The art of watching sumo – The July 2024 Tournament

Sumo NHK World Japan Yokozuna Dosukoi

The 2024 summer sumo tournament will take place from Sunday 14 July to Sunday 28 July in Nagoya.

At only 24 years old, he has already made sumo history by winning the Emperor’s Cup in record time. Never before has a wrestler achieved such a feat. In July, Onosato will reach the rank of sekiwake, barely one year after his sumo debut. The May champion’s rate of progress is the second fastest of the Showa era. The new star of the dohyo has expressed his desire to continue his ascent. If he delivers another exceptional performance, he could already be promoted to ozeki; a departure from the conditions that usually require three.
Despite his lack of professional experience, his great maturity could propel him quickly to the top of the rankings.

sumo rankings banzuke

At the top of the pyramid is the title of yokozuna — once earned, it lasts for life. To achieve this supreme rank you already need to be an ozeki, then win two consecutive tournaments. Unlike other titles a yokozuna cannot lose his title even if he is defeated. However, if his defeats continue he will have to resign to preserve his dignity.  

The rank of ozeki comes just below that of yokozuna. Appointed at a full extraordinary meeting, he needs to have accumulated 33 victories during the previous three tournaments to be worthy of the title. If his defeats outnumber his wins he does not lose his rank immediately but becomes kadoban. To earn back his titlethe ozeki must score eight wins at the following tournament. 

While Onosato progresses towards the rank of sekiwake, his comrade Kirishima is moving in the opposite direction. The Mongolian must now secure at least 10 wins to regain his ozeki status. Takakeisho, back in the saddle after his absence in May, will also need to win the majority of his matches to retain his rank. If either of these wrestlers fails, Onosato’s chances of promotion will increase.
The Nagoya tournament will mark the return of several familiar faces who had been relegated to the lower divisions due to inadequate results or injuries. Thus, Wakatakakage, Endo, Chiyoshoma, Kagayaki and Bushozan will rejoin the top division. With so many twists and turns and new talent, the sumo world is in a state of upheaval. The Nagoya tournament promises to be gripping, with new rivalries and champions in the making. Fans are eagerly awaiting to see if Onosato and the other rising stars will continue to shine and rewrite the history of this ancient sport.

Yohann Valdenaire
Illustration: POSTICS

To ensure you miss none of the action, visit the NHK WORLD-JAPAN website from 14 July, where edited highlights will be broadcast.


Watch the tournament from 14 to 28 July 2024 in Nagoya.