Kintamayama

September (Aki) Basho- offical thread (yay..)

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52 minutes ago, Tigerboy1966 said:

And now I am officially juryo, do I get paid for posting? Can I have my own room? Wear turquoise? Get married?

To answer your questions: no, yes (but that's up to you), yes (but that may affect the answer to the final question), go for it! ;-)

P.S., Congrats on the ShinJuryo promotion!

Edited by Amamaniac
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18 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

Asanoyama made it really open and shut with 4 consecutive double-digit performances starting from the joi though. Purists will be wont to niggle at Shodai's 8-7. 

Plenty of purists weren’t thrilled about Asanoyama’s record I recall. 

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11 minutes ago, Amamaniac said:

To answer your questions: no, yes (but that's up to you), yes (but that may affect the answer to the final question), go for it! ;-)

P.S., Congrats on the ShinJuryo promotion!

As juryo, do I get fast-track promotion to Makuuchi with a daily leaderboard yusho? (Yushowinner...)

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3 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

Plenty of purists weren’t thrilled about Asanoyama’s record I recall. 

Which makes Shodai's worse from their perspective, so something just "by the numbers" won't suffice.

Edited by Seiyashi

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3 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

Which makes Shodai's worse from their perspective, so something just "by the numbers" won't suffice.

But purists don’t run the show exclusively, as shown by the very fact Asanoyama was promoted. 

If we take four basho as our timeframe and assume a 13-2 for Shodai this time, we’d have the following runs, with one basho in the joi and three at junior sanyaku for both:

Shodai: 13-2J, 8-7, 11-4, 13-2

Asanoyama: 10-5, 11-4J, 10-5, 11-4

I’d argue those are very similar records, with Shodai’s 8-7 blip more than offset by two 13-2 basho. He’d have amply demonstrated his ability to perform consistently in the sanyaku ranks and would have five consecutive kachikoshi, which not even Asanoyama could claim (he had one marginal MK at M1).

Purists be damned.

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Just now, Eikokurai said:

But purists don’t run the show exclusively, as shown by the very fact Asanoyama was promoted. 

If we take four basho as our timeframe and assume a 13-2 for Shodai this time, we’d have the following runs, with one basho in the joi and three at junior sanyaku for both:

Shodai: 13-2J, 8-7, 11-4, 13-2

Asanoyama: 10-5, 11-4J, 10-5, 11-4

I’d argue those are very similar records, with Shodai’s 8-7 blip more than offset by two 13-2 basho. He’d have amply demonstrated his ability to perform consistently in the sanyaku ranks and would have five consecutive kachikoshi, which not even Asanoyama could claim (he had one marginal MK at M1).

Purists be damned.

I concur - the NSK is perhaps a little less conservative than many people give it credit for, and I think they'll be happy for a good excuse to promote Shodai as well. The problem is trying to divine what is a sufficiently good excuse for them, or rather, what is a sufficiently good excuse to keep the purists quiet - Asanoyama's good bout with Kakuryu sealed it, I think.

As a result, if Shodai can beat Asanoyama and Takakeisho well, he's guaranteed a promotion, whether or not he yushos. The NSK will have enough ammo to say - look, this guy's got consecutive KK and can beat the two ozeki, and he puts up the numbers. I think he can even afford to drop one more hiramaku bout and still be promoted by beating those two, since promotion never requires invincibility, but if he loses to either or both of those two all bets are off. In recent memory, Takakeisho had a good by-the-numbers record going into his promotion, but a bad loss to Goeido delayed things by one basho for him; the reverse might happen for Shodai. 

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16 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

Asanoyama made it really open and shut with 4 consecutive double-digit performances starting from the joi though. Purists will be wont to niggle at Shodai's 8-7. Also, there's been a surprisingly little amount of chatter about ozeki promotion this basho - perhaps overshadowed by Asanoyama and Terunofuji, I don't know - but maybe the reason no one is saying anything is because it's not by the numbers but by the quality (e.g. Asanoyama's bout with Kakuryu). The key points to watch might not just be the yusho, but the manner in which Shodai claims it. If he absolutely thrashes Asanoyama and Takakeisho en route, I'd say he's a shoo in, yusho or no yusho.

