Poll Plain & Simple: Do you believe Harumafuji can gain the Yokozuna promotion after the Aki Basho?

Harumafuji, with his Zen Yusho in Nagoya, has once again positioned himself for a chance at Yokozuna promotion at the Aki Basho. Can he manage it? Share your thoughts in the comments. If you have facebook vote here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sumo-Stogies/177037952333041 

Otherwise, again, we’ll use our vote for the crowd’s favorite.

3 responses to “Poll Plain & Simple: Do you believe Harumafuji can gain the Yokozuna promotion after the Aki Basho?

  1. I’m sorry that I glutted up the plain and simple with my own complicated theory. I think Harumafuji knows that he can have a long career as an Ozeki – challenging for yusho occasionally and citing injuries when he only wins 8 (3 times in the last 6 basho – actually). But the moment he takes on the title of Yokozuna that all changes and he’ll be expected to be in yusho contention every single time.

    I know there have been eras of 3 Yokozuna at a time – and a lone one may be an anomaly – but they were cracking off 12s and 13s on a pretty consistent basis. (I honestly have only been following sumo 3 years so I have to sumoreference back to the early-mid 90s)

    We’ve become accustomed to the Asashoryu-Hakuho dominance and expect our yusho to be won with 14 or 15. Asa has been gone a while now and for a long time no one stepped up. Hakuho ran rough-shod over everyone. But he’s human and some injuries have exposed the fact that he can be beaten. He’s still the best and a favorite in every upcoming tournament – but others know they have a chance.

    That said, the pay bump from Ozeki to Yokozuna is like – 20%? Which is nice to be sure. But you have to factor in responsibility with glory. I think Bart knew he wasn’t Yokozuna material and Harumafuji knew he wasn’t last time too (he came back with an 8-7).

    I predict Harumafuji with 9 or 10 wins in September. (And I predicted him to WIN July!) If he wins more than 10 I see him losing one in the first five so that the pressure is off.

    I think the next Yokozuna will be a hard-charger – not someone who has been in top division for 4 or 5 years already. There is enough parity amongst the Ozeki that they will cancel each other out. It will be a Myogiryu or Jokoryu or Tatsu or some other young buck who will only spend a year or less at Ozeki – because he just doesn’t know any better!

    My 2 yen…

  2. Great point Chris, and no worries about the poll. We left it open for other options for this very reason. I recall reading similar thoughts/ideas last time Harumafuji had this chance. It certainly might be devastating for his career, especially if he sustained another injury. If he’s healthy it might be a different story, but that’s a pretty big if considering the size of his competition.

    I personally agree with your other claim as well about the next Yokozuna. I think it will be a younger riksihi who will battle through to the top rather quickly. Once we see how Harumafuji plays his cards will move on to “next yokozuna prospects.”

  3. Can he? Yes. Will he? Unlikely. Should he even want to? No. As Chris pointed out, and has discussed before, being promoted to yokozuna would shorten Harumafuji’s career drastically. He’s been an ozeki for 21 basho, during which he was won the yusho three times (with 15 wins last time and 14 the two times before that). After that though, it’s quite a drop, as he has never won 13 or 12. Ideally a yokozuna should be turning in basho of at least 12 wins pretty consistantly: Harumafuji is 3 for 21 at this as an ozeki.

    Assuming the JSA would cut him some slack because of how it has screwed up things recently (undeserved promotions, Asashoryu’s forced retirement, a lackluster investigation of bout fixing, several lackluster investigations of oyaka abuse or rikishi, etc.) so that Harumafuji wouldn’t face much criticism for any double digit wins, he has won 11 victories 2 times and 10 victories 5 times. So out of the 19 basho in which he has been ozeki, he has won double digit victories 10 out of the 21 times. Houston, we have a problem….

    Moreover, he’s 28 now. Does anyone expect that the years 28-31 are going to be physically easier for him than 25-28 were? (In baseball it would be close, but in sumo, with it’s relentless schedule and the physical pounding a body takes, younger is clearly an advantage.) Harumafuji in incredibly adept — perhaps an even more inventive tactician than Hakuho (but of course due to his lesser size he has to be. Harumafuji also has the heart of a lion — if he has a hand on the mawashi it’s almost impossible to shake him off. He doesn’t have the size or strength of a yokozuna though, and honestly, it’s difficult to imagine other sekitori fear him. With the possible exception of Hakuho, it’s best for all concerned if Harumafuji remains an ozeki.

    I know he got a ran the table at Nagoya, but I also remember he was 7-7 going into the final day at Natsu. I love Ama, but when I look at him I don’t see someone who deserves to be a yokozuna.

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