Looking Ahead to the Aki Banzuke

Congratulations to S1e Hoshoryu (12-3) on a well-earned first yusho; I don’t expect it to be the last, health permitting. With the Nagoya results in the books, let’s take a preliminary look at what they mean for the next banzuke.

Yokozuna and Ozeki

Terunofuji will remain the sole Yokozuna, and hopefully will be back in fighting trim in September.

Absent O1e Takakeisho and shin-Ozeki O1w Kirishima (6-7-2) will both be kadoban at Aki, needing 8+ wins to save their ranks. They will also be switching sides on the banzuke by virtue of Kirishima’s 6 wins. And we’ll have a 3rd Ozeki! Hoshoryu reached the nominal Ozeki promotion target of 33 wins over 3 basho and punctuated his claim with a yusho; the special board meeting to elevate him has already been called, and the promotion should be official on Wednesday. S1w Daieisho and S2w Wakamotoharu both faded at the end, finishing 9-6. Their Ozeki runs officially continue into Aki, but with just 19 wins over two basho, each would need an exceptionally strong performance to be considered.


While they failed in their Ozeki bids, Daieisho and Wakamotoharu did more than enough to hold rank, and Hoshoryu’s elevation means that they will move up to S1e and S1w, respectively. K1e Kotonowaka (11-4) reached the 11 wins needed to force a Sekiwake promotion, and will finally make his debut at the rank after 4 straight basho at Komusubi. Since the start of 2022, Kotonowaka did not record 8+ wins only once—in the COVID-hit basho a year ago, when he was forced to withdraw with a 7-3 record. Oh, and he has started an Ozeki run of his own.

With Kotonowaka vacating his rank via promotion, and K1w Abi (6-9) losing his via demotion, we have 2 Komusubi slots to fill. Conveniently, we have two M1’s with strong records to fill them: M1e Nishikigi (10-5), who will make a late-career san’yaku debut, and M1w Tobizaru (9-6), who last held the rank in March. Just missing out is the runner-up, M9w Hokutofuji (12-3), who should be the top-ranked maegashira at Aki. I’ll take a look how the rest of the rank-and-file is likely to shake out in a separate post.

Makuuchi-Juryo Exchanges

Dropping to Juryo will be absent M12w Wakatakakage and M16w Bushozan (3-12). Their places in the top division will be taken by J1e Kagayaki (9-6) and the Juryo yusho winner, J1w Atamifuji (11-4). The final Makuuchi slot was decided in a straight-up exchange bout between M14e Daishoho (6-9) and J2e Roga (8-7); the incumbent won and earned a stay.

Juryo-Makushita Exchanges

We’ll have a bumper crop of new (or returning) sekitori with 5, the most since January of 2020. Going into senshuraku, we had 4 clear open slots in Juryo: absent J6e Fujiseiun, J14e Yuma (6-9), J14w Chiyonoumi (4-11), and J11w Tsushimanada (3-12). Ms4w Takahashi (5-2) won his exchange bout against J12w Hidenoumi (5-10), opening up a 5th. These spots will go to Makushita yusho winner Ms1e Tokihayate (7-0), Ms3e Onosato (4-3), Ms3w Mukainakano (4-3), Takahashi, and Ms5e Ishizaki (5-2). That’s a pretty exciting crop of new sekitori! Their promotions, along with that of the new Ozeki, should be official on Wednesday; for the rest of the banzuke, we have to wait until August 28, but never fear—the Crystal Ball will weigh in long before then!

34 thoughts on “Looking Ahead to the Aki Banzuke

  1. Another simple Sumo 101 comment from me: if you wanted to be yokozuna, isn’t the first thing you’d do is make sure your style wasn’t primarily oshizumo? Seems to me that pushing/thrusting is too high risk – you get spectacular results but people work it out e.g. Daiesho and then you fall on your face.

    Most of the recent yokozuna (with the exception of Akebono) that I can think of are on-the-belt or all around wrestlers. So, unless, they diversify, this would mean that, of the current crop, Daiesho, Takakeisho, Abi, Gonoyama etc are quite limited in terms of how far they can rise.

    • The observation is certainly correct, but how is someone like Takakeisho going to embrace yotsu?

    • I’m not sure that is correct. You could argue that any yotsu rikishi has to learn first how to withstand Oshi zumo, or they never get to their game in the first place. On the contrary some Oshi guys never develop any game plan against yotsu sumo, like Abi or Takakeisho (physical limitations). Also not all Oshi users constantly overextend like Onosho or Daieisho. Take Tamawashi for example or Aoiyama.