Shodai is poised to get 13 wins at most this tournament.  OK, so if he is considered for Ozeki promotion, he will have 32 wins (8+11+13) over three consecutive tournaments which isn't an overwhelming total, although not a deal breaker.  I believe the Judges Committee likes to see a progression in win records, so that would be in his favour.  The biggest obstacle, however, would be his 8 wins in the first of the three tournaments under consideration.  If he had say a 10+11+11 record (32W total) he could fit the criteria of having consistent double-digit win records over three consecutive tournaments (i.e., the expectation of Ozeki performance).  However, a yusho finish in this tournament may just be enough to get the Committee to overlook that detail.  

You are definitely right to point out the quality of his upcoming, potential wins over the current two Ozeki.  But, consider this (ridiculous) scenario: Shodai defeats both Takakeisho and Asanoyama, but loses to Onosho (or Wakatakakage) in a playoff.  Would the failure to defeat a Maegashira opponent in a playoff not counterbalance the Ozeki thrashings earlier in the tournament?  Failure to yusho may actually end up being a problem.

Frankly, I believe they will make Shodai prove himself at Sekiwake in November. (Idunno...)

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17 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

As juryo, do I get fast-track promotion to Makuuchi with a daily leaderboard yusho? (Yushowinner...)

You're a Yokozuna in my books! :-D

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1 minute ago, Amamaniac said:

But, consider this (ridiculous) scenario: Shodai defeats both Takakeisho and Asanoyama, but loses to Onosho (or Wakatakakage) in a playoff.  Would the failure to defeat a Maegashira opponent in a playoff not counterbalance the Ozeki thrashings earlier in the tournament?  Failure to yusho may actually end up being a problem.

Yeah, all bets are off in that scenario. But then again, any hiramaku yusho always makes the sanyaku look really bad, since the title expectations are overwhelmingly on them. I don't think the three hiramaku leaders will survive without any more losses, which makes Shodai v Takakeisho the likely decider, and it's not out of the question that it may be Terunofuji (considering the help from Takarafuji and, to a lesser extent, Terutsuyoshi in thinning the field) that Shodai eventually loses to in a playoff for a 12-3D. I think if he loses to Terunofuji, it's still ok, but if as you say it's a hiramaku yusho from one of the current maegashira leaders then no one's getting promoted this time.

And of course, it has got to be Wacky Aki that this is all still so up in the air on day 10!

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5 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

The problem is trying to divine what is a sufficiently good excuse for them

Well, that’s the perennial problem and it’s what gives us something to talk about. :)

4 minutes ago, Amamaniac said:

Frankly, I believe they will make Shodai prove himself at Sekiwake in November.

I suspect they will too, but a strong finish for Shodai will give them the excuse to pull the trigger if they want to. I’m sure the Kyokai likes having choices.

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3 minutes ago, Amamaniac said:

You're a Yokozuna in my books! :-D

D'awww, shucks! (Inlove...)

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1 hour ago, Seiyashi said:

Not in Kokonoe stable you won't. Get to yokozuna first, and then maybe you'll be allowed to get married.... 

Dammit. Hey Gal, Mariko, put those divorces on hold. It's just a paperwork thing, honest!

