Looking Ahead to the Kyushu Banzuke

Congratulations to Tamawashi on a well-deserved second yusho. He displayed Yokozuna-grade sumo on his way to a powerful 13-2 championship, two wins clear of anyone else. Along the way, he defeated the Yokozuna, all three Ozeki, two Sekiwake, and all of his direct challengers for the yusho head-to-head. In doing so, Tamawashi becomes the oldest modern champion, only the second man to win two yusho without reaching Ozeki, and arguably the best wrestler below that rank of his generation. Oh, and he’s accomplished all this while being the only sekitori and one of only four rikishi in his heya—the other three being his Makushita-ranked brother-in-law and two recent recruits in Jonidan. This is how the man has to train:

Now, let’s take a look of what the results of the Aki basho mean for the November rankings. With only a handful of wrestlers posting more than 10 or fewer than 5 wins, this is generally not a banzuke with a lot of big movements, unlike last time.

Yokozuna and Ozeki

Y1e Terunofuji will remain the sole Yokozuna, though I expect to see him on the banzuke but not on the dohyo in Kyushu. O1e Takakeisho (10-5) will stay at that rank, as will O1w Shodai (4-11), who will be kadoban and need a winning score to avoid losing his rank. O1w Mitakeumi (4-11) will lose his rank after just 4 basho and fall to Sekiwake, where he will have one chance to record 10 wins for immediate re-promotion.


S1e Wakatakakage (11-4) will stay at that rank and aim higher. With his 19 wins at Sekiwake in the past two basho, an Ozeki promotion in November is not out of the question, especially given the current state of that rank, but it would probably take a yusho with a score of 13-2 or better. More likely, a good November performance would lay the foundation for a January promotion. S1w Hoshoryu (8-7) will join Wakatakakakage at the rank, while Mitakeumi will occupy S2w.


This is where things get interesting. K2w Kiribayama (9-6) clinched a stay at Komusubi but didn’t do enough to warrant a promotion to Sekiwake without a slot being open; I expect him to move to K1e. The other incumbents, absent Abi and 6-9 Ichinojo, will drop into the rank and file. That leaves one open slot, but more than one rikishi has a strong claim.

One is S2e Daieisho (7-8), as no Sekiwake with that record has been dropped to maegashira since 1992, and we’ve had about 50 instances since then. The other two are our champion, M3e Tamawashi (13-2), who seems impossible to deny, and the equally compelling surprise of the basho M1e Tobizaru (10-5), as no top maegashira with a winning score—much less double-digit wins—has missed out on promotion in over 50 years. So I am pretty sure that we will have four Komusubi, although their order is debatable. As that is already the most we’ve ever had, M4w Takayasu (11-4) is in all likelihood out of luck.

Upper Maegashira

Who will be fighting the named ranks in Kyushu? The list starts with Takayasu, who should be joined at M1 by M2e Kotonowaka (8-7). The slot Kotonowaka vacates is the only option for M2w Meisei (8-7). Then, it gets a little crowded, with M1w Midorifuji (7-8), M3w Ura (8-7), M6e Wakamotoharu (10-5), and M5w Sadanoumi (9-6) all deserving to be ranked at least M2, and Ichinojo also in the mix. In any case, these 5 in some order will fill out the ranks down to M4w. His late collapse will see M8w Hokutofuji (10-5) ranked just outside the joi, followed by the other double-digit performers, M10e Nishikifuji (10-5) and M12w Ryuden (11-4).

Juryo-Makuuchi Exchanges

There are three cut-and-dried exchanges. M15w Tsurugisho (5-10), M14w Yutakayama (4-11) and M16e Mitoryu (5-10) all have irredeemable rank-record combinations. Their places in the top division will go to the top three promotion contenders in Juryo: Azumaryu, Kagayaki, and Atamifuji. We’ll see if Azumaryu can finally manage a winning record in his 9th basho in the top division. Atamifuji’s debut is one of the more eagerly awaited ones in recent memory.

Final-day losses left M15e Terutsuyoshi (6-9) and debutant M16w Hiradoumi (7-8) on the bubble. Hiradoumi has a slightly better numerical case to stay, but also went make-koshi at the lowest rung of the Makuuchi ladder. At least M16w should still be on the next banzuke. I don’t think both will go down, as there isn’t a good enough fifth promotion claim in Juryo. The question is whether either trades places with J3w Tohakuryu (8-7), and if so, which. Tohakuryu’s case isn’t all that strong, and given his negative style of sumo, I wouldn’t mind it if he missed out.

Juryo-Makushita Exchanges

Dropping are lovable but ineffectual thruster J13w Tochimaru (2-13) and absent J5w Asanowaka (unless his withdrawal due to post-COVID effects rather than active infection receives unexpected leniency). Their spots should go to Ms1w Roga (4-2) and Ms4e Tsushimanada (5-2).

