Time for another sumo tournament, this time being held in Osaka. I'll make this quick, but this is going to be a huge tournament. The first Japanese Yokozuna in ages having his debut will dwarf all of the other talking points throughout the tournament. First, the banzuke: Newcomers: There is only one wrestler making his debut in the top division this tournament, but what a wrestler he is. Fan favorite Ura will be stepping up and competing in the top division for the first time in his career. His style of sumo is extremely fun to watch, he pulls off amazing wins, and he obviously has good skills to go along with the flash. There's no question the top division will be tough for him, and he's starting off fairly high up at M12, but I think pretty much everyone will be rooting for him. Maegashira: Moving quickly through the Maegashira ranks, Myogiryu is ranked far too low for his skills. He's a great wrestler and I would have expected him to settle comfortably in the sanyaku ranks. The last winning record he got, though, was in last year's March tournament so he's in desperate need of a kachi-koshi. Ishiura's second tournament in the top division wasn't as memorable as his first, but that's perfectly understandable. His match against debuting Ura will draw a lot of eyes. Like Myogiryu, Tochiozan doesn't belong so low at M10 but he's been struggling a lot lately. While his former counterparts in the "Japanese Hope" club are getting huge promotions, he's struggling to remain relevant. Anything less than 10 wins will be underwhelming for him. After a lot of lackluster performances, Ichinojo finally had a pretty good tournament and it would be great to see him keep the momentum going. Sokokurai at M2 after a great performance in January... I never thought I would see the day and I couldn't be happier. Sanyaku: Mitakeumi returns to Komosubi after a great tournament, joining Shodai who is a first-time Komosubi after skipping over the rank when he was promoted to Sekitori the first time. Both are very young and early in their sumo careers, but have shown great promise. Sadly Kotoshogiku was demoted from Ozeki and now finds himself at the bottom of the Sekitori ranks. I would actually be surprised if he managed a winning record here, and I think getting his Ozeki rank back is really out of reach. I'd love to see it, but he's been struggling too much lately. Takayasu is coming into this tournament off of an 11-4 performance, so he could be at the start of an Ozeki run. He's strung together some good performances in the past to give him the chance to be promoted, but stumbled in the deciding tournament. I'd like to see him give it another go and I think he has the skills to do so. Tamawashi continues to impress considering the level of success he's having at this stage in his career. Ozeki: It's very strange to see only two Ozeki on the banzuke. Terunofuji is struggling with some obvious injuries but he still has the strength to hang on to his rank. He's kadoban this tournament though and in danger of being demoted, so he'll need to pull off a winning record again. If he does it, I don't expect it'll be easy for him. His counterpart Goeido barely got a winning record last tournament so he's not facing demotion yet, but he needs to put up better numbers. Yokozuna: Four Yokozuna.... The sport hasn't had this many guys occupying the top rank since I started watching although it hasn't been that long since the last four Yokozuna period. There were four Yokozuna at the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000, but they very rarely all competed at the same time. As I said, essentially all of the focus will be on Kisenosato for this tournament. A Yokozuna's debut tournament is often not that successful and I wouldn't expect him to get the championship here, but he's one of the most consistent competitors in the sport and his long time as an Ozeki will serve him well here I think. We've heard about the pressure being put on Harumafuji and I imagine Kakuryu is hearing much of the same. They could both really use a good tournament here. Finally, Hakuho is still the top dog, but he's looking a lot more shaky these days. He's nowhere near as dominant as he used to be, but I'm sure he still wants to show that he's still the best. If the championship is still up for grabs, his match with Kisenosato will be epic. ----------------------------- So there you go! Stay tuned to Kintamayama's YouTube Channel for daily highlights of the top division, and the taka sumo YouTube Channel for possible daily posts of the NHK digest of the top day's action (in Japanese). Also check out Robert Mensing's YouTube Channel for English versions of the NHK digest episodes (although I don't think they include all of the top division matches). Or go straight to the source, on NHK World's Sumo website. And as usual, for anyone who'll be watching the sport for the first time, please feel free to ask any questions you might have here and someone will try to answer them. Also be sure to check out my Introduction to SUMO thread for a brief (although quite outdated at this point) overview of the sport. Hakke-yoi!