rzombie1988

Something needs to be done about part-time Yokozuna's

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I am new to watching and it was cool watching Hakuho this basho and watching some of his earlier stuff. It sucks he seems to get more injured lately but 44 wins probably wears on your body

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Posted (edited)

You have to remember that yokozuna had to earn their rank by going through the same meatgrinder as everyone else and emerging victorious.

A privilege of the rank is being able to sit out basho when injured.

The major risk of the rank is having to retire if you cannot maintain the standard. The NSK/YDC seem to treat each yokozuna differently in this respect; presumably the leeway they are given before an intai recommendation is issued is dependent on their past performance (and popularity with the fans, I believe).

A yokozuna doesn't have the luxury of, say, a badly injured ex-ozeki who can drop all the way to jonidan and work his way back up. So, if Terunofuji had won in September 2015 and been promoted to yokozuna before the knee injuries, chances are he'd have had to retire in 2018. 

Look at current rijicho Hakkaku, former yokozuna Hokutoumi. He had to retire at 28, and he's far from the only one.

Double-edged sword, and all that.

Edited by RabidJohn
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Posted (edited)

I’m in two minds on this. There was a moment this basho when I did think to myself that it was getting real old seeing Kakuryu and Hakuho withdraw whenever they lose a couple and it’d be nice if they just drew a line under the whole thing and let this “era of transition” finally come to an end. It feels like we’ve been changing guard for years. Let’s change them already!
 

This basho also felt like the first where we saw the real future. Asanoyama was looking like a Yokozuna early on and Terunofuji is the Next Yokozuna That Wasn’t But Could Still Be (TNYTWBCSB for short). Hakuho was obviously well in the race and could have won the thing, but when he dropped out it didn’t seem to matter that much. Terunofuji and Asanoyama didn’t feel like second-best guys taking advantage of a suddenly weakened field, they felt like the real yusho contenders and Hakuho was having to keep up with them (if that makes sense). In other basho over the past two years when an unexpected winner has emerged, it always felt like a surprise or they’d gotten a bit fortunate with scheduling and opposition. None of them had an air of “I’m here to stay.” Not this time. When Terunofuji and Asanoyama fought it felt like watching two Yokozuna compete. Maybe it is time for Hakuho and Kakuryu to gracefully step aside for them. 
 

But ... they are Yokozuna and they have the privilege of using their protected status as they do. At least they do compete for yusho when they see a basho through, which goes a long way to buying them some time and breathing space from the Kyokai.

Ramble over. I make no apologies for none of the above making sense. 

Edited by Eikokurai
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Posted (edited)

Nah, it makes sense.

I can well understand the feeling of impatience, though. Don't forget the original plan was for Hakuho to retire after the Olympics (i.e. around about now).

Both the incumbent yokozuna are close to the end of their careers. I suspect a no-show or poor performance from Kakuryu in September will set YDC tongues a-wagging again. Hakuho may be able to stretch it out to next August, but it's a tall order. I honestly thought he might throw in the towel after pulling out this time, but I believe it would have been announced yesterday or today if it was going to happen. No, apparently he's making all the 'right' noises about gambarizing and coming back strong...

I've had mixed feelings about Hakuho over the years. He's never been my favourite rikishi, but he is the GOAT and it's been a privilege to watch him in action, just as it was to watch Chiyonofuji. If he can avoid injury (a big if now) he's still a match for anyone on the dohyo.

Edited by RabidJohn

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I'm going to give Hakuho a little leeway.  After becoming Yokozuna, he went 48 straight basho w/o missing a bout (7/2007 - 7/2015): 32 Yusho, 14 Jun-Yusho, an 11-4 (his first basho) and a 10-5.  Since then, he's won only 9 Yusho, had 3 J-Y and left early 13 times.  Only twice has he left after the 5th bout: Jan 2019 and this last basho; in both he was in contention when he withdrew.  It suggests to me that he'd rather nurture his health than pick up another Jun Yusho.

