Of Gold Stars and Straight Wins

Most of you may know that a wrestler who earns a gold star, “kinboshi”, awarded when a maegashira beats a Yokozuna in an official bout, earns money for it. But how exactly does that work? Are there other ways to earn extra money? How long does the bonus last?

Ura’s Kinboshi – can he treat his friends to a drink with it?

The money for a gold star – and other achievements, which we will get to shortly – is called Rikishi Hōshōkin or Mochi-kyūkin. It can be viewed as a savings account. When a rikishi first appears on the banzuke, he is awarded ¥3. Then, he earns a small sum for each achievement. The money accumulates. Every time he completes a basho as a sekitori, he receives that saved money as bonus – multiplied by a factor which changes from time to time. Currently the multiplier is 4000.

So the answer to the question in the photo caption is “no”. Although Ura does have his “mochi-kyukin” account, which includes his gold star, and continues to earn small sums, he will not receive the cash until he climbs up all the way from Sandanme back to Juryo and completes a basho there.

What earns the rikishi credits?

The achievements that can earn rikishi mochi-kyukin are:

  • Kachi-koshi. For each point difference in a kachi-koshi, the wrestler earns 50 sen, or half a yen. So, if you were 4-3 kachi-koshi in Makushita, like Hoshoryu, you earned half a yen. But if you were 6-1, like Toyonoshima, you earned 2.5 yen. There is no credit deduction for make-koshi.
  • Kinboshi – earns ¥10.
  • Makuuchi yusho. If you win the Emperor’s cup, you get ¥30, unless it’s a…
  • Makuuchi zensho-yusho. If you win all fifteen bouts in Makuuchi and win the yusho, you get ¥50.
Zensho yusho. That’s ¥50, multiplied by 4000.

So, take Enho for example. How much money would he have earned in his debut in Juryo? He had one of the fastest advancements – three 7-0 tournaments, followed by one 5-2 and one 4-3, though the Juryo tournament he completed was a make-koshi, which doesn’t count. This should have earned him ¥12.5 in addition to his initial ¥3. So, did he get ¥62,000 at the end of that basho?

The answer is… no. There is a minimum amount for each new level that you reach. If your credits did not exceed that minimum amount, the difference is added to the account. However, if you drop back below that level, you lose the added difference.

  • Juryo: ¥40
  • Makuuchi: ¥60
  • Ozeki: ¥100
  • Yokozuna: ¥150

So, in fact, Enho received ¥160,000 for his debut Juryo basho. However, dropping right back to Makushita, he dropped back to ¥15.5 in his account. Back in Makushita he had two additional 5-2 basho, which earned him another ¥3, but that’s still below the Juryo minimum. So again, the account was set to ¥40 on his return to Juryo. With a 9-6 kachi-koshi in Juryo, that’s another ¥1.5, so this time, he got ¥166,000 in cash.

Should be enough to put some drinks in that belly

Yes, while sekitori salaries are paid using bank transfers, mochi-kyukin is paid in cash.

Who is the richest of them all?

At this point you can probably guess who the record holder for mochi-kyukin is. Yes, it’s Hakuho. Let’s take a look at his earnings so far.

  • Below Juryo, his kachi-koshi balance adds up to ¥18. Add that to his initial ¥3, and the sum is below the ¥40. So He started Juryo with ¥40.
  • Spending only two basho in Juryo, he earned ¥6 for a total of ¥46. That’s below the minimum of ¥60 for Makuuchi, so he starts Makuuchi with ¥60.
  • As a maegashira, he earns one kinboshi (¥10), and the total for his kachi-koshi up to and including sekiwake is ¥32.5. This puts him at ¥102.5 upon his promotion to Ozeki. That’s actually above the minimum for Ozeki, so he stays with ¥102.5.
  • As Ozeki, he has ¥28 for his kachi-koshi. Two “simple” yusho give him ¥60, and his first zensho-yusho another ¥50. So upon promotion to Yokozuna, he has ¥240.5, which is, of course, above the ¥150 minimum for a Yokozuna.
  • It is at this point that the man starts earning the big money:
    • Kachi-koshi as a yokozuna – all at large differences, of course – adds up to ¥350.
    • 24 simple yusho, each for ¥30, for a total of ¥720.
    • 14 zensho-yusho, each for ¥50, for a total of ¥700.
    So the dai-yokozuna’s current sum is ¥2010.5, for a whopping ¥8,042,000, bimonthly (and still increasing). As usual, nobody even comes close – the next in line is Taiho, ¥1489.5, and the multiplier in his time was a lot lower.

