Sign in to follow this  
Kishinoyama

What is an acceptable score for a Yokozuna?

Recommended Posts

I do not feel like an 11-4 record is a pitiful record for a yokozuna. Especially when they are supposedly suffering from injuries. Their are many examples of yokozuna having 9-6 (including Asashoryu in 04), 8-7 and at least two yokozuna have had 7-8 records. Those are pitiful records. (I am not worthy...)

That's well said. Here's my personal reaction to records that a yokozuna might have:

14-1 or 15-0 : brilliant, awesome

13-2 : excellent, strong result

12-3 : good but nothing special for a yokozuna

11-4 : acceptable but ordinary at best for a yokozuna

10-5 : below par but not alarming unless it becomes typical

9-6 : weak and worrisome if it happens very often

8-7 : unacceptable, mediocre and indicative of an injury or imminent retirement

7-8 or worse : indicative of an injury, or if not, cause for retirement

Let's not forget that all-time great rikishi can have off-days and poor tournaments occasionally. Chiyonofuji had a few 10-5 and 11-4 results here and there, and that was before his great winning streak in 1988. We should accept the simple fact that a yokozuna is still learning about sumo, that they are not a finished product just because they have reached the highest rank in sumo. Musashimaru learned how to win on the belt quite late in his career, and if he had kept his weight under control he could have dominated the sport for 2 or 3 more years. Akebono was basically a tsuki\oshi rikishi with a powerful tsuppari attack but little belt skill while he was rising through the ranks, but became a skilled yotsu-zumo rikishi once he became a yokozuna.

Edited by mokele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's well said. Here's my personal reaction to records that a yokozuna might have:

14-1 or 15-0 : brilliant, awesome

13-2 : excellent, strong result

12-3 : good but nothing special for a yokozuna

11-4 : acceptable but ordinary at best for a yokozuna

10-5 : below par but not alarming unless it becomes typical

9-6 : weak and worrisome if it happens very often

8-7 : unaccepatable, mediocre and indicative of an injury or imminent retirement

7-8 or worse : indicative of an injury, or if not, cause for retirement

I think that these numbers would need to be adjusted based on the number of active yokozuna. In the case of four yokozuna, there will be six losses occurring in yokozuna vs yokozuna matchups. So a 9-6 record with three losses to fellow yokozuna could be considered stronger than a 9-6 record for a sole yokozuna.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several here have called Asashoryu's and Hakuho's 11-4 score "pitiful" and "totally unacceptable for a Yokozuna". Is this so? Two thoughts:

1) 11-4 scores may be by and large avoidable when there are only two Yokozuna. But suppose there are three; especially as now there may be a chance that we return to a three-Y world. Only if the Ozeki etc. are utter tosh could one expect all three Y to post regularly scores of 12-3 or better.

2) I understand a Yokozuna is expected to retire when he doesn't uphold the dignity of the rank any more, and this in turn is the case (speaking only about the quality of the sumo) when he doesn't have the potential any longer of winning bashos. Now both Asashoryu and Hakuho still got jun-yusho, and suppose they had beaten the rikishi who ran away with the yusho -- something we probably all believe they are still capable of doing -- they would have been in a three-way play-off. Thus clearly this basho suggests both continue tohave the potential to win?

P.S.: saw only now the related discussion in another thread. A mod may want to merge.

Edited by HenryK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a 'good' Yokozuna is expected to get 12 wins or more (compared to the 10 wins expected for a 'good' Ozeki). They are expected to be yusho candidates every basho. An 11-4 very, very rarely wins the Makunouchi yusho - so that is possibly why 12 is the minimum expected target.

If Hakuho and Asashoryu had both beaten Kotooshu (as per your example), then they would have achieved this number.

Edited by Jejima

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If Hakuho and Asashoryu had both beaten Kotooshu (as per your example), then they would have achieved this number.

As well as a very interesting three-way playoff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
P.S.: saw only now the related discussion in another thread. A mod may want to merge.

Split those posts from Asa-Haku thread and merged them into this one.

ps. Thanks for the suggestion. Please, if any member notices a doubling of topics or an off-topic discussion deserving of its own thread, do point it out to moderators. This is a big Forum, and we are but a few - all help is welcome!

Edited by Manekineko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think a 'good' Yokozuna is expected to get 12 wins or more (compared to the 10 wins expected for a 'good' Ozeki). They are expected to be yusho candidates every basho. An 11-4 very, very rarely wins the Makunouchi yusho - so that is possibly why 12 is the minimum expected target.

