With the Japan Sumo Association’s release of the new rankings on Monday, grand champion Harumafuji finally finds himself at sumo’s true summit after his promotion to the prestigious east position in the elite makuuchi division.
The 28-year-old Harumafuji, who won his fifth career title at the New Year basho in January with his third 15-0 record, will sit at the top of the throne for the first time for the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament getting under way on March 10 at Bodymaker Colosseum.
Rival yokozuna Hakuho, who lost to Harumafuji on the final day in January and ended with a pedestrian 12-3 mark, has been relegated to the west wing for the first time since the 2010 January meet — ending his streak as sumo’s top gun at 18 consecutive meets.
Kisenosato retains his position on the east side in his second straight tournament to lead the four ozeki wrestlers, while Kakuryu will also be sharing the same locker room as his highly touted rival. Kotooshu and Kotoshogiku, who went 10-5 and 8-7, respectively, join Hakuho on the west side.
Sekiwake Goeido makes his sixth consecutive appearance in the east locker, but Estonian big man Baruto will have to press the restart button after failing in his bid to regain his ozeki status with an 8-7 mark in January, leaving him in the west sekiwake slot for the second straight tournament.
Tochiozan occupies the east komusubi position for the second meet in a row, while Aminishiki returns to sumo’s fourth-highest rank for the first time in two meets on the west wing.
There will be two new wrestlers joining the top division. Oiwato gained promotion, matching the second slowest pace in postwar history at 46 basho to reach the makuuchi class. Sotairyu is the first Fukushima-born wrestler in 13 years to join the upper echelon.