Sign in to follow this  
Seiyashi

Yusho or Rank?

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Eikokurai said:

I wonder how big a motivation this is for rikishi though. With so few kabu available, particularly in comparison to the number of rikishi, I’m sure most guys get into sumo fully expecting to leave the Kyokai when they retire, so don’t even entertain the possibility of an Oyakata post. For this reason, I imagine more rikishi dream of Yusho than a Kabu. 

As with everything there's probably examples and counterexamples. Endo, for someone relatively early in his career, already owns the Kitajin kabu even though he's peaked at komusubi so far. On the other hand, from what I understand, Goeido didn't have a stock until the NSK scrambled to give him the Takekuma name on his retirement, despite him being the longest serving ozeki at the time.

I guess the difference lies in the long term planning, and whether you can actually make a career outside sumo. More and more sumotori have degrees nowadays and in theory, it should be easier for them to find reasonably-paying jobs outside the NSK. If they can be assured of one, especially those with family businesses like Abi, then I'd agree they'd take the yusho. But for those who're in it for the passion, or who don't have an alternative, they might want the kabu more - even though ozeki isn't a straight path to a kabu, it does give you 3 years grace to wait for one (especially at this point in time). And I'd think that an ozeki borrowing a kabu would be less likely to be asked to leave the NSK outright to make way for another rikishi as compared to a maegashira.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

As with everything there's probably examples and counterexamples. Endo, for someone relatively early in his career, already owns the Kitajin kabu even though he's peaked at komusubi so far. On the other hand, from what I understand, Goeido didn't have a stock until the NSK scrambled to give him the Takekuma name on his retirement, despite him being the longest serving ozeki at the time.

I guess the difference lies in the long term planning, and whether you can actually make a career outside sumo. More and more sumotori have degrees nowadays and in theory, it should be easier for them to find reasonably-paying jobs outside the NSK. If they can be assured of one, especially those with family businesses like Abi, then I'd agree they'd take the yusho. But for those who're in it for the passion, or who don't have an alternative, they might want the kabu more - even though ozeki isn't a straight path to a kabu, it does give you 3 years grace to wait for one (especially at this point in time). And I'd think that an ozeki borrowing a kabu would be less likely to be asked to leave the NSK outright to make way for another rikishi as compared to a maegashira.

I get all that, I just think sumo is made up of far more rikishi who know their limitations early enough to put aside all thought of a kabu and just focus on lasting as long as possible before returning to civilian life, so to speak. Probably two-thirds of the hiramaku at any given time have already reached their peak or thereabouts, and they’ll know it. They’ll also know that this makes them less likely to secure a kabu, particularly if they don’t have the network backing them for one, which is again something they’ll surely intuit fairly easily. The reality is sumo is mostly made up of guys who are treading water (in the nicest possible sense) and will be forgotten quickly once they go. They’re outside shots for an Oyakata role. Only a handful of celebrities (See: Takamisakari), ex Y/Os or a few lucky guys who were in the right heya at the right time get their hands on a kabu. The true story of sumo, like all sports, is a story of mediocrity followed by anonymity back in the real world. I’m sure most rikishi make peace with that reality quite early.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

I wonder how big a motivation this is for rikishi though. With so few kabu available, particularly in comparison to the number of rikishi, I’m sure most guys get into sumo fully expecting to leave the Kyokai when they retire, so don’t even entertain the possibility of an Oyakata post. For this reason, I imagine more rikishi dream of Yusho than a Kabu. 

That may be in recent times, where apparently anybody can get the yusho. Definitely the usual realistic dream of a rikishi rather was and most likely still is to stay on as toshiyori. If you had been in the upper divisions long enough, that was a reachable goal, while yusho was only a dream - and will remain that for most of the rikishi. These intermediate sengoku periods (they are called this) don't last as long as the reigns of the dominating yokozuna.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there's also a presumption that you want to be an oyakata. Ignoring all the retirement privileges, I tend to be a subscriber to the "flags (in this case portraits) fly forever (in this case, a few years)" philosophy, but the privileges of an Ozeki rank career wise probably outstrip that in terms of its impact on the remainder of your career, nevermind the mochikyukin system. So I think it's important to take that into consideration.

But I would personally probably be more attracted to the idea of doing a Mainoumi-style media career (although I appreciate NSK members get an enormous amount of media opps) alongside opening a restaurant business as many ex-rikishi tend to do, rather than take a kabu. I know it's an incredibly stable career path for those who dedicate their life to sumo, but after 20+ years in a house with sweaty guys, you want another 30 years of that? #nope

So all of that to say, in spite of the immediate career benefits and long term stability of reaching Ozeki, I'd probably rather have the yusho. As Akinomaki implies, outside the last couple years, it was a very rare and special achievement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the five years of so that I've been following sumo again I get the impression that most rikishi who've spent a decent amount of time in makuuchi have toshiyori status in mind. I'd say the only real exceptions are the gaijin who always intended to return home after their active careers.

