STUMP » Articles » SUMOvember: the tournament is coming! » 6 November 2022, 16:31

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

SUMOvember: the tournament is coming!  


6 November 2022, 16:31

It’s a week until the last Grand Sumo tournament of the year, so let’s get pumped up!

Time to update the graph

I’ve decided to keep my sumo scatterplot updated, now that I know to go to the official source for the banzuke and stats.

For the newbies – the banzuke is the ranking table for the tournament (it’s a little more than that — ancillary people such as the referees, called the gyoji, are also listed.) When fans refer to the banzuke, we’re generally talking about the ranking the wrestlers are at. Wrestlers, called rikishi, go up and down the banzuke based on their performance at the prior tournament as well as how others do.

I cross-reference against other English-speaking sumo fans, such as Fred Pinkerton, who also keep stats and visualizations. Fred makes a slope line graph to show people go up and down (boy, Abi really fell down), and notations such as who won, who is on the brink of losing status (ozeki is a special high position that one can lose in a particular way, and the “kadoban” marking on Shodai indicates that he’s in danger of losing that special status if he has a losing record in the November tournament. Shodai has gone kadoban before — most recently at the July tournament.)

Okay, enough jibber-jabber.

Graph time!

That’s really busy with all the wrestlers graphed at once. So let me split it up into three groups.

Top ranks – Sanyaku

I graphed the top-ranked wrestler, Terunofuji, who is on the banzuke (and will always be), but he just had surgery on both of his knees. He is likely to miss several tournaments. Terunofuji is one of the tallest wrestlers (but not the tallest, currently), and pretty massive. But not the most massive — that’s Ichinojo.

Ichinojo is not in Sanyaku. Those are the top ranks — Yokozuna, Ozeki, Sekiwake, Komusubi.

Sekiwake and Komusubi one can go up and down into (and recent Ozeki Mitakeumi just dropped down into Sekiwake), but Ozeki is difficult to get into, and Yokozuna is well-nigh impossible. Once Terunofuji retires, there may be no Yokozuna for a long time. We’ll see.

I want to note particular wrestlers — Tamawashi won the last tournament. Many call him the Iron Man — at 37 years old, he’s pretty old for an active wrestler at the top division. He’s never missed a bout due to injury (he did have to bow out due to COVID in July). He was just promoted to Sekiwake.

Note Tobizaru — the flying monkey (which is the literal meaning of his wrestling name) – he is pretty short and light for top division, but here he is in sanyaku. Wakatakakage is similarly light, but he’s tall (about 6 feet tall).

Anyway, with no Yokozuna fighting this tournament, and such a diversity of sumo styles and sizes of top wrestlers — this is going to be an exciting tournament, I bet.

Top Maegashira wrestlers

The top Maegashira ranks have a lot of interesting wrestlers. It’s got my personal fave, Ura, who is just a delight.

He pulled one of the most insane moves in the last tournament:

He beat the Yokozuna in September, too:

But that’s not why the fans love him:

grabbed from SumoMemes subreddit, user EtienneFlyte

He is just a smiley boy, and as Stu & I say – Bumbles Bounce. He seems to always tumble out of the ring into the audience, even when he wins. And, as many people have observed, he just seems to be so happy to be doing sumo.

He is so full of joy and lights up everybody else.

M03 (his current ranking in the banzuke) is about his ceiling, it seems. He has bad knees, though he has some fabulous techniques. As you can see from my graph, he’s quite short — like Takakeisho, he’s 175 cm tall, which is about 5’9”. That’s not the shortest of the rikishi, but it’s still pretty short. Even with the crap knees, he’s super-flexible and can do these amazing saves at the edge of the ring.

Bottom Maegashira wrestlers

The bottom Maegashira ranks are where the Juryo wrestlers come in (and where losing wrestlers fall into Juryo fall from).

There are three new guys in the top division for November: Azumaryu, Kagayaki, Atamifuji

Stu & I like calling the last guy the Atomic Mountain. Lots of sumo fans like coming up with nicknames for wrestlers.

Atamifuji is solidly (and yeah, that’s solid) in the mass of “big guy” sumo wrestlers — his BMI is 51.7.

Kagayaki is a tall drink of water. He’s the tallest of all the Makuuchi wrestlers, at 193 cm (about 6’4”), but “only” 155 kg (about 384 lbs). His BMI, 41.6, puts him at 34 out of the 42 wrestlers.

Azumaryu is a little shorter than Kagayaki.


Above, I’m just graphing the top group of wrestlers – the Makuuchi division. The next division down is Juryo, and that’s also worth watching:

Enho is the smallest sumo wrestler out there, but as you can see from my graph, there are a few relatively small guys, both in stature and weight, who can wrestle with the really big boys.


Sumo Kaboom! is a podcast by two sisters in Texas — my favorite sumo podcast. They have a sumo bingo game (and I won once and got some fun sumo stuff, including an Ura card! Woo!) I’ve got Sumo Kaboom socks!

They recently interviewed Murray Johnson, one of the English language sumo commentators at NHK World:

Also, they had a really fun episode on kappas with Cryptids of the Corn, a sumo-related cryptid — it’s hilarious. Lots of laughs.

The other Movember

This has nothing to do with sumo (other than this is all men) — just doing a quick plug for my Movember fundraiser:

Here’s today’s pic:

Mind you, Stu and I have hair on our heads underneath these hair wraps. We were just having a bit of fun. It is a bit easier to smile once the hair comes back.