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Jejima

Guess Hokutofuji's Aite - September 2022 edition

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I think if he spent two basho outside the joi he was going to be changed. I'd be happy with the two rikishi @Gurowake mentioned

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I've only known the game with no expectation of the wrestler being in the joi, just not being so far down that matchups get skewed due to the fact that starting from the top, it doesn't take long before you have to play with things to stop repeat bouts. I'm happy with Hokutofuji as long as he's single-digit maegashira.

If it's generally desired to have a different wrestler as the focus of the game, and it's preferred they generally stay in the joi (with sanyaku trips being acceptable), at this point Tamawashi and Takayasu seem like good options. If switching things up isn't a big deal, I think Tamawashi's age becomes less of a factor, and he's only been below M4 once in the last year-plus. Takayasu strikes me as better still as long as he's healthy; I don't see him making ozeki again by any means, he won't be sanyaku this coming basho, and I'm not convinced he's as likely to make the sanyaku as Tamawashi is to stay there for a bit.

But I'm gonna keep playing whoever we use.

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FWIW I definitely don't understand the game well enough for a change in subject to matter to my results, but my 2 cents for unmentioned wrestlers thus far who seem to fit the criteria: what about Daieishō?

He's been very consistently in the joi and hasn't ranked in double digit maegashira since 2018 (a record none of the other possibilities can match - everyone else has gone to/come from double digit maegashira within the past 2 years), is reasonably young, and blows cold fairly consistently the higher up he goes in sanyaku (only 3 KKs in 6 basho at komusubi and none as sekiwake in 3 tries). And unlike Abi, he's been around long enough that his sumo doesn't appear to be stepping up a notch anytime soon, without the possibility of injuries hiding potential ōzeki form. I guess the only knock against him is that he might be too consistently in lower sanyaku such that the game gets "easier" without having to deal with maegashira v maegashira matchups, although I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

I think Tamawashi is a counter-intuitive but reasonable pick, although he also had flirtations with double digit maegashira as recently as last year, and he's almost 10 years older than the alternatives. Takayasu would be much more dangerous IMO, since he's historically the most injury prone of all the candidates surfaced thus far.

Edited by Seiyashi
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Tough crowd. Even a 9-0 start into the basho wasn't enough to reinforce the love for our boy. :-(

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I am also wondering whether Hokutofuji will end up in the joi-jin, or not.

We won't change the rules.

If Terunofuji (and Midorifuji) are active next basho - and presuming that Abi's 0-0-15 is real (i.e. a proper demotion), and if Daieisho is kicked out of sanyaku all together, then I think that the joi-jin will go down to M5E....  I think that Hokutofuji might get promoted at least that far?  So, maybe no need to look for a new 'Kisenosato' 'Hokutofuji' just yet?

If, when the new banzuke comes out, and Hokutofuji is not in the top 17 (17 because of same heya rules) active rikishi, then we'll have a ballot, as previously, to decide the new centre of our attention.

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Okay, I am finding it very difficult to justify Hokutofuji in rejoining the joi, based on the other results. As I hope to be very busy approaching the next basho, with a new house..., I am going to start the provisional vote now. (If Hokutofuji does somehow make it into the joi, then we will stick with him,. as per the rules).

 

New thread for the above opened here.

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One thing I'm curious about is if we think of things in terms of the "strict" joi (who's in the correct ranks) and the "effective" joi (who's likely to be treated as in the joi for at least part of the basho due to injury dropouts either before or during the event). My instant draft has Hokutofuji at M5E, which is #19 on the list with another ten-person sanyaku, but Teru's basically guaranteed to be gone. I realize that still puts him two out, with no guarantee of injuries to others, but if we expected him to be at #17 with an almost guaranteed yokozuna absence, would we think of him as "in the joi" for this basho and thus still a reasonable option for the game?

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As far as I understand it, strict joi-jin are the players who can expect to meet a Yokozuna during a basho. Quick look, and Wikipedia seems to agree with me.

jōi-jin (上位陣)
"High rankers". A term loosely used to describe wrestlers who would expect to face a yokozuna during a tournament. In practice this normally means anyone ranked maegashira 4 or above.
 
If Terunofuji is out next basho, then I guess it would include any rikishi who might expect to meet the highest ranking Ozeki (or any Ozeki?)
 
But, for general terms, it is any rikishi outside of the sanyaku, who is within the top 16 active rikishi for any basho.
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