I don't know what those who've had to resign in disgrace had in mind, but I expect some of them wanted to stay on. 

I'm struggling to think of a recent makuuchi regular going intai voluntarily at the end of their active career and not getting a kabu, on loan if not owned already.

Edited by RabidJohn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

I wonder how big a motivation this is for rikishi though. With so few kabu available, particularly in comparison to the number of rikishi, I’m sure most guys get into sumo fully expecting to leave the Kyokai when they retire, so don’t even entertain the possibility of an Oyakata post. For this reason, I imagine more rikishi dream of Yusho than a Kabu. 

In the last 45 years, Kyokutenho, Kotonishiki, Takatoriki, Mitoizumi, Kotofuji, Tagaryu and Kongo didn't make it to ozeki after their yusho, Tokushoryu and Tamawashi will likely join them, Mitakekumi likely those who made it later. All stayed in the NSK after intai, Kotofuji was the only who didn't have a heya and had to leave without a scandal. http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Yusho.aspx

The ex-ozeki (or higher) now all have a heya if they are oyakata long enough, those who did quit, with the appropriate behavior likely would have been able to stay.

Now look at the list of those below ozeki and without a yusho with a kabu now: it's the overwhelming majority - (a pity you can't sort it by holder=rank) http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Kabu.aspx

They all dreamt the almost impossible dream of the yusho - a dream that would likely have given them access to a kabu as well, but first of all the realistic dream of a kabu, without yusho. And as next dream their own heya.

Edited by Akinomaki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The list of non-Ozeki without a yusho and no kabu would be much longer. There are 105 kabu and at any given time 600-800+ rikishi on the banzuke. Most guys go into sumo knowing the odds on a post-intai kyokai career are very much against them, even if they make sekitori. I’ve no doubt rikishi grade their ambitions accordingly and only start to consider the possibility of a kabu once they’ve made a name for themselves in Makuuchi over enough basho (and greased the right palms). That can take years (winning a yusho only needs one basho by contrast). Like banzuke ranks, you have to reach one level to get to the next; to make sanyaku, you need to first reach Makuuchi, to make Ozeki you need to first make sanyaku, etc. With kabu, you have to first make sekitori and then compete in a fixed number of basho as such. Only then can you begin to try securing one. The number of rikishi who ever meet the conditions to become an Oyakata is thus pretty small in the grand scheme of things, and so the number seriously aiming for it at any given time must be correspondingly low. This was really all I was getting at: kabu likely only becomes a goal only at a very certain point in the late-stage careers of a select group of rikishi for whom it’s then a possibility. It’s not the goal for everyone all the time, whereas you’d like to think that every basho every rikishi has at least half an eye on the prize.

Edited by Eikokurai

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One wonders if Hattorizakura will stay on in some capacity after his body gets too battered to continue the losing streak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eikokurai said:

There are 105 kabu and at any given time 600-800+ rikishi on the banzuke. Most guys go into sumo knowing the odds on a post-intai kyokai career are very much against them, even if they make sekitori.

Aye, but the question was ozeki or makuuchi yusho, so we're talking only top division here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, orandashoho said:

One wonders if Hattorizakura will stay on in some capacity after his body gets too battered to continue the losing streak.

Does sitting down when one's opponent so much as glances at them take a toll on one's body?

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

I wonder how big a motivation this is for rikishi though. With so few kabu available, particularly in comparison to the number of rikishi, I’m sure most guys get into sumo fully expecting to leave the Kyokai when they retire, so don’t even entertain the possibility of an Oyakata post. For this reason, I imagine more rikishi dream of Yusho than a Kabu. 

Agree, but that's beside the point.  Most rikishi never make it to Makuuchi, so the topic we're discussing is moot.  And the vast majority of those who make it to maegashira neither win a Yusho nor make Ozeki.

Here's a study I did: for rikishi with hatsu-dohyo on or after 1960, 1) how many have a Yusho w/o reaching Ozeki? 2) how many reached Ozeki and never had a Yusho?

1) image.png.4bda000a2df750604769c3c6aa2b489d.png    

2) I reached the copy limit, but there are seven Ozeki who never had a Yusho: Maenoyama, Yutakayama Katsuo, Asahikuni, Daiju, Masuiyama, Miyabiyama and Takayasu. All retired on this list (i.e. not Takayasu) have received kabu.

Now, some on either list are "ronin" who never owned a kabu; I will let the cognescenti of this Forum determine the relative worth of these worthies.

This tells me that the Oyakata opportunities are not cut-and-dried on either side.  That leaves me with history and reputation, which for me falls on the side of the Ozeki.