If Hakuho and Asashoryu had both beaten Kotooshu (as per your example), then they would have achieved this number.

knock off a win for injury and the 12 line is the 11 acheived for both. if they both really are injured, i dont have a problem with their performence. if they both were as healthy as can be expected and still only had 11 wins, then its a little more to talk about. do we expect an injured yokozuna to win 12+? they could have went kyuju and not finished at all. i like that they stayed till the end when they could have easily left early.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the subtext here is "unworthy of THESE yokozuna." Asa had under 12 wins in 5 of the 26 basho he finished (was participating in all 15 days.) That is ironic because it's May 26th today. As for Hakuhou, we'll count his records including his Ozeki days, since his yokozuna days are quite short for now- only in 4 out of 12 basho did he win less than 12.

So I can see why certain circles (including most of us) can regard an 11-4 for these yokozuna at these times as somewhat unacceptably disappointing to a degree, injuries notwithstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's well said. Here's my personal reaction to records that a yokozuna might have:

14-1 or 15-0 : brilliant, awesome

13-2 : excellent, strong result

12-3 : good but nothing special for a yokozuna

11-4 : acceptable but ordinary at best for a yokozuna

10-5 : below par but not alarming unless it becomes typical

9-6 : weak and worrisome if it happens very often

8-7 : unaccepatable, mediocre and indicative of an injury or imminent retirement

7-8 or worse : indicative of an injury, or if not, cause for retirement

I think that these numbers would need to be adjusted based on the number of active yokozuna. In the case of four yokozuna, there will be six losses occurring in yokozuna vs yokozuna matchups. So a 9-6 record with three losses to fellow yokozuna could be considered stronger than a 9-6 record for a sole yokozuna.

Yes I agree. With only 1 or 2 yokozuna like it's been lately, those numbers are ok. In the old (and rare!) days with 4 yokozuna (1 of those eras had Mienoumi, Wakanohana 2, Kitanoumi and Wajima, and another era featured Takonahana, Wakanohana, Akebono and Musashimaru) an 11-4 score would have been quite satisfactory. My numbers could be knocked down one in such an era.

Edited by mokele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A yokozuna is expected to win the yusho, or at least be in contention for it right up to the final day. As neither of them acheived that, their records were below par. But probably not pitiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned this in the Asa-sumo-worthy thread, but a Yokozuna's basic responsibility is to win. Makekoshi (and to a certain extent this includes kyujo) is an abject failure, a 15-0 yusho is the maximum. Everything from 8-7 to 14-1 success with varying degrees of blemish. At 14-1, 13-2, you over look the blemishes (especially if it's a yusho, and the losses came against Yokozuna/Ozeki). 12-3 is considered a weak yusho, and if there's no yusho, it's the bottom line of acceptable. 11-4, 10-5, these are like getting a C grade in a class. Sure, technically it's supposed to be a perfectly acceptable, but in actuality no one's satisfied with it. 9-6, 8-7, these are like a D grade. Yeah, it's a passing grade, but it also signals panic time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... They are expected to be yusho candidates every basho. An 11-4 very, very rarely wins the Makunouchi yusho - so that is possibly why 12 is the minimum expected target.

My first reaction would be to say being yusho candidates should be enough, but that's not the case. The numbers alone are also not very good indicator.

Imagine the following scenario (deliberately extreme one):

There are 4 Yokozuna on banzuke.

Yokozuna A and B get 12-3 record.

A loses to the other Yokozunas only.

B wins against other 3 Yokozuna, but loses to 3 Maegashira each of them ending at 1-14, beating Yokozuna B only.

I'd say for A it's very good performance while B is very poor despite equal 12-3 record.

Another extreme example: Yokozuna with zensho yusho, but 10 bouts out of 15 he wons by hatakikomi and other 5 by various defensive kimarite at the tawara being forced there by his aite. Technically that's still zensho, but I wouldn't be surpirsed if that Yokozuna gets immediate advice to go intai.

Plain numbers simply don't work in case of Yokozuna and the reason behind that is very long story indeed. Close related to the question

"What exactly Yokozuna is? (Sign of approval...) How long the shortest precise answer will be? 10 lines? 100 pages? A book?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the subtext here is "unworthy of THESE yokozuna." Asa had under 12 wins in 5 of the 26 basho he finished (was participating in all 15 days.) That is ironic because it's May 26th today. As for Hakuhou, we'll count his records including his Ozeki days, since his yokozuna days are quite short for now- only in 4 out of 12 basho did he win less than 12.

So I can see why certain circles (including most of us) can regard an 11-4 for these yokozuna at these times as somewhat unacceptably disappointing to a degree, injuries notwithstanding.

On the other hand, the set of opponents they're facing appears to be a lot stronger now, too. Ama/Kotoshogiku/Kisenosato are arguably what Kaio/Tochiazuma/Musoyama were during the mid- and late 1990s, and none of them were a major factor yet when Asashoryu was winning tournaments left and right 2-3 years ago. And the rest of the grinder is likely improved on average, too, occasional clunkers like the Baruto and Kokkai performances notwithstanding.

