Yes, it’s that time again, the time when we tabulate all the points and rank the top heya based on their respective sekitori rank and performance in the previous basho. Last time out, Izutsu-beya grabbed the top spot off the back of a long awaited yusho win for Yokozuna Kakuryu. How do the top stables fare this time compared to last time? Onward:
And now that we’ve added a couple more new (but non-sekitori-bearing) stables to the chart, let’s have a look at this in our Top 20 format:
(+-) Izutsu. 95 points (even)
(+4) Kasugano. 90 points (+40)
(-1) Tagonoura. 50 points (-40)
(+4) Miyagino. 50 points (+14)
(-2) Oitekaze. 48 points (-17)
(+1) Kokonoe. 47 points (-1)
(-3) Sakaigawa. 45 points (-15)
(-3) Tomozuna. 32 points (-23)
(+2) Tokitsukaze. 25 points (+5)
(+3) Minato. 25 points (+5)
(+8) Isenoumi. 25 points (+10)
(+8) Nishonoseki. 25 points (+10)
(**) Sadogatake. 25 points (+11)
(-5) Takadagawa. 22 points (+1)
(+2) Oguruma. 22 points (+6)
(**) Takanohana. 21 points (+8)
(-7) Dewanoumi. 20 points (even)
(**) Onomatsu. 20 points (+20)
(-5) Isegahama. 18 points (-1)
(-8) Kise. 15 points (-5)
(legend: ** = new entry, +- = no movement, higher position in the previous chart breaks the tie. Shikoroyama and Kataonami also scored 15 points but were lower placed than Kise on the previous chart)
Movers & Losers
We’ll group both sets of upward and downward bound heya together this time. It’s an interesting chart to put into context this month because the absence of so many rikishi at the top of the banzuke meant that several rikishi from heya usually found further down the listing put up better results, grabbed kachi-koshi they otherwise might not have (see: Kotoshogiku, Shohozan, etc), and added more points to their stable’s tally.
So, this creates a situation where a heya like Takadagawa can actually score one more point than last time (via addition of Hakuyozan to Juryo) but slide 5 places overall. Similarly, Dewanoumi put up an equivalent score to last time (our model gives Mitakeumi the same amount of points for a kachi-koshi at Komusubi as a make-koshi at Sekiwake), yet slid 7 places overall. The more cynical among us might say there were 16 more impressive storylines than Mitakeumi eking out his winning record from a position where he looked like he’d throw it away again.
Izutsu-beya holds the top spot with no change in the tally owing to Kakuryu’s repeat yusho, while Kasugano-beya reclaims the second spot after Tochinoshin’s sansho-laden jun-yusho. His promotion means he’ll add more points to the heya’s tally next time as an ozeki, but the overall points tally will be dependent on yusho challenges going forward as he’ll be unable to repeat his special prize wins.
Beyond those two stables there weren’t many remarkable performances among the groups: Kokonoe actually took a step backwards in terms of points in spite of Chiyonokuni’s remarkable sansho-winning exploits, as the four other sekitori in his heya all put up make-koshi en-route to a miserable 23-37 combined record.
In terms of what’s next, the stables to watch with potential to bound up the listings in Nagoya are going to be Tagonoura (who will be forced into action next time with the return of kadoban Takayasu and a potential last stand for Kisenosato) and Kise. Kise-beya receives two promotees from Makushita (Kizenryu and Churanoumi-née-Kizaki) and will have fully 1/4 of Juryo with no fewer than seven rikishi in the division next time out. And potentially making way on the chart could finally and sadly be Isegahama-beya which slips to the penultimate spot this time: perma-injured Aminishiki has been relegated to Juryo, and Homarefuji and Terutsuyoshi will be hovering ominously in danger zone to the Makushita demotion to which former Ozeki Terunofuji has now been condemned.
It’s not an April Fools joke: the Heya Power rankings are in (earlier than usual)! We love charts over here at Tachiai, and during the Haru basho, it was cool to note some of other contributors prognosticating in the comments what bearing the various results might have on the newest ranking sheet. I’d reiterate that this post is mostly for our own interest and fun, to see which stables are impacting the top end of the banzuke, rather than anything being paid attention by people within the sport itself. Our own Bruce put his bets on a nice jump in the standings for Oitekaze-beya. Was he right? Well let’s get into the bar chart and the “Billboard” style Top 20 ranking format:
Bruce was indeed right, because Bruce is a good sumo pundit. Let’s look at the Top 20 chart in slightly more verbose terms:
(+6) Izutsu. 95 points (+50)
(-1) Tagonoura. 90 points (-5)
(+2) Oitekaze. 65 points (+19)
(-1) Sakaigawa. 60 points (even)
(+6) Tomozuna. 55 points (+32)
(-4) Kasugano. 50 points (-44)
(-3) Kokonoe. 48 points (-1)
(-2) Miyagino. 36 points (-9)
(-1) Takadagawa. 21 points (-9)
(-1) Dewanoumi. 20 points (-5)
(+4) Tokitsukaze. 20 points (even)
(+8) Kise. 20 points (+4)
(**) Minato. 20 points (+5)
(-2) Isegahama. 19 points (-2)
(-5) Shikoroyama. 17 points (-7)
(-3) Hakkaku. 16 points (-4)
(+-) Oguruma. 16 points (-3)
(-4) Kataonami. 15 points (-5)
(+-) Isenoumi. 15 points (-3)
(**) Nishonoseki. 15 points (+2)
(legend: ** = new entry, +- = no movement, higher position in the previous chart breaks the tie)
Izutsu-beya hits the summit for the first time, after Kakuryu’s ultimately comfortable yusho win. He is a Yokozuna and he won the yusho, and you get a lot of points for all of that action the way we calculate it. While the stable is almost empty behind Kakuryu, that has been the case for many years and Izutsu-oyakata is still about 8 years from mandatory retirement. They did add a tiny 16 year old named Bando Jinki in the last year, but he may be one to wash rather than ‘one to watch.’
