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Kintamayama

More new rijikai decisions

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The rijikai is convening as I am writing this (Sunday 8:30 am JST). On the agenda- allowing trades between heyas. Kitanoumi is proposing a limited number of "trades" between heya before every Osaka basho. "Lately we have seen a lot of heyas shutting down, or being suspended like Kise and then having to reopen at the cost of disorienting the rikishi, as has happened with my own heya. We have discussed this and will be presenting our plan this morning. We do not intend to open the sumo system to unlimited trades like in many major sports-the trades will be minimal and overseen by the rijikai. The first trades will be allowed from next March. Trades will only be allowed on a one-to one basis and only same-division rikishi, and we will not allow 3 for 1 trades or trades for money. Some more heyas will be folding in the months to come, and already some trades have been worked out between Oyakatas," said Kitanoumi Rijicho this morning.

The article speculates on two specific trades in the works- Gagamaru (not happy about returning to Kitanoumi) for Tochinoshin (has problems with his shisho on a personal basis) and Takayasu (who probably wants more degeiko and must be sick of constantly getting knocked about by Kisenosato) for Shouhouzan, who wants to go to a "bigger (not necessarily in size but in number of serious keiko opponents)" heya.

Wow.

Edited by Kintamayama
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Wow, indeed.

It looks like Sadanokuni was born one day too late to be eligible for a trade..

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The article speculates on two specific trades in the works- Gagamaru (not happy about returning to Kitanoumi) for Tochinoshin (has problems with his shisho on a personal basis) ...

Nitpick: Returning to Kise.

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The article speculates on two specific trades in the works- Gagamaru (not happy about returning to Kitanoumi) for Tochinoshin (has problems with his shisho on a personal basis) ...

Nitpick: Returning to Kise.

I stand corrected-I'm just too blown away to think straight.

Edited by Kintamayama

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Wow, indeed.

It looks like Sadanokuni was born one day too late to be eligible for a trade..

Good point.

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Sadagotake is rumored to have offered Kotooshu to any heya that will take him. There is some disagreement on the rank restrictions on the one-for-one swaps. Some claim that ozekis can only be swapped for other ozekis, while others assert that there is only a makuuchi for makuuchi restriction regardless of rank. Some details of the program have yet to be worked out.

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Sadagotake is rumored to have offered Kotooshu to any heya that will take him. There is some disagreement on the rank restrictions on the one-for-one swaps. Some claim that ozekis can only be swapped for other ozekis, while others assert that there is only a makuuchi for makuuchi restriction regardless of rank. Some details of the program have yet to be worked out.

Mainichi is saying Ozeki and upwards are not tradeable, so Sadogatake will have to keep Osh for now..

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If Kitanoumi's idea helps smaller stables to survive I'm all for it. If in addition it allows rikishi to be transferred to a heya that is more to their liking, I'm in favor of that too.

Ideally, there should be a large number of small stables that are all thriving. This assumes that rikishi from different stables are permitted to practice with one another. This ideal of course cannot be met since small stables are the ones that are most in danger of becoming bankrupt. Similar to the case in business, there is a tendency for big, successful stables to thrive and to grow, while smaller stables disappear and their rikishi swallowed up by the bigger stables. This tendency needs to be counteracted for sumo to be a stable and successful operation.

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Sadagotake is rumored to have offered Kotooshu to any heya that will take him. There is some disagreement on the rank restrictions on the one-for-one swaps. Some claim that ozekis can only be swapped for other ozekis, while others assert that there is only a makuuchi for makuuchi restriction regardless of rank. Some details of the program have yet to be worked out.

I don't get this. Don't you think that a heya would want to have as many makuuchi rikishi as possible for prestige and recruiting purposes? Especially an ozeki, even if he seems to be waning!

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Sadagotake is rumored to have offered Kotooshu to any heya that will take him. There is some disagreement on the rank restrictions on the one-for-one swaps. Some claim that ozekis can only be swapped for other ozekis, while others assert that there is only a makuuchi for makuuchi restriction regardless of rank. Some details of the program have yet to be worked out.

Mainichi is saying ...............

might be a quote worth archiving. Mainichi English is only 4 or so staff now I understand and the whole group just keeping its head above water thanks to their presses churning out the publication of Soka Gakkai.

So many staff cut in the past few years, so many decent group companies affected.

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Edit: Deleted for the time being - but I will put back later what I wrote at a more opportune moment. ;-)

Edited by Jejima

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Edit: Deleted for the time being - but I will put back later what I wrote at a more opportune moment. ;-)

Is it about the trade between Mr. Joyful and Mr. Fatt? It's common knowledge now-you are no longer bound by secrecy..

