Hakuho's retirement leaves sumo facing void at top

By Andrew McKIRDY

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"Sumo journalist Shoko Sato says the sport could soon find itself without a yokozuna for the first time since the period between May 1992 and January 1993."

Not to worry -- they'll force through an undeserving, unskilled wrestler like they did with that Japanese guy who was demoted a year later or so. Kakuryu? was it?

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I love sumo and just attended the Grand Tournament this past weekend, but I have to say there is no one who can beat Terunofuji right now. The current ozeki's are not dominant, and it's hard to keep track of the rest of the top rank as they get demoted on a regular basis.

It's entertaining to watch the individual bouts but there is no rising star and won't be for a long time.

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Surely the headline coupled with Hakuko’s depicted perspective in the accompanying photo had to be a specific, editorialchoice’?: - “Hakuho's facing void at top” - There are other, more dignified poses below that honor this man’s retirement.

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The Sumo Association made him sign an agreement on upholding the hallowed traditions and have given him the name Magaki 間垣.

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Its the end of an era. Since Asashoryu retired - 11 years ago! - he hasn't had anyone even remotely his equal.

I don't think sumo is going to go extinct, but the sport was lucky to have had Hakuho for so long since I think his dominance made it easier to overlook some of the long term problems the sport has. Japanese kids for the most part do not want to become sumo wrestlers so the best and brightest avoid joining it. And the revolving door of foreign pools of talent they've been able to tap - Hawaii, the Pacific islands, Mongolia - are a bit uncertain and tend to be driven by short term personal relationships (hence the lack of Pacific Islanders in the top ranks in recent years).

They'll probably find somebody to be the next star eventually, but it'll be all but impossible to produce anyone even remotely approaching Hakuho's stature, and I'm not sure how they'll keep interest up. Ignoring Kisenosato's BS promotion, they haven't had a Japanese yokozuna in decades, and I'm not sure how long the Japanese public will maintain interest in watching a bunch of Mongolians-who-aren't-anywhere-near-as-good-as-Hakuho compete against each other for tournament victories.

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@Fighto, do you really think he’s going back to Mongolia? He has a Japanese wife, and acquired Japanese citizenship two years ago. And now, as a citizen, can become a stable master.

I'd imagine he will split his time between the two countries like many Mongolian ex-Sumo. Having known quite a few, Mongolians are often homesick for their country! Cant see him becoming a stablemaster for a few years yet.

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@Fighto, do you really think he’s going back to Mongolia? He has a Japanese wife, and acquired Japanese citizenship two years ago. And now, as a citizen, can become a stable master.

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A very good wrestler, but it seems he went for 2 or 3 seasons too long.

Enjoy retirement in Mongolia, Hakuho!

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There is something overtly homoerotic about sumo. Though unique, in some aspects, it seemingly is headed to eventual extinction. The mere fact, the resemble NFL linemen in loincloths, is almost amusing.

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