[Of course, the best way to play this game is the "Kirk cheats at the Kobayashi Maru scenario" approach: win a Yusho and get to Ozeki!]

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, RabidJohn said:

Aye, but the question was ozeki or makuuchi yusho, so we're talking only top division here.

That post was specifically about the side discussion on whether getting a kabu one day is a goal most rikishi have in mind throughout their career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

That post was specifically about the side discussion on whether getting a kabu one day is a goal most rikishi have in mind throughout their career.

Yeah, and the Japanese are renowned for their plucky "never say die" attitude, but if you're ten years into a career that peaked at Ms 85 and you haven't sniffed Sandanme in 20 basho, you're probably thinking about maybe a slot at your brother's trucking company.  Start talking about "getting a kabu" and no one wants to do keiko with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

That post was specifically about the side discussion on whether getting a kabu one day is a goal most rikishi have in mind throughout their career.

A side discussion that arose when the later career benefits to an oyakata of having achieved ozeki were pointed out. That narrows the field right down, and I'm not the only one who took this to be about makuuchi only.

Clearly, a toriteki-only career does not lead to a kabu, though as I understand it a very tiny minority go on to have post-active sumo careers as heya managers, sewanin, etc.

EDIT: You're like a senior stablemate helping me rise up the ranks. This is my 999th post, so I'm on the brink of sekiwake promotion thanks you you! :-D

Edited by RabidJohn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, just_some_guy said:

Does sitting down when one's opponent so much as glances at them take a toll on one's body?

Standing up again does nothing for the knees, trust me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RabidJohn said:

A side discussion that arose when the later career benefits to an oyakata of having achieved ozeki were pointed out. That narrows the field right down, and I'm not the only one who took this to be about makuuchi only.

Clearly, a toriteki-only career does not lead to a kabu, though as I understand it a very tiny minority go on to have post-active sumo careers as heya managers, sewanin, etc.

EDIT: You're like a senior stablemate helping me rise up the ranks. This is my 999th post, so I'm on the brink of sekiwake promotion thanks you you! :-D

Congratulations on reaching the top of Sanyaku.  I remember you from when I joined.  I've always liked the picture with the big fish!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RabidJohn said:

EDIT: You're like a senior stablemate helping me rise up the ranks. This is my 999th post, so I'm on the brink of sekiwake promotion thanks you you! :-D

So ... you’re thinking about a kabu then? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

So ... you’re thinking about a kabu then? ;)

And you made Ozeki in 2 years!  And closing in on the big prize, I see.

Sincerely, Yamanashi (1 post closer to 1500).

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/10/2020 at 08:23, orandashoho said:

One wonders if Hattorizakura will stay on in some capacity after his body gets too battered to continue the losing streak.

Somewhat to my surprise, he is nowhere near the record for most basho in Jonokuchi. While his 29 basho and counting have him in 18th place, the guy at the top has a whopping 110, and has been toiling in the lowest division since 1995, with occasional forays into the heights of Jonidan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Reonito said:

Somewhat to my surprise, he is nowhere near the record for most basho in Jonokuchi. While his 29 basho and counting have him in 18th place, the guy at the top has a whopping 110, and has been toiling in the lowest division since 1995, with occasional forays into the heights of Jonidan.

The good news, 9 of the people above him have gone intai, so they're sitting targets. Somewhat bad news, the fellow just above him went kyujo in Aki at Jd108, so he'll be racking up the Jk basho again for awhile, unless he goes intai at age 27.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Yamanashi said:

The good news, 9 of the people above him have gone intai, so they're sitting targets. Somewhat bad news, the fellow just above him went kyujo in Aki at Jd108, so he'll be racking up the Jk basho again for awhile, unless he goes intai at age 27.

Top 10 is within easy reach in another couple of years; to go higher, he'll really have to commit to the bit.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At his current pace, it'll also take him almost 18 years to break Kyokutenho's record for most career losses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Reonito said:

Somewhat to my surprise, he is nowhere near the record for most basho in Jonokuchi. While his 29 basho and counting have him in 18th place, the guy at the top has a whopping 110, and has been toiling in the lowest division since 1995, with occasional forays into the heights of Jonidan.

He is, however, out of those, the highest one who has never been to Jonidan.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Reonito said:

At his current pace, it'll also take him almost 18 years to break Kyokutenho's record for most career losses.

Yah, Kyokutenho, what's that loser been up to for the last few years?  He doesn't even have his own Youtube channel! (Idunno...)

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sahaven111 said:

He is, however, out of those, the highest one who has never been to Jonidan.

So, assuming he never does, which seems safe, that's one record he'll hold. The previous record-holder quit after 22 Jonokuchi basho.

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