In other words, I don't think 11-4 is all that bad, considering the circumstances, as long as that's not going to be the new baseline for every basho. Call again when our assembled yokozuna are putting up something like this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my view a single record in 1 basho should be seen in the context of a run of results. If a yokozuna has a run of 3 basho where he struggles to get 12 wins then it starts to become disappointing but if there's a 9-6 sandwiched between a 13-2 and a 14-1 then I can dismiss it as perhaps a minor injury or some such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This basho was actually mediocre one for the meat grinder, historically speaking. I did a query for the wins by M1-M4 for the last 20 years, and out of 123 results, this basho was tied for 59th with 47 wins, or an average of 5.785 wins/rikishi.

For those interested, the highest was 2001.09, Kotomitsuki's yusho basho, with the following results:

7-8KotonowakaM1Asashoryu10-5 K

13-2 YGS KotomitsukiM2Takanowaka8-7

8-7TosanoumiM3Tamakasuga5-10

10-5 G KaihoM4Tokitsuumi9-6

The lowest in the last 20 years was 1997.09, with 3 0-15 records, and a measly 29 wins

11-4 GS DejimaM1Ganyu3-12

9-6 K TochinonadaM2Konishiki0-11-4

0-0-15OginishikiM3Kyokushuzan3-12

3-12AogiyamaM4Rikio0-0-15

These are also the zenith and nadir for the last 50 years as well.

Edited by Gusoyama

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've said this elsewhere, the meat grinder is a real sink or swim situation and promotion into it may not always be a good thing. While rikishi should do their best in any given basho, it seems dangerous to do very well and be promoted too far at once. While we speak of fixed matches regarding helping other rikishi get KK near the end, on the other hand perhaps some want to lose after they've reached KK for selfish reasons. A nice 8-7 or 9-6 record will give you a modest promotion where you can probably hope to continue with a good performance while a 10-5, 11-4 or 12-3 record will catapult you into the heart of the meat grinder or into komusubi where you will likely fail miserably. After a few of these cycles it seems you finally either "get it" and have success and rise into sanyaku for a good while or you realize your place on the banzuke and learn to live with it.

I suppose it just mirrors corporate career life to an extent where good performance yields promotions until you reach a level where you are merely adequate (or worse) and the promotions stop. If you're really bad you'll be fired as demotions are considered "constructive dismissals" these days.

Edited by Harry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've said this elsewhere, the meat grinder is a real sink or swim situation and promotion into it may not always be a good thing. While rikishi should do their best in any given basho, it seems dangerous to do very well and be promoted too far at once. While we speak of fixed matches regarding helping other rikishi get KK near the end, on the other hand perhaps some want to lose after they've reached KK for selfish reasons. A nice 8-7 or 9-6 record will give you a modest promotion where you can probably hope to continue with a good performance while a 10-5, 11-4 or 12-3 record will catapult you into the heart of the meat grinder or into komusubi where you will likely fail miserably. After a few of these cycles it seems you finally either "get it" and have success and rise into sanyaku for a good while or you realize your place on the banzuke and learn to live with it.

I suppose it just mirrors corporate career life to an extent where good performance yields promotions until you reach a level where you are merely adequate (or worse) and the promotions stop. If you're really bad you'll be fired as demotions are considered "constructive dismissals" these days.

I can see your point but I think the advantages of a double-digit performance outweigh the likely implosion next basho.

There's the chance of a sansho, which is worth a handy 2000000 yen. Then there's the hoshokin factor: alternating 10-5/5-10 records will score you an average of 1.25 yen-points per basho. 8-7 every time gets you just 0.5. Of course you also get to fight for more kensho higher up the banzuke. More importantly though, I think the major disadvantage of the meatgrinder - that you have to fight all the sanyaku - is actually the biggest reason a rikishi would want to be in it. Witness Toyonoshima saying that he was hoping to stay in the yusho race to be able to face the yokozuna and ozeki. If you're down at M10, you probably won't get the chance to spectacularly upset a yokozuna even if you're very genki.

Finally, making komusubi at least once is a very good thing for any rikishi, because it entitles them to become an oyakata even if their overall sekitori career is not long.

Certainly if I was a rikishi sitting at 9-5 on day 15 around M7, I would want to convert it to double digits!

Concession to staying OT:

Even Taiho had his fair share of bashos at 11-4 or lower so it seems unreasonable to say that an odd 11-4 basho is failing as a yokozuna. As long as they're regularly threatening to yusho, I'm happy!

Edited by rhino

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this