Banzuke! Natsu 2019
It is officially the Reiwa Era with the coronation of new Emperor of Japan. The Japan Sumo Association decided they had to wait until today to officially release the first rankings of the new era. But that means we finally have a banzuke. You can almost smell the sumo coming. (Rikishi don't wash mawashi, so it's gotta be fairly pungent.)
Some notes before you look at the full list:
This is the first banzuke with Takakeisho at Ozeki, which is nice to see. It also features Tochinoshin dropping back to Sekiwake, which not as nice to see.
The highest risers are Ichinojo, Aoiyama, and Kotoshogiku,, who all had great tournaments in March. We'll see if they can handle the jump in difficulty of opposition.
Those who fell notably back after bad tournaments are Tamawashi, Shodai, and Kaisei. This could work in Shodai and Kaisei's favor, because they will almost certainly not face Yokozuna or Ozeki.
The joi-jin line, the spot at which everyone above it has to face each other and therefore marks where Maegashira are guaranteed to face Yokozuna, is likely Maegashira 3/4. However, there are lots of stablemates in that range and since they can't square off, that will create odd matchup issues.
Congrats to Takakeisho, Meisei, Tomokaze, Shimanoumi, and Enho on reaching their highest rank ever.
Those last two are part of the promotion crop from Juryo, which also includes returnees Chiyomaru and Tokushoryu. Leaving Makuuchi, by contrast, are Ikioi, Chiyonokuni, Yutakayama, and Toyonoshima. All four were compromised by injuries (Chiyonokuni was out) and had disastrous records.
That last fact saved a few men worthy of demotion, like Kotoeko, Ishiura, Terutsuyoshi, and most notably Chiyoshoma. Somehow, someway, Chiyoshoma is just not going back to Juryo.
Power Rankings will be up tomorrow. Full Rikishi by Rikishi Preview is coming on Thursday. Also stay turned for the use of a new, much smoother engine to make Fantasy Basho easier to play.
And now, the Banzuke: