Looking Ahead to the Kyushu Banzuke

With the September results in the books, let’s take our customary preliminary look at how they’re likely to reshuffle the rankings ahead of the November tournament.

Yokozuna and Ozeki

No changes here, except that Kirishima and Takakeisho will swap sides based on their Aki win totals. And all three Ozeki will be in good standing after the kadoban pair posted winning records and shin-Ozeki Hoshoryu recorded his 8th win on the final day.

San’yaku

All three Sekiwake—S1e Daieisho (10-5), S1w Wakamotoharu (9-6), and S2e Kotonowaka (9-6)—will stay at exactly the same ranks. We had two new Komusubi this time, and neither Nishikigi (5-10) nor Tobizaru (6-9) came close to holding rank, so they will be replaced by M2e Abi (9-6) and M1 Hokutofuji (8-7). M2w Asanoyama (9-6) actually has a slightly better numerical case for promotion than Hokutofuji, but no M1e with a winning record has been denied a san’yaku rank since 1969.

Upper Maegashira

Given the above, the former Ozeki Asanoyama will have to settle for the top maegashira spot, where any winning record would return him to the named ranks for the first time since his suspension-driven fall two years ago. The rest of the occupants of the M1-M5 ranks are clear, though the order is not. We have 6 other maegashira with winning records who belong here: M4w Ura (9-6), M3e Shodai (8-7), M5e Gonoyama (9-6), M7e Takayasu (10-5), M6e Onosho (9-6), and M9e Midorifuji (10-5). We also have to slot in M1w Meisei (7-8), as well as the two falling Komusubi, who usually get some preferential treatment. Tobizaru and Meisei could slot in after Shodai, and Nishikigi after Onosho, but I’ll need to look more closely to figure out the most likely solution.

Makuuchi-Juryo Exchanges

We have four rock-solid demotions: absent M9w Hakuoho, lowest-ranked M17e Daishoho (3-12), M15w Chiyoshoma (3-12), and M16e Kagayaki (5-10). There were 3 other men in danger going into senshuraku, and only Nishikifuji picked up a win, so the potential additional denotion queue stands as follows: M14w Kotoshoho (5-10), M14e Aoiyama (5-10), M13w Nishikifuji (5-10). Who stays and who goes comes down to evaluating the promotion cases in Juryo.

The bad news for Kotoshoho is that there are 5 solid promotion cases. These are headed by J3e Tomokaze (11-4), who will finally be back in the top division after a four-year comeback, and J7w Ichiyamamoto (13-2), who took the yusho after he beat Daiamami and J14e Onosato (12-3) lost to promotion-chasing Roga. With that all-important win, top-ranked J1e Roga (8-7) clinched a long-awaited top-division debut. The other solid promotion cases belong to the king of negative sumo, J4w Tohakuryu (10-5), and J5e Churanoumi (10-5).

Sixth in line for promotion is J2e Kitanowaka (8-7), who is a hair short of a numerical promotion claim but should nevertheless replace Aoiyama, although this isn’t a lock. A harder question is whether Nishikifuji’s senshuraku win will be enough to save him; I am guessing that it will just be, given that the best candidate to replace him is J5w Bushozan (9-6).

Oh, and the only record in Makuuchi worse than 5-10, aside from Chiyoshoma and Daishoho, belongs to iron man M3w Tamawashi (2-13), who is in no danger of demotion, but it will be interesting to see how much the banzuke committee opts to cushion his fall down the rankings.

17 thoughts on “Looking Ahead to the Kyushu Banzuke

  1. Thank you for your post here as well as your post on Aki Day 15 Highlights regarding Takakeshio’s Henka. I’m still upset about it but dearly hope Atamifuji picks up a boat load of new sponsors!

    I will look forward to seeing Tomokaze and happy for Ichiyamamoto’s Yusho Win! I also have to say in the lower ranks, I am a fan of Yamoto and glad he won too!

    Looking forward to your further prognostications and thank you!