Summary

Rikishi may earn money in various ways, including salary, kensho envelopes, mochi-kyukin, sponsorships and senshuraku parties. Most of these avenues are only open to sekitori, or even only to Makuuchi wrestlers.

The mochi-kyukin system is a merit-based bonus system. Earnings are made at all levels, but actual payments are only made to sekitori. The system is heavily biased to benefit dai-yokozuna, who earn yusho and large-difference kachi-koshi by the score.

The calculation of a wrestler’s mochi-kyukin is complex, as it requires a look over his entire history of kachi-koshi and promotions to check whether he passed the required minimums for each level, in addition to the plain calculation of gold stars, yusho and zensho-yusho. The rikishi continue to receive their bonus as long as they are sekitori. No deductions are made for make-koshi, kyujo or even suspensions. But if a wrestler loses sekitori status – he is left only with the credits and stops receiving money.

Aki Basho Final Results

zensho

Goeido Achieves A Perfect Score

Tournament winner Goeido won on the final day (as Andy cited), making his score a perfect 15-0, or zensho-yusho, which is a fairly uncommon event in sumo, even more uncommon when it comes from someone other than Hakuho. As mentioned in an earlier post, Goeido had been facing the possibility of demotion due to his losing record in the July tournament in Nagoya. He now has an option to attempt to reach Yokozuna.

Jun-yusho (runner up) goes to Endo, who had an amazing 13-2 record. In many cases, that would have been enough to win the tournament. We will likely see Endo at a much higher rank in November’s banzuke.

Special prizes awarded

  • Shukun-sho (Outstanding Performance): Okinoumi – His opening week saw him devastate the Ozeki and Yokozuna
  • Kanto-sho (Fighting Spirit): Takayasu – Brought us some fantastic battles, including his defeat of Harumafuji on day 11
  • Gino-sho (Technique): Endo – Really outstanding sumo from Endo this tournament

Final win / loss tally

15-0  Goeido
13-2  Endo
12-3  Harumafuji
10-5  Kakuryu, Kisenosato, Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Tamawashi, Kotoyuki
9-6  Kotoshogiku, Okinoumi, Aoiyama, Kagayaki
8-7  Chiyonokuni, Shohozan, Nishikigi, Takekaze, Sadanoumi, Chiyoshoma, Kyokushuho
—————————————————————
7-8  Tochiozan, Yoshikaze, Shodai, Ikioi, Arawashi
6-9  Kaisei, Toyohibiki, Tokushoryu
5-10  Tochinoshin, Takanoiwa, Myogiryu, Sokokurai, Gagamaru, Amakaze, Daieisho
4-11  Terunofuji, Takarafuji, Daishomaru
1-14  Chiyootori(1-10-4)

Thank you dear readers for following the action here on Tachiai.  Next tournament is in November at Fukuoka.  Until then, we will work to bring you news and developments from the sum world.

Goeido – Redemption

goeido-redemption

From Kadoban to Yusho – Zensho Achieved (First in history)

Before the start of the Aki basho two weeks ago, I mockingly referred to Goeido and Kotoshogiku as the “Kadoban Twins”. Frankly both of their performance had been spotty and uneven, and I frankly predicted at least one of them would fail to achieve a winning record and would be demoted.