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1 hour ago, Seiyashi said:

Asanoyama's sumo has noticeably calmed down a bit since the start of the basho; he was way way too eager to finish things off early on and that undid him thrice. His sumo is a bit more dynamic than Kakuryu's; so comparing them might be a bit of apples to oranges. Besides, Kakuryu is really the only one left of Hakuho's generation of wrestlers who still fights him on a regular basis - Shohozan and Kotoshogiku have dropped too far down the banzuke, and the old guard of ozeki almost never made it to senshuraku to fight him over the past year. With Hakuho I don't think it's a matter of matching, it's more a matter of respect, because Hakuho will harite and kachiage the everloving bejeesus out of the young punks (and even nekodamashi Tochiozan twice in a bout) but he won't do it to his yokozuna peer however inferior. So you get a good classic yotsu battle between the two, which never happens with Hakuho and anyone else because someone will be trying something funny somewhere somehow.

As for rivalries, Asanoyama is young enough that I think he just might have a chance to reach dai-yokozuna level. Rivalries are not necessarily a bad thing for this; sumo is defined as much by its rivalries as it is by its luminaries, and a lot of good wrestlers have been shaken and declined before their time because their rival suddenly dropped out. Classic pairs would be Taiho-Kashiwado, Wakanohana I-Tochinishiki, Kitanofuji-Tamanoumi (which ended prematurely due to Tamanoumi's death while still active), and, in more recent times, Akebono-WakaTaka, Asashoryu-Hakuho and Hakuho-Harumafuji. It's way too early to tell, given none of them are yokozuna yet, who Asanoyama's great rival as yokozuna will be, although the money is good that it'll be a relatively even one.

Not debating whether harite, kachiage or henka are bad because that's a total can of worms. My stance is that though they are unsightly, they shouldn't be banned. And I am very sure Hakuho harited Kisenosato before, but not kachiage, because Kisenosato's left ottsuke would have gotten him. That tells me that it is not just about Hakuho's character, although he can be very arrogant, overly competitive and driven that he will pursue any means necessary short of breaking the rules to accomplish his goals. It's also his environment - the yokozuna's duty to always win (especially a dai-yokozuna) and his defense against public furor (the accusation that he has had too many withdrawals is quite baseless to me). You might have heard of Musashimaru's earlier criticism of Hakuho doing "tricky sumo". But he relied on that less during the July outing, and I feel that at his age and physical state that should be recognised. While unsightly tactics should be reduced as much as possible, strategic and cognitive sumo shouldn't be demonised and "head-on" sumo shouldn't be valorised as it may be an unrealistic expectation for older rikishi and lead to more injuries. Shohozan never won against Hakuho and Kotoshogiku and Tochiozan only a handful of times over >100 bouts. Frankly, at some point, is it Hakuho employing intelligent sumo and is that good, or is it the same mistakes being made over and over again? I think it's a little bit of both. Of course rikishi put a lot of thought in their sumo, but perhaps they didn't make enough progress each time. I try my best to be empathetic and I don't condone and certainly don't forgive what Hakuho did, but I can understand why. 

Agree with the fact that Asanoyama has a more dynamic style than Kakuryu. But it remains to be seen whether Asa's quality will match up to his future rivals like Kakuryu matched up to his. 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

And of course, it has got to be Wacky Aki that this is all still so up in the air on day 10!

My mind is exploding trying to work out how this one will end.  In a way, this is much more exciting (not necessarily more impressive) than watching Hakuho zensho yusho tournament after tournament.

Hiro Morita commented yesterday that this was the first time in 17 years that there were nine (9) wrestlers in the Top Division tied for the lead going into day 9.  

How much more wacky factor can we sumo fans take?

 

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I had high hopes for this to be the next great Sumo scandal but unfortunately, it looks like Aoiyama is a bit too far down in the rankings for any chance at being the third victim of an Asanoyama vs Any-other-yama fusensho triple play...