      I think the main limitation to Oshi is that it’s a lot more straight forward, which also makes it easier to defend. With yotsu there are so many variations/nuances.

      Also the vast majority of rikishi probably doesn’t target Yokozuna

    • Wrestlers are heavy. Yotsu is very hard. Oshi-tsuki strategies have a lot of advantages for agility and misdirection. All of the wrestlers you’ve mentioned are in the top division — and Takakeisho is an Ozeki. I just wouldn’t say that’s rather “limited in terms of how far they can rise.”

  2. We keenly await the Crystal Ball…
    Any thought of how high Tomokaze might rank in Juryo after his 10-5? I guess “by the numbers” he should be around J6? But looking at the scores of those nearby him on the banzuke I was thinking/hoping he might get lucky and rise higher?

    • I think you would have to be super unlucky to end up at J6 with 10wins from J9. Normally that should be good enough for J3 or J4.
      This time I see Roga ahead of him and both J5 (who had 10 wins too), Daiamami and maybe Mitoryu ahead of him. I think both Bushozan and Wakatakakage will definitely end behind him too, so worst case J3w like Iksumo said and best case j3e. Don’t think there is much room for variation. Would also expect him to be ranked ahead of Mitoryu though.

    • Earlier this week I had designs on makuuchi for him. But I’m glad to see him doing well.

      • I completely missed that, but when Ogurumabeya got closed, he got moved to Nishonoseki and is now under the fine tutelage of ex-Kisenosato and ex-Yoshikaze. There were also no bandages on his knees, so I hope that’s a good sign.

  3. I think Hokutofuji will make Komusubi. The maths work out: 1 Yokozuna, 3 Ozeki, 3 Sekiwake and 3 Komusubi. 1+3+3+3 = 10, and the banzuke works best with a total even number of Yokozuna, Ozeki and Sanyaku.

    • Let’s just say I’ve specialized in banzuke predictions for quite a few years, and I’d be very, very surprised. Aside from the fact that this rank-record combination very rarely makes it, and they have the two requisite komusubi slots filled, it would make the rest of the banzuke even more of a nightmare to fill out than it already is.

      • To support that, Abi had as recently as January a Yusho from M9w and ended at M3e. Only 15 rikishi before had 12 wins from M9 and only one got a promotion to Komusubi.
        This one occasion was November 2011, when Kisenosato opened a Sanyaku slot with his promotion to Ozeki, Hamasho departed from his Komusubi slot with a 4-11 record, opening 2 slots. On the promotion side there have been only 6 kachikoshi all the way down to M9w, the highest being M5e with 8-7, 9-6 and 11-4 at M6, 10-5 M7w, a 9-6 at M8 and the 12-3 from M9w.
        All in all an exceptional situation where the 2nd free Komusubi spot hat to be decided between Takekaze‘s 10-5 at M7w and Wakakoyu‘s 12-3 at M9w. Not at all comparable to this basho. There has definitely never before been forced an additional Komusubi slot with 12 wins from M9.

      • It does seem like a weak field above him though. Looks like Meisei at M1e and Asanoyama at M1w, with Hokutofuji at M2, or even swap Asanoyama and Hokutofuji. But as you say, you’ve got the experience, so I look forward to that post because it’s the most interesting to me. :)

  4. Isegahama is close having recently brought up Nishiki/Midori/Atami-fujis, but I’m struggling to think of a stable that’s completely refreshed its selection of sekitori as quickly as Miyagino

    In less than two years it’s gone from Hakuho/Ishiura/Enho to Hakuoho/Hokuseiho/Kiho/Mukainakano, and all very young (apart from Kiho) and looking like they could be around for a long time.

    It won’t happen but I’d love to see a promotion shikona Mukainakaho

    • Mukainakahō would be epic!

      I don’t think Isegahama’s particularly close on this one. The talent ceiling of some of those Miyagino boys is atmospheric and Hakuhō has an open foreigner slot…

      • To be fair there are not many heya over the past decade that are going to compete with what Miyagino is on the verge of developing, just a handful. I was referring more to the speed at which 3-4 names in the top divisions have completely turned over to a new generation.

