The oyakata ranks divide into ten groups:

Title Position Number Income per Year (2006/07)
Rijicho Chairman 1 20,870,000 Yen
Riji Executive Director 9+2 *) 20,870,000 Yen
Kanji/Fukuriji Director 3+2 **) 18,450,000 Yen
Sodan Yaku Counselor -- 15,210,000 Yen
Yakuin Taigu Executive Officer 4 ***) 15,210,000 Yen
Iin Senior Officer -- 15,210,000 Yen
Shunin Officer -- 13,090,000 Yen
Iin Taigu Toshiyori Acting Senior Officer -- 12,180,000 Yen
Toshiyori Junior Officer -- 12,180,000 Yen
Jun Toshiyori ****) Junior Officer (w/o Kabu) max. 5 12,180,000 Yen

No number given: Neither top nor bottom limit.

*) 9 internal plus 2 external ones.
**) 3 internal (called "Fukuriji") plus 2 external (called "Kanji" -- this rank is regarded a bit higher) ones.
***) Number may vary during the years.
****) Rank abolished in December 2006.

The Rijikai (board of directors) is elected every two years, around Febrary 1st in even years. Allowed to vote are all oyakata, the two tate gyoji (chief referees) Kimura Shonosuke and Shikimori Inosuke and four representatives of the active rikishi. They elect 10 Riji and 3 Kanji. Then the Riji elect the Rijicho among them. Rijikai elections are usually dead races. By some strange powers :-) the votes are spread equally among the candidates, and there are just as many candidates as posts. Real competition is rare, and if it occurs, negotiations will make sure that it is restricted to a minimum level.

The Yakuin Taigu (officially: Yakuin Taigu Iin, "executive equivalent Iin") are elected among the Iin. They are officially not part of the Rijikai, but only special ranked Iin. Some of these posts are usually reserved for former Riji or Kanji, who will retire soon. The post Sodan Yaku ("counselor, advisor") is reserved for retiring Rijicho only. They aren't official members of the board of directors any more, too.

The ranks from Iin below are basically the same: They are oyakata without any special position in the Kyokai. The rank depends on time of service, record as active and also ownership (or not) of the kabu. Takanohana (Ichidai Toshiyori) was allowed to start as Iin at once, while Tatsutagawa (former Minatofuji) or Otake (former Takatoriki) had to start as Toshiyori, the latter one even being head of a heya!

Those who go into their grace period to find a kabu and use the name they had as rikishi in the meantime are always Jun Toshiyori. Oyakata, who don't own their kabu but have only rent it, are always Toshiyori. (Note: This applies only to loans after August 2004.) The difference in these ranks is described best by the American university faculty ranks:

Which means: They basically do the same, just the salary is different. Only Iin are eligible for Shimpan (judge) duties. The Shimpan Iin are listed in the banzuke not in the last line where all other oyakata are, but in the middle column below the gyoji (referees).

With the Kyokai being such a big organization, there occur the strange "intermediate ranks" that base on different promotion schedules for need, age, time of service, available money or prestige (yes!). Some outstanding officers are promoted too early or to late, as you prefer. Which gives us:

Currently three oyakata are at this rank: Tamanoi (former Tochiazuma), Onaruto (former Dejima) and Sanoyama (former Chiyotaikai). They have the rights of Iin and are listed so everywhere (e.g. in the official Sumo Directory). The only exception to this rule is the banzuke: Here they appear as the highest ranked Toshiyori. Furiwake (former Musashimaru) was Iin Taigu Toshiyori, too, as long as his oyakata name had been Musashimaru (during his five-years grace period). After he had loaned Furiwake-kabu he was put at the end of the Toshiyori list (as newest kabu borrower).

Effective 2008 September 30 there have been appointed two external Riji and one external Kanji, im August 2010 another Kanji. Their income (if any) is not known to date.