Natsu Kensho Report

Hello all! I compiled the kensho data collected by Herouth into an updated dashboard. Click on the “Read More” link because I didn’t want it to bog down your devices. We can make out the clear impact of having no fans on the kensho pledges during the first three days of the tournament. The sponsored bounties were paying out at a rate lower than November’s tournament. However, pledges clearly picked up when the crowd came back and with a full set of four Ozeki. There’s no surprise, then, that pledges dropped off a bit on Day 12. Still, it was encouraging to see a few days this tournament with payouts higher than January and March, especially as the drama built on the final weekend.

The clear leader over the past five tournaments in both kensho won and lost, is Takakeisho. He won a yusho in November and then followed that up with a disastrous Hatsu, only two wins and seven kensho stacks lost in that one tournament. Still, he has won nearly 900 envelopes. If I got my math right, that’s a quarter of a million dollars in cash bounties physically handed over to him on the dohyo, with a comparable amount set aside for his retirement.

Terunofuji, on the other hand, has had a much better ratio of kensho won. However, much of this time was actually spent in the lower ranks, one each as maegashira and komusubi, two at sekiwake, and then this last one at Ozeki. Hakuho has the best win ratio, with 27 kensho won and none lost. Note: the envelopes won and lost are fusen-adjusted while “pledges” are not.

An interesting trend here is the declining Musubi-no-Ichiban payout over these 10 months. Pledges have been rising for the other bouts, from 745 in September to 919 in May but pledges on the final bouts have decreased from 415 to 284. Much may be increasing payouts to Terunofuji as well as declining pledges for Takakeisho. In September, he and Asanoyama would alternate between musubi-no-ichiban but Takakeisho’s pledges were averaging a bit more than Asanoyama. Now there are more Ozeki in the cycle. We shall see what July holds for us.

9 thoughts on “Natsu Kensho Report

  1. This is really interesting, thanks for putting it together. Is there a glossary of terms such as Musubi-no-Ichiban, pledges and how the packets are adjusted?

    • Thanks Royce! I had the same question. I’m really interested in how the Sumo payouts work but still learning the vocabulary.

      Vocabulary I’m not familiar with:

      kensho pledges – is that the pre-bout banner and envelope?

      The envelopes won and lost are fusen-adjusted while “pledges” are not. – I have no idea what this means. What does fusen-adjusted mean? What the difference between and envelope and a pledge?

      Musubi-no-Ichiban – what’s this mean?

      • The terms “pledges” and “fusen-adjusted” are made up by me to account for those bouts where there isn’t an actual bout due to a kyujo. They’re not official terms or anything.

        • Thanks for all the help!

          I spent some time on Wikipedia’s sumo glossary and I think I get it now.

          Musubi-no-Ichiban does indeed mean the final bout of the day.

          Here’s my interpretation based on what I’ve learned:

          In the case of the table, a ‘Pledged Bout” is a bout with at least one envelope. So in his career, Takakeisho has participated in 70 pledged bouts. Over the course of those 70 bouts, there have been 1328 envelopes available. However, Takakeisho missed some of those bouts by going kyujo, so he really only had a chance to win 1268 envelopes. He missed out on the other 60 envelopes due to absence. Of the 1268 envelopes he could have won, Takakeisho actually won 882. So in pledged bouts he actually participated in, Takakeisho has won 882 of 1268 envelopes, or roughly 70%.

          Did I get that right?

          And yeah, that’s a lot of cash.

          I also hadn’t realized that roughly half the sponsorship prize money goes directly to the winner, while the remainder (less an administrative fee) is held by the Japan Sumo Association until the wrestler’s retirement. That is interesting!

          Has the JSA ever withheld money at retirement due to some sort of infraction? It sounds like the kind of thing they might try.

          • Not in his career. This is just data since last September to now. He was kyujo in January, I think, after losing 7 bouts.

  2. Great stuff as always.

    The four clusters could be named
    a) Small win / Small Loss (blue)
    b) Medium win / Small Loss (orange)
    c) Large win / Small to Medium loss (green – Terunofuji is an outlier as he is really Large win / small loss and the others Large win / Medium loss)
    d) Huge win / Large loss (red)

    I think your diagonal line is a regression line to show the middle of the distribution – anyone above the line is “better than average” for the whole group in ratio of envelopes won to lost ? So Endo at 337 won and approximately 280 lost is just below the average in terms of won/loss ratio while Takayasu and Hoshoryu are just above average. I would find it useful to also have a second, slightly different line connecting 0 to 400 won/400 lost as this would differentiate those who won more than they lost (reds, greens and most of the blue cluster) from those who didn’t (Kotoshoho and most of the orange cluster).

    • Yeah, the line is a regression, but like you said, basically just to show an average ratio. I do think your 50% line would be more informative. I’ll see if I can tweak it.


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