Sumo wrestler characteristics

data wrangling
data visualization
Sumo wrestling data 1957-2023.

Jack Fay, A.J. Dykstra, and Ivan Ramler


June 29, 2023


The Banzuke is a ranking system used in Japanese sumo wrestling to determine the order and matchups for tournaments. In the Makuuchi Banzuke division, which is the top division, the history can be traced back to the 18th century. The Banzuke lists the wrestlers’ ranks, names, stables, and more in a hierarchical order based on their performance and records in previous tournaments. Over the years, the Makuuchi Banzuke has evolved, incorporating changes in the number of ranks and divisions. Today, it plays a crucial role in organizing and structuring sumo tournaments, reflecting the wrestlers’ skill, rank, and accomplishments in the sport.


The data set has 15760 rows with 10 columns. Each row represents an appearance of a sumo wrestler in the Makuuchi Banzuke, Japan’s most elite sumo wrestling division. The data dates from 1957 through mid 2023 and is comprised of multiple Bashos (tournaments) each year. An addition to the standard columns of wrestler names and records, the data contains many other metrics pertaining to each wrestlers birth place and physical stature.

Variable Description
Rank Rank of the wrestler in the Basho
Rikishi The ring name of a the sumo wrestler
Heya The establishment where a wrestler trains
Shusshin The birthplace, or place of origin of the wrestler
Birth Date The birth date of the wrestler
height_cm The height of the wrestler at the time of the event in centimeters
weight_kg The weight of the wrestler at the time of the even in kilograms
wins Amount of wins in the specific Basho
losses Amount of losses in the specific Basho
ties Amount of ties in the specific Basho


  • Which place of origin has resulted in the most sumo wrestlers?
  • Which wrestlers train at Kataonami?
  • Which wrestlers have the highest win percentage?
  • Which wrestlers have had the most successful careers?


Sumo Reference - Alexander Nitschke

The Sumo Matchup Centuries In The Making - FiveThirtyEight