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Sadagotake is rumored to have offered Kotooshu to any heya that will take him. There is some disagreement on the rank restrictions on the one-for-one swaps. Some claim that ozekis can only be swapped for other ozekis, while others assert that there is only a makuuchi for makuuchi restriction regardless of rank. Some details of the program have yet to be worked out.

I don't get this. Don't you think that a heya would want to have as many makuuchi rikishi as possible for prestige and recruiting purposes? Especially an ozeki, even if he seems to be waning!

It's Makuuchi for Makuuchi only and no Ozeki allowed, so this is moot.

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Thinking about the whole thing, it's interesting that the trading dynamics may well run completely counter to what it happening in other sports. Usually it's less rich teams being forced to trade away their successful veterans to the big franchises because they're just becoming too expensive to keep, while the rich teams will trade away their unproven prospects. With no significant salary differences between same-rank rikishi in Ozumo, I think it's more likely that the smaller heya will want to trade for aging veterans who can give them a reliable "presence" (for lack of a better word) and strong public exposure for a few years - especially to help recruiting - while the bigger stables might want to pick up some more speculative youngsters to keep their operation going. An example I'm thinking of, if it wasn't for the Oshima closure complicating things and the apparent ban on trading ozeki, would be trading Osh for either Asahisho or Kyokushuho. Or if Sadogatake thinks their own development program is strong enough: perhaps Aminishiki for either of the Oshima guys?

Incidentally, I can't find this in the reports so far, but I'm hoping the division-for-same-division rule refers to career high rank, not rank at the time of trade.

Edited by Asashosakari
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I saw the possible Gaga for Tochi trade so Osh would have to be traded for another foreigner, right? One of the details to be worked out would be the one foreigner per heya rule and how it would apply to any trades?

A bit of a tangent, but: Over at the Japanese places the same issue was brought up, and somebody claimed that "foreigner spots" (unfilled, not those in use) will be made tradeable sometime this year, too, apparently on the notion that the Kyokai doesn't want to relax its implicit maximum of "only as many foreigners as there are stables", but that with all the heya closings of recent years they've become attuned to the fact that they're shooting themselves in the foot by leaving unclaimed spots with stables such as Nakamura that have no intention of ever accepting a foreign rikishi.

I have no idea what the trading partner would be allowed to offer in those situations, and the whole thing sounds a bit iffy to me altogether, so take it with a large amount of salt. I'll say one thing: This would be an easy way to deal with actual foreign rikishi being traded, i.e. so that if a stable trades away a foreigner for a Japanese rikishi, they're also permanently forfeiting their foreigner quota to their trading partner. (That's mostly why I'm even bringing up that rumour here.)

Edited by Asashosakari
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Incidentally, I can't find this in the reports so far, but I'm hoping the division-for-same-division rule refers to career high rank, not rank at the time of trade.

Reading between the lines, it seems to me they mean current ranks.

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This would be an easy way to deal with actual foreign rikishi being traded, i.e. so that if a stable trades away a foreigner for a Japanese rikishi, they're also permanently forfeiting their foreigner quota to their trading partner. (That's mostly why I'm even bringing up that rumour here.)

Unless in the future, someone would want to trade a foreigner to a stable that doesn't have one, in exchange for a Japanese rikishi. They may have to go back to X (probably number of existing heya at the time) foreigners in sumo period, not 1 per heya.

It looks like they are getting in a right mess at the moment..

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Unless in the future, someone would want to trade a foreigner to a stable that doesn't have one, in exchange for a Japanese rikishi. They may have to go back to X (probably number of existing heya at the time) foreigners in sumo period, not 1 per heya.

No, that's what I meant - if e.g. Tokitenku gets traded away from Tokitsukaze, they're giving up his spot along with him, and the only way they could have a foreigner again at a later date would be to trade for one. I agree that that would effectively kill the 1-per-heya rule and leave only the overall maximum in place, but that's how I'm understanding that rumour. I think leaving the 1-per-heya rule technically in place makes sense so that newly founded stables can't just go on a rampage and fill up all available spots.

Anyway, that could open up some interesting possibilities without the need to relax the overall quota, kind of like trading draft picks in other sports - imagine some heya trading for a (probably) soon-to-be-retired foreign veteran like Kokkai so they can get their hands on his foreigner spot to use for a potential new recruit they have their eyes on.

Edited by Asashosakari
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IMHO, this thing is half-hearted, as usual. With the trade system, they only address the needs of rikishi or stables. What about the audience and the fanbase? From a marketing perspective, the Kyokai desperately needs to enhance the popularity of sumo. I never understood why they didn't fully play out the idea of heyas as clubs. There is so much potential in there. Imagine two Makushita rikishi from Sadogatake and Dewanoumi meeting on the dohyo, and both have their supporters in the Kokugikan, loudly cheering on them and waving their fan merchandise articles. It would make a helluva show. Plus, selling heya merchandise stuff would increase revenues. The press could also play along with this, hyping "rivalries" between particular stables. Everybody would be happy.

