sumo

Mongolian Kakuryu promoted to rank of yokozuna

21 Comments

Japan's sumo authority on Wednesday promoted a Mongolian wrestler to the top rank, consolidating the land-locked nation's grip on the ancient sport.

The sumo association unanimously approved the promotion of 28-year-old Kakuryu to the rank of yokozuna, or grand champion, after he crashed through his opponents with a 14-1 record at the most recent tournament.

He joins two other Mongolians who are also at the sport's highest level.

"I will devote myself to practising and make earnest efforts so that I will not disgrace the name of yokozuna," said the 186-centimeter Kakuryu, whose real name is Mangaljalav Anand.

Grand champions in the tradition-steeped sport are expected not only to perform in the ring, but also to be role models.

Kakuryu, who tips the scales at a substantial 154 kilograms is the 71st yokozuna and sixth non-Japanese to hold the much respected title.

His promotion, which came after the spring tournament finished in Osaka on Sunday, means all three yokozuna are Mongolian.

© (c) 2014 AFP

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21 Comments
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Congratulations Kakuryu !

6 ( +8 / -2 )

after he crashed through his opponents with a 14-1 record at the most recent tournament

While I welcome his promotion, his bouts with fellow yokozuna Mongolians Hakuho and Harumafuji were hardly honest bouts, with both of the yokozuna clearly not giving 100 percent against Kakuryu, nor with their bouts with ozeki Kotoshogiku in order to hand the Japanese ozeki his kachikoshi before he faced Kakuryu on the last day.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If Kakuryu were not a sumo wrestler, I would hire him as my bookkeeper. They guy is so steady that even when he loses, it's seldom due to a mistake. (Most of his bouts, whether victories or losses, end with him still standing.) That makes him less exciting (or more predictable) than the other two yokozuna, but he's a very competent practitioner of the sport.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Daijoboots both yokozuna were injured, i'll bet next basho it will be not so easy for kakuryu.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Congratulations to Kakuryu for a well deserved yokozuna promotion.

Still I wonder whether the 'Japan Sumo Association' should change to 'Mongolian Sumo Association' or for a starter have at least one annual tournament in Ulaan Baatar.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

i think sumo is going to continue to lose its popularity until there is a japanese yokozuna. but it seems there is a fat chance of that happening anytime soon. as asashoryu wisely said, the mongols are just hungrier for the battles, while the japanese sumo wrestlers are too soft. it seems like their great hope is placed in Endo.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Almost all Mongolian's faces are like Japanese, not much difference but Japanese really don't have guts. Probably very hard harsh trainings until retire.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What does the fact that Mongolia is land-locked have to do with Sumo?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Daijoboots both yokozuna were injured, i'll bet next basho it will be not so easy for kakuryu.

@Dennis Bauer yes there will be no need for special favours then either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

that was such an exciting match agains Hakuho. All the best to Kakuryu's future

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Congratulations to Kakuryu!

No-one has yet commented though that Kakuryu is ironically a beneficiary of a relaxation in the rules introduced to try and conjure a Japanese yokozuna to keep punters in their seats.

Previously, one basically had to win two consecutive tournaments to gain promotion to yokozuna although there was a provision for counting a non-win as a win by invoking the "a performance equivalent to victory" (yusho ni junzuru seiseki) rule.

With the sumo association desperate for a Japanese yokozuna, Kisenosato was deemed to have achieved "a performance equivalent to victory" even though he has never achieved a better record than 13-2 and has never even won a single tournament. Suddenly, doubtless at the behest of the sumo association publicity machine, sumo reports were discussing promoting someone without a prior championship as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Having relaxed the criteria for Kisenosato and announced in advance that he would be promoted if he won just once (ignoring the fact that the deliberation committee is supposed to meet and decide), the association were forced to extend the same privilege to Kakuryu when he caught then by surprise by coming from nowhere.

His record in 2013 was 8-7, 8-7, 10-5, 10-5, 9-6 and 9-6 so, as you can see, when association relaxed the criteria, the last thing they were expecting was three Mongolian yokozuna.

Personally, I do not care about the nationality of the yokozuna, but there is a lesson here for the sumo association - when you bend the rules you never know when it will come back and bite you.

The lack of media commentary on the above narrative (which is quite clear to anyone following the sport) is also revealing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Congratulations to Kakuryu! You make Sumo as an international sport now. Maybe Sumo will spread like Karate, Judou. Baseball and many other international sports soon.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sumo has been an "international" sport for quite a while now. Since the Hawaiian 'invasion" and the birth of the first foreign passport holding yokozuna, the great Akebono ! Hakkeyoi ! Omedetou, Kakuryu !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kurobuneL Not in Las Vegas area. Never Sumo matches in any arenas in Vegas. Sport game promoters this area don't know what sumo is. This means you have to omit USA in your definition ot International.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bout time for another yokozuna besides old Hakuho!

And finally some sumo news on JT! I bet this is the last sumo news on JT for a while...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Jpn_guy - thanks for the info. Interesting - I didn't realise Kakuryu's recent record was so ordinary. If they had brought in those rule changes a few years ago, Kotooshu wouldve been promoted to Yokozuna too.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

toshiko - With all due respect, you are completely wrong ! Sumo last visited Las Vegas in 2005 as part of the city's Centennial Celebration ! I am almost sure there was another time, about twenty years or so before that, but I cannot recall exactly ! Also, Hawaii is a state included in the union of the United States last time I checked. This means we have to include the USA in our definition of international ! HAKKEYOI !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

of course it's international. Sumo's just a form of wrestling, if you ignore the religious aspect. We have Cumberland wrestling in England, they have Glima in Iceland; it's all wrestling and has been practised everywhere since the dark ages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kurobune: There are 5 sport channels in Las Vegas area (Clark County(. One is for Angels and on for Dogers. those ee55 channels never had Sumo games. (I checked these channels) There are otherr channels televise other sport events. It is not international game yet. Have you visited local Sumo Kogyo in Japan? At the front Kanjinmoto's family sit and having food goody goody in Jubako. One Yokozuna and one Sekiwaki use their mansion's rooms as their sleeping rooms before next day games. Once in a while here, criminal court procedure of OJ Simpson,. Never Sumo news at all,
1 ( +1 / -0 )

I will limit my comments on this matter to this final post.. I lived in Japan for more than twenty years. I was fortunate enough to have several great friendships in the Sumo Association and because of that have been able to attend both "hon-basho" and "jungyo" tours throughout Japan. I even attended the sumo tour of Hawaii 1993. There have been exhibition tours and trips to Hawaii, (at least twice) Spain, England, Paris, New York, Brazil and others in Asia that I am forgetting, I am sure. Some of the broadcasts in Japan on NHK were even broadcast in English during the early '90s, though they were very few and far between. I am sure there are others out there who have been in Japan for lengthy periods who can recall this. The Sumo "BOOM" that occurred during the Ake - Taka -Waka period (the rivalry between the three yokozunas, Akebono, Takahanada and his elder brother Wakahanada) in the early to mid 90's went a long way in making sumo an international sport. I guess it depends on your perspective and perception of what international is ! I know one thing for sure ! I miss the sport and the people involved in the sport extremely ! That is one of the reasons I am so thankful for this particular forum. I am able to keep up with "things Japanese" ! Arigatou, JT !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even they research history of Sumo, etc. Sumo will not be in USA states too fast. They said the match of extremely fat perons and another one will not appeal to USA people.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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