Koorifuu

Sandanme Tsukedashi = too low?

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Hey everyone,

As you might be aware, I'm not at the same level of Japanese cultural perception & even sumo knowledge compared to most of you, so I'd like to hear your opinion about sandanme tsukedashi.

I saw that Kanno and Nishikawa are both steamrolling every low sandanme dweller they've been faced with, and found myself subconsciously feeling like that was an obvious outcome... As if there was no way a Sd100TD wouldn't be way too good for their competition.

So I went and checked whether there was ever a Sd100TD who didn't overdeliver, and...

  • Oyanagi (Yutakayama) 7-0 Y
  • Ishibashi (Asanoyama) 5-2 (one of the losses being to Oyanagi)
  • Murata 6-1
  • Wakatakakage 5-2 (one of the losses being to Murata)
  • Kizakiumi 6-1
  • Shiraishi (Tohakuryu) 7-0 Y
  • Fukai 5-2

To further emphasise how brutally underranked those guys were, Shiraishi was the only who didn't follow it up with another 7-0 or 6-1 basho... A mere 5-2 from Ms55w!

So... Why exactly are they inserted in the banzuke in a much lower position than Ms10TD? Is it something like a punishment for not reaching their accolades? On paper, performance-wise, there shouldn't be such a big gap in their estimated banzuke rankings. Is it so they can ease their way into the ozumo world, or is it just that the sandanme tsukedashi is too recent & hasn't been improved yet?

So many questions...

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Follow-up with a "Where Are They Now" segment...

  • Ishibashi
    • Ozeki
  • Oyanagi
    • Quick climb all the way up to joijin, only for his performance to take a nosedive - suspiciously at around the same time he went kyujo midbasho in 2018
  • Wakatakakage
    • Current joi
  • Murata
    • Quick climb to ms1, then a bad injury shunted him down to low jonokuchi - got forced to survive a Ryuden bout against Hattorizakura, and quickly climbed all the up to upper makushita again. Arguably juryo quality (at least) before his knee gave way
  • Kizakiumi
    • Quickly made all the way to juryo, only for a bump caused by the totally safe dohyo elevation to ruin his neck for good. Intai
  • Shiraishi
    • Steady climb to Juryo, not doing too well right now though
  • Fukai
    • Current mid makushita with a nice career record, currently 3-0 and seemingly still far away from his current real ranking
Edited by Koorifuu
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Been wondering about this. As late as the year 2000 there used to be Ms60TDs. Perhaps it's a more appropriate spot on the banzuke to put these rikishi.

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50 minutes ago, Koorifuu said:

 

So... Why exactly are they inserted in the banzuke in a much lower position than Ms10TD?

 

Nothing sinister-a question of qualifications. You need to win an amateur tournament to start at Makushita tsukedashi 15. 2 tournaments- Makushita tsukedashi 10.  Make it to the top 8 of a tournament? Sandanme tsukedashi 100. Maybe I got the particulars wrong, but the principle is that it depends on how you did in the tournaments.

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21 minutes ago, Kintamayama said:

Nothing sinister-a question of qualifications. You need to win an amateur tournament to start at Makushita tsukedashi 15. 2 tournaments- Makushita tsukedashi 10.  Make it to the top 8 of a tournament? Sandanme tsukedashi 100. Maybe I got the particulars wrong, but the principle is that it depends on how you did in the tournaments.

I am aware of that, that's what I meant by "not reaching their accolades".

My question is why the gap between tsukedashi placings is so steep for what shouldn't be a big gap in terms of skill. You win a tournament, makushita 15. You happen to lose on that tournament's final, sandanme 100. It feels really harsh & not an accurate depiction of the rikishi's quality as all previous examples have proven.

Edited by Koorifuu
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This is just the fever dream ravings of a guy who also doesn't know much about this, but it seems the program was inaugurated to tempt college and high school grads into Sumo without having to start at Maezumo.  And prospective recruits to this program will look at the track record of those who went before them -- it's smart of the NSK to start these guys out a little below their natural level so they have flashy results right away..  If all of the prospects got dumped into the Makushita meat grinder, I'll bet their results wouldn't be what they expected.

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35 minutes ago, Yamanashi said:

This is just the fever dream ravings of a guy who also doesn't know much about this, but it seems the program was inaugurated to tempt college and high school grads into Sumo without having to start at Maezumo.  And prospective recruits to this program will look at the track record of those who went before them -- it's smart of the NSK to start these guys out a little below their natural level so they have flashy results right away..  If all of the prospects got dumped into the Makushita meat grinder, I'll bet their results wouldn't be what they expected.

That actually makes complete sense. Maybe a bit too much, even. (Laughing...)

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My rough starting points would be something like the following:

Ms15TD and Ms10TD = keep qualifications as is

Ms60TD = top 8 in any major collegiate tournament, or yusho at any non-major national openweight college tournament

Sd100TD = top 8 in any non-major national openweight college tournament, top 16 in any major national college tournament, or yusho at any major national high school tournament (Kokutai or Inter High)

Jd100TD = yusho at either of the main 2 national middle school events

Under this system, all the Sd100TD starters would've debuted at the old Ms60TD rank.