That all said, what makes me feel good about this model is the way that it rewards stables that have a number of strong performers. Oitekaze-beya is that kind of heya (and Kokonoe would be that kind of heya if they could find this kind of consistency). Yes, Endo won a special prize and had a great tournament and will finally be in san’yaku and there is going to be a lot of cheering. But the stable had seven men in the top 2 divisions accumulating points here, and five of them grabbed kachi-koshi. The other two (Tsurugisho and Tobizaru) were towards the wrong end of Juryo where the stakes are lower anyway, so the stable top-loaded its best records.
The fan-and-rikishi-favorite, former-Kyokutenho-and-now-Tomozuna-oyakata’s heya also scales new heights owing to a thrilling yusho-and-ultimately-jun-yusho-challenge from the Kaisei mammoth. I probably should have tacked on a couple more points here, because in a sport where you don’t always get a lot of face, the Brazilian has been giving some wonderful reaction shots of late (Abi and Ikioi are also members of that club). Kaisei will be finally joined by movie-star Kyokutaisei in Makuuchi at Natsu. The schedulers did the Hokkaido man few favors at Haru by way of repeated call-ups to test his readiness, so he may well have a good chance to stick in the top division. Kyokushuho has been stuck back in Juryo for a year now, and there’s nobody coming up behind him imminently, so it’s going to be on the top two men’s shoulders to keep the good times rolling.
Let’s also talk about Sakaigawa-beya for a minute. Despite the fact that Goeido hasn’t won on Day 15 since September of 2016 (his yusho tournament), he’s actually managed to put together a fairly consistent if unspectacular run of results to keep himself out of kadoban recently. Admittedly, this is probably somewhat helped by the absence of many of the top men of the banzuke, but you can only beat what’s in front of you. Usually, the stable which wins the Juryo yusho gets a bit of a drop off in the following tournament as we award 15 points for that achievement. However, there’s no drop here as both the Hatsu winner (Myogiryu) and Haru winner (Sadanoumi) come from the stable. Our man lksumo believes that Myogiryu is going to dodge the demotion bullet, so the three sekitori will need strong performances to maintain the heya’s position on our chart after Natsu.
Despite their fall, I’m charitably going to include Kasugano-beya in this section. Asking for a repeat yusho was a lot and they were always bound for a big drop, but they are hanging in there at the top end in light of another very strong performance from Sekiwake Tochinoshin and his latest special prize. They could even be due another bounce in the next couple months if his Ozeki run is in fact successful.
We’ve talked a lot about the sea change that is (slowly) taking place atop the banzuke, and the three stables I’m going to mention here include two that didn’t even make the chart this time.
First of all, the fall of Isegahama continues. This is probably the bottoming out of their ranking as they just have too many sekitori competing at the moment. With 3 men in Juryo and another 2 in Makuuchi next time out, I just can’t see the performance getting lower, especially if Terunofuji can right the ship and challenge for the Juryo honours. Also, Takarafuji was better than his 5 win record at Haru, and even if he’s in for a stiff demotion, he hasn’t had a make-koshi at Maegashira 6 or lower in over 4 years. Additionally, we may see the next wave of Isegahama rikishi challenge for Juryo later this year: while, yes, there are plenty of rikishi in the stable stuck in Jonidan quicksand, Nishikifuji and Midorifuji are on a fast track for fun times.
The question will be whether their strength in numbers restores the stable to the force it was just a half year ago, or a stable like Kise or Kokonoe that’s big on numbers but low on prizes. The road to the former case would seem to run through Terunofuji redeploying his inner Kaiju, Terutsuyoshi making the next step in his development to move up a division and Nishikifuji and Midorifuji establishing themselves as sekitori (Midorifuji will also need to add some heft). And the other case? Well, that’s what you get if all of the above doesn’t happen, and Aminishiki retires.
The other two aforementioned stables are the former powerhouse Sadogatake and the beleaguered Takanohana. Sadogatake, which has an incredible number of rikishi in the lower divisions, hasn’t seen the reinforcements arrive for the struggling Kotoshogiku and Kotoyuki yet, and Kotoeko just hasn’t managed to put together a run for Maegashira promotion. He will have his best shot in some time at Natsu, but it may only serve to offset the continuing declines of the other sekitori in the heya.
