Makushita Yusho and Promotion Picture

Congratulations to Ms1e Tokihayate on taking the third-division title! This is his second career yusho to go with the one he won in his only Jonidan basho exactly 4 years ago. His Juryo debut in May ended with a 6-9 score from J14e; let’s see if he can do better in September, when he should be ranked higher in the division and have more of a cushion against demotion.

We have 4 clear open slots in Juryo: absent J6e Fujiseiun, J14e Yuma (4-9), J14w Chiyonoumi (4-9), and J11w Tsushimanada (2-11). All have unsalvageable rank-record combinations. Two other incumbents are not safe yet. J10w Shimanoumi (5-8) needs one more win for safety, although he could survive with two losses, especially given his extremely lenient treatment in the past. With the same record but two ranks lower, J12w Hidenoumi (5-8) really must win at least one more, although mathematically he needs two.

On the Makushita side, Tokihayate is obviously a lock for promotion. Four other rikishi in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone still have sekitori hopes. Ms5e Ishizaki is 5-2 after taking down Hidenoumi today. Ms4w Takahashi is 4-2, with a Day 15 bout left. Nishonoseki beya’s Ms3e Onosato is 3-3, as is Miyagino’s Ms3w Mukainakano. Both must win their final matches, and they are pitted tomorrow against the two endangered incumbents, Hidenoumi and Shimanoumi, respectively.

Here’s how I think the various scenarios play out. If Onosato and Mukainakano both lose, Ishizaki and Takahashi will go up, Hidenoumi and Shimanoumi survive, and the NSK will be scrambling for a 4th unconventional promotion, presumably Ms7w Tsukahara (6-1). If one of them loses and the other wins, we have 4 demotions and 4 promotions, unless Hidenoumi loses out, in which case Tsukahara could again be in luck. If both win, they both go up, and Takahashi fights Hidenoumi on senshuraku. If he loses, he’s the odd man out. If he wins, there’s room for him and for Ishizaki, who replaces Hidenoumi.

7 thoughts on “Makushita Yusho and Promotion Picture

  1. “let’s see if he can do better in September, when he should be ranked higher in the division and have more of a cushion against demotion.”

    This raises an interesting question. What is that cushion? For a debutant, what’s the likelihood of a successful Juryo basho from each rung of the ladder? I will have to dig into that.

    • Take the juryo rank, add the losses, subtract the wins (e.g. J13 7-8 -> 21-7 = 14). If the total is 14 or less, you’re safe! 15-16 can get you demoted, but is survivable depending on how good the promotion cases in makushita are. 17 or more and you’re toast. (There may be exceptions, but they are very rare).

      • Yeah, but I mean on a historical basis, if you land at J14 on your debut, what is the likelihood of immediate demotion…and then going up the ladder. I mean, if J13 debut survives at 2x the rate of J14 debut, or 4x? I’m just curious.

        • Okay, I got you. Since 2004, when juryo expanded to 28, 57 guys made their division debut at J14. 31 stuck around, 26 got demoted back to makushita (I’m counting Yuma). 61 guys debuted at J13; 48 stuck around (I’m counting Kiho), 12 went back down, and 1 (Endo) vaulted straight to makuuchi. So the failure rate is a little more than 2X as high for J14. I think that’s all the research I want to do on this.

  2. Couldn’t they save themselves the search beyond Ms#5 by deciding that one of the “unsalvageable” sekitori gets an absolution?


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