Edited by Katooshu
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11 minutes ago, Katooshu said:

My rough starting points would be something like the following:

Ms15TD and Ms10TD = keep qualifications as is

Ms60TD = top 8 in any major collegiate tournament, or yusho at any non-major national openweight college tournament

Sd100TD = top 8 in any non-major national openweight college tournament, top 16 in any major national college tournament, or yusho at any major national high school tournament (Kokutai or Inter High)

Jd100TD = yusho at either of the main 2 national middle school events

Under this system, all the Sd100TD starters would've debuted at the old Ms60TD rank.

This seems more appropriate in terms of their expected performance levels, but @Yamanashi is probably right in that the NSK feels it's more motivating for those guys if they can mop the floor with inferior rikishi for a few months.

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For the Sd100TD's listed, I get the following stats:

Name                  basho to ≥Ms10    basho to Juryo   record up to Juryo  # of Yusho

Yutakayama   2   4   24-4   2

Asanoyama   5   6   35-7   0

Murata   5   (injured at Ms1)

Wakatakakage   6   7   36-13   2

Kizakiumi   6   8   41-15   0

Shiraishi/Tohakuryu   6   8   42-16   1

Fukai   (in 6th basho)   --   --   1

It looks like getting Sd100T instead of Ms10TD costs them up to a year (~6 basho).  Whether they would have flourished as shin-Ms, who knows?

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Another thing to consider, all these fellows are college grads: 4 @ Toyo U.; 1each @ Kinki, Nihon, and Tokyo Ag. (go Yute!).  They are 22 or 23 years old when they start, so the boost to Sd100 is a great deal, but the extra year to get to ~Ms10 might be a deal breaker.  What we don't have is an accurate account of why eligible candidates turn down the offer.

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Note that a fair number of college grads do join ozumo without a TD rank, and they often run the table for a while as well.  It's an odd duck.

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40 minutes ago, Ryoshishokunin said:

Note that a fair number of college grads do join ozumo without a TD rank, and they often run the table for a while as well.  It's an odd duck.

And not just them. Top high school rikishi starting in jonokuchi are just as underranked to start out as the top collegiates are at Sd100, and regularly put up multiple 7-0 and/or 6-1 records to begin their careers as well.

I was okay with the old Ms60 start, but I honestly don't see any problem with Sd100. Having those guys start at the very bottom was in fact a waste (and took yusho opportunities in Jk and Jd away from more rank-appropriate contenders), but it's not like a 7-0 in low sandanme is a foregone conclusion.

Incidentally, the rules to earn a Ms60 start were even more permissive than the current ones are for Sd100. (IIRC the easiest way was a top 16 at the All-Japan tournament with no time limit on using it.) They swung completely the other way when it was replaced by the Ms15/10 start which only recognizes tournament wins from the last year, so it's safe to say that the Kyokai no longer wanted to make it "easy" to earn an accelerated start. That was in large part because the number of collegiates following through on their tsukedashi qualification had sky-rocketed in the 1990s. The Sd100 regulations are essentially a compromise between the old and the new, with the lower starting rank compensating for the again rather permissive qualification criteria.

Edited by Asashosakari
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A thread on the topic from the days before Sd100Td was created, so focusing on the relevance of the Ms15 start specifically:

Reviewing my own objections to Ms15 as the then-only system, Sd100 has largely addressed those. (Not in a way I would have expected at the time, though; I didn't think they would actually go for tsukedashi ranks outside of makushita.)

 

Edited by Asashosakari
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7 hours ago, Koorifuu said:

 

I saw that Kanno and Nishikawa are both steamrolling every low sandanme dweller they've been faced with

Kanno is 2-2, not exactly steamrolling anyone..

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Purely spitballing here, but the fact that if you start at Sd100 follows from having lost in the quarterfinals of an amateur tournament, has anyone checked to control for who they lost to in that tournament? If they lost to, for example, the eventual winner or if that was a tough cohort, it would explain their apparent "overqualification", because you have a seeding problem rather than an entry problem.

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3 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

Purely spitballing here, but the fact that if you start at Sd100 follows from having lost in the quarterfinals of an amateur tournament, has anyone checked to control for who they lost to in that tournament? If they lost to, for example, the eventual winner or if that was a tough cohort, it would explain their apparent "overqualification", because you have a seeding problem rather than an entry problem.

It's anyone who finished runner-up to quarterfinalist.

The tournaments in question aren't seeded for the knockout rounds.

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7 minutes ago, Asashosakari said:
3 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

Purely spitballing here, but the fact that if you start at Sd100 follows from having lost in the quarterfinals of an amateur tournament, has anyone checked to control for who they lost to in that tournament? If they lost to, for example, the eventual winner or if that was a tough cohort, it would explain their apparent "overqualification", because you have a seeding problem rather than an entry problem.

It's anyone who finished runner-up to quarterfinalist.

