Hatsu Basho Kensho-kin Roundup

Once again, I need to give a huge “Thank you” to Herouth for the kensho data she has been sharing on Twitter. I have published a few visualizations that I hope you will enjoy. In November, with three Ozeki competing for almost the entire tournament, there were more envelopes up for grabs (a 20% bump). There were also fewer opportunities lost due to kyujo, since Takakeisho’s kyujo was the only one during the tournament. Almost all makuuchi bouts had kensho on senshuraku and there was a 33% payout increase over November’s final day…though the thrilling Takakeisho/Terunofuji playoff was certainly more exciting.

To prevent the visualization from loading for EVERYONE who visits, click through to read more and to see the visualization or click this link to go directly to the visualization. I apologize for the scrunched view, so I would advise scrolling to the bottom-right side of the visualization and clicking on the “Full Screen” icon.

While Takakeisho’s income gap closed considerably from his injury-plagued January, he has still won 551 envelopes over the past three tournaments. At roughly $600 each, he banked over $300,000 total, with roughly half handed over in cash in those little envelopes. Quite the haul, and quite the reason to want to stay in the tournament if you think you have ANY chance of winning, no?

The visualization allows users to view the kensho haul per wrestler on the first tab. The default is “All” wrestlers but you can use the dropdown box provided to choose any wrestler who competed for a bounty over the time period. In the second tab, I wanted to give some context on the total number of envelopes as well as what proportion of those envelopes are placed on Musubi-no-Ichiban. I’m really eager to see what happens with two Yokozuna competing for 15 days.

Lastly, the third tab contains sortable summary data for all three tournaments and all wrestlers. We can see that Endo and Mitakeumi competed for more envelopes over the three tournaments than Shodai, but Shodai capitalized on his opportunities more, taking home more cash than either. However, Terunofuji just beat him out for third place in total winnings.

Daieisho’s yusho win saw him into fourth place for Hatsu basho kensho winnings, behind Asanoyama, Shodai, and Terunofuji. With 115 envelopes, he earned almost $70,000 beyond the yusho winnings and salary. What’s surprising is, he was also the fourth place winner in November with only 47 envelopes won! We can see from the picture above that as he closed in on the yusho, his daily haul steadily crept higher.

2 thoughts on “Hatsu Basho Kensho-kin Roundup

  1. This is different and FASCINATING! I’m really enjoying going over the data. The analytical break down and the color schemes are professionally done, Andy! And thanks to Herouth, too! Take a bow the pair of you. This really puts things in perspective for me on the kind of prize money that the upper echelon of sumo can make.

    Also, it would’ve been very INTERESTING to have seen the amount of Kensho that Kakuryū & Hakuho would’ve ended making if both weren’t out due to injury/covid-related reasons. Maybe you can revisit this when both Yokozuna are back (that is, if we have BOTH Yokozuna back and healthy for a few months).

  2. Finding this data interesting as another aspect of sumo to consider. The discussion of rikishi trying to make the salaried ranks and the earnings of the top level performers are clear in this data. I have to research the allowances lower-ranked wrestlers have – someone like Hanakaze who continues sumo at 50 but has never earned a salary (or retirement) is interesting in light of retirees at 19. At what point does someone stick with it versus a new start? Being injury free helps, but Hanakaze or even Tamawashi – they provide a larger picture of sumo as a career. Aging in sumo is not an easy task (though friends in their 70s-80s say aging in general is not easy period.)
    I will also be scribbling some numbers in regards to someone like Endo, who I sometimes feel will win or lose dependent on the ochazuke money on hand, but looking at the actual numbers would prove my thoughts correct or not.


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