I must give Herouth a big thank you for the kensho data she put up on Google Sheets. It is really fun to play with and I hope to get a chance to dive into it more often. I’ve been loving data visualizations so I obviously had to throw together a few charts. What’s the deal with kensho and the envelopes? Each envelope handed over on the dohyo contains cash — 30,000 yen or about $280 (£220 or €240). There’s also a roughly equivalent amount behind the scenes that goes toward the rikishi’s retirement and pays fees.
First, a few basics. You all would likely not be surprised to learn that Takakeisho has walked away with the most envelopes so far this tournament with 108, of 144 he’s had up for grabs. Asanoyama has let nearly half of his kensho slip through his fingers with those critical three losses. Endo is in a similar boat. Of 95 envelopes up for grabs, his opponents have walked away with just over half.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Wakatakakage has won four of five kensho prizes that he has been eligible for, walking away with eight envelopes. Daieisho has won 13 of 21 envelopes available and Tamawashi has collected 11 of 50, so far. The two visualizations hopefully pack this information into a readily consumable and comparable format for you. Terutsuyoshi, for example, is a big, red square in the top chart as he’s had 76 envelopes up for grabs but only walked away with four. This is all based on data through Day 8. The picture above is a static image with a link to where I’ve put it but the visualization below should be dynamic.
If you’re like me, the sumo stables (heya) are a rather daunting mystery. There are so many of them that even after all of these years, beyond a few famous ones, I still can’t tell my Futagoyama from my Nishikido. After all, there are 45 active stables and there have been significant changes in the past couple of years. There are also many former and a few active wrestlers, ready to spread their wings and set up their own new stables.
There are great resources online to help out. First, the Sumo Kyokai’s website has the Sumo Beya Guide with a list of the wrestlers and staff. In a pinch, it’s a great, current roster. Then, of course, the SumoDB has a ton of information on the stables of each wrestler and does a great job tracking the history of changes; wrestlers do move from one heya to another — usually because a stable closes and its wrestlers are absorbed by a second stable, or a new stable opens and rikishi follow their recruiter to his new home.
Hat-tip to Bruce for this excellent reference book. It has a complete roster with mugshots of all the wrestlers at the time of printing, grouped with their heya. It also has the staff, including coaches, hair dressers, gyoji, and support staff…my go-to reference, especially when watching those lower division matches because it includes the all-important furigana to help me penetrate some of the more bewildering shikona.
To add to these resources, I put together a little dashboard that I hope you will find as helpful as I do. This helps me get even more of a sense of not only which wrestlers are in which stable but also where the stables draw their wrestlers from. I can also drill into the kimarite (or winning techniques) the rikishi prefer, as well as what they fall victim to.
Feel free to click around. You can select a heya from the radio buttons on the right on either tab and the banzuke will filter to only those wrestlers from your selected heya. On the first tab, you can also click on a shusshin to have the banzuke filter to the wrestlers from that shusshin and on the second tab, click on the individual wrestler’s name to filter the kimarite chart. The kimarite includes each wrestlers’ career record — not just Osaka.
As an example, let’s take a look at Oitekaze-beya, home of Endo, Daieisho, and just about everyone else named Dai~~ and Tsurugisho. Curiously, Oitekaze oyakata seems to recruit exclusively from the southern half of Japan. Tatsunami-beya, on the other hand, picks guys from the far north, the far south, and around Kanto…skipping over much in between.
On the second tab, you can see how well each wrestler did in Osaka in the top graph. In the bottom chart, you can discern his strengths and weaknesses. For Endo, we’ve got a clear preference for yotsu techniques while Daieisho prefers an oshi-battle, win or lose. You can get a sense that he will force the issue and not allow anyone near his belt while Endo is not quite as able to assert his preference.
I’m eager to hear what you discover about your favorite stables…or if it helps you find a stable to investigate further. I’ll update this with the current banzuke as we get closer to Nagoya Tokyo.
I’ve been going a little nuts with dashboards lately. I took the new banzuke and through this together last night. This is version 1.0. It currently only has the sekitori, and is in dire need of some TLC to pretty it up, but I thought you may enjoy it. Darker purple on the left side means there are more wrestlers in that heya. I just realized I need to add that legend.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll note references Josh makes to several of the heya. There are many stables so the text colors are a bit…busy. But if you click on a heya’s name, it will highlight wrestlers from that Heya. I thought it was interesting to see how many Juryo wrestlers are from Kise beya.
I updated the kimarite visualization with data from Hatsu 2019. I also took one of Herouth’s suggestions from before and tried to add oyakata. Some predate the data I have entirely, others don’t have complete data for what I have but some of the younger cohort, including Kotooshu, are in there. Note that the charts use the shikona, not the oyakata’s current name. (As a usability note, I usually click on the “full screen” view option, available at the bottom right of the visualization, rather than scroll, and I’m not a fan of how it bleeds over the widgets on the right.)
A few other things that I quietly changed before the tournament are the date slider and the use of percentages rather than outright counts of bouts. This will let you see the wrestlers’ kimarite ratios in annual chunks, or for their career (back to 1985 for the older ones). It is interesting to compare Kotooshu to Akebono to see how versatile Akebono was. Kotooshu wasn’t a one-trick-pony as he certainly had a reliable uwatenage there in his back pocket. For sumo wrestlers, perhaps “up their sleeve” is a better phrase since their pockets are in their sleeves?