the basic privilege. Moving to your own home is something done when you get some mileage or get married (well, Wakatakakage apparently got married the second he hit Juryo, but that’s not what usually happens).

          I haven’t heard about any sekitori giving up his private room at the heya in favor of the dorm.

          As for doing chores here and there – you can see sekitori do stuff from time to time. There was that famous pic of Terunofuji washing dishes when he was Ozeki, despite everybody trying to dissuade him. And I’ve seen sekitori sweep the dohyo and so on. But the thing is – they do what they please. They don’t have to get up at 5am and clean the toilet. As for chanko – they usually start making it while sekitori are still practicing.

          • Sorry- I meant the private room. I just thought of the entire floor/building as the dorm, not the communal sleeping room. Do sekitori also have later practice in the afternoon and wouldn’t be able to make chanko then either?

            Who was the sekitori who liked making cakes? The thought of the possibility of a former wrestler opening up a bakery cracks me up.

            • Well, Enho said in an interview once that he just loved his tiny little room at Miyagino beya, but nevertheless, he moved to his own house. So I don’t see him returning so readily.

              Normally sekitori rooms are not on the same area as the so called “big room” (the dorm, which sometimes serves also as dining area and recreation room), but closer to the oyakata’s quarters, though each heya has its own plan.

              Anyway, there have been many cake-making rikishi in the past. The famous one of the old generation was Onokuni (now Shibatayama oyakata), also known as “Sweets Oyakata”. But I believe you are actually referring to Tamawashi, who can do some awesome desserts.

  3. And now starts the climb back for Abi as well since he’s served his 3-tournament banishment. Will be interesting to see how quickly he can climb back up the ranks.

    I suspect it will take him 2-3 tournaments to get back to Juryo from the Makushita 16 East rank. Then at least 2 more Juryo tournaments to get back to Makuuchi. However, I think he’ll need to win at least one of the Juryo tournaments in order to hasten his return to the top division within the 2 tournament span. Maybe he’s back in Makuuchi for the January 2022 tournament.

    All will depend on his heart and motivation and how rusty the layoff has made him. The other motivator will be his unhappy wife who I’m sure has given him no end of the business regarding this whole fiasco:

    1) Out at a “hostess” bar
    2) Having to move back into the stable
    3) Loss of income
    4) Public humiliation

    • He won’t be at Ms16 in March though—his absence will drop him again, to near the bottom of Makushita. He’ll need to zensho there to get back up to near the promotion zone.

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