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37 minutes ago, pricklypomegranate said:

Not debating whether harite, kachiage or henka are bad because that's a total can of worms. My stance is that though they are unsightly, they shouldn't be banned. And I am very sure Hakuho harited Kisenosato before, but not kachiage, because Kisenosato's left ottsuke would have gotten him. That tells me that it is not just about Hakuho's character, although he can be very arrogant, overly competitive and driven that he will pursue any means necessary short of breaking the rules to accomplish his goals. It's also his environment - the yokozuna's duty to always win (especially a dai-yokozuna) and his defense against public furor (the accusation that he has had too many withdrawals is quite baseless to me). You might have heard of Musashimaru's earlier criticism of Hakuho doing "tricky sumo". But he relied on that less during the July outing, and I feel that at his age and physical state that should be recognised. While unsightly tactics should be reduced as much as possible, strategic and cognitive sumo shouldn't be demonised and "head-on" sumo shouldn't be valorised as it may be an unrealistic expectation for older rikishi and lead to more injuries. Shohozan never won against Hakuho and Kotoshogiku and Tochiozan only a handful of times over >100 bouts. Frankly, at some point, is it Hakuho employing intelligent sumo and is that good, or is it the same mistakes being made over and over again? I think it's a little bit of both. Of course rikishi put a lot of thought in their sumo, but perhaps they didn't make enough progress each time. I try my best to be empathetic and I don't condone and certainly don't forgive what Hakuho did, but I can understand why. 

Agree with the fact that Asanoyama has a more dynamic style than Kakuryu. But it remains to be seen whether Asa's quality will match up to his future rivals like Kakuryu matched up to his. 

I agree re the harite, kachiage, and henka.

So it's interesting that you picked Kisenosato and Kakuryu as the two yokozuna to bracket Asanoyama's future wins based on skill vs rivals. Based on yusho record alone, Kakuryu appears to be the superior yokozuna, but the head to head amongst the four yokozunas says Kakuryu actually lost to Kisenosato most of the time. Yet Kisenosato was promoted later than Kakuryu, and even without his injury, probably would have at best matched Kakuryu for yusho count.

I'd say it's a bit of a misfired analogy to say Kakuryu matched up to his rivals, because if you compare their career trajectories, it's worth noting that Kakuryu's and Asanoyama's paths are very different. Kakuryu entered sumo 6 years younger than Asanoyama, and 27 basho in, Kakuryu was still fighting in makushita. But both of them were the same age when they got to ozeki - 26. Kakuryu took 3 further years to be promoted, and we're all hoping Asanoyama does it faster.

The thing is, Kakuryu had a very long time to refine his fighting style. It might be that as a fighter, he's a slower study than Asanoyama - he is the slowest of all foreign-born wrestlers to reach ozeki and yokozuna, and he doesn't have super impressive records against the stalwarts of his generation. Asanoyama doesn't have as long, but his capacity for learning proves to be a lot sharper - his sumo has improved a lot since last year, and I'd say it's reasonably on course to beat out his rivals pretty quickly. But, it's not the quality of the sumo against your rivals that necessarily counts unless you're looking for a zensho.

It's the head game that's more important, and that's where I think we sort of both missed the wood for the trees while talking about technical skill. Kakuryu's head game is good because he didn't have much expectation placed on him and he has had a very long time to mature, despite not being hyperprodigious. Kisenosato in contrast screwed up repeatedly because of that. Right now, his performance this basho doesn't bode well for Asanoyama's head game, but that may change if his mentality matures as fast as his sumo. Now that we talk about it, one reason Asanoyama only gets past major milestones when important people to him die is maybe because he wants to live up to their expectations too much. So maybe we should expect an Asanoyama rope in Haru 2021 - two basho after Takasago retires!

 

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31 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

It's the head game that's more important, and that's where I think we sort of both missed the wood for the trees while talking about technical skill. Kakuryu's head game is good because he didn't have much expectation placed on him and he has had a very long time to mature, despite not being hyperprodigious. Kisenosato in contrast screwed up repeatedly because of that. Right now, his performance this basho doesn't bode well for Asanoyama's head game, but that may change if his mentality matures as fast as his sumo. Now that we talk about it, one reason Asanoyama only gets past major milestones when important people to him die is maybe because he wants to live up to their expectations too much. So maybe we should expect an Asanoyama rope in Haru 2021 - two basho after Takasago retires!