Kakuryu ... the more I watch his past bouts, the more I'm amazed he made it to Yokozuna.  If you put a 29-year-old Kakuryu against a 29-year-old Kaiou and compare their records, the difference is Kakuryu strung together two Yusho in a row.

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Both Yokozunas today are capable of doing Yokozuna quality sumo. if they must withdraw to heal so be it .That is a privilege they earned by getting where they are ranked. For the time being they are favorites to win any Basho they enter. They may be on the downslope of their careers. but not quite at the end of them.

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10 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

There’s no requirement for a Yokozuna on the banzuke, so no need for a replacement right away.

Yokozuna have plenty of duties apart from the bouts at a honbasho, if there are no yokozuna, people long for them - even the economy slumps (because a new yokozuna leads to a boom, especially if he's Japanese).

The 2 remaining now are showing us the natural way a yokozuna career ends:

Kisenosato: did not finish 10 of his last 11 basho, one 10-5

Musashimaru: did not finish his last 7 basho, in 2 he made it till day 5, his last till day 7

Takanohana: full kyujo in 8 of his last 10 basho, one jun-yusho

Wakanohana: did not finish 6 of his last 7 basho and went makekoshi the  other

Asahifuji: one 8-7 and then 3 unfinished basho

Hokutoumi: did not finish 6 of his last 7 basho and went 9-6 the other

Chiyonofuji: did not finish 4 of his last 5 basho, the other yusho

Onokuni: did not finish 10 of his last 15 basho, one 7-8, one 8-7, 2 10-5 and one jun-yusho

Kitanoumi: did not finish 12 of his last 20 basho, one 8-7, 2 10-5, 2 yusho, 2 jun-yusho

Takanosato: did not finish 7 of his last 8 basho, one 10-5

Mienoumi: did not finish 4 of his last 5 basho, one 10-5

Of the recent yokozuna only Akebono went out quickly after his last yusho, like those who were forced out

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It's interesting to compare Hakuho with Kitanoumi as the cases are quite similar. Both put together extraordinary streaks of never missing a single bout as a yokozuna - 43 straight tournaments, Hakuho 46 tournaments, but their accumulated injuries finally caught up with them. I think both earned the right towards the end of their careers to sit out tournaments as they wished to avoid doing themselves any more damage.

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Go back over the Spoiler Basho discussion for the last two weeks: "unstoppable Hakuho, zensho yusho, when will the youngsters get a chance?"  Then two losses and "can't he just leave quietly?"  It tells volumes to me.

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Considering that it's not an essential requirement to beat a yokozuna to be promoted to ozeki or yokozuna yourself (two back to back junyusho-doten losses to a yokozuna, for example), I don't follow the argument that Hakuho and Kakuryu (even though he's been a bit of a kinboshi pinata recently) are gatekeeping the younger generation hard. In fact, the current frontrunners for ozeki promotion were well capable of beating Hakuho from time to time. It was their own reliability issues that stopped them from climbing, and the fact that we've been really unlucky with recent ozeki. Bar Asanoyama, the last 5 ozeki after Kisenosato made the rank - Goeido, Terunofuji, Tochinoshin, Takakeisho, Takayasu - all failed to consistently deliver championship-level sumo mostly because of injury.

Counting all rikishi who've been promoted to either ozeki or yokozuna since 1942 (Chiyonoyama's hatsu-dohyo; I chose him because he was the first "modern" yokozuna"), we have 32 yokozuna and 37 ozeki. That means statistically, we expect 70 yokozuna/ozeki in about 80 years, and almost 1 in 2 ozeki will make yokozuna. Counting in the past 8 years, we've had 6 ozeki promotions - the aforementioned 5 + Asanoyama - and only 2 yokozuna promotions - Kakuryu and Kisenosato.

