Kotoshogiku Demoted


Kotoshogiku is Out of Gas

The biggest story coming out of Kokugikan on Day 12 is Kotoshogiku’s demotion. Today’s bout with Tamawashi was particularly heart-breaking as it was so straight forward. Kotoshogiku’s tank has run out of gas. I know I’ve been one of his biggest critics with the yo-yo nature of his performance, especially last year. But in the way Switch pleaded with Cipher in the Matrix (the good one), “Not like this, not like this.” Tamawashi met him at the tachiai with a solid shoulder and sent him straight back over the tawara and off the dohyo. 

If he competes in March, he will be Sekiwake. And, as often repeated, he will be given his ozeki status if he can get 10 wins. At this point, though, I’m not thinking he can get a winning record…much less 10 wins, meaning he’d tumble farther down the banzuke. I’ll keep my eyes and ears peeled for articles that may indicate whether he decides to retire before March. As Bruce pointed out, the sekiwake rank will be full if he does compete. Giku gets a guaranteed spot and his opponent from today will likely be his opposite number at the rank.

The last ozeki demotion was Kotoshogiku’s former Sadogatake stablemate, Kotooshu. Coincidentally, this also happened following the hatsubasho in 2014. When March came along the Sekiwake rank wasn’t so crowded (just Goeido & Kotooshu) but since Kotooshu couldn’t garner 10 wins, he remained Sekiwake when sumo returned to Tokyo in May. At that tournament, there were three Sekiwake because Goeido & Kotooshu had 8 wins but Tochiozan had 11 at the Komusubi rank.

Interestingly, Tochiozan was Sekiwake #2 in the West despite having that 11 win record and no special prizes (even after defeating both ozeki-ranked Kisenosato and Kotoshogiku). Kotooshu decided to call it a career after his 10 straight losses ensured further demotion well down into the maegashira ranks. I’d found that interesting, but this is where the Twilight Zone music comes in. The rikishi picking up the fusen win, thus the immediate benefactor of Kotooshu’s retirement, was Tamawashi*.

* As always, hat tip to Sumodb.Sumogames.De for the fantastic site with amazing historical data. I just wish it collected data on sponsors and kenshokin. Dude…the analyses I’d do with that data…

For Whom The Bell Tolls: Make-Koshi List


One of the great attractions sumo holds for me is that it is a meritocracy, the winners advance and the loser decline. Now that we reach the finally quarter of the Aki basho, we can see which sumo men are facing demotion for the next tournament, starting November. The term used is “make-koshi (負け越し)”, or more losses than wins.

Doomed Already (8 losses or more)
Chiyootori, Tochinoshin, Daishomaru, Arawashi, Amakaze, Toyohibiki, Daieisho

In Grave Peril
Terunofuji, Takarafuji, Kaisei, Tochiozan, Yoshikaze, Shodai, Takanoiwa, Myogiryu, Sokokurai


Chiyootori is out with damage to at least one knee. Tochinoshin has been hurt since July or earlier. Amakaze needs a bit more seasoning in Juryo, we will see him again and he has a lot of potential.

Terunofuji is also hurt, his skill is un-degraded but he lacks the power he should (and did) have to put the impact to his moves, he will likely make-koshi soon. Yoshikaze is too banged up to really be a serious threat, and I am worried he was not completely ready for the Aki basho.

While this list holds several rikishi that I support, the mechanism of the sumo ranking is fair and brutal. But I keep in mind that for every wrestler who has a bad record at the end of the tournament, there is a story of redemption waiting to be told in 2 months time.

Poll: Should Terunofuji Withdraw From March Tournament?

Background: Terunofuji withdrew from the January tournament after breaking his collar bone. At the time, he was also hobbled with a knee injury. With only three wins he is kadoban and in danger of demotion to sekiwake if he does not log a winning record in March. The March tournament begins on 3/13. He pulled out of the January tournament on 1/15. Assuming they immobilize his shoulder, resting him and keeping him from aggravating the injury, it takes 6-8 weeks to heal a broken collarbone.

If he withdraws, the implications are clear, he will be demoted to sekiwake for the May tournament. He will then need to register 10 wins in May to secure promotion back to ozeki status. If he cannot do it, he’ll be treated like anyone else, needing 33 wins in three consecutive tournaments (unless you’re Goeido) to get promoted back to ozeki.

I don’t want to influence the voting with my opinion, so click here if you want it: Continue reading