        We’ve seen lots of stables in the past decade with a big top division presence, e.g. Kokonoe, Oitekaze, Oguruma, obviously Isegahama etc. But in many of their cases, there are no immediate reinforcements coming from behind once the current generation retires. Isegahama has a more or less evergreen production line of sekitori (even if their ceiling, as you rightly point out, is probably not near what Miyagino is developing and Nishonoseki is possibly on the verge of developing).

  5. Shimanoumi needs to be dropped down. Even if that means MS7w Tsukahara (6-1) gets a lucky promotion. He has been saved so many times recently when he should have gone down that it is borderline scandalous. In the last year he has had 35 wins to 70 losses. He should have been sent down 2 tournaments ago. He’s been getting very gentle demotions for a very long time now. Time to clean things up and let someone new have an opportunity as a sekitori.

    • I certainly agree, but they had a much stronger case for dropping him after March (same record from a rank lower, with better Ms promotion cases) and didn’t, so whatever favoritism he’s received will continue, as this time it’s the type of exchange they don’t normally do. He should of course be J14w on the next banzuke, but they’ll probably find a way to put him higher.

    • It really doesn’t matter how many wins he had last year. The banzuke has no memory. Also he started at J1. In march he was lucky, but it’s not that much out of line. There have been 8 rikishi with 5-10 records from J11 east since 2010. Shironoryu in may 2011 doesn’t count, as he actually moved up 2 ranks due to all the intai. Of the remaining 7 1 went Ms2w, 2 went Ms2e, 3 went Ms1e and Shimanoumi remained in Juryo. He beat out Kawazoe who at Ms3w with a 4-3 record had a weak promotion case. In 2012 Nionoumi had 5-10 record at J11w and stayed in Juryo. It’s a bit lucky, but not more.
      From J10w with 5 wins there have been 10 cases since 2010 … 4 stayed in Juryo and the other 6 ended up at Ms1. Odds from here are almost 50/50. You will hate that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up ahead of all the promotees but Tokihayate. None of those rank/win combinations usually end up better than J14. My guess is that either Onosato or Takahashi will be placed ahead of him. There is also Kiho at J13e,at 7-8, who I guess will keep his rank. Imho there is a good chance that Shimanoumi ends up no lower than J12w, which would be indeed be very lucky.
      So obviously I disagree with Iksumo here too, but the worst I can see him is end up at J13 and that doesn’t need much magic, just following in line with what the banzuke committee has been doing the last 10 years.

      • I have Shimanoumi at J-13W right now, just ahead of Ōnosatō and Mukainakano (who may have a new shikona by then…)

  6. If anyone is interested, I can attach my preliminary banzuke (Makuuchi/Jūryō)…

      • Aki 2023 Banzuke

        EAST WEST
        Terunofuji (Y)
        Kirishima (O) Takakeishō (O)
        Hōshōryū (O)
        Daieishō (S) Wakamotoharu (S)
        Kotonowaka (S)
        Nishikigi (K) Tobizaru (K)
        Hokutōfuji (M1) Meisei (M1)
        Asanoyama (M2) Abi (M2)
        Shōdai (M3) Tamawashi (M3)
        Gōnoyama (M4) Ura (M4)
        Takanoshō (M5) Shōnannoumi (M5)
        Hakuōhō (M6) Ōnoshō (M6)
        Takayasu (M7) Ōhō (M7)
        Ryūden (M8) Kotoekō (M8)
        Midorifuji (M9) Hiradoumi (M9)
        Kinbozan (M10) Hokuseihō (M10)
        Endō (M11) Mitakeumi (M11)
        Takarafuji (M12) Sadanoumi (M12)
        Myōgiryū (M13) Nishikifuji (M13)
        Aoiyama (M14) Kotoshōhō (M14)
        Chiyoshōma (M15) Atamifuji (M15)
        Tsurugishō (M16) Kagayaki (M16)
        Daishōhō (M17)

        EAST. WEST
        Rōga (J1) Tamashōhō (J1)
        Kitanowaka (J2) Daiamami (J2)
        Tomokaze (J3) Mitoryū (J3)
        Ōshōma (J4) Tōhakuryū (J4)
        Churanoumi (J5) Bushozan (J5)
        Shimazuumi (J6) Azumaryū (J6)
        Chiyosakae (J7) Shishi (J7)
        Takakentō (J8) Akua (J8)
        Chiyomaru (J9) Hakuyōzan (J9)
        Ichiyamamoto (J10)
        Wakatakakage (J10)
        Shiden (J11) Tokihayate (J11)
        Takahashi (J12) Ishizaki (J12)
        Kihō (J13) Shimanoumi (J13)
        Ōnosatō (J14) Mukainakano (J14)

        I did my best Banzuke math, but there were a lot of generous promotions, lenient demotions, and almost all the mild make-koshi rikishi staying put.