I suppose you have to carefully and painstakingly chip away with a chisel at a block of marble to make a real yokozuna. The 3-D printer approach doesn't work so well.

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45 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

I agree re the harite, kachiage, and henka.

So it's interesting that you picked Kisenosato and Kakuryu as the two yokozuna to bracket Asanoyama's future wins based on skill vs rivals. Based on yusho record alone, Kakuryu appears to be the superior yokozuna, but the head to head amongst the four yokozunas says Kakuryu actually lost to Kisenosato most of the time. Yet Kisenosato was promoted later than Kakuryu, and even without his injury, probably would have at best matched Kakuryu for yusho count.

I'd say it's a bit of a misfired analogy to say Kakuryu matched up to his rivals, because if you compare their career trajectories, it's worth noting that Kakuryu's and Asanoyama's paths are very different. Kakuryu entered sumo 6 years younger than Asanoyama, and 27 basho in, Kakuryu was still fighting in makushita. But both of them were the same age when they got to ozeki - 26. Kakuryu took 3 further years to be promoted, and we're all hoping Asanoyama does it faster.

The thing is, Kakuryu had a very long time to refine his fighting style. It might be that as a fighter, he's a slower study than Asanoyama - he is the slowest of all foreign-born wrestlers to reach ozeki and yokozuna, and he doesn't have super impressive records against the stalwarts of his generation. Asanoyama doesn't have as long, but his capacity for learning proves to be a lot sharper - his sumo has improved a lot since last year, and I'd say it's reasonably on course to beat out his rivals pretty quickly. But, it's not the quality of the sumo against your rivals that necessarily counts unless you're looking for a zensho.

It's the head game that's more important, and that's where I think we sort of both missed the wood for the trees while talking about technical skill. Kakuryu's head game is good because he didn't have much expectation placed on him and he has had a very long time to mature, despite not being hyperprodigious. Kisenosato in contrast screwed up repeatedly because of that. Right now, his performance this basho doesn't bode well for Asanoyama's head game, but that may change if his mentality matures as fast as his sumo. Now that we talk about it, one reason Asanoyama only gets past major milestones when important people to him die is maybe because he wants to live up to their expectations too much. So maybe we should expect an Asanoyama rope in Haru 2021 - two basho after Takasago retires!

 

Asanoyama was Makushita-tsukedashi and Kakuryu isn't and is also of a younger age, so that would explain his 27-basho performance. Because of this, it would be no wonder if Asanoyama gets promoted before the 3 year guideline. As much as I want Asanoyama to make it before Takasago retires, I feel like I shouldn't join the hype. Kisenosato was kind of ruined by expectations and I just don't want to join in on that. I suppose if you expect Asanoyama to meet at least Kakuryu's level (6 yushos is still a lot) you either get satisfied or pleasantly surprised if he beats it. I don't feel like I am shooting too low, and the best gift you can ever give to a rising star is the gift of reasonable expectation. 

But yes, the head game and sense of almost tranquility is the Kakuryu-ness that I couldn't really describe accurately. 

Edited by pricklypomegranate

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Onosho is looking as good as I've ever seen him. Extraordinary turnaround from last basho.

Tobizaru is very entertaining to watch. He's got a big box of tricks, hasn't he? 

The invasion of the short guys continues, and I think we're getting used to it. You've got to be Enho sized to get talked about now! 

I still can't call a winner (not that I usually can), but a jumbo play-off of 11-4s doesn't look out of the question at the moment.

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15 minutes ago, Tigerboy1966 said:

I suppose you have to carefully and painstakingly chip away with a chisel at a block of marble to make a real yokozuna. The 3-D printer approach doesn't work so well.

 

6 minutes ago, pricklypomegranate said:

But yes, the head game and sense of almost tranquility is the Kakuryu-ness that I couldn't really describe accurately. 

