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Unique payroll system in the word of sumo


Payment for sumo wrestlers in the top two makuuchi and juryo divisions consists mainly of monthly salaries and bonuses, which depend on their performance.

Monthly salaries range from ¥1.1 million for juryo to ¥3 million for yokozuna.

Bonuses are decided based on the sport’s unique payment system called rikishi-hoshokin. Each wrestler receives a bonus point worth ¥3, called mochi-kyukin, when he enters the banzuke rankings as a jonokuchi, the sport’s lowest division.

The payment increases by one point worth 50 sen, or ¥0.5, for every win that exceeds the number of losses in a tournament.

For example, a lower-rank wrestler receiving a bonus point of ¥3 gets a ¥0.5 raise with a 4-3 record, as the number of wins surpasses that of losses by one. In the same way, another wrestler who wins all seven bouts gets a raise of ¥3.5 in bonus points, leading him to have an accumulated bonus of ¥6.5.

Wrestlers in the makuuchi top division, who have 15 bouts per tournament, get the same rate. But a hiramaku (the rank-and-file of the makuuchi division) wrestler who defeats a yokozuna gets a bonus point worth ¥10. Such a win is called a kinboshi, or gold star.

Winning the championship provides a special increase of ¥30 in bonus points. A wrestler with a perfect record would have an increase of ¥50. Mochi-kyukin continues to rise as long as wrestlers are on the banzuke rankings. No deduction is made even when losses outnumber wins.

As of the end of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March, yokozuna Hakuho, who has won 42 championships, had the highest accumulated bonus of ¥2,050.5. Yokozuna Kakuryu, who has won the championship five times, had an accumulation of ¥346.5, nearly six times less than Hakuho despite the two having debuted together in 2001. It is mainly because of the difference between them in the number of championships and undefeated tournaments.

The mochi-kyukin bonus is multiplied by 4,000 to calculate the rikishi-hoshokin payment for each tournament. The payment is made even when wrestlers pull out of the tournament. Hakuho withdrew from the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, but still got ¥8.202 million as his bonus payment for the basho.

Wrestlers in the makushita division or lower can also accumulate bonuses. But they can receive the payment only after they are promoted to the juryo division. This is why when they retire, many sumo wrestlers single out a bout that promoted them to the juryo division as a particularly memorable match for them.


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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Otokonoyama said:

Mochi-kyukin continues to rise as long as wrestlers are on the banzuke rankings. No deduction is made even when losses outnumber wins.

Miki forgot to mention the exception - and the possible rise to a  respective minimum for a rank promotion: that would get reduced again on demotion.

Edited by Akinomaki
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Sumo: Kakuryu rules roost, Asanoyama surges in latest rankings


Kakuryu will head into next month's Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in pole position as east yokozuna while summer basho winner Asanoyama moved into the No. 1 maegashira slot, according to rankings published by the Japan Sumo Association on Monday.

The fast-rising Asanoyama, who clinched his maiden championship in front of U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month, climbed seven spots up the ranks, reaching a new career high for the July 7-21 tournament at Dolphins Arena.

"I've put the championship behind me and will train as a challenger," said the 25-year-old, taking the humble path despite being the first winner without any previous sanyaku experience since Sadanoyama in 1961.

"I'm hoping to work steadily (through the tournament). I'll first aim for a winning record," he said.

Kakuryu, coming off an 11-4 record in May, will be looking for his sixth championship and his first in Nagoya. It will be Kakuryu's 32nd grand tournament as a yokozuna, moving him into a tie for 10th all-time.

The leader in that category, his Mongolian compatriot Hakuho, will be competing for the 72nd time as a yokozuna. Hakuho missed May's grand tournament in Tokyo after suffering a muscle tear in his upper right arm in March's Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka.

The 34-year-old Hakuho is aiming for a record-extending 43rd career grand tournament championship.

With Tochinoshin back in the ozeki fold after one tournament as a sekiwake, the ozeki wrestlers will form a quartet in Nagoya. Goeido and Takayasu have been handed the top east and top west slots, respectively, while Takakeisho is next on the east with Georgian Tochinoshin in the final west slot.

Takakeisho, however, suffered a right knee injury upon his ozeki debut in May and failed to win eight bouts, putting him in peril of relegation to sekiwake as a "kadoban" ozeki in Nagoya. He becomes just the ninth ozeki to face demotion in his second tournament, the last being Tochinoshin.

The Georgian Tochinoshin, promoted to ozeki a year ago, went 5-2 last summer in Nagoya but rebounded in September with nine wins. Tochinoshin, who has struggled with lower-body injuries since his promotion, finally succumbed to relegation after logging losing records in January and March.

In July, however, he becomes the ninth wrestler since the start of the Showa era in 1926 to regain his ozeki status after winning the mandatory 10 bouts as a sekiwake. The last to accomplish the feat, Tochiazuma, did it twice, in September 2004 and March 2005.

Mitakeumi and Tamawashi are both back at sekiwake. Mitakeumi, promoted after setting a 9-6 mark in May as a komusubi, is on the east and will be competing in the sanyaku ranks -- the three below yokozuna -- for the 15th consecutive tournament.

Tamawashi, the January champion, was demoted from sekiwake after going 5-10 in March, but rebounded with a 10-5 record in May as a No. 3 maegashira.

The final two sanyaku wrestlers are newcomers who are wrestling for the first time as komusubi after going 10-5 in May. Abi, promoted from No. 4, joins Ryuden, who moves up from No. 5.

At the other end of the spectrum, one wrestler, Takagenji, will make his debut in the elite makuuchi division, and will be joined by two others moving up from the second-tier juryo division.

A stablemate of ozeki Takakeisho, 22-year-old Takagenji, won the juryo championship in May with a 13-2 record, earning promotion to No. 10 maegashira.

Rejoining the top flight are No. 14 Toyonoshima and No. 16 Kotoyuki.


Edited by Otokonoyama
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Much talk, no action from sumo committees


The Japan Sumo Association loves committees.

Barely a scandal or incident goes by without the creation of some kind of panel or investigative group.

Last month saw the establishment of yet another.

The “Expert Committee to Contemplate the Future Succession of Sumo” is an advisory body whose remit is to provide guidelines for JSA governance, especially in regard to managing foreign rikishi and the internationalization of the sport...


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