As for Takanohana-beya, we gave nil points for the debut of Takayoshitoshi after his assault-inspired half-kyujo tournament, and the limping out of the tournament from Takakeisho was perhaps a metaphor for performances there and elsewhere. The stable combined to go 22-28-10 in the upper tiers, and unless Takakeisho can put together a storming return to sansho-grabbing form or someone can win a yusho in Juryo, it’s unlikely the stable will trouble these charts again soon.
Before the opening of another tournament, let’s check in with the latest Heya power rankings. This time out we’ve seen some wild variance in the results of a few stables, while many stables following a period of much change have consolidated amongst some more consistent performance. Are you ready for some charts? Me too:
There are a few major stories from the various stables’ performance last time out as we identify areas of improvement ahead of Haru, but let’s look at this in “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form:
(+3) Tagonoura. 95 points (+30)
(+12) Kasugano. 94 points (+71)
(+3) Sakaigawa. 60 points (+19)
(+3) Kokonoe. 49 points (+9)
(+4) Oitekaze. 46 points (+8)
(-5) Miyagino. 45 points (-56)
(+3) Izutsu. 45 points (+15)
(**) Takadagawa. 30 points (+20)
(+4) Dewanoumi. 25 points (even)
(**) Shikoroyama. 24 points (+18)
(+5) Tomozuna. 23 points (+3)
(-9) Isegahama. 21 points (-62)
(-11) Hakkaku. 20 points (-75)
(-6) Kataonami. 20 points (-20)
(+3) Tokitsukaze. 20 points (+2)
(-11) Takanohana. 19 points (-35)
(-6) Oguruma. 19 points (-9)
(-6) Sadogatake. 19 points (-8)
(+-) Isenoumi. 18 points (even)
(**) Kise. 16 points (+5)
Takadagawa and Shikoroyama rejoin the ranks with decent scores due to good debuts and special prizes for Ryuden and Abi respectively.
It’s all change, however, at the top with Tagonoura regaining top position basically off the back of Takayasu’s jun-yusho. While this may seem unfair in light of the fact that he’s the only Tagonoura rikishi to have finished the tournament, the heya scores points for having a competing Yokozuna – if Kisenosato doesn’t show up and goes full-kyujo for Haru, it’ll be tough for them to maintain this position short of a Takayasu yusho.
Of course, there’s no surprise in seeing the enormous gain for Kasugano-beya, off the back of Maegashira 3 Tochinoshin’s incredible yusho and double special prize winning performance. While that wasn’t quite enough to vault the stable to the top of the chart, given that they have a few rikishi in the banzuke who could be primed for good tournaments next time out, they should still remain in the top 10 even if they don’t score an unlikely consecutive yusho. And in a “No-kozuna” scenario, Tochinoshin should still be a good bet to perform well as a Sekiwake.
Miyagino falls here owing to the loss of its usual yusho threat Hakuho to kyujo status. Should he show in Haru, the stable could be due a nice rebound with Enho joining the sekitori ranks, especially if Ishiura can turn up genki enough to threaten a kachi-koshi.
Of the three other big stables to tumble, Hakkaku takes a drop due to Hokutofuji and Okinoumi’s inability to register even a winning record following their dual jun-yusho/special prize winning Kyushu. Takanohana, meanwhile, should be a decent rebound candidate if Takakeisho can get back to winning ways and Takanoiwa can return to action as he should be a real yusho threat in Juryo, but that remains unclear.
Finally, there’s no glossing over the incredible fall from grace for Isegahama-beya on our rankings. This is the first tournament where they’ve not featured a Yokozuna even for part of the tournament since we’ve put the Power Rankings together, and of course Terunofuji continues to tumble down the banzuke, Aminishiki was partially kyujo and Terutsuyoshi had dropped from the professional ranks in Hatsu. While it would have seemed improbable not long ago, over half of the stable’s points were registered by Takarafuji and, with most of their rikishi now in Juryo, it may be up to him to arrest a further slide. Let’s take a look at all this in visual form:
Incredibly, the recent high performance water mark for Isegahama was just three tournaments ago as Harumafuji won Aki, showing just how severe the slide has been. Obviously our metrics for performance measurement have not been the end-all-be-all, but this does at least give some reflection of the stable’s banzuke presence and on-dohyo performance in the last year, relative to itself.
We’re back with the Heya Power Rankings. A lot has happened since the last time we released a set of these rankings, and a lot of those things have influenced the direction of how these rankings will trend, not only for this edition, but also for probably the next several editions. Let’s get into it:
Usually with these rankings we see rises and falls attributable to basic stuff like winning a yusho one tournament or getting a special prize versus, well, not doing that in the next tournament. But when you have a heya that’s usually at the top which not only usually is in the yusho race or at least has a lot of high ranking rikishi grabbing kachi-koshi, and then their rikishi do not get kachi-koshi and a couple of them go kyujo, that does alter the landscape a bit.
