Sanshō (sumo)

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The Fighting Spirit sanshō prize in May 2023.

Sanshō (三賞, lit: three prizes) are the three special prizes awarded to top (Makuuchi) division sumo wrestlers for exceptional performance during a sumo honbasho or tournament. The prizes were first awarded in November 1947.

Criteria[edit]

All wrestlers in the top division below the rank of ōzeki are eligible. In order to be considered for a special prize a rikishi must make a kachi-koshi or majority of wins during the tournament. Among eligible rikishi, the prize winners are decided by a panel which includes press writers covering the tournament. There is no requirement that the prizes must be awarded, and it sometimes happens that one or more of the sanshō are not given. It is also common for an award to be awarded to more than one wrestler.

The three prizes are

  • Shukun-shō (殊勲賞), Outstanding Performance prize
  • Kantō-shō (敢闘賞), Fighting Spirit prize
  • Ginō-shō (技能賞), Technique prize

Typically the Ginō-shō is awarded to a wrestler or wrestlers who display the most skillful kimarite, or techniques; the Shukun-shō is awarded to a wrestler who defeats the yokozuna or the eventual tournament winner, or who otherwise displays outstanding performance relative to his rank; and the Kantō-shō to a wrestler who has most clearly fought tenaciously and to the best of his abilities. The Ginō-shō is considered the most prestigious, and is also the prize most often not awarded at all: in 1988, it was withheld for five consecutive tournaments.[1] However each award is worth the same amount of money, two million yen.

It is a de facto standard that a newly promoted makuuchi wrestler who manages a 10-5 or better record in his first tournament will be awarded a sanshō, normally the Fighting Spirit prize. Similarly a wrestler newly promoted to the san'yaku ranks above maegashira who achieves a 10-5 record can expect a prize for his efforts.

The three additional sanshō plaques (on the front) awarded by the Tokyo Shimbun in 2009.

There is no minimum or maximum limit to the number of sanshō that may be given. It is not uncommon for more than one wrestler to be awarded the same prize, and similarly there are occasions when one of the three sanshō titles is not awarded at all. For example, it is unlikely that the Shukun-shō will be awarded if the tournament is won 15-0 by a lone yokozuna.[citation needed]

Sanshō are announced before the final day's matches, sometimes with a condition that the wrestler must win their last bout to receive the prize. For example, Wakatakakage received the Technique Prize in March 2022 unconditionally but had to win his last match and take the championship with a 13-2 record to also receive the Outstanding Performance prize.[2] He lost the match and even though he went on to win the championship in a playoff shortly afterwards, was not given the Shukun-shō.

In July 2023 eight sanshō were awarded in total, the most ever, while at others only one has been presented (most recently in September 2023). The September 2018 tournament marked the first time since the introduction of sanshō in 1947 that none of the three prizes were awarded at all.[3]

Sanshō sweeps[edit]

On a few rare occasions, one wrestler has been awarded all three prizes simultaneously for his performance. This accolade has been given on only five separate occasions to five different wrestlers.

Tournament Wrestler Rank Record
July 1973 Daiju Hisateru Sekiwake 13-2
Sept 1973 Ōnishiki Ittetsu Maegashira 11 11-4
Jan 1992 Takanohana Kōji Maegashira 2 14-1
July 1999 Dejima Takeharu Sekiwake 13-2
Nov 2000 Kotomitsuki Keiji Maegashira 9 13-2

*record in bold indicates wrestler also took championship

In September 2001, Kotomitsuki, in his championship tournament, came very close to being the only wrestler to receive all three prizes twice, but the Fighting Spirit prize went to then maegashira Asashōryū.[4]

Active special prize winners[edit]

This is a list of active wrestlers who have been awarded special prizes in their careers.
Note: Yokozuna and Ōzeki are not awarded special prizes

Total Sanshō Name Outstanding
Performance
Fighting
Spirit
Technique Last awarded
12 Takayasu 4 6 2 2022-11
10 Mitakeumi 6 1 3 2022-1
9 Terunofuji 3 3 3 2021-3
7 Daieishō 5 0 2 2023-3
7 Shōdai 1 6 0 2020-9
7 Takakeishō 3 2 2 2019-3
6 Kotonowaka 0 5 1 2024-1
6 Asanoyama 2 3 1 2019-11
6 Endō 1 1 4 2021-5
6 Myōgiryū 0 0 6 2021-9
5 Aoiyama 0 4 1 2021-3
5 Abi 1 4 0 2022-11
4 Kirishima 0 1 3 2023-5
4 Ōnoshō 1 3 0 2018-11
4 Tamawashi 2 1 1 2022-9
4 Wakatakakage 0 0 4 2022-9
3 Takanoshō 1 2 0 2022-5
3 Hōshōryū 0 1 2 2023-7
3 Hokutofuji 0 1 2 2023-7
2 Meisei 1 1 0 2023-5
2 Ryūden 0 1 1 2019-5
2 Sadanoumi 0 2 0 2022-5
2 Shimanoumi 0 2 0 2020-11
2 Tobizaru 1 1 0 2022-9
2 Hakuōhō 0 1 1 2023-7
2 Atamifuji 0 2 0 2023-11
2 Wakamotoharu 1 0 1 2024-1
1 Enhō 0 0 1 2019-7
1 Kinbōzan 0 1 0 2023-3
1 Kotoshōhō 0 1 0 2023-1
1 Kyokutaisei 0 1 0 2018-5
1 Midorifuji 0 0 1 2021-1
1 Nishikifuji 0 1 0 2022-7
1 Takarafuji 0 1 0 2016-7
1 Terutsuyoshi 0 1 0 2019-7
1 Tomokaze 1 0 0 2019-7
1 Tsurugishō 0 1 0 2019-9
1 Ura 0 0 1 2021-11
1 Nishikigi 1 0 0 2023-7
1 Gōnoyama 0 1 0 2023-7
1 Shōnannoumi 0 1 0 2023-7
1 Ichiyamamoto 0 1 0 2023-11
1 Ōnosato 0 1 0 2024-1

[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharnoff, Lora (1993). Grand Sumo. Weatherhill. p. 98. ISBN 0-8348-0283-X.
  2. ^ "【三賞】殊勲賞13勝2敗で優勝すれば若隆景 敢闘賞は高安と琴ノ若 技能賞は若隆景 (Special Prizes: Outstanding Performance award to Wakatakage with 13 wins and 2 losses, Fighting Spirit award to Takayasu and Kotonowaka, Technque Award to Wakatakakage)". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 27 March 2022. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Sumo: Grand champion Hakuho wins Autumn meet with perfect record". The Mainichi. 23 September 2018. Archived from the original on 24 September 2018.
  4. ^ Doitsuyama. "Banzuke Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  5. ^ "Find Rikishi".

External links[edit]