J12e Gonoyama (6-9) is on the bubble. He lost to Ms4w Tsukahara (4-3) on senshuraku, but it’s not clear whether this was a true “exchange bout.” With a marginally demotable score, Gonoyama could keep his spot anyway, or it could go to either Tsukahara or Ms5w Shonannoumi (5-2). Unlike other banzuke decisions, Juryo promotions will be released in a couple of days, so this mystery at least will be solved. For the rest, we’ll have to wait until October 31 (Halloween!). In the meantime, please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments.

28 thoughts on “Looking Ahead to the Kyushu Banzuke

  1. It will be pleasingly pyramidal if we have 1 Yokozuna, 2 Ozeki, 3 Sekiwake and 4 Komusubi.

    Roughly how far must I anticipate my beloved Abi to drop given his full 15 days of absence?

  2. So, where do we think Ryuden will end up???. Is he headed for the top slots anytime..or is his past indescretion going to resign him to life in the mid pack???.

    • They’ve been treating Ryuden quite conventionally with regard to banzuke movement; his 11-4 should bump him up to M5-M6. Ishizaki will probably land around Ms7-Ms8.

    • I have Ryuden at 6e which is a sweet spot as he wouldn’t have to fight any of the top guys unless he goes on a winning streak. I love his style of sumo and I am looking forward to his first ever meeting with Wakamotoharu; that’s a classic yotsu matchup.

  3. And down in Mak. Ishizaki went 5-2 again beating Shishi on sensuraku…YAY !!!!! hope he gets prop. to a higher Mak. rank when the Banzukes done…

  4. Interesting Facts About Aki 2022

    The last time rank and filer’s won back-to-back tournaments was July/September 1991 (M13e Kotofuji and M5e Kotonishiki).

    The last time there were 6 different Yusho winners in a calendar year (2020 doesn’t count because there were only 5 tournaments) was…wait for it…1991 as well!

    In Aki 2022 Tamawashi’s two losses came against a pair of brothers, Wakatakakage and Wakamotoharu. Their older brother, Wakatakamoto (Ms40w) was born in…1-9-9-1.


  5. Why are 4 people heyas like Kataonami merged into other, bigger heyas? The current owner has been running it since 2010 – so, clearly he either not able or not interested in recruiting ,which is an essential element of running a successful heya – and ensuring that the rikishi have appropriate resources to train and progress their careers. If he is not able to do the job, why doesn’t NSK remove him? Don’t they have some performance standards?

    • It’s a good question. There was an interesting and sad story about Mitoryu, the only wrestler at Nishikido, though it also has two coaches, a hairdresser, gyoji, and yobidashi. It’s hard to know what to grade a heya on and what metrics would be “failing” if there are those like Shikihide or even Shibatayama with none ranked above Sandanme.

      • Isn’t it better to think of the NSK as an association of fairly independent heya, rather than as heya reporting to the NSK?

        • For the most part, yes. I do think you’re right but with the way they’ve handled the bullying and other scandals of the past, we know there have been disciplinary measures taken against oyakata, like Tokiwayama after the Takanofuji and Takagenji episodes. I just don’t know what it is and whether there are set guidelines. I’m sure there are some sort of standards for the different elder ranks. Nishikido is pretty high up, Kataonami seems kinda middle of the pack while Tokiwayama is now a toshiyori, pretty far down with or even below a lot of our recent retirees. But ultimately I think their roles in the Kyokai are more complicated than just running a stable. And it might be that discipline is only dished out if scandals hit the papers but I doubt that, too.

          • From what I understand all oyakatas draw a salary from NSK, they also get a set amount for every rikishi (and perhaps other staff members like gyoji), rikishi (and other staff) salaries and other perks. NSK also compels participation in tournaments, jungyo trips, and other events.

            Given how much control they exert on heyas and rikishi, why can’t they set and demand adherence to minimum performance standards. Having 4 rikishi after running the heya for 12 years – does look like some combination of willful disregard, negligence and incompetence.

            Maybe, Andy as you said, NSK simply doesn’t care as long as there is no scandal.

  6. I reckon with the current state of the Banzuke, Wakatakakage might get a bit of leeway in his ozeki run, particularly as he’s relatively young and uninjured (I think) and can so can reasonably expect to have decent longevity at the rank

    • I defer to those with greater knowledge than me on these matters.
      But my instincts are that: IF he got a 13-2 Yusho in November, it would be pretty likely (though not certain of course!) that they promote him to Ozeki. 8-11J-13Y would only be 32 wins, but 32 has often been enough in the past and given that would be a 2nd Yusho and a solid looking resume at Sekiwake – plus the background pressures of a fragile Yokozuna and under-performing Ozeki – I bet it’d be enough.
      However if he got a 12-3 yusho or jun-yusho… well, that would really make things interesting!

  7. Looking at Mitakeumi’s quick demotion to Sekiwake, I really want to contrast that with Takakeisho. Takakeisho got injured almost immediately after promotion and went kadoban. But he stayed out the entire next basho and probably saved his rank (and career?) by doing so. If Mitakeumi can’t hit 10, we will have to second guess the decision to compete in this tournament.

  8. What does “negative style of sumo” amount to regarding Tohakuryu? (I’m completly unfamiliar with him and just curious what you mean.)



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