Projected Makushita Promotions

Welcome Justin (Hōchiyama)

Justin is a current resident of the DC area. Like Andy, I do my best to avoid visiting the downtown DC area. I “adopted” the rikishi Hōchiyama (active 2000-2016) in one of the early Sumo Forum’s games to “adopt a rikishi”, and was proud that he was the first of the original adoptees to make the top division. Now, I “adopt” him again as my writer’s shikona.
I first saw sumo in the summer of 1993 and fell in love. In 1994, I lived in Nerima-ku as a poor student, spending most of my time in a local izakaya and learning as much as I could. I got a black belt in Kōdōkan jūdō and learned shōgi. I cultivated my passion for sumo just as Takanohana made Yokozuna and enjoyed the Ake-Taka jidai and sumo boom. I have followed sumo since, and have become a “sumo otaku”.

Favorite sumo moments in my life are acting as gyōji for a young Ama and Hakuhō in the pool at Mandalay Bay during the Las Vegas kōen and climbing into the dōhyō at the DC Sumo and Sushi event! And pulling out a win against moto-Chiyonoshin, aka Enya in Sanctary!

Projected Makushita Promotions

Permit us to introduce the rikishi who are projected to join Makushita (Division 3) for the first time when the banzuke for the November tournament is released.

I anticipate that five rikishi will receive their first promotion to Makushita:  Satorufuji, Haruyama, Asashinjō, Kenshin, and Gōnoumi.

Satorufuji (聖富士) is another Isegahama prodigy out of Hiryū High School (like stablemates Midorifuji, Atamifuji and Hayatefuji)1. Satorufuji is a 19 year old,  5’9”” (178cm)/ 351 lbs (160kg) wrestler out of Shizuoka prefecture. In his four tournaments on the banzuke, he has a career record of 23-5, with a Jonidan Yūshō in the Natsu 2023 bashō – where he defeated ex-college Ōshōryū in a playoff.  His only losses are to prospects Asahakuryū (twice), Gōnoumi (see below), Tanji, and to the veteran Kitaharima. He has a variety of skills – winning by yorikiri almost 40% of the time and oshidashi about 25 perent of the time.  He also has won by various throwing techniques and a few times by Katatsukashi (possibly an influence from his elder stablemate).   He started sumo at Yaizu boy’s Sumo Klub and Kanehira Dojo when he was in second grade.  In his second year of junior high, he was part of the team that won the National Junior High School Sumo Tournament, winning a team championship with Yoshii.  In his third year of junior high, he won third place in the National Prefectural Junior High School Tournament. In the second hear of high school, he was on the team that won a national team championship and he also has won many various tournaments. He clearly has the size and skills to succeed in makushita and is still young enough to develop into another Isegahama-beya sekitori.  His has won a divisional playoff bout and has not yet reached his peak.  He will be an interesting prospect to watch develop in the near future.

Haruyama (春山) is one of Onoe-beya’s recruits from its pipeline at Nihon University.  He was recruited to Onoe-beya along with his Nihon U teammate and last bashō’s Jonokuchi division winner Shiroma.  He was also part of powerhouse Saitama Sakae High School’s sumo team prior to joining the university.  He is a 23 year old, 5’11’’ (181cm)/310 lbs (141kg) wrestler out of Kagoshima Japan and fights under his own name. He has a career record of 19-2, including a jonokuchi championship in Natsu 2023. He has only lost to high school prospects (and kohai of his from Saitama Sakae) Wakaikari and Gōnoumi (see below).  In his short career he is also showing he can use mixed techniques – Oshidashi (around 25%), yorikiri (around 25%), and some nage techniques.  He blasted his way through jonokuchi (mostly oshidashi and tsukidashi) and has relied more on the belt as he rose through jonidan and sandanme in one tournament each.  He has already done a lot of development at the high school and university level, and although he has not won any university titles, he finished in the top 16 in the All Japan Championships, and was in the top 16 in the National Student Championships, and achieved third place in the Kariya Tournament. He was team captain of the club at Nihon University. He is the cousin of Fujishima-beya’s Kainoshima.  As he was not a top-tier university wrestler, he started in mae-zumo.  He has potential to reach sekitori.

Asashinjō (朝心誠) arrives in makushita after seven years in sumo, having started in the Haru 2016 tournament. He fights out of Takasago-beya, is 25 years old and 5’7’’ (170cm)/256lbs (116kg).  He hails from Aichi Japan (Nagoya), and is a product of Tokai Industrial College Atsuta high school. He was a jūdōka in high school and was in the top 16 in the over 100kg weight class at the Aichi Prefecture General Championships.  At that time, his specialty was ippon-seoi throw, He has a career record of 154-143-11.  He spent most of 2018-early 2022 bouncing between jonidan and sandanme and has only recently taken a big step forward, attaining four kachi-koshi in a row. He is undersized and light weight, and likely at the peak of his skills, achieving a 6-1 record in upper sandanme last tournament, only his second career 6-1 tournament.  He may not achieve much longevity in makushita. He mainly wins by yorikiri and uwatenage (35% of wins). He works as one of the chankoban in Takasago-beya.

