Mitakeumi Got Robbed

No, I’m not talking about the bout you’re thinking of. He lost that one. As we established, sumo is not strictly about “who touched first.” I’m talking about special prizes. I think Mitakeumi should have picked up a second special prize to go along with his Outstanding Performance prize. He should have got the Gino-sho, or Technique prize. He won using eight distinct kimarite, more than any other wrestler in the July tournament. Terunofuji, who was actually awarded the prize, used five, as did Terutsuyoshi (which included ashitori and an amiuchi).

As with so many things I do lately, I’ve included a visualization to help make my point. This visualization also got me thinking about a possible new feature. What if we weight kimarite based on rarity or flashiness? Izori, for example, would be multiplied by a factor substantially higher than the humdrum yorikiri/oshidashi. This way, we at Tachiai can give an alternative special prize, one based on data.

I’m going to flesh out the details in this week and by next weekend hope to have a methodology. So while Terutsuyoshi may have used only five kimarite, maybe with the bonus factors he’d edge Mitakeumi? I still think Mitakeumi’s throws, especially the uwatenage against Asanoyama, are quality.

By the way, it’s also interesting to check out the other names up here near the top. Tamawashi’s oshi/tsuki/kotenage style is rather versatile. Hakuho, obviously, knows how to win. How’s Ura up here, though, considering he doesn’t even get half the bouts? I’m really looking forward to seeing him compete every day, and even eligible for special prizes.

Haru 2020 Special Prizes

Along with the yusho, there are a number of special prizes awarded to rikishi with notable matches or excellent scores over the 15 day tournament. They come with a nice trophy, a certificate, and most importantly money, as in ¥2,000,000! For Haru, we have these winners:

Onosho – Shukun-sho (Outstanding Performance Award)

He finished 9-6, but along the way he put dirt on Yokozuna Hakuho. Bouncing back from injury and a trip through Juryo, Onosho has been hit or miss since 2018, but finally seems to have his sumo together. He’s won the Kanto-sho 3 times, but this is his first Shukun-sho.

Takanosho – Kanto-sho (Fighting Spirit Prize)

He finished at 12-3 from Maegashira 9, and really surprised fans and opponents too. A stable mate of Takakeisho, he spent a long time in Makushita as Masunosho before making Sekitori and taking the Takanosho shikona. Only time will tell if this is his new normal or he just caught fire in the empty stadium in Osaka.

Aoiyama – Gino-sho (Technique Prize)

Big Dan held the sole lead for the yusho for a time in week 2, and showed some of his best sumo in a year. He has previously won the Kanto-Sho 3 times, but this is his first Gino-sho. He is likely to get a big promotion in the next banzuke, but always struggles above Maegashira 6.