Looking Ahead to the Nagoya Banzuke

Congratulations to Yokozuna Terunofuji on battling back from early losses to claim his 7th career yusho, passing Kakuryu and moving into a tie for 20th all-time. He will continue to occupy the top rung on the rankings ladder. Let’s take a preliminary look at how the Natsu results are likely to reshuffle the rest of the banzuke.


Not an impressive performance by the Ozeki corps, to say the least! Takakeisho scraped together 8 wins to avoid kadoban; he was the best of the bunch, and as a result, will occupy the O1e rank. Mitakeumi (6-9) will move over to O1w, while his fellow kadoban Shodai (5-10) will be at O2w; both need a minimum of 8 wins in July to keep their rank.


S1e Wakatakakage (9-6) defended his rank, and despite Bruce’s comments, I believe he has kept his Ozeki run alive, though his target for July is probably 12 wins. He beat his fellow Sekiwake S1w Abi (7-8) on senshuraku, and as a result Abi will switch places with K1w Daieisho (11-4). K1e Hoshoryu (8-7) did just enough to keep his rank.

Upper maegahira

All regular san’yaku slots will be occupied by incumbents, and recent history suggests that neither M2e Kiribayama (10-5) nor M4w Takanosho (11-4) did enough to force open an extra slot. The two should occupy the M1 rank, although we do have the complication of M1w Ichinojo, who should have rank protection due to his virus-related absence. There’s precedent, at least in Juryo, for slight demotions of such absentees when the rest of the banzuke requires it, and we may see this come into play here for the first time in Makuuchi.

M2w Kotonowaka and M3w Tamawashi, both 9-6, are also in the conversation here, while the rest of the joi will be filled out by the likes of M6e Ura (9-6), M6w Wakamotoharu (9-6), M1e Takayasu (6-9), M4e Endo (7-8) and M12w Sadanoumi (11-4).

Exchanges between Makuuchi and Juryo

This is a little tricky to forecast. There are four clear demotions: Ishiura, Kotokuzan, Kagayaki, and Azumaryu. Everyone else ought to be safe, but the M14 duo Oho and Yutakayama, both 6-9, are right on the border. The only reason this could come into play is that the promotion queue in Juryo is six-rikishi-long and somewhat muddled.

J2w Tsurugisho (10-5) has an overwhelming promotion case, and J1e Chiyomaru (8-7) should also definitely get the nod by virtue of having a winning record at the highest rank in the division. After that, there are 4 more contenders with promotable records: J1w Hidenoumi (8-7), J3w Ryuden (9-6), J6e Daiamami (11-4) and J6w Nishikifuji (11-4). By virtue of their ranks, Hidenoumi should be ahead of Ryuden and Daiamami should be ahead of Nishikifuji, despite the latter winning their playoff bout for the yusho, but I am not sure how to order the J6’s relative to their higher-ranked counterparts. Also, it’s not clear if any of the promotion cases are strong enough to force down Yutakayama or (somewhat less likely) Oho, so any of the four could miss out.

I’ve covered the likely exchanges between Juryo and Makushita in a separate post.

19 thoughts on “Looking Ahead to the Nagoya Banzuke

  1. Oh God this one is going to be a mess. I’m going to blame my failure on whatever they do with Ichinojo.

    • I did a quick preliminary draft of the whole banuzuke, and it comes together fairly cleanly with the exception of M1/M2 and the promotions/demotions at the bottom.

  2. Bruce’s highly biased opinion below, don’t read if you don’t like such ideas from a sumo loonie.

    Wakatakakage was 8-6 plus a fusensho. I think he is starting over. For the last 3 he is

    M1: 9-6
    S1: 12-3 Y
    S1: 9(-1)-6

    Not Ozeki grade just yet, I am going to guess. He is headed that way, but he’s not there yet. If he went 13-2 with a yusho in July, I could see them giving it to him, if he beats Terunofuji. Doubly so if they can’t get both of the kadoban ozeki to self-rescue.

