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Makuuchi (幕内) or makunouchi (幕の内) is the top division of
This is the only division that is featured on
Makuuchi literally means "inside the curtain", a reference to the early period of professional sumo, when there was a curtained-off area reserved for the top ranked wrestlers to sit before appearing for their bouts.
Wrestlers are considered for
At the top fixed positions of the division are the, "titleholder" or
San'yaku (三役) literally means "the three ranks", even though it actually comprises four ranks. The discrepancy arose because the yokozuna was traditionally regarded as an ōzeki with a special license to wear a particular rope around his waist and perform a distinctive ring entry ceremony. In modern use san'yaku has a somewhat flexible definition. This is largely because the top two ranks of yokozuna and ōzeki have distinctive differences from the lower two ranks and from each other. Therefore, a reference to san'yaku can sometimes mean only the bottom three ranks, or in other cases only sekiwake and komusubi.
There must be at least one sekiwake and komusubi on each side of the
There are a number of privileges and responsibilities associated with the san'yaku ranks. Any wrestler who reaches one of them is entitled to purchase one of the membership shares in the
The san'yaku can be split into two groups: The senior yokozuna and ōzeki, and junior sekiwake and komusubi.
The former group have special promotion criteria and higher salaries, and have additional perks such as a higher number of junior wrestlers to assist them, an entitlement to park in the Sumo Association compound and voting rights in the election for Association directors. Senior yokozuna and ōzeki also have added responsibilities. They are expected to represent wrestler views to the Association, assist in advertising events and meet event sponsors.
The latter group, sekiwake and komusubi, have lesser responsibilities and are still eligible for one of the three special prizes, or