Kyushu 2021 Kensho Summary

The final day of the Kyushu tournament saw 14% more envelopes awarded than the final day of Aki. But the rest of the tournament did not see a substantial boost, even with the much publicized involvement of Pokemon. There was more kensho awarded in Kyushu than in blistering hot Nagoya, Hakuho’s finale, but it was the second lowest kensho total for the year. Kyushu 2021 definitely outperformed November 2020 (in Tokyo), mostly from the senshuraku boost as well as a modest boost during the middle weekend. But overall, Kyushu 2021 paid out 15% fewer kensho over the course of the tournament than the high-water mark set at Whacky-Aki.

The pledges made by ranks had some interesting trends. The Ozeki pairing of Asanoyama and Takakeisho averaged higher kensho than the recent Takakeisho/Shodai pair but that is a bit misleading since Asanoyama and Takakeisho also got boosts from sharing the lucrative musubi-no-ichiban when the Yokozuna were absent. Terunofuji has enjoyed about double the pledge rate of Ozeki during these last two tournaments. In all, he won more than 350 envelopes which puts his haul at 10,770,000 yen, or just under $95,000 at current exchange rates. That does not include his regular salary or yusho bonus.

At the other end of the spectrum, Shodai lost the most money of any wrestler this tournament. His opponents walked away with 85 envelopes stuffed with 2.55 million yen. He didn’t walk away a pauper, though. His nine wins netted him more than 2 million yen in kensho. But he is leaving a lot of money on the dohyo. His performance has not met the expectation of an Ozeki as he has yet to win 10 and has frequently been kadoban — or in danger of going kadoban.

Mitakeumi, Terutsuyoshi, and Kagayaki have been fortunate enough to have had kensho-kin pledged on all 15 bouts over the course of the last 8 tournaments. As people noticed on Twitter, Terunofuji, Takakeisho, and Endo all had some kyujo. Still, Terunofuji, Takakeisho, and Shodai have been the Top 3 kensho winners over the eight tournaments, followed by Asanoyama, Mitakeumi, and Endo.

For January, I will take a look at how pledges correlates with winning to see whether wrestlers win more bouts in tournaments when more money is up-for-grabs. I imagine it will not be the same for all. The tricky bit that I am trying to control for is the strength of competition. Obviously more money is riding on sanyaku competitors and they are more difficult opponents. So when Kiribayama plays up, he has more money pledged but likely a lower probability of winning because of the opponent difficulty. But would the pledges give him a “boost” or extra encouragement to give 110%, vs 100% against someone like Takarafuji or Akua?

3 thoughts on “Kyushu 2021 Kensho Summary

  1. I think Hakuho deserves a bunch of envelopes for simply standing there at the end of the matches in his blue jacket pulling security duty and waving at the fans. It’s so interesting to the greatest of all time acting like an ordinary person while we all know he can still beat 90% of these guys any day any time.

  2. I was waiting for this post, as all through the tournament, I was thinking “wow, another match with no envelopes being handed out”. I’m sure a few years ago pretty much every match but this tournament it seemed to be far fewer!

    • I think Kyushu is normally fewer than the others but it’s certainly down from the era of Hakuho’s double fat stacks. I think it will grow after Covid restrictions on fan attendance are lifted. When the arenas are full and zabuton take flight, I have faith that the kensho will flood back.


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