So statistically, the previous batch of ozeki were underperforming, having no promotions to their credit (thus far), one yusho each either as ozeki or leading up to their promotion (sans Takayasu - the last yusholess ozeki was Miyabiyama), and with 3 of them being promoted and subsequently succumbing to serious injury that is wrecking their sumo (Terunofuji, Tochinoshin, Takakeisho). Their record looks a bit better if you consider that Terunofuji was the best prospect for yokozuna promotion, filling the hole for a new, young, and strong yokozuna, had he not succumbed to multiple illnesses and injuries. We're a bit overdue for a new yokozuna, but that's mainly because the prior ozeki promotees have had really bad injury luck, and the up-and-comers have taken longer than they should to get into the groove of their sumo. 

Other than the statistical angle, there's also a lot of other factors feeding into this. Modern sports science can extend careers and save previously-thought dead careers - Chiyonokuni, Ura, Terunofuji are all good examples of career necromancy, and Aminishiki, Hakuho, and probably Kotoshogiku are good examples of career Philosopher's Stones. Kids are entering sumo later because more and more are opting for a university education; the fact that tsukedashi status is only granted to the best collegiate competitors only partially offsets this delay.  Hakuho himself is a massive statistical anomaly and nothing he does can be comfortably compared against previous yokozuna. And Kakuryu last July still won a 6th yusho against Hakuho and another jun-yusho in March; his style of sumo is not flashy or great compared to his yokozuna contemporaries but his 6 championships are at least average if not better than average compared to modern yokozunas.

Apologies if the last few paragraphs came off as a bit of a rant also. But I feel that some of the whole angst about Hakuho and Kakuryu stems from not having a strong steady presence as yokozuna, which is not exactly their fault and involves a lot more systemic and luck-based factors than meets the eye.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Asojima said:

So, the point you wish to make is that even though Hakuho has been an incompetent yokozuna for the last three years, he has kept rikishi who have been unable to attain and retain the ozeki rank from performing at a yokozuna level.  I think I have got it now.

No?

Both Hakuho and Asashoryu were great, but they were the only real competition each wrestler had for large portions of their careers. I'm sure both would have done well during the golden periods too, but they would have had fewer titles with better competition. Kaio, Kotooshu and Chiyotaikai are not Akebono and Takanohana.

I'd be interested to see how Hakuho/Kakuryu would hold up right now if he were forced to take on a regular schedule like everyone else is. All those extra matches and falls do a number on your body and I think it's unfair that Hakuho/Kakuryu can avoid them without consequence, while people like Terunofuji get sent to Sandanme for taking the same time off. I honestly think both would probably be retired now if they couldn't take breaks.

 

Edited by rzombie1988

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, rzombie1988 said:

All those extra matches and falls do a number on your body and I think it's unfair that Hakuho/Kakuryu can avoid them without consequence, while people like Terunofuji get sent to Sandanme for taking the same time off. I honestly think both would probably be retired now if they couldn't take breaks.

As noted above, this is a normal situation when yokozunas approach retirement.  In almost every case, they struggle through their accumulated injuries and declining physical condition until an adequate replacement is found.  Kyujos are common occurrences.  They fulfill a need within the NSK until a new yokozuna emerges.  It is a bit disconcerting to the fans, but they do have occasional bashos where their old glory shines through. When it doesn't, they do very little harm.  Sooner or later, a new yokozuna will break through and relieve them of their symbolic need.  Relax and watch all of this unfold.

Edited by Asojima
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3 hours ago, Asojima said:

Relax and watch all of this unfold.

I get that now. 

Back in January 2017 when I'd only been watching sumo again for a couple of years and I started getting excited by Mitakeumi's tremendous performance, someone (it may have been you) mentioned the necessity for taking a long view in sumo. How right!

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7 hours ago, rzombie1988 said:

I'd be interested to see how Hakuho/Kakuryu would hold up right now if he were forced to take on a regular schedule like everyone else is. 

