All the rikishi have traveled south, to Kyushu, to participate in the last basho of this year in Fukuoka. It is the last chapter / tourney of 2017. Unfortunately there is little action regarding those rikishi switching to sekitori for November’s tournament. There is one rikishi returning to the paid ranks. There is one rikishi putting on the silk mawashi for the first time. Let’s start with the rikishi debuting in the paid ranks this November.
Our first timer is Takanosho. He was ranked Ms3e and notched 6 wins against just loss. He belongs to Chiganoura-beya. He is 22 years. If you look for his name on previous banzuke, you will find him listed as Masunosho. For the writer, I always find it cool when a newly promoted rikishi gets a new shikona. It emphases the accomplishment the young man has achieved.
His hometown is Kashiwa, Chiba. Unrelated fact, Kashiwa is home of the professional soccer team Kashiwa Reysol. More importantly the Kashiwa soccer stadium is where Ireland tied with Germany in the 2002 World Cup group play. Apologies, the writer was there, so Kashiwa always brings back found memories.
Our returnee is Takagenji from Takanohana-beya, His hometown is Oyama, in Tochigi perfecture. He is only 20 years old. At the Aki basho, he was ranked Ms1e, on the fringe of the paid ranks. He managed to squeak out from behind the curtain with a 4 win and 3 loss record. This is his 2nd promotion to juryo. His first appearance in front of the curtain was only at the 2017 Natsu basho.
What is really nice is that Takagenji is from Takanohana-beya. There was a time, when Takanohana oyakata was assigned the jugyo manager role within the koenkai, that pundits commented that it would weaken Takanohana oyakata’s ability to train his rikishi. Takagenji is an example that this predication was false. Takagenji joins his stablemates Takakeisho and Takanoiwa as sekitori at Fukuoka basho.
If two rikishi step in front of the curtain, then two must step behind. These two rikishi that turned in their silk mawashi for black cotton.
Kitaharima could only manage 5 wins, losing 10 bouts at the Aki basho. From J12e, he will most likely have fallen back into makushita. His highest rank was all the way to Maegashira 15, but it was a one basho visit. At 31 years old, he may be running out of juice for sekitori level performance. On average, 32 years old is the average retirement age of a rikishi.
Kizenryu lose 6 bouts, won 6 bouts, then had to drop out after that due to injury. It is sad, cause if he could have stayed in and won 2 out of 3, he would not be in this article. He has been in and out of of the paid ranks since he debuted back in Natsu basho 2013. Like Kitaharima, he is long in the tooth, at 32 years old.
In closing, please allow the writer to extend to all our readers a happy holiday! I look forward to discussing rikishi stepping out from behind the curtain next year, the year of the dog!