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Kyushu 2019 Day Five Recap

Kyushu has proven to be full of surprises and odd occurrences. Kyujo announcements have come at a pace of one per day (Day Four had none, but Day Five had two to make up for it). Ozeki look battered, some surprising rikishi are doing well, and each Torikumi has some result that looks totally wild.

We're one third of the way through, so let's try to make sense of all this.

4 wins

Y1w Hakuho

K2w Asanoyama

M2w Meisei

M6w Enho

M8w Sadanoumi

M9w Yutakayama

M10w Shodai

M16e Wakatakakage

That's right, an 8-way tie for the yusho lead after five days. No one is undefeated and still competing, after Wakatakakage had to withdraw. Shodai could have been, but lost to the previously winless Kotoshogiku on Day Five. Hakuho is still the favorite, of course, but things have been so wild that firm predictions seem like a fool's errand. He also hasn't been dominating.

Two things worth noting: 1) Asanoyama has already faced Hakuho, Takakeisho, and Hokutofuji, meaning he has built up some numbers against a tough slate. 2) This is silly, but Enho will not be able to face Hakuho, even though he is doing well and there are injuries above him. The two are stablemates.

Hakuho and Meisei see each other on Day Six. Yutakayama and Sadanoumi have already squared off. Otherwise we might see these gentlemen face one another just to thin the leaderboard.

3 wins

O2e Takakeisho

K2e Hokutofuji

M1e Daieisho

M4e Tamawashi

M4w Kotoyuki

M5e Aoiyama

M7e Tsurugisho

M8e Shohozan

M11w Chiyotairyu

M13e Chiyomaru

M13w Kagayaki

Of course, despite the 8-way tie for first, no one should discount those rikishi on three wins. The real issue with everyone here is that no one has looked consistently impressive. Hokutofuji has had his moments, but was manhandled by Asanoyama on Day Five. Daieisho has the tournament's one kinboshi and should see his schedule get much easier going forward, but he hasn't looked like a yusho winner.

Otherwise, you have a lot of up and down performances, with Takakeisho and Chiyotairyu being symbolic at opposite ends of the Banzuke. The newest Ozeki still seems to be finding his rhythm after not being able to practice between tournaments. Chiyotairyu, meanwhile, is trying to establish himself after a disappointing basho in September and a subsequent drop way down below his usual level. He's on a three match winning streak after dropping his first two.

2 wins

O1w Takayasu

S1e Mitakeumi

S1w Tochinoshin

K1e Abi

M1w Okinoumi

M2e Myogiryu

M3e Takarafuji

M5w Ryuden

M6e Onosho

M10e Shimanoumi

M12w Takanosho

M14e Terutsuyoshi

M14w Nishikigi

M15e Daishomaru

The round robin nature of sumo means that the rikishi in similar sections of the rankings can beat up on each other to no one's benefit. That's the case for most everyone on two wins. The real concerns come from the top. Takayasu is definitely still not comfortable using his left arm for anything sumo-related. Mitakeumi is clearly out of sorts. Tochinoshin is now out with a rib injury. Abi is much too wild to consistently do anything.

Yet the simple logic of sumo is that one guy will always have to win in a match. All any rikishi needs to do on their day is find the secret to winning by even a toe. And everyone on two wins is under .500 but also just two off the lead, so focusing on winning each match isn't just a cliche. It's a way to get back in the race.

1 win

K1w Endo

M7w Kotoeko

M9e Kotoshogiku

M11e Ishiura

M15w Daishoho

Sadogatake-beya mates Kotoeko and Kotoshogiku won on Day Five to make it so no competing rikishi has 0 losses in Makuuchi. That might be the best thing to say about anyone here. All five of these men are having a tournament from hell through five days and need to quickly figure out how to right the ship.

0 wins

Y1e Kakuryu

O1e Goeido

M3w Tomokaze

M12e Ichinojo

Everyone in this final group has withdrawn from the tournament due to injury. For Kakuryu and Goeido, they appear to be niggling injuries they hope they can get healed by January. Ichinojo is on the get-healthy-and-dominate-juryo plan for future success. The truly sad case is Tomokaze, whose knee injury looks to put him out of commission for a year or so.

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