Okay... Let me say that Hakuho and Kakuryu should not be lumped together in your argument. Hakuho has 44 titles and 22 runner up tournaments. As ryafuji mentioned above, he also had 46 straight tournaments as a Yokozuna without being absent.

Kakuryu is not even close in terms of his career record. 

In other words Hakuho has more leeway in regards to his future tenure as a Yokozuna. 

I want all of the Yokozuna to show up on day one every tournament and compete for all 15 days. Is that realistic when they get above the age of 30? You can expect that a Yokozuna will start getting injured more often the older they get. They will either not compete at all or go kyujo. Eventually a Yokozuna will be pressured into announcing their retirement but in the end they have earned the right to retire on their own terms.

Let's hope Asanoyama or someone else can come along and get promoted to Yokozuna. Otherwise we may have some tournaments in the future without a Yokozuna on the banzuke.

7 hours ago, rzombie1988 said:

.... I think it's unfair that Hakuho/Kakuryu can avoid them without consequence, while people like Terunofuji get sent to Sandanme for taking the same time off. I honestly think both would probably be retired now if they couldn't take breaks.

You know that life sometimes is not fair. Some rikishi get injured and never reach their full potential. That is part of sumo/life. I would have loved to have seen Terunofuji get promoted to Yokozuna. Maybe he would have gotten there in 2017 or 2018. Unfortunately, injuries and illness took their toll. I am amazed and happy that he is still in sumo.

Think about what happened to Kisenosato. The guy gets injured right after his promotion to Yokozuna. He could have had surgery and taken several tournaments off because he was a Yokozuna. I wish he had taken some time off. Maybe he would still be in sumo. We will never know now. 

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Calling Hakuho a "part-time" yokozuna is way off the mark. Hakuho competed in - and finished - his first 48 basho as yokozuna. He really has been the iron man of sumo. After being promoted to yokozuna he entered and completed his first 48 basho in a row before missing basho 49. To put that in perspective, that's more at the start of a yokozuna career than Taiho (17), Chiyonofuji (0), Asashoryu (2), Takanohana (11), Kitanofuji (11), and Musashimaru (3) combined! 

Time and injuries catch up to all athletes. Over his last 18 basho Hakuho has completed half of them. That's still a much better than most yokozuna at the end of their career. Moreover, of the 9 basho he's finished over the last three (plus one basho) years, Hakuho has won the yusho 7 times. I'd say any rikishi who manages to win 7 yusho in 18 basho isn't wasting anyone's time.

Kakuryu, on the other hand, has a significant problem staying healthy. He's only managed to finish 8 of the last 18 basho and he was having trouble even before that. He has won the yusho in three of his eight finishes. He's already been given a compete and complete instruction once in his career and it wouldn't be surprising to see another one soon. The end is near for him.  

So it's highly unlikely either yokozuna will be competing in 2022. And we will never see Hakuho's like again in our lifetime. Not even close. So I'm fine with him calling the shots as to when he wants to hang up his mawashi.

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2 hours ago, ScreechingOwl said:

So I'm fine with him calling the shots as to when he wants to hang up his mawashi.

Footballers (soccer) hang up their boots.  Baseball and US football players hang up their cleats.  Swimmers hang up their goggles.  OK, but it still creeps me out to hear the phrase "hang up his mawashi" (eww!), though I know you mean it semi-comically.  One reason I like Ozumo is that there is a no-going-back rite: cutting the mage.  Beckham can tease a comeback, Jordan can return to the court, but no one can come back out of retirement in Sumo.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Kishinoyama said:

Okay... Let me say that Hakuho and Kakuryu should not be lumped together in your argument. Hakuho has 44 titles and 22 runner up tournaments. As ryafuji mentioned above, he also had 46 straight tournaments as a Yokozuna without being absent.

Kakuryu is not even close in terms of his career record. 

In other words Hakuho has more leeway in regards to his future tenure as a Yokozuna. 