So now let’s look at this in our usual “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):
(+5) Miyagino. 101 points (+61)
(+13) Hakkaku. 95 points (+75)
(-2) Isegahama. 83 points (-64)
(+-) Tagonoura. 65 points (+10)
(+2) Takanohana. 54 points (+6)
(-4) Sakaigawa. 41 points (-26)
(-4) Kokonoe. 40 points (-16)
(+11) Kataonami. 40 points (+25)
(-1) Oitekaze. 38 points (+2)
(+-) Izutsu. 30 points (even)
(-6) Oguruma. 28 points (-20)
(+1) Sadogatake. 27 points (+3)
(-2) Dewanoumi. 25 points (even)
(-5) Kasugano. 23 points (-7)
(-3) Onomatsu. 20 points (-5)
(+2) Tomozuna. 20 points (+3)
(**) Arashio. 20 points (+18)
(+2) Tokitsukaze. 18 points (+3)
(**) Isenoumi. 18 points (+5)
(**) Minato / Minezaki. 15 points. (both +2)
3 or 4 stables got some great results last time out. Miyagino-beya has been here before and that’s because Hakuho wins a lot of championships. Ishiura comes back to makuuchi at Hatsu and they have another couple rikishi just outside the top two divisions, so there’s the possibility things could get better here before they get worse.
The former Hokutoumi jumps over his rival Yokozuna, the former Asahifuji’s heya in the charts as the now-Hakkaku climbs above Isegahama. Hakkaku is the greatest gainer this time out – usually this happens because one rikishi has had a crazy-good tournament. However, both Okinoumi and Hokutofuji grabbed the jun-yusho and special prizes and that’s a recipe for a lot of success on this chart. While the former has been inconsistent owing to injuries in the past year, one wouldn’t bet against a repeat from the latter if he shows up genki to the Kokugikan next week.
Kataonami and Arashio are 2 “feast or famine” stables reliant on the performances of just one rikishi – Tamawashi and Sokokurai respectively. So when one of those guys has a monster showing, their heya is likely to bound up the chart and fall down quickly when they don’t. Fortunately for Arashio, there are four very promising rikishi knocking on the door of the sekitori ranks (3 of whom we’ll talk more about later this week). That’s more rikishi than exist in total in Kataonami-beya, so it’s likely that Tamawashi will continue carrying the load for the foreseeable future.
Three stables again had absolutely miserable tournaments:
There’s no escaping the unfortunate, awful storm that beset Isegahama-beya. A pair of kyujo and a number of disappointing records meant that a heavy tumble (in terms of points) was always likely, and had it not been for Aminishiki’s inspiring performance, it could have been worse. And it likely will get much worse before it gets better, as the stable loses two sekitori (including one permanent Yokozuna retirement) for Hatsu, their former Ozeki has slipped to the middle of Maegashira, and we probably can’t count on another special prize from Uncle Sumo even though we’d clearly all love it.
Kokonoe, on the other hand, are due a bit of a rebound. Of their six sekitori, only J9 Chiyonoo posted the slenderest of winning records at 8-7. Their four top division rikishi will all be fairly comfortably placed in the middle of the Maegashira pack this time out, so we’d expect at least a couple of them to improve their showing.
Kise-beya falls off the charts entirely owing to a similarly poor tournament. Ura’s injury meant they only scored points from the Juryo ranks, and despite a number of rikishi hanging around the top end of Makushita, it’s likely going to be a couple of tournaments before they return to the charts. A final word for Sakaigawa-beya, whose decline is simply owed to Goeido putting up a yusho challenge in September and not November – they should continue to hang around the top end of the rankings.
Here’s a three tournament progression of the ichimon rankings, above. These are really going to need many tournaments for us to see any kind of true trends owing to the volatility of the charts and the amount of rikishi involved in the listings. However, a new wave of debutants in the top divisions – as established wrestlers decline due to age or retire – will change the shape of this chart as well.
Given the recent political issues involving Takanohana, it will be interesting to see if his stable as well as the group of stables bearing his name will continue their progression. Not only has the rise of Takakeisho given him a top 5 heya by our rankings, but in the twins Takagenji and Takayoshitoshi, he has two more rikishi tipped to entrench themselves in the professional ranks. Additionally, the ichimon features another budding star in Onosho, and the respective recent and upcoming Juryo debutants Takanosho and Akua. Continued success from those associated with Takanohana would be something to note as we continue to watch and speculate on his future ambitions at the center of the sport.
Is it still October? OK, cool. A few folks have sent messages asking: “where in the heya are this month’s power rankings?” Here they are! Apologies for putting this together a little late, but as a measure of where everyone’s at, maybe it’s timely to publish this around the banzuke announcement. Of course, as stables don’t compete against one another, this is more of a fun exercise anyway.
I’ve made a couple changes this time from the original calculations. Owing to the craziness that was “Wacky Aki,” it didn’t really make sense to award a kyujo rikishi the same amount of points as one who battled all 15 days, only to fall to a 7-8 make-koshi. So, for the first time, I’ve introduced points deductions, only for kyujo rikishi:
10 points deducted for makuuchi rikishi who is kyujo the entire basho
5 points deducted for makuuchi rikishi who is kyujo for part of the basho
1 point deducted for juryo rikshi who is kyujo for any or all of the basho
0 points deducted for rikishi in either division who is kyujo but still manages a kachi-koshi (this did not happen at Aki, but it’s a good rule to set going forward as fighting through an injury to achieve a winning record should still be recognised with the full amount of points)
Finally, Andy had asked a cool question after a previous iteration of these rankings: what if we could also measure by ichimon – the network of stables to which each heya is affiliated? I’ve now included a chart of that as well – it could be interesting to watch over time. Changes in the strength of a stable can take years to materialise in many cases, so I would imagine it will take several years to see shifts in the strength of groups of them.