I'm no sportsman, but it seems to me like there's a significant group of sports stars who, because of their prodigious physical talent, "make" it relatively young, but then promptly proceed to make a bunch of bad decisions that casts aspersions on their reputation within the sport because they let the fame and money get to their head. Then there's others who survive that long enough to become the elder statesmen of their sports. Examples are legion mainly within soccer and the American sports scene, but examples of the former within sumo would seem to include Takanohana II and Asashoryu. Hakuho survived long enough to make the second category, even though he gets flak now and then, and Kakuryu had the advantage of sufficient maturity to never be in danger in the first place.

In a sense, going to college and then using the tsukedashi system bodes better for the dignity that future yokozuna are expected to uphold. There're studies that suggest human brains don't mature until the wrong side of 20, so maybe a later promotion brings more hinkaku than earlier. But that also means less time to set Hakuho-like streaks, so he really might be the eternal record holder - he's spent more than half his life doing sumo! So maybe it's good for Asanoyama in that he doesn't have to deal with youth baggage, and as much as he feels he is on the clock, time really is on his side. Once he makes it, hopefully within the year, I give him 2-3 yusho's worth of time before the others get their act together.

The big question is who is the next yokozuna after Asanoyama. I think it's a tossup between Takakeisho and Shodai, but I also have a feeling it might be neither of them, or any of the faces in makuuchi that've been around for a while.

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1 minute ago, RabidJohn said:

The invasion of the short guys continues, and I think we're getting used to it. You've got to be Enho sized to get talked about now! 

I think it can only be a healthy thing for the sport (and the rikishi themselves), to bring height/weight parameters back to normalish. Bulking yourself up to add fat purely as ballast is mildly concerning, to say the least.

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6 hours ago, Amamaniac said:

Arguably, Asanoyama is on a tsuna run, although a very tentative one.  If by some miracle he manages to win the yusho this time around, he will essentially have a consecutive junyusho + yusho record.  That's what Kakuryu had when he got promoted to Yokozuna in 2014.  But, and it is a big "but", the quality of Kakuryu's consecutive finishes was significantly more impressive 14-1-P and 14-1 versus Asanoyama's 12-3 and 12-3 at best.  

For what it's worth, the last Yokozuna promotion with fewer than 25 wins over the previous two basho was Tamanoumi in 1970 (10-5, 13-2 P), when the criteria were clearly different.

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2 minutes ago, Reonito said:

For what it's worth, the last Yokozuna promotion with fewer than 25 wins over the previous two basho was Tamanoumi in 1970 (10-5, 13-2 P), when the criteria were clearly different.

I'm out of reactions, but that is a very interesting and pertinent stat.  

My reference to Asanoyama's potential win-loss records was indeed meant to highlight the fact that neither the junyusho 12-3 finish nor a possible 12-3 yusho finish this month is Yokozuna-promotion worthy.  The only argument for promotion would be two yushos (or equivalent) in a row, but the number of wins is probably more important.

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49 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

In a sense, going to college and then using the tsukedashi system bodes better for the dignity that future yokozuna are expected to uphold. There're studies that suggest human brains don't mature until the wrong side of 20, so maybe a later promotion brings more hinkaku than earlier. But that also means less time to set Hakuho-like streaks, so he really might be the eternal record holder - he's spent more than half his life doing sumo! So maybe it's good for Asanoyama in that he doesn't have to deal with youth baggage, and as much as he feels he is on the clock, time really is on his side. Once he makes it, hopefully within the year, I give him 2-3 yusho's worth of time before the others get their act together.

Records are meant to be broken. Taiho was near his time when his record was broken. Hakuho's record will probably be beaten, but the man would cease to even be ash by then (Laughing...) 

The flash bastard. (Laughing...) He's got a lot of luck (i.e. his greatest rivals wheeled away, during a favourable societal trend). Wouldn't be surprised if he was the last word on the yusho counter. 

