The Japan Sumo Association has set up its banzuke for November and determined there will be three wrestlers promoted to Juryo from Makushita. One wrestler, Kotokuzan, returns to the salaried ranks. His debut in July yielded four wins but eleven losses and quick demotion back to Makushita. Four wins this tournament were all he needed to go back up, indicating that the 3-rank fall may have been a bit soft. Prior instances of 4-11 records from near the bottom rung of the Juryo ladder resulted in drops to the fifth or sixth rank in Makushita* (corrected). From that rank, even Shiba’s 5-2 was insufficient for promotion. I expect him to be at the bottom of Juryo this time with a short leash, meaning that another four-win performance in Kyushu should result in a more significant drop.
The other two wrestlers will be donning kesho mawashi for the first time as professional wrestlers, Asanowaka and Hiradoumi. Asanowaka is the new shikona for Terasawa, who had been competing under his family name until this promotion. Asanowaka seems to have requested the shikona from current Takasago coach Wakamatsu, as back during his fighting days Wakamatsu never had any kyujo, or absences, throughout his career. If that name change helps him stay healthy, succeed, and remain in the paid ranks for at least a few more tournaments, he may well become heyagashira in 2022 as his former senpai, Asanoyama, tumbles into Makushita.
Tachiai readers may remember a feature article on mawashi written by Herouth, inspired by the unsolved mystery of Terasawa’s pilfered cloth, which happened to be imbued with mystical powers from the remains of his late pet rabbit. That article is always worth a read, not just for the bizarre who-done-it, but the wealth of information about practice mawashi and competition mawashi in both amateur and Grand Sumo. There’s a discussion of sagari as well as the difference between the silk shimekomi (which Asanowaka will now wear with stiffened sagari), and the cotton mawashi.
What are you still doing here? Go. Read it. Now. I’ll wait.
Welcome back. Fascinating read, no? Hopefully that answered some of the questions you had and likely pointed out some things you never even noticed.
Hiradoumi also joins Asanowaka in Juryo. It’s quite the basho for Sakaigawa beya as Sadanoumi’s 10-wins will lift him back into Makuuchi and Myogiryu’s jun-yusho performance was also rewarded with a special prize. However, both of these veterans are in the latter stages of their careers while Hiradoumi, at 21 years old, is still trying to establish himself. This was his fifth consecutive kachi-koshi record, making a rather determined slog through the grist mill at the top of the third division. Congratulations to all three!
Not so fast, there Andy, I’ve got another question.
So, does this mean there were supposed to be two promotions and with Hakuho’s retirement Kotokuzan gets the “free pass,” and joins the pack on the lead lap? (I’ll find out who’s here for NASCAR references.) Or does this mean that Hakuho’s announcement was still not done in time for the banzuke committee to remove his name from the banzuke? I think it would be very odd for Hakuho to still appear on the list in Kyushu since he announced his retirement before the banzuke committee drew up their list. So Kyokushuho might still make the cut due to the lack of other promotion candidates among the top makushita ranks. If Shiba had a 6-1 record or a yusho, would he have joined the other three and taken Kyokushuho’s slot? Or will Kyokushuho drop, essentially for nothing?
Given the weak demotion given to Kotokuzan after his 4-11 record in July, I find it hard to demote Kyokushuho from a rank and a half higher on a 6-9 record. We know that 7-8 is often good enough to maintain ones rank and Kyokushuho has already had a couple of recent instances of two-rank drops with 6-9 records. Why not drop him to Juryo-jiri and only demote Takakento after his 3-12 and Asashiyu after his 1-14? This avoids the difficult choice of trying to decide who is the next deserving candidate from Makushita when it’s hard to justify Jokoryu at Ms4 with a 4-3, Shiba at Ms6 with a 5-2, or Tsushimanada at Ms9 with 6-1.
Anyway, my banzuke for Kyushu has Hakuho off and Kyokushuho sitting on the bottom rung of Juryo.
Not so fast, again, Andy! As Leonid rightly points out below, Takagenji’s gone. That’s what you get for removing the Scandal Meter. While his slot was conspicuously vacant in the last tournament, it will certainly be filled this time around. So that means two promotions were “extra” this time around? Will Takakento be saved? No. I think that’s the point that puts Hakuho back on the banzuke. My point above that the Kyokai would have to “go fishing” for a lackluster promotion candidate is only half the story. They need to find two promotion candidates from that field. Kyokushuho was never in danger of demotion.
So let’s turn back to those promotion candidates. A promotion from Ms6 with 5 wins is rare but has happened three times this century, to Baruto and Satoyama. Baruto proceeded to a very successful 12-3 record in that debut tournament, while Satoyama’s makekoshi 7-8 was still safe because he had been promoted to Juryo 12E from Ms6. His case was a highly unusual one, though, as he was one of nine promotions that tournament. The yaocho scandal had claimed many scalps that year. The Ms9 promotion with 6 wins is even more rare, last granted…let’s see here…to some up-and-comer named Hakuho in 2003. There are certainly more promotions from Ms4 with 4 wins, with Akiseyama’s promotion last year being the most recent example.
Without a fourth promotion, Hakuho is on the banzuke and someone’s getting robbed of a position in Juryo, and the victim appears to be Jokoryu.