Kenshin (謙信) reaches makushita after eight years in the lower divisions, having started in the Hatsu 2015 tournament. He wrestles out of Sakaigawa-beya, is 27 years old, and is 5’7’’ (172cm)/285lbs (129kg).  He hails from Niigata Japan and is a product of Takada Agricultural High School. In his sophomore year, he placed second in a national team competition. He has a 174-151-32 career record.  He was given the name “Kenshin” by Sakaigawa Oyakata in honor of Kenshin Uesugi, a famous local general. He is a cousin of Sekinoto Oyakata (former Iwakiyama). He has been a solid sandanme wrestler since Aki 2017, spending all but one basho in the 4th division in the past six years – only dropping due to injury.  He has flirted with a third division debut for the past two years, and finally makes it after a 5-2 record. He is mainly a pusher/thruster (63% of wins by oshidashi or tsukidashi) and is not against the slapdown (11 percent of wins). He likely is at the peak of his career and not likely to rise much further than the lower part of makushita.

We return to a discussion of a prospect with Gōnoumi (豪ノ湖). He comes out of former Gōeidō’s Takekuma-beya and will rise to makushita after only four tournaments on the banzuke and with a career record of 23-5.  He hails from Shiga Prefecture, is 19 years old, and is 5’10’’ (178cm)/282lbs (128kg).   He started Sumo with the Nagahama Sumo Club when he was in 6th grade. In his third year of junior high school, he won second place in the National Junior High School Sumo Tournament and second place in the team competition. He joined the Saitama Sakae High School sumo team, where he won the National Semba Yurikai Individual Championship and became a High School Yokozuna), as well as many other tournaments. He has rapidly moved up the banzuke.  He has fought a lot of prospects, defeating Satorufuji and Kazeeidai, and losing to Wakaikari and a rematch with Satorufuji. He was in the run for the sandanme championship, going 6-0 and only losing to former top-division veteran Kitaharima by oshitaoshi on day 13. His shikona receives the “Gō” from his stablemaster, Gōeidō, and the umi (lake) from Lake Biwa in Shiga, as well as deference to the late-yokozuna Kitanoumi. He feels he is under a lot of pressure to perform up to the expectations of a former high-school Yokozuna. In July of his senior year, he and three other club members received a letter of appreciation from the Omiya-Nishi Police Station of the Saitama Prefectural Police for protecting an elementary school boy who gotten lost.

1  Hiryū High School has been assembling quality prospects and is turning itself into a top-tier high school club.  Its non-Isegahama wrestlers include Tochikōdai, Fujinoyama, Tendōzan, Daiseizan, Nagata, Ryūtsukasa and Nagamura.

Lower Division Yusho Aki 2022

We’ve still got one undecided lower-division yusho race. But since most of them are already in the books, I wanted to give you all an update.


If you despair of the parity in Makuuchi, you may not want to see Juryo. Last night, Tochimusashi clinched the yusho when Hokuseiho lost to Kotokuzan — even though he lost his own bout to Atamifuji. Hokuseiho had been leading the yusho race into Week 2 until he lost three bouts in a row, falling to Kitanowaka, Kagayaki, and Tohakuryu. Tochimusashi’s win comes in his first tournament in the division, a feat Tomokaze accomplished back in Kyushu 2018.


Pardon me while I get a little teary-eyed, remembering Tomokaze’s charge up the banzuke, devastating knee-injury, and struggles to make it back to sekitori status. Sadly, he closed out Aki 2-5 from within the Makushita promotion zone. He’ll need to look to 2023.

With the news of Jokoryu’s retirement this week, we get another reminder of how grueling this climb is. Jokoryu began his career with a memorable, pace-setting string of white stars (27 w/ 3 division titles + one playoff loss). And then when Enho made his run, Jokoryu stopped him at 21 wins. Bringing us back full circle, today’s yusho hopeful, Hokuseiho, had his eyes on the streak to start his career but lost his first bouts after returning from Covid kyujo.


In the biggest upset of the tournament, Asanoyama did not win the Makushita title. As Leonid covered, the Coyote got caught out by a wily Roadrunner who goes by the shikona, Yuma. Instead, Daiseiryu won, using much the same technique as Asanoyama. I think Yuma just had designs on taking Daiseiryu on head-on, trying for one pulldown — not as intimidated by the journeyman as he was by the former Ozeki. If he’d used his roadrunner tactic, he might have won the yusho.

I am also encouraged by Setonoumi’s strong performance. We’ve seen him come back from serious injury and win lower division yusho. Now, he’s gone 6-1 from his best rank ever at Makushita 56, opposite Asonoyama (not to be confused with Asanoyama, the former Ozeki). He’ll be thrown into the middle of the division in Kyushu so it will be exciting to continue to watch him.