I’ve added in Naruto-beya here (formed in April this year by former Ozeki Kotoōshū), which isn’t of consequence yet but perhaps someday soon it will be. Let’s jump into the “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):
(+1) Isegahama. 147 points (+52)
(+4) Sakaigawa. 67 points (+20)
(+4) Kokonoe. 56 points (+13)
(+-) Tagonoura. 55 points (-20)
(+5) Oguruma. 48 points (+16)
(-5) Miyagino. 40 points (-67)
(+8) Takanohana. 38 points (+20)
(-3) Oitekaze. 36 points (-12)
(-6) Kasugano. 30 points (-48)
(-2) Izutsu. 30 points (-10)
(-2) Dewanoumi. 25 points (-10)
(+7) Onomatsu. 25 points (+12)
(-1) Sadogatake. 24 points (+2)
(**) Shikoroyama. 23 points (+17)
(+1) Hakkaku. 20 points (+2)
(**) Takasago. 20 points (+15)
(-6) Kise. 15 points (-10)
(**) Tomozuna. 17 points (+5)
(-5) Kataonami. 15 points (-5)
(-3) Tokitsukaze. 15 points (even)
As opposed to August’s chart which was fairly placid, the combination of a bizarre basho along with some new rules has created all manner of changes and lots of movers.
Isegahama returns to the top spot, because when you have a champion Yokozuna, everything is wonderful. Harumafuji’s title more than makes up for Terunofuji’s injury-inspired absence, but while that’s the main driver, the stable’s four other sekitori all scored more points than in the last basho as well. Sakaigawa vaults up to #2 fuelled by a Goeido jun-yusho, in spite of Sadanoumi’s kyujo start.
Kokonoe makes up the final spot in the top 3, owing to a solid basho in which all of their six rikishi matched or improved their standing from the previous rankings. Oguruma places in the top 5 owing to the continued resurgence and special prize of Yoshikaze along with a debut point for Yago, while Takanohana-beya benefits from continued good performance from the potential starting to emerge in Takakeisho and a rebound from Takanoiwa.
Three stables took a particularly significant tumble this time, all owing to missing stars:
Miyagino lost a truckload of points owing to its yusho-holding Yokozuna missing the entire party, while Ishiura continued to struggle. Reinforcements may soon be on the way as we have covered in some detail, but a present Hakuho is a dangerous Hakuho and this may be a one-basho blip for their chart position, while Ishiura may well benefit from diminished competition and be able to challenge for a Juryo yusho like many before him who have made the drop.
Tagonoura’s drop is simply down to the absence of its only sekitori for all (Kisenosato) and most (Takayasu) of the tournament. It is more difficult to forecast a rebound here, not knowing if either will really be able to withstand the full tournament in Fukuoka. And finally, Kasugano takes a huge drop, owing to its Nagoya jun-yusho winning slap-happy Bulgarian missing half the tournament. Tochinoshin’s make-koshi didn’t help matters.
Chiganoura-beya will post points next time for the first time, as Takanosho (formerly Masunosho) makes his Juryo debut. He’s only their second ever sekitori since reforming 13 years ago. And Takagenji’s return to Juryo may help Takanohana move further yet up the ranks should their other rikishi be able to maintain their recent encouraging performance.
Finally, while a number of other heya have numerous immediate promotion candidates, the longer term outlook for Miyagino-beya is starting to get interesting. While the focus is on Ishiura putting it together and Hakuho staying healthy, Enho and Hokaho could put themselves into promotion contention early in 2018. We’ve talked breathlessly about the former, but the latter has quietly racked up 5 straight kachi-koshi. While his track record and somewhat advanced age makes it unlikely he would ever make a serious or sustained dent in the second tier, the presence of 5 rikishi headlined by a constant yusho-challenger could give Miyagino depth similar to their ichimon-mates at Isegahama.
Speaking of which… here are those ichimon totals:
While I’m comparing these to the previous basho, I may start to show a longer term view when we revisit the rankings in December.
Welcome to the third installment of the Heya Power Rankings. The purpose of this series is to gauge how the various stables are performing relative to each other, and track their progress over time. Now that we’ve been looking at this over the first four basho of 2017, we can start to identify some trends.
