Kitchen Sink Banzuke

The Banzuke is a core element of Grand Sumo in Japan. It’s the ranking list for each tournament, starting with the lowest ranked wrestlers at the bottom and moving up to the Ozeki and Yokozuna at the top. Divided between East and West, the names of wrestlers (shikona) are hand-drawn by gyoji in an artistic script, progressively larger for each higher division, and each sanyaku “named” rank. However, these lists are static. They’re a snapshot in each wrestler’s career.

I wanted to give users a bit of insight into each rikishi’s historic ranking. Many of the top wrestlers fly through the lower ranks, reaching the top division in under two years. Others grind it out in the lower divisions, spending ten, sometimes twenty years without ever cracking into the professional ranks. Mouse over a wrestler’s name to see a chart that approximates this rise and fall in rank. Division championships are shown in gold kanji (優). But injuries play their role in these trajectories, as we can see with the red segments when a wrestler goes kyujo for entire tournaments.