Oshoumi blitzed poor Wakanosho at the snap, capping off his zensho-yusho in Sandanme. That string of wins included bouts against Hakuho recruit Ishii and former Jonokuchi title winner and Oshiogawa recruit, Kazekeno. Kototebakari’s hopes were dashed in an earlier loss to Shosei, who is competing in Makushita. Kototebakari will fight for a 6th win tonight. While he’s likely earned his promotion to Makushita, that 6th win will lock it in and probably a 20-rank difference when the Kyushu banzuke comes out.


The Jonidan title comes down to a senshuraku playoff between Takahashi and Chiyodaigo. I will post an update after that is decided. Takahashi won the Jonokuchi yusho race back in Nagoya, defeating Kazuto in the playoff. Chiyodaigo is a journeyman whose peak rank was in Makushita, so clearly no slouch but he’s had several non-Covid kyujo lately, along with the Kasugano-beya Covid kyujo. Given the way he knocked out Toshunryu, I’d say this kid wants it. Those were some haymakers. They say hatakikomi but that’s one of the most fierce hatakikomi I can remember.


In a surprise to absolutely no one, Miyagino-oyakata’s mammoth-thighed recruit, Otani, obliterated all comers in the lowest division to claim the yusho. His dame-oshi (shoves “after the bell,” so-to-speak) will hurt his chances at growing a significant fanbase. Aoiyama comes to mind as someone who fans dislike because of this, while Kaisei gets plaudits for helping his opponents avoid falls. ダメ, pronounced “DAH-MEH,” (not like the title as in, Dame Judi Dench), is a Japanese admonishment which basically translates as, “don’t!” and oshi is from “push,” as in the kimarite oshidashi. If you’ve already won the bout, you’re not supposed to shove your opponent off the dohyo.

Hopefully our regular Jonokuchi division coverage will make its return in Kyushu, but there’s a rather small recruiting class again which might make for another dud of a race. I may double-up by following the Jonidan (or Juryo?) race, as well. But we’ll see.

Nagoya 2022: Jonokuchi Match Day 7

Who said that winning anything would be easy in this tournament? Well, it sure looked like it for about two weeks in the bottom division. A win for Takahashi here would have clinched the Jonokuchi division yusho. Kazuto would not go quietly into that good night. After the tachiai, Kazuto buried the crown of his head into Takahashi’s chin. This disrupts Takahashi’s game plan, lifting his upper body.

Kazuto tried to get some forward momentum going but when Plan A failed, he moved to Plan B and tried a quick slap-down… but missed. Plan C? RUN! Kazuto backed away, cycling around the dohyo with Takahashi in hot pursuit. Seeing no options, Kazuto planted at the tawara and made a last ditch effort, collecting it all to launch forward into Takahashi. What do you know, it worked! He corralled Takahashi squarely and drove through the dohyo, sending Takahashi to his first loss. This win sealed a ticket for a rematch in a prime time yusho playoff on senshuraku.

The Jonidan yusho was claimed by Hitoshi. That’s his second yusho in Jonidan. He won last year but after several tournaments kyujo, re-entered Jonokuchi last tournament. He featured in the opening days of the yusho race in May before losing to Yamato and Kazekeno, both of whom eventually fought in that play-off, Kazekeno claiming the title.

Speaking of Kazekeno, he finished with a strong sixth win. His only loss was to Miyagino prospect Ishii. This is another strong group of competitors who will find themselves in Sandanme in September. Unfortunately, Yamato won’t be able to join them yet because he got caught up in Musashigawa’s covid kyujo earlier in the tournament, and will finish with a 2-2-3 make-koshi including a loss to veteran Tochihayate. It will be very interesting to see where he ends up on that banzuke.

Moving up to Sandanme, Asanoyama claimed the yusho there. But, as Leonid covered, the Makushita yusho was also a bit of a surprise with Yoshii’s close win over Kinbozan. Lastly, Ryuden claimed the Juryo title with his win over Myogiryu last night.

Nagoya 2022: Jonokuchi Match Day 6

A quick one today.

Undefeated Takahashi faced 5-1 Noguchi and completely outclassed the youngster. Takahashi is 6-0 and will face Kazuto tonight in tonight’s opening bout and what should be more of a challenge. If Takahashi wins, he will claim the yusho outright. If not, Kazuto will have a shot to snatch the title in a senshuraku playoff. Sadly, Jokoki gets robbed of his opportunity due to Musashigawa’s Covid kyujo. Covid may end up being the biggest risk here in Takahashi’s otherwise direct run to the yusho.

Up in Jonidan, Hitoshi defeated Aron with similar ease and likewise moves to 6-0. Rinko had a bit more of a challenge with Tanji but also won a one-sided bout. The excitement here is that this sets up a battle between Hitoshi and Rinko for the Jonidan title tonight. Both men will climb into Sandanme in September where they will face more stiffer competition.

Speaking of Sandanme, Asanoyama will face Daiseizan with an opportunity to take the yusho outright tonight if Shinohara falls to Hanafusa. If Shinohara wins, the winner of the Asanoyama/Daiseizan bout will fight Shinohara in a playoff on senshuraku. Lastly, as Leonid has mentioned, Yoshii will face Kinbozan for the Makushita title tonight. So lots at stake, that’s for sure!