I want all of the Yokozuna to show up on day one every tournament and compete for all 15 days. Is that realistic when they get above the age of 30? You can expect that a Yokozuna will start getting injured more often the older they get. They will either not compete at all or go kyujo. Eventually a Yokozuna will be pressured into announcing their retirement but in the end they have earned the right to retire on their own terms.

Let's hope Asanoyama or someone else can come along and get promoted to Yokozuna. Otherwise we may have some tournaments in the future without a Yokozuna on the banzuke.

You know that life sometimes is not fair. Some rikishi get injured and never reach their full potential. That is part of sumo/life. I would have loved to have seen Terunofuji get promoted to Yokozuna. Maybe he would have gotten there in 2017 or 2018. Unfortunately, injuries and illness took their toll. I am amazed and happy that he is still in sumo.

Think about what happened to Kisenosato. The guy gets injured right after his promotion to Yokozuna. He could have had surgery and taken several tournaments off because he was a Yokozuna. I wish he had taken some time off. Maybe he would still be in sumo. We will never know now. 

>I want all of the Yokozuna to show up on day one every tournament and compete for all 15 days. Is that realistic when they get above the age of 30?

If they can't handle the same schedule as everyone else, maybe they shouldn't be wrestling?

You know that life sometimes is not fair.

There's different kinds of unfairness. Man-made and non-man made.

Kisenosato getting injured right after his promotion to Yokozuna. That's a non-man made unfairness and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Hakuho and other Yokozuna getting to miss tons of matches and tournaments while others can't, is a man-made unfairness. And fortunately, it could be fixed in record time.

Edited by rzombie1988

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Posted (edited)

Let's imagine a wrestler at say, M4 who has Hakuho's record over the last 6 tournament.

I've used records from same/very similar ranks and results in prior tournaments to work out promotion/demotion scenarios (trying to be conservative):

Nagoya 2019: 12-3 J -> promoted to K1e

Aki 2019: 0-2-13 -> demoted to M10e

Kyushu 2019: 14-1 Y -> promoted to M1e 

Hatsu 2020: 1-3-11 -> demoted to M11e

Haru 2020: 13-2 Y -> promoted to M2e

And as we know he just went 10-3-2 for 'July'.

A hypothetical rank & filer with Hakuho's prior 6 tournament results is not only safe in sumo, he's in the san'yaku. Hakuho needing to leave is ridiculous to even suggest.

 

Let's do the same for Kakuryu.

Nagoya 2019: 14-1 Y -> promoted to S1e

Aki 2019: 4-4-7 -> demoted to M4w

Kyushu 2019: 0-1-14 -> demoted to J1w (admittedly from here it's a bit wierd to talk promotion given makunouchi results, but still)

Hatsu 2020:  1-4-10 demoted to J12w

Haru 2020: 13-2 Y  12-3 J -> who knows what a top division yusho jun-yusho would do for a low-ranked Juryo, lol.

And as we know he just went 0-1-14 for 'July'.

Yep, as suspected, harder to defend Kakuryu. That said, he wouldn't have fallen below sekitori yet, and he's still capable of fighting for the cup when he is healthy.

 

Personal opinion, which I'm sure is shared by many here,  is that it's damn near time for Kak to retire with dignity, while Hak has life in him yet, and has more than earned the right to do what he wants.
 

EDIT: In saying that, two yusho in the past 6 tournaments for both men. I stand by 'Kakuryu should consider moving on soon' but two yusho in six tournaments is still damned impressive.

EDIT EDIT: I had Kak's Haru 2020 figures wrong, now fixed. Cheers @Yamanashi

 

 

Edited by Houmanumi
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Houmanumi said:

Let's imagine a wrestler at say, M4 who has Hakuho's record over the last 6 tournament.

I've used records from same/very similar ranks and results in prior tournaments to work out promotion/demotion scenarios (trying to be conservative):

Nagoya 2019: 12-3 J -> promoted to K1e

Aki 2019: 0-2-13 -> demoted to M10e

Kyushu 2019: 14-1 Y -> promoted to M1e 

Hatsu 2020: 1-3-11 -> demoted to M11e

Haru 2020: 13-2 Y -> promoted to M2e

And as we know he just went 10-3-2 for 'July'.

