The yobidashi (呼出 or 呼び出し) (announcer or beckoner) calls a professional sumo wrestler, or rikishi, to the dohyō (wrestling ring) immediately prior to his bout. He does this by calling the name of each wrestler fighting in turn whilst holding a traditional folding fan.
The yobidashi also build the clay wrestling ring (or dohyō) for tournaments and display competitions, and rings for the training stables. There is also a tradition of the yobidashi writing songs, called jinku, based on sumo life.
Like gyoji, yobidashi typically enter the sumo world as teenagers and work up a career ladder roughly based on the ranking system for wrestlers, as described until their retirement at 65. The current ranking system was created in July 1993 and consists of the following nine ranks:
Most of these ranks clearly follow those for the rikishi, or wrestlers, with the exception of the tate and fuku-tate ranks, which stand for chief and deputy chief, respectively. This system is identical to that applied for gyoji. Prior to July 1993, yobidashi were simply ranked first-class, second-class, etc.
Promotion through these ranks is based primarily on experience, although ability is also taken into account, particularly in promotions to the top ranks.
As from July 1993 the upper ranked yobidashi also had their names included on the banzuke, the ranking sheet produced prior to each honbasho. Apart from a brief period previously, only the gyoji had traditionally been included on the banzuke in addition to the wrestlers and their training stablemasters, or oyakata, again indicating the difference in status of the two jobs.