        • I think Onosato will be ranked ahead of Ishizaki, but that’s a coin toss.
          Takahashi (J12) Shimanoumi (J12)
          Kiho (J13) Onosato (J13)
          Ishizaki (J14) Mukainakano (J14)

          I think there is a general bias against ranking promotees too high. They might want to move Kiho ahead of Shimanoumi, but since this would require to put either Onosato or Ishizaki ahead of Kiho, they will go with the lesser evil and keep Shimanoumi at J12w instead.

  7. Let’s try this again…

    Aki 2023 Banzuke


    Terunofuji (Y-1E)
    Kirishima (O-1E)
    Takakeishō (O-1W)
    Hōshōryū (O-2W)
    Daieishō (S-1E)
    Wakamotoharu (S-1W)
    Kotonowaka (S-2E)
    Nishikigi (K-1E)
    Tobizaru (K-1W)
    Hokutōfuji (M-1E)
    Meisei (M-1W)
    Asanoyama (M-2E)
    Abi (M-2W)
    Shōdai (M-3E)
    Tamawashi (M-3W)
    Gōnoyama (M-4E)
    Ura (M-4W)
    Takanoshō (M-5E)
    Shōnannoumi (M-5W)
    Hakuōhō (M-6E)
    Ōnoshō (M-6W)
    Takayasu (M-7E)
    Ōhō (M-7W)
    Ryūden (M-8E)
    Kotoekō (M-8W)
    Midorifuji (M-9E)
    Hiradoumi (M-9W)
    Kinbozan (M-10E)
    Hokuseihō (M-10W)
    Endō (M-11E)
    Mitakeumi (M-11W)
    Takarafuji (M-12E)
    Sadanoumi (M-12W)
    Myōgiryū (M-13E)
    Nishikifuji (M-13W)
    Aoiyama (M-14E)
    Kotoshōhō (M-14W)
    Chiyoshōma (M-15E)
    Atamifuji (M-15W)
    Tsurugishō (M-16E)
    Kagayaki (M-16W)
    Daishōhō (M-17E)


    Rōga (J-1E)
    Tamashōhō (J-1W)
    Kitanowaka (J-2E)
    Daiamami (J-2W)
    Tomokaze (J-3E)
    Mitoryū (J-3W)
    Ōshōma (J-4E)
    Tōhakuryū (J-4W)
    Churanoumi (J-5E)
    Bushozan (J-5W)
    Shimazuumi (J-6E)
    Azumaryū (J-6W)
    Chiyosakae (J-7E)
    Shishi (J-7W)
    Takakentō (J-8E)
    Akua (J-8W)
    Chiyomaru (J-9E)
    Hakuyōzan (J-9W)
    Ichiyamamoto (J-10E)
    Wakatakakage (J-10W)
    Shiden (J-11E)
    Tokihayate (J-11W)
    Takahashi (J-12E)
    Ishizaki (J-12W)
    Kihō (J-13E)
    Shimanoumi (J-13W)
    Ōnosatō (J-14E)
    Mukainakano (J-14W)

    • I didn’t look through this in detail nor do my own prediction, but you have Hakuoho at M6e and Endo at M11e, when Hakuoho has just one more win and started 1,5 ranks behind. I dare to say that’s never gonna happen. Wouldn’t even be surprised, if Endo somehow ended up ahead of him

      • You might be right, but this is just a preliminary thing, they’ll probably be closer to each other by the time I submit my guess for GTB.

        • I‘m glad I sent my first GTB entry already on Monday. I‘d only get confused reading all your wise ideas. And I prefer to put in my own decisions to copy a „Tachiai-entry“.
          Anyway, will I be told by GTB if I made last place? At the Tour the France that would earn a special price (kanto sho?)!

  8. Tokushoryu was at m17 when he won the tournament and was numbed up to m1 I believe, I know Hakuoho didn’t win the tournament but I wonder if he will be bumped closer to m3-4??

    • He also went 14-1, and that’s a much bigger bump than 11-4. He’ll end up somewhere in the M9-M10 range, which’ll be better for his gradual development (as opposed to having to fight all the upper rankers in Sept already)


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