    • That’s a totally reasonable take, though history suggests they don’t really discount fusensho when they look at the numbers, and a single-digit middle basho is not a kiss of death (the two recent examples of 8-7 middle basho in an ozeki run are Goeido and Akebono).

      • Yeah I don’t think he’s starting over, but I do think the 9 replaces the 9 from M1. Agreed with lksumo on the fusensho. I think if anything he’s in a slightly stronger position now with a 9 win Sekiwake basho replacing a 9 win M1 basho, and he’ll just need a solid platform of 12 or so next time to get it done. Trouble is wins may be at a premium next time out.

        I do think with 12 in Nagoya they will promote him due to the ongoing Ozeki situation, though there may be others who suggest that the current crop means they will really make sure the next guy can perform at a certain level over an undeniable period of time.

        Still, I was rooting for Takakeisho to lose on senshuraku just to see an all-out kadoban brawl in Nagoya. Very curious what might have happened were all three of them to have failed to retain their rank…

    • Not to mention that Waka would have actually been 7-7 without the fusen due to the scandalous win vs. Takakeisho. Of course the knuckleheads at NSK wouldn’t take this in any sort of consideration, as they can’t even admit such blatant mistakes.
      Definitely not an Ozeki quality basho by Wakatakakage, although he rallied strong in the second half of the basho.

  3. There is part of me that wonders if they treat Hoshoryu’s 8 as the replacement for Abi and then treat Daieisho’s 11 as sufficient to pop open a second slot at S2E, dropping Abi to KE and then opening KW for Kiribayama and M1E for Takanosho. That might at least deal with some of the joi logjam and allow them to keep Ichinojo more or less in situ

    • That creates a bigger vacuum than necessary just below the joi, which they are already hard pressed to fill with the lack of good records from lower down the banzuke. It’s also a similar situation to late 2019 when we had ozeki falling routinely – I don’t see how your proposition is that much different from “pop the KK komusubi up then put the falling ozeki in S2E/W”.

      • I think 3rd sekiwake is a real possibility.


        Not to be a jerk. But bashō is a fruit. Basho is a tournament. Noticed you use it that way. I did too til someone corrected me. I don’t have accounts anywhere else.

        • Thanks very much, appreciated. Trying to get used to using macrons and you can certainly tell it’s still a work in progress…

          If this were the old shimpan/banzuke committee I’d say a 3rd sekiwake is out of the question. With this new bunch it’s less unlikely, but I still think there’s no real pressure to create a 3rd sekiwake unless they insist on keeping Ichinojō at M1w.

    • We saw an 11-win K2w Asanoyama leapfrog a 9-win K1e Abi for an open sekiwake slot back in 2019, so it doesn’t seem like they’re inclined to do that.

      • In fairness Asanoyama was coming off a basho win earlier in the year, and had another 10 win basho right before that 11 win K2w, so it wasn’t just a one-basho thing there.

        Speaking of, Asanoyama should be back in July with his suspension over, correct?

        • My sense is that they don’t really take past history into account outside ozeki/yokozuna promotions. And yes, he’ll be back, somewhere in Sandanme.

  4. If only Abi had won his final bout and protected his rank, I think this would have solved a lot of those troubles, as I think Daieisho would have opened up an extra sekiwake slot, as he most recently did in 2020.
    Im also actually glad that Takakeisho got a kachikoshi given that he was robbed of one win.

  5. My biggest disappointment this basho was Mitakeumi. I really thought he was going to be a steady, predictable new ozeki. It’s all very well people talking about “unknown injuries”, but he did quite well in some bouts, yet hardly bothered in others.
    I agree with those who want to have a high hurdle for new ozeki. I’d like to see the three basho all at least double digit, even though the precedents don’t say that.

  6. Might the fact that Ryuden was 3-6 in his last nine bouts be a consideration in whether to promote him to Makuuchi? I assume that they weigh only the total record of the basho, but, boy, he sure didn’t look promotion-worthy down the stretch.


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