It's time for the first sumo tournament of 2015! As always, it will be interesting to see how the year starts, as this promises to be a year where at least one big record will be broken. Will Hakuho be able to top Taiho's yusho record in the first tournament of the year? Let's start off by looking at the first banzuke for 2015: * Maegashira: I don't believe there are any rikishi making their top division debuts this tournament, but there are a few notable guys making their return to the top division. First and foremost, ranked all the way at the bottom at M16 West, is Tosayutaka. He's been out of the top division for 18 tournaments, and he now holds the record for the top division return from the lowest rank (all the down in Sandanme 84 before he started climbing back to the top). I'm sure it won't be an easy tournament, even ranked at the bottom, but it's great to see Tosayutaka make his way back to the top division and I'll certainly be rooting for him. Also making his return to Makuuchi, although after only two tournaments in Juryo, is my main man Tokitenku. He won the Juryo yusho in November, and although he's certainly well past his prime I'd love to see him get a winning record. It'll be tough for him though, as it's been quite a while since his last winning record in the top division, and I'd guess he'll go 7-8 or something. Joining him at M13 is Egyptian Osunaarashi who has been struggling with injuries lately and will be hoping to get back some of the momentum he had built up. He should be able to do well at this low rank, even with injuries. M11 has two of the most exciting guys in sumo, for my money, in Yoshikaze and Shohozan. One rank higher we have Chinese Sokokurai who will be competing at a career high rank. I'm a big fan of his, and he's been showing some good sumo lately so it would be great to see him get a winning record. Myogiryu at M8 is working his way back up the ranks, and I think he should be able to do well this tournament. Sumo's ironman Kyokutenho is still beating guys far younger than him, and even picked up a special prize last tournament. It's hard to count him out these days, and he's done well at a similar rank relatively recently. Japanese star Endo will be looking to build off of the momentum he picked up from a good tournament last time around, and aiming for an eventual sanyaku promotion. And Tochinoshin is coming off of a very successful return to the top division and surely has his eyes set on the sanyaku ranks as well. * Komosubi and Sekiwake: West Komosubi Tochiozan will be trying to cement his place in the upper ranks. He had looked quite comfortable there starting in 2013 but was demoted and has worked his way back up in two tournaments. His counterpart, Takayasu is coming off a great tournament, with two wins over Yokozuna which included his first win over Hakuho. Both Ichinojo and Aoiyama were able to hold on to their Sekiwake ranks with 8-7 records and it would be great to see them improve their records a bit. Again it seems like Ichinojo's preparation for this tournament hasn't been the greatest and hopefully he's still able to perform well. * Ozeki: Two of the Ozeki will be coming into this tournament with a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Goeido and Kotoshogiku are both kadoban after getting losing records last tournament, meaning if they get losing records again they'll be demoted and lose their rank. Unfortunately I think there's a fairly decent chance that one of them will end up with a losing record this time, but we'll see. Kisenosato, on the other hand, will be sitting comfortably at the top of the Ozeki ranks and as usual try to pick up a few big wins over the Yokozuna. He still needs to turn it up a notch, and start being a viable yusho contender up until the final few days. * Yokozuna: It's the same old story with Harumafuji. He needs to avoid picking up the early losses that effectively take him out of the yusho race in the first week. Kakuryu is really doing a great job improving lately, and he just needs to keep it up. Hakuho just needs to keep doing what he's doing too, and barring some unforeseen injury or scandal or something, he'll be on track to make history this year. -------------------------- So there we go! I assume Araibira/p^2 (his Vimeo page) won't be uploading videos this tournament, but feel free to check those links for plenty of great sumo action. Stay tuned to Kintamayama's YouTube Channel for daily highlights of the top division. 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 slightly outdated at this point) overview of the sport. Hakke-yoi!