The tournaments in question aren't seeded for the knockout rounds.

I see. So that means that anyone whom in theory the eventual winner (who gets Ms15TD) beats will be required to start at Sd100 instead, from the very worst person in the quarterfinal to the eventual runner up, and without seeding, there's no fair way to separately designate TD ranks for them (e.g. 8th, Sd100, 4th, Ms60 or something like that)?

So the control to OP's question would be, who obtained the Ms15TD "right" from the tournaments that produced those Sd100TDs listed in the first post? And how would the performance of that Ms15TD have to be to conclude whether or not the Sd100TDs are overranked or underranked?

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2 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

I see. So that means that anyone whom in theory the eventual winner (who gets Ms15TD) beats will be required to start at Sd100 instead, from the very worst person in the quarterfinal to the eventual runner up, and without seeding, there's no fair way to separately designate TD ranks for them (e.g. 8th, Sd100, 4th, Ms60 or something like that)?

I don't really see what seeding has to do with that. Even if a sports competition could be seeded in perfectly objective fashion, upsets will happen and so there's no guarantee that somebody who e.g. reached the semifinals actually had a harder path to get through than somebody else who got eliminated in the quarterfinals in a different section of the draw.

That aside, there's obviously nothing stopping the Kyokai from awarding even more different Td starting positions than just Ms15 and Sd100, they just don't because it would be pointlessly complicated, regardless of the competition setup of the underlying tournaments.

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10 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

Kanno is 2-2, not exactly steamrolling anyone..

I'll have to apologise to the poor lad for having jinxed him... He was 2-1 at the time of posting, that loss coming to his fellow TD.

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58 minutes ago, Koorifuu said:

I'll have to apologise to the poor lad for having jinxed him... He was 2-1 at the time of posting, that loss coming to his fellow TD.

Yeah, I wouldn't put too much weight on the loss to the other SdTD100, nor do I think another loss against others in the area is too disqualifying in terms of long-term talent.  Asanoyama had a 5-2 to start and took longer than Yutakayama to make Juryo, but has turned out to be much better, which is exactly what was expected IIRC based on their college results.  As I've said elsewhere, the low ranks are a complete crap-shoot in terms of finishing with a 7-0; it's very easy to lose matches to fluke things, and at the same time win a bunch in a row against weak competition due to getting lucky in terms of not having any fluke losses happen to you.  Consistently going 6-1 or 5-2 on your way up the ranks is still really good, although obviously 7-0s get you up faster.  Most of the guys who have screamed up the ranks at top speed haven't really done all that much better than guys who were just a bit slower and had some hiccups along the way.  All the current Ozeki certainly rose fast, but you can point to a bunch of guys who rose faster that aren't Ozeki and probably won't be. 

The only bad sign for Kanno is that his second loss came so early against a guy who clearly isn't underranked at all given 5 straight 3-4 and 4-3s; Asanoyama at least didn't lose until Round 7, and to a guy who really was top-half-of-Sd material.

 

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3 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

I don't really see what seeding has to do with that. Even if a sports competition could be seeded in perfectly objective fashion, upsets will happen and so there's no guarantee that somebody who e.g. reached the semifinals actually had a harder path to get through than somebody else who got eliminated in the quarterfinals in a different section of the draw.

That aside, there's obviously nothing stopping the Kyokai from awarding even more different Td starting positions than just Ms15 and Sd100, they just don't because it would be pointlessly complicated, regardless of the competition setup of the underlying tournaments.

Would I be correct in my guess that the top amateur baseball players in Japan are ranked by some groups before the NPB draft?  There are dozens of periodicals and TV shows that rank American football and baseball players.  Amateur sumo is a much smaller sport, but couldn't an agreed-upon ranking list be used by the NSK which shows overall Sumo quality independent of  one-match blips or injuries?

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I don't know if sumo could be meaningfully seeded without seeing the wrestlers in action; that just turns into a ranking system like ozumo already has. Sumo is such a wildly individual sport with so many factors that seeding would be harmful to prospects. And, who would decide the seeds? 

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1 hour ago, Churaumi said:

I don't know if sumo could be meaningfully seeded without seeing the wrestlers in action; that just turns into a ranking system like ozumo already has. Sumo is such a wildly individual sport with so many factors that seeding would be harmful to prospects. And, who would decide the seeds? 

Who are the top HS tennis players in Japan?

Who are the top amateur or college golfers in Japan?

Who are the top amateur wrestlers in Japan?

Are these fundamentally different?

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8 hours ago, Yamanashi said:

Who are the top HS tennis players in Japan?

Who are the top amateur or college golfers in Japan?

Who are the top amateur wrestlers in Japan?

Are these fundamentally different?

Generally in my recollection, school tournaments with knockout rounds are not seeded, only professionals or senior amateurs where there's enough meaningful data to compare them before the tournament starts.  There just aren't enough official school level events featuring a wide field to get a proper idea; once there are enough events, they become somewhat outdated as competitors are not nearly as static in ability when they're young compared to fully grown.

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