  2. so takakeiso is not going to get promoted to yokozuna after winning this cup ?

    btw new rule :
    ozeki and yokozuna forbiden to perform henka ( i hope thats how its spelled )

    • Why would he be promoted? The standard is two yusho in a row, or equivalent. He was coming off a tournament he sat out (0-0-15), with an 8-7 and a 3-4-8 before that. The question now is whether this very weak yusho starts promotion consideration in November, depending on his results there.

      • Had to go back to 1970 to find a yokozuna who had 11 wins or fewer as part of an ozeki run, but it did happen (https://sumodb.sumogames.de/Rikishi.aspx?r=4028). A 10-5 yusho and then a 13-2 playoff loss was enough.

        Given how close Takakeisho was with a 12-3 playoff loss followed by a 12-3 win earlier in the year, surely they won’t deny him if he wins outright in November. A playoff loss might be enough to kill it, but even that, combined with coming so close earlier in the year (i.e. 4 wins or playoffs in 7 basho) seems like it should be enough. 13 wins would certainly help his case though.

        • I think it’s a near certainty that he gets promoted with an outright win, and also a near certainty that he doesn’t with anything less.

    • I do not have the same degree of enmity towards this henka that most do.
      Why do people pull a henka? There are two primary reasons:
      1. They feel the opponent is getting an unfair advantage by coming in too low and hard, and so are ‘discouraging’ them from such practice; or
      2. They feel that cannot (reliably at least) beat the opponent
      Clearly 1 is not the case here. Thus, by pulling a henka, in playoff of all places, and so insinuating that he couldn’t beat him squarely, the Rotund One was telling Atamifuji that he is the anointed ‘yokozuna’ of his generation. He said as much in his yusho interview.

      I also feel he was looking after Atamifuji’s long-term future. If Atamifuji had won, things would have been totally crazy for him. The pressure to succeed would have been enormous, and consequently the angst if he hits a few speed-bumps along the way (as most do) would have been off the charts. I think Takakeisho was trying to make sure his career develops a bit more organically without all that craziness.

  3. As to Asanoyama, since 1969 promotion to sanyaku from M2w with 9-6 has been denied three times. Two of those cases were recent: Kotonowaka reached only M2e, because there was no demotion from sanyaku, and Tamawashi missed the Komusubi rank in Hatsu of this January. That’s very interesting, because Tobizaru was promoted from M1e with 8-7. Therefore we had the exact same situation as today, but with one difference: there were four Komusubi in Haru! So maybe Asanoyama‘s chances for a third Komusubi slot will be better than Tamawashi‘s were for a fifth?

    • I think this will go down exactly like Tobizaru/Tamawashi—they’re not going to create an extra slot when nothing is forcing them to do so, and 9-6 at M2w is certainly not forcing. To complement your query, you can look for promotions from M2w 9-6 specifically to K2 (i.e. creating an extra slot). There are only two instances, and the most recent is 1996, when they were much more generous with extra slots.

      • To add on this, there are 3 recent cases with 9-6 records from M1w not creating an extra slot. Tochinoshin in Natsu 2015: Tamawashi in Osaka 2018 and Hokutofuji in Nagoya 2019 all ended up at M1e.

      • I guess we‘re a bit losing sight of the original problem U mentioned in your post, that is Asanoyama should numerically take over Hokutofuji. That fact could make them think about an extra slot. (And Asanoyama is a crowd favorite, but then of course there is his shameful behavior as an Ozeki during covid.)

        • that was also the case for Tobizaru/Tamawashi, and some GTB players used that logic to create a lot for Tamawwashi…

  4. I’m more interested in the Juryo/Makushita exchanges. Juryo looked like a mess, and few in Makushita’s joi impressed.

    • It ended up being pretty straightforward in the end. Wakatakakage, Kihō, Hakuyōzan go down, Yūma, Hitoshi, Hidenoumi come up. Azumaryū and Chiyosakae survive despite having borderline demotable records.

  5. atamifuji might not make have another chance to win a basho

    , if u cant beat asanoyama or takakeisho , then no, he is not a top rank , not yet.

    i did want him to win the aki basho more than the rest of the rikishi .,.

    as for looking ahead to the next basho , i want to see asanoyama getting his Ozeki rank back : )

    i really like all rikishi, i dont like takakeisho anymore though

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