A hypothetical rank & filer with Hakuho's prior 6 tournament results is not only safe in sumo, he's in the san'yaku. Hakuho needing to leave is ridiculous to even suggest.

 

Let's do the same for Kakuryu.

Nagoya 2019: 14-1 Y -> promoted to S1e

Aki 2019: 4-4-7 -> demoted to M4w

Kyushu 2019: 0-1-14 -> demoted to J1w (admittedly from here it's a bit wierd to talk promotion given makunouchi results, but still)

Hatsu 2020:  1-4-10 demoted to J12w

Haru 2020: 13-2 Y -> who knows what a top division yusho would do for a low-ranked Juryo, lol.

And as we know he just went 0-1-14 for 'July'.

Yep, as suspected, harder to defend Kakuryu. That said, he wouldn't have fallen below sekitori yet, and he's still capable of fighting for the cup when he is healthy.

 

Personal opinion, which I'm sure is shared by many here,  is that it's damn near time for Kak to retire with dignity, while Hak has life in him yet, and has more than earned the right to do what he wants.
 

EDIT: In saying that, two yusho in the past 6 tournaments for both men. I stand by 'Kakuryu should consider moving on soon' but two yusho in six tournaments is still damned impressive.

 

 

Uhhh, Kakuryu didn't have a Yusho in Haru 2020, did he??

Edited by Yamanashi
fixed
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Just trying to thread the needle here, but could they set an "average performance" criterion so that we don't get mediocre Yokozuna hanging on for an extra year or two?  Maybe a minimum number of "successful" scores over a set number of basho, recomputed each basho.  For instance, 2 10-win basho out of every six.  I'd check how recent Y's have done against that strawman criterion, but the db has COVID-401 again.

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53 minutes ago, Yamanashi said:

Just trying to thread the needle here, but could they set an "average performance" criterion so that we don't get mediocre Yokozuna hanging on for an extra year or two?  Maybe a minimum number of "successful" scores over a set number of basho, recomputed each basho.  For instance, 2 10-win basho out of every six.  I'd check how recent Y's have done against that strawman criterion, but the db has COVID-401 again.

By that criteria, Hakuho is safe.

The 2017 calendar year Kakuryu only got one 10 wins once in 2017 , but that looks to be the only time. If memory serves, that's when the call for his retirement was at it's peak, so that makes sense.

No surprises that Kisenato was absolutely unsafe for essentially his entire Yokozuna career.

Harumafuji would have been safe his entire Yokozuna  career, again no surprises.

That's pretty in line with public opinion over our last for Y. Kisenosato needed to retire, Kakuryu arguably should, Hakuho should keep on doing what he's doing, Harumafuji was cut short.

 

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4 hours ago, rzombie1988 said:

If they can't handle the same schedule as everyone else, maybe they shouldn't be wrestling?

There's different kinds of unfairness. Man-made and non-man made.

Kisenosato getting injured right after his promotion to Yokozuna. That's a non-man made unfairness and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Hakuho and other Yokozuna getting to miss tons of matches and tournaments while others can't, is a man-made unfairness. And fortunately, it could be fixed in record time.

In the last tournament, Hakuho was injured on day four and took pain killers so he could stay in the tournament. He aggravated the injury on day 12 and withdrew. Thankfully, not every injury is a career ender like what happened to Kisenosato. 

They are Yokozuna and can miss 'tons of matches'. That 'man-made unfairness' comes with the promotion. Almost every Yokozuna in recent memory has taken advantage of that 'man-made unfairness'. I get that you don't think that it is fair but how you feel about it is not going to change it. I would like to know how you think this 'man-made unfairness' can be fixed? Keep in mind though when answering that question, that their is no rule requiring a Yokozuna to retire. 