And in “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):
(+1) Miyagino. 107 points (even)
(-1) Isegahama. 95 points (-29)
(+1) Kasugano. 78 points (+20)
(-1) Tagonoura. 75 points (even)
(+4) Oitekaze. 48 points (+14)
(-1) Sakaigawa. 47 points (-3)
(+-) Kokonoe. 43 points (+2)
(+-) Izutsu. 40 points (even)
(+3) Dewanoumi. 35 points (+5)
(-4) Oguruma. 32 points (-10)
(-1) Kise. 25 points (-8)
(+1) Sadogatake. 22 points (-7)
(-2) Isenoumi. 20 points (-13)
(+-) Kataonami. 20 points (-5)
(+-) Takanohana. 18 points (-6)
(+-) Hakkaku. 18 points (-5)
(+-) Tokitsukaze. 15 points (-5)
(+1) Takadagawa. 15 points (-2)
(-1) Onomatsu. 13 points (-7)
(**) Nishonoseki. 13 points (+5)
Well, there aren’t really that many, which may come as a surprise, but less points were awarded on the whole due to there only having been 2 special prizes this time, and a clear jun-yusho (Aoiyama). We can probably isolate 5 clear “winners” this time out:
Miyagino takes the top spot on the same points total as last time, so this is more a product of Isegahama not getting the production despite having twice as many rikishi. The only change here is that Yamaguchi and Ishiura trade make- and kachi-koshi, as of course Hakuho wins another yusho.
Kasugano makes another big points gain off the back of Aoiyama’s pushy-thrusty jun-yusho, but this isn’t as spectacular a gain as it would have been for another stable as it replaces Tochinoshin’s jun-yusho last time out. That being said, all three rikishi here performed well and even if they lose points for not mounting a championship push next time out, we should see some promotions and hopefully their inevitable fall down the power rankings won’t be so tough.
Oitekaze makes a big move up the charts off the back of Daiamami’s Juryo yusho. The fun might stop there. The stable is otherwise looking at a series of demotions (including the worrying health of top man and “Mr. Popularity” Endo) in spite of this, and will lose Tobizaru to Makushita in September.
Dewanoumi has moved up to the limit of what they can achieve without special prizes, yusho challenges or Ozeki promotions from Mitakeumi. Worryingly for a stable of 16 rikishi, only 2 of the men behind Mitakeumi have put up back to back kachi-koshi (and one of them is 33 year old Kihonoumi), so it’s going to be up to him for the foreseeable future. Finally, Shohozan propels Nishonoseki onto the listing in the final position, off the back of a nice tournament.
Andy referenced that he wanted to see what would happen to Sadogatake on this chart and the results are surprising – they actually move up a spot, but again this is just due to less points having been awarded in total, as the stable has lost 8, 6 and 7 of our points in each of the past three tournaments. Mostly this is of course due to Kotoshogiku fighting at lower levels and not winning, but this slide is going to continue as we’ll see demotions for all 3 sekitori. Kotodaigo will fight at his highest level in Makushita at Aki, but unless he has a big tournament then we won’t see him at Juryo until the new year, at which point the situation could be considerably more dire and there aren’t many more reinforcements coming any time soon.
Isegahama‘s drop is largely down to Terunofuji’s downturn in performance and Harumafuji’s failure to challenge for the yusho, but a decent tournament from either (however unlikely) could see them regain the top spot next time out. Kise takes a bit of a hit owing to Ura’s injury-influenced make-koshi, but will have a decent spot at at least holding their position next time out due to a pair of Juryo promotees in Kizenryu and Daisedo. The rest is much of a muchness, but a word for Isenoumi who will be reliant on Ikioi regaining his form to move back up the listings.
We noted last time that Kise had reinforcements on the way, and had a remarkable 11 rikishi fighting at Ms19 or higher in Nagoya. Two have been promoted, but 24 year old university man Kizaki may not be far behind. We highlighted his performance last time out, as he’s never suffered a make-koshi in his 8 competitive tournaments so far (including zensho-yusho at Jonidan and Sandanme). He’s taken a minute to acclimate to Makushita but might be on the cusp at Aki, after another solid 5 win performance in Nagoya at Ms7. Shimanoumi’s Juryo comeback bid was halted in Nagoya, but having put up 3 wins he should get another bite at it this time.
Arashio-beya has been feasting and more recently in famine depending on Sokokurai’s results, but Wakatakakage has been rocketing up the banzuke and could be around to provide backup soon. He’ll be due a big promotion to the top end of Makushita after a 6-1 tournament. Likewise, Takasago‘s Murata may be arriving soon to provide backup for Asanoyama having lost the Natsu yusho duel to Wakatakakage back in Sandanme, and having adapted almost as well to the next level of competition.
With the banzuke announcement just a few days away, it’s time to revisit the Heya Power Rankings series. Thanks to everyone who commented on the first version of this post – this time I’ve been able to make the key update of stacking the bars vertically, and hopefully by the time August rolls around I can get them sorted properly and then we’ll really be off and running!