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IMHO, this thing is half-hearted, as usual. With the trade system, they only address the needs of rikishi or stables. What about the audience and the fanbase? From a marketing perspective, the Kyokai desperately needs to enhance the popularity of sumo. I never understood why they didn't fully play out the idea of heyas as clubs. There is so much potential in there. Imagine two Makushita rikishi from Sadogatake and Dewanoumi meeting on the dohyo, and both have their supporters in the Kokugikan, loudly cheering on them and waving their fan merchandise articles. It would make a helluva show. Plus, selling heya merchandise stuff would increase revenues. The press could also play along with this, hyping "rivalries" between particular stables. Everybody would be happy.

Terrible idea sir - that would just make it puroresu Mach II. The "fan merchandise" part I mean. The rest exists in one way or another.

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IMHO, this thing is half-hearted, as usual. With the trade system, they only address the needs of rikishi or stables. What about the audience and the fanbase? From a marketing perspective, the Kyokai desperately needs to enhance the popularity of sumo. I never understood why they didn't fully play out the idea of heyas as clubs. There is so much potential in there. Imagine two Makushita rikishi from Sadogatake and Dewanoumi meeting on the dohyo, and both have their supporters in the Kokugikan, loudly cheering on them and waving their fan merchandise articles. It would make a helluva show. Plus, selling heya merchandise stuff would increase revenues. The press could also play along with this, hyping "rivalries" between particular stables. Everybody would be happy.

Terrible idea sir - that would just make it puroresu Mach II. The "fan merchandise" part I mean. The rest exists in one way or another.

Why is it that you always go against my suggestions? I'm surely not as knowledgeable as you, but until now this has not refrained me from stating my honest opinion in public. I would love it if the heyas would be perceived as clubs with a more visible fan base. And in the end, my opinion counts just as much as yours.

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Why is it that you always go against my suggestions? I'm surely not as knowledgeable as you, but until now this has not refrained me from stating my honest opinion in public. I would love it if the heyas would be perceived as clubs with a more visible fan base. And in the end, my opinion counts just as much as yours.

It's nothing personal, I just happen to disagree and explained why as well. I do, however, apologize for that. And I am not more knowledgable, just better looking, and for that I must apologize as well, in advance.

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It's nothing personal, I just happen to disagree and explained why as well. I do, however, apologize for that. And I am not more knowledgable, just better looking, and for that I must apologize as well, in advance.

And I must apologize for my aggressive reply. But you know, I have clear visions on the bright future of sumo. And when quite recently one of these ideas materialized in the shape of the Sumo Spring, I was catching hope again and developing my own ideas left and right. Heyas as clubs has become one of my pet ideas, and the news item of today made me really giddy with anticipation. But I should take a more moderate approach. Sumo's development into something better will take a looooong time. And it was good to read that my ideas would have their detractors as well. Again, sorry.

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IMHO, this thing is half-hearted, as usual. With the trade system, they only address the needs of rikishi or stables. What about the audience and the fanbase? From a marketing perspective, the Kyokai desperately needs to enhance the popularity of sumo. I never understood why they didn't fully play out the idea of heyas as clubs. There is so much potential in there. Imagine two Makushita rikishi from Sadogatake and Dewanoumi meeting on the dohyo, and both have their supporters in the Kokugikan, loudly cheering on them and waving their fan merchandise articles. It would make a helluva show. Plus, selling heya merchandise stuff would increase revenues. The press could also play along with this, hyping "rivalries" between particular stables. Everybody would be happy.

On a related note, whatever did happen to that giant video screen they wanted to add to the Kokugikan by now?

Edited by Asashosakari

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IMHO, this thing is half-hearted, as usual. With the trade system, they only address the needs of rikishi or stables. What about the audience and the fanbase? From a marketing perspective, the Kyokai desperately needs to enhance the popularity of sumo. I never understood why they didn't fully play out the idea of heyas as clubs. There is so much potential in there. Imagine two Makushita rikishi from Sadogatake and Dewanoumi meeting on the dohyo, and both have their supporters in the Kokugikan, loudly cheering on them and waving their fan merchandise articles. It would make a helluva show. Plus, selling heya merchandise stuff would increase revenues. The press could also play along with this, hyping "rivalries" between particular stables. Everybody would be happy.

I feel the problem with this is that the traditional club system prospers particularly through regional rivalries. Granted, clubs from the same regions can create especially good rivalries, but the base of all this are fan groups - and I don't think there are too many natural fan groups if most of the heya are in Tokyo or even in Ryogoku. It would help if heya locations would be based and marketed throughout Japan, but then the degeiko training routine would suffer. Maybe Naruto can make a start and relocate to Osaka for the sake of creating a big fan base in Kansei, they aren't too hot on degeiko anyway.

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