This does bring up broader connections between sumo and society. Sumo is a microcosm of Japanese society. There are fewer younger Japanese and many of them wanting to have an education first. However, there are always some different locals and not to say future foreign stars that could break Hakuho's record. If everyone in sumo could be nicer to each other (and I feel like they have) I wouldn't mind if nobody broke the 40-yusho mark again. 

47 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

I think it can only be a healthy thing for the sport (and the rikishi themselves), to bring height/weight parameters back to normalish. Bulking yourself up to add fat purely as ballast is mildly concerning, to say the least.

Yes agree. Rikishi are just getting way too heavy. If it doesn't impact their sumo, it's going to kill them early afterwards and it breaks families apart. I feel that most yokozunas were not giant bowling balls. Akebono was big, but I wouldn't classify him as spherical-shaped. Though Enho is having a damn hard time, smaller rikishi are starting to be the trend. There might be more exciting sumo in the future. College rikishi also starting to be the trend. 

Edited by pricklypomegranate

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36 minutes ago, Amamaniac said:
45 minutes ago, Reonito said:

For what it's worth, the last Yokozuna promotion with fewer than 25 wins over the previous two basho was Tamanoumi in 1970 (10-5, 13-2 P), when the criteria were clearly different.

I'm out of reactions, but that is a very interesting and pertinent stat.  

My reference to Asanoyama's potential win-loss records was indeed meant to highlight the fact that neither the junyusho 12-3 finish nor a possible 12-3 yusho finish this month is Yokozuna-promotion worthy.  The only argument for promotion would be two yushos (or equivalent) in a row, but the number of wins is probably more important.

Beyond that, the record at ozeki matters as much. Copypasting a discussion I took part in that went off-topic in the Rikishi Status thread (originally regarding the fusen impact on a tsuna run), but now more pertinent for the record of pre-promotion yokozunas:

  4 hours ago, Churaumi said:

They could go the other way, and accept that competition at the top isn't what it was a little while ago and accept this as the start of a tsuna run if he pulls out the yusho. While this tournament is pretty weak overall, if he wins it would still mean he's the best of who showed up. With the sitting yokozuna both being game-time decisions each basho, a bunch of practically elderly wrestlers in makuuchi, and the virus knocking out whole stables at random, it's not like the level of competition is going to improve suddenly in November.

I don't know how likely that would be, just possible.

If - and this is at the moment a humongous if - he pulls out the yusho, he can force the issue by yushoing in November. I would expect there to be grumbling about the quality of this yusho then, but I don't think anyone will want to be a major bitch about Asanoyama getting the rope as a retirement present for Takasago. Same goes if Asanoyama pulls a good 13+ jun-yusho or doten in November.

I can buy there having been equal or worse 2 tournament promotion records in the past (notably Asashio and Onokuni), but the picture drastically changes once you consider the three-tournament record, because both of those men yushoed once, then turned in two junyushos before being promoted. And even amongst other headscratchers to this rule, like Wakanohana (I) and Kashiwado, they won yushos as ozeki and multiple jun-yushos, and maintained reasonable records prior to their promotion. The true headscratcher is probably Kisenosato, who never yushoed before, and whose 12-3J 14-1Y two tournament record was looked at askance by some commentators (source: Herouth (twitter @Sumofollower)), but he served as ozeki long enough with enough junyushos to make it a reasonable bet. And by any account, his shin-yokozuna tournament was a rousing success that only got buggered by injury.

None of these apply to Asanoyama, whose previous yusho was a relatively weak hiramaku 12-3 and whose best score to date is 12 wins, and who has no long record of consistent performance at ozeki level. I can see why Isegahama was pretty categorical about him not starting a tsuna run, and I don't see what has changed in this 1 basho - even with a whole stable being knocked out - that drastically changes that picture as far as the NSK is concerned. Futahaguro is still recent enough that it'd be within the memory of many of the present riji, and I don't think any of them are in a hurry to follow that example.

 

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