For a refresher on the methodology and calculations behind these rankings, visit the original post. I’m pretty happy with how this held up for the second version – for example the accomplishments of Tochinoshin (kachi-koshi and jun-yusho from M12) are ranked equivalent to Tamawashi’s kachi-koshi at S1, and that seems fair. Without further ado:
And in “Billboard” style Top 20 chart form (ties broken by previous ranking with the most recently better heya ranked higher):
(+1) Isegahama. 124 points (-1)
(+2) Miyagino. 107 points (+57)
(-2) Tagonoura. 75 points (-55)
(+5) Kasugano. 58 points (+24)
(-2) Sakaigawa. 50 points (-10)
(+5) Oguruma. 42 points (+15)
(-1) Kokonoe. 41 points (-2)
(-3) Izutsu. 40 points (-5)
(-2) Oitekaze. 34 points (-4)
(+3) Kise. 33 points (+9)
(+7) Isenoumi. 33 points (+18)
(+3) Dewanoumi. 30 points (+10)
(-5) Sadogatake. 29 points (-6)
(-2) Kataonami. 25 points (even)
(-5) Takanohana. 24 points (-6)
(-2) Hakkaku. 23 points (even)
(-1) Tokitsukaze. 20 points (even)
(**) Onomatsu. 20 points (+15)
(**) Takadagawa. 17 points (+8)
(**) Minato. / (-3) Tomozuna. (both 13 points)
Isegahama takes the top spot this month on a slightly diminished score owing to quality AND quantity: Terunofuji’s second straight jun-yusho and consistent levels of performance across the board push them up to the summit. Miyagino vaults up as the greatest gainer on points owing mostly to Hakuho’s zensho-yusho (we’re not currently giving a bonus score for a 15-0, but this is something to think about), and Ishiura grabbing a KK didn’t hurt.
Kasugano takes a big jump up the listing owing to a big performance from Tochinoshin which more than offset declines elsewhere. Yoshikaze’s special prize gives Oguruma a boost, while all four Kise rikishi grabbed winning records to propel the stable forward with modest gains. Isenoumi is the greatest chart gainer with just two rikishi, but Nishikigi’s Juryo yusho and Ikioi’s regained form give the heya a big boost. Dewanoumi’s sole contributor Mitakeumi grabbed a special prize and he’ll likely have a good shot to maintain his score next time out as he will in all likelihood fight at a higher level.
Finally, 3 new heya hit the chart as Onosho’s performance drives Onomatsu, Kagayaki and Ryuden’s solid performances put Takadagawa on the board, and Ichinojo grabs a kachi-koshi for Minato.
Tagonoura lose their grip on the top, but this is simply owing to Kisenosato not winning (in any capacity). Their top 3 spot should be relatively safe however, with Takayasu’s promotion confirmed, and both of them when on-form now represent title challengers. Elsewhere, Sakaigawa takes a hit just owing to Toyohibiki coming off a Juryo yusho onto a make-koshi and not much support among the rest of the crew beyond Goeido. Meanwhile, Kokonoe’s quality doesn’t translate to quality as despite 6 sekitori, only 3 could manage winning records and the toppermost – Chiyonokuni and Chiyoshoma – ran into a san’yaku slaughterhouse.
Takanohana could be set for another dip, with Takagenji heading out of Juryo and Takanoiwa and Takakeisho likely swapping ends of the banzuke. Tomozuna’s fortunes will also likely get worse before they get better, with Asahisho likely following Takagenji, moviestar Kyokutaisei set for a drop down to the nether regions of Juryo, and Kaisei looking like he may only be a couple tournaments behind.
Shikoroyama (not ranked) should grab their second Juryo rikishi as Abi should certainly be promoted (5-2 at Ms1), and one would think Iwasaki (6-1 at Ms2) would join him in the pro ranks to give Oitekaze a shot in the arm. If Daishoho can get his act together soon and join up later this year, the stable would have a truly impressive number of rikishi in the top 2 divisions.
Kise had a great basho at Natsu as outlined above and they may also be ready to call on reinforcements soon: they boasted 7 rikishi between Makushita 1 and Makushita 12 and while none look like certain promotion candidates for Nagoya… ALL of them scored winning records, as did 2 of the 3 just behind (so that’s 13 of their top 14 with a kachi-koshi – bear in mind some stables don’t even have that many rikishi in total!). As always with the larger stables, a number of these guys are journeymen and also-rans, but the names to watch here are Shimanoumi (5-2 at Ms5W won’t get the job done this time, but he’s scored no less than 5 lower division unbeaten yusho and will be determined to get back to Juryo after fighting back from a period out of competition), and former university man Kizaki (who has raced to the top of Makushita in a year with 7 straight KK, including a pair of yusho).
Now that Haru is in the books, I thought it might be fun to dig back into the maths and introduce an equation to work out which of the Heya, or sumo stables, are the real power players at the top end of the game. If it looks like we’re on to something, then perhaps it’s something we can revisit after future tournaments as well. As this is our first post on the subject, let’s tackle the methodology and then we can get into the rankings for Haru and analysis. So, whose chanko nabe tastes the best?
In order to work this out, I built a points system which can be loosely based around these Three R’s: Ranking, Results, Rewards. Very simply put, a heya should get points for the level at which their rikishi perform, the results they achieve, and the rewards which bring them glory. All good positive stuff.
Points are awarded for fighting at the following ranks:
Maegashira 1-5: 10
Maegashira 6-10: 8
Maegashira 11+: 5
Juryo 1-7: 2
Juryo 8+: 1
I separated Maegashira and Juryo into separate points categories as rikishi at the various ends of these ranks tend to have vastly different schedules. Fighting at a Maegashira 2 rank and having to face the likes of Hakuho is a bigger accomplishment than fighting at Maegashira 14. And being Hakuho is an even bigger accomplishment. So the points should be awarded accordingly. This obviously could be scaled up to accommodate even lower ranks, but it makes sense to start awarding points based on the world of professional sumo.