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On 05/08/2020 at 23:50, Seiyashi said:

 

Counting all rikishi who've been promoted to either ozeki or yokozuna since 1942 (Chiyonoyama's hatsu-dohyo; I chose him because he was the first "modern" yokozuna"), we have 32 yokozuna and 37 ozeki. That means statistically, we expect 70 yokozuna/ozeki in about 80 years, and almost 1 in 2 ozeki will make yokozuna. 

This is one of my favourite things about sumo - it is incredibly hard to reach these top ranks. The bar is set really high and most rikishi don't get remotely close to making it. The rank of Yokozuna is one of the most exclusive clubs in all of world sport. I think many Western fans expect an orderly progression towards these ranks based on set rules (eg 33 in 3 for Ozeki, two consecutive yushos for Yokozuna) and get surprised when it doesn't always work that way, because the way this stuff is done in sumo is culturally different to what we expect. I think this situation is the same - Hakuho will get to do whatever he wants until he stops winning when he does compete, because he is Hakuho the GOAT. If he wants to attend only one basho per year he can so long as he posts 12 wins in that basho. If he stops winning in the bashos he does attend then it will be all over.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, Kishinoyama said:

 but how you feel about it is not going to change it.

Well that's not true at all. Corporations and governments frequently cave in to public pressure.

Quote

I would like to know how you think this 'man-made unfairness' can be fixed?

One idea is that Yokozuna(and Ozeki for that matter) should be forced to compete in a minimum amount of matches in a 1-2 year time period to keep their rank.

Quote

 that their is no rule requiring a Yokozuna to retire. 

Ask Harumafuji and Asashoryu about that one.

Edited by rzombie1988

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, rzombie1988 said:

Ask Harumafuji and Asashoryu about that one.

And they will tell you that there is no rule requiring a Yokozuna to retire. I'm just gonna rip off the Wikipedia section for this:

Retiring

As opposed to all other sumo ranks, a yokozuna cannot be demoted. However, during tournaments, expectations are very high for yokozuna. A yokozuna is expected to win or at least be a serious contender for championships on a regular basis. A yokozuna is expected to retire if he can no longer compete at the peak of the sport or in some cases such as Futahaguro or Harumafuji is deemed to have not upheld the dignity of the rank. Expectations are so high that, even in the course of one tournament, a yokozuna who early on appears to be headed for a losing tournament will feel the pressure to retire; there are many cases of yokozuna dropping out mid-tournament with a real or imagined injury to avoid a make-koshi (a losing record) and the expectation to retire. One of the recent example is the retirement of the 72nd Yokozuna, Kisenosato, who was unable to win majority of the bouts due to an injury in his left arm. These expectations are a large part of the reason that the promotion criteria for yokozuna are so strict in the first place.

Key points:

  • Expectations are set very high
    • Win or at lease be a serious contender for championships on a regular basis
      • in 3/6 most recent tournaments, Hak is Y or J.
      • in 2/6 most recent tournaments, Kak is Y or J.
    • EXPECTED to retire if they can no longer compete at the peak of the sport, or uphold the dignity of the rank
      • clearly they can both compete, given the number of recent Y/J
    • Hey look, a whole section on how Yokozuna can pull out to avoid losing records/the expectation to retire. Almost as if it's an expected thing from them that they have earned the right to do.

I get it, it sucks that we don't have young, healthy yokozuna. But I put that on the younger guys who aren't getting the job done (Takayasu, Mitakeumi etc.) rather than the two ageing Yokozuna who can just show up when they want and still win cups. In that same 6-tournament period, the only rikishi to get multiple Y/J was Asanoyama with two jun-yusho. Without established competition capable of picking apart these yokozuna, why should they go anywhere? I all but guarantee that if Asanoyama or another young star should rise to the rank soon, both Kakuryu and likely Hakuho will step away. 

 

Edited by Houmanumi
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