I was wrong

In one of the great redemption and come back stories in sports, Goeido came into Aki in danger of losing sumo’s second highest ranking, and drove himself relentlessly in every match. As noted before in Tachiai, his all out commitment to his offensive moves was dramatic, more like Hakuho, than what has been typical for Goeido of late.

On his march to total victory, he has shown surprising versatility in his winning moves, and an absolute fearless approach to sumo. The fans have loved it, as it was clear that Goeido was going to settle for nothing less than a win on every day.  I sincerely hope that Goeido can maintain this level of sumo, as it is really quite thrilling to watch. After so many years of the Japanese sumo fans yearning for strong performance from someone other than Mongolians, they may have finally found a worthy champion.

List Of Victories – Aki Basho

  • Day 1 – Tochinoshin
  • Day 2 – Shodai
  • Day 3 – Tochiozan
  • Day 4 – Takanoiwa
  • Day 5 – Takarafuji
  • Day 6 – Takayasu
  • Day 7 – Okinoumi
  • Day 8 – Yoshikaze
  • Day 9 – Aoiyama
  • Day 10 – Terunofuji
  • Day 11 – Kisenosato
  • Day 12 – Kakuryu
  • Day 13 – Harumafuji
  • Day 14 – Tamawashi
  • Day 15 – Kotoshogiku

Some facts about Goeido’s win, harvested from nikkansports.com:

  • Only the 8th time in history and kadoban Ozeki has won a tournament
  • First time ever a kadoban Ozeki has won undefeated – zensho yusho
  • First time in 86 years a rikishi from Osaka has won a tournament.
  • Only Harumafuji, Hakuho and now Goeido, out of the current sekitori, have won with a perfect record.

The video below of his win day 14 over Tamawashi, and the reaction of the crowd says it all. Congratulations to Goeido, your performance during Aki has been incredible.

 

Aki Basho Endgame & Fallout

goeido-13

With Two Days Left, Here Is How We See It

  • Leader (13-0): Goeido
  • Lone Hunter (11-2): Endo
  • 2 Days Remain

As Andy pointed out, the odds are now overwhelming that Goeido wins the Aki basho. It’s also more than even odds that he will do so with a perfect score of 15-0. This would be a huge come-back from his kadoban status, but not unprecedented. In fact it seems according to sumo database at sumogames.de, it would seem that the last time we had Kadoban to zensho yusho was 1934. So very rare.

The biggest casualty of Aki will likely turn out to be Kisenosato, who went in to this tournament with the expectation that he would challenge for the title, and once again present a solid case for promotion to Yokozuna. Instead his sumo was inconsistent, and as a result he dropped out of serious competition for the title the day he could not defeat Goeido.

That single bout, where Kisenosato faced Goeido, was the point where everything changed in the sumo universe. On Day 11, there was a slim path that required Kisenosato to win, and his stable mate Takayasu to win over Harumafuji. Takayasu was indeed victorious in a glorious display of just how good this up and coming Sekiwake has been this tournament. But Kisenosato could not close the deal.

ichiban

A Kisenosato win on day 11 would have given us

Leaders (10-1): Goeido, Endo
Chasers (9-2): Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Takayasu

This is would have quite possibly resulted in one of the most amazing final quarters of a basho in my memory. But Goeido would not be stopped. Each bout this tournament, he has picked an attack, and committed everything to it’s delivery. If we see this side of Goeido consistently, we may instead be talking about a Yokozuna run for Goeido. In fact the yokozuna promotion rules have special consideration for zehsho wins (perfect score), which might lead to a Goeido “fast track”.

From here we see Goeido face Tamawashi on day 14, and I am guessing Endo on day 15. Endo faces Takayasu day 13, as Takayasu works to rack up his win record for consideration of promotion to Ozeki in the not too distant future. Sadly Terunofuji is now kadoban, and cannot sit out the next basho without being demoted out of Ozeki. Likewise, Shin-Sekiwake Takarafuji is now make-kochi and facing at least 1 step demotion.