I added 5 points for scoring a kachi-koshi in makuuchi, and 3 points for achieving a kachi-koshi in Juryo. I did not subtract points for scoring a make-koshi. Again, the rationale here is that fighting at a particular rank is the achievement. Achieving success at that rank should be recognised. Achieving failure at that rank will be reflected by the lower rank the rikishi will receive in the next banzuke, and therefore the lower score that the heya will receive in these next rankings. So, theoretically, it takes care of itself.
Additionally, if you follow the above logic, it stands to reason that a rikishi competing at the top end of Juryo and achieving kachi-koshi and on the cusp of promotion (2+3 points) is fighting at a similar level to a rikishi at the bottom end of Maegashira rank who gets a make-koshi and is in danger of demotion (5+0).
Here’s where we will create variance from month to month, with points being awarded for the following achievements:
Yusho (Makuuchi): 50
Jun-Yusho (Makuuchi): 25
Makuuchi Special Prizes: 10
Yusho (Juryo): 15
At the end of the day it’s really all about winning the big prizes, and these represent prestige. These are the people who have been the focal point of the two weeks that have passed, either because they have outperformed their level, they have challenged for the yusho, actually won it, won a big promotion up to the next level, or all of the above.
Haru-basho Power Rankings & Analysis
What we’ve got above is a bar chart of January’s ranks vs. March, so that we can see for this first edition which stable is at the summit of the sport, who’s improved their standing, and also how the Haru basho might have negatively impacted stables. Here’s our inaugural top 20 chart, with their score in brackets:
The headliner for the second consecutive basho is the Tagonoura-beya, headlined by Shin-Yokozuna Kisenosato‘s heroic yusho, and another prize-winning outing by san’yaku fixture Takayasu. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dominant Isegahama is not far behind, off the back of several prominent rikishi towards the top end of the banzuke and a just-nearly performance by Terunofuji. We can probably expect to see these two stables in or near the top two for some time to come, especially if Takayasu is successful in his Ozeki run.
Taking the bronze medal this time, it’s Sakaigawa: a stable with a number of makuuchi wrestlers and featuring the Juryo yusho winner Toyohibiki, who we’ll see back in the top flight for Natsu. While it’s not impossible, Sakaigawa will have a challenge to hold onto a position in the top 3 in May. Goeido will need to chase a kachi-koshi to retain his Ozeki status, but they may lose 2 rikishi from makuuchi to Juryo with demotions, and the next best heya Miyagino will hope for a healthier outing from Hakuho and better returns from Ishiura as he tries to cement his place in makuuchi.
Looking at whose stock plummeted the most this month, you can’t look further than the first name on the list. With only one rikishi in the top 2 divisions, Arashio‘s prestige is wholly dependent at the moment on the performances of Sokokurai, whose gino-sho winning Hatsu was followed up with an 11 loss outing this time around. Solid but unspectacularly performing heya with a diversity of competitors (e.g. Kokonoe) are better able to insulate themselves from this kind of performance, and Arashio doesn’t have anyone else near the top divisions at the moment.
On the whole, this exercise has shown that out of all of the places that rikishi live and train, about a dozen are real players at the top end of the game, and another dozen are developing middling talent trying to gain a foothold in the professional ranks. The rest are in limbo, either unable to produce top level talent at the moment or simply in a transitional period where their top level participants have recently retired or been demoted while they try and bring through a new generation of rikishi with the ability to compete at the highest level.
Looking ahead to Natsu, I don’t think we should expect much change in the top 5. A few stables under the radar who might make moves one way or the other in the near future:
Oitekaze: Endo will move up, and may face a tougher schedule given that many of the rikishi in front of him this time out are staring at demotion. Meanwhile, Daieisho‘s due a promotion and Oitekaze’s quintet could be joined soon in the professional ranks by Iwasaki, who picked up a kachi-koshi at Makushita 3, and Daishoho, who made his brief Juryo debut in November and just put up 5 wins at Makushita 7.
Takanohana: As Andy noted earlier in the week, Takagenji is set for his Juryo debut at Natsu, and while Takanohana isn’t teeming with the sheer volume of rikishi that you might see at other stables, there are actually a couple more young wrestlers not far behind. Star man Takanoiwa‘s results have been volatile, but he has made a step forward in the past year which is that he’s now more able to cope with what the schedule throws at him at the lower end of makuuchi. Likewise, Takakeisho seems to be settling in well as a rank-and-filer and will move up the banzuke next time out.
Sadogatake: It’s tough to call a heya with such a rich history at the top level “under the radar,” but they’ll take a hit if Kotoshogiku does retire or show diminished performance following a soul-crushing nearly-basho in March, and it would be charitable to say that Kotoyuki hasn’t been at his best recently. He looked overpowered and out of sorts more often than not at Haru. Realistically the next wave of talent here is at least a couple of years away – there are a handful of journeyman rikishi at Makushita level already, but the next youngster showing serious promise looks to be 19 year old Kotokamatani who just finished up a 5 win basho at Sandanme 3 and is primed for already his second spell at Makushita having only made his tournament debut last January.