Nice video posted to YouTube recapping some of Wakaichiro’s highlight matches from his 3 years of competition. Video is courtesy of the wonderful channel; Sumo Samurai Hattorizakura, which you should consider subscribing to.
Early Monday, Japan time, the Musashigawa heya announced that Texas rikishi Wakaichiro had retired in the prior week. This will come as a great disappointment to sumo fans around the world, who has been following is journey from novice to mid-level competitor.
For his fans, we are going to miss reports of his matches and occasional video clips that were snuck out on twitter and YouTube. Following his retirement, reports say that he has left Japan for the time being, and has returned to the United States to plan the next stage of his life. Along with all of his followers, we wish Mr Young nothing but the best of luck in the next stage of his life. Team Tachiai are grateful for the chance to use him as a vehicle to learn more about the life of a rikishi who starts out from nothing, and works his way into the world of sumo.
Wakaichiro himself had stated at the beginning of his adventure in the world of sumo, that he would give it a few years and see if he could make something of himself, and if not he would end his adventure with a winning record (he finished Hatsu 5-2) and his head held high. True to his word, he did exactly that. Fans will wonder about the timing of his retirement, just before the workup for Osaka. I can share that he has been nursing a set of chronic injuries, and it was becoming clear to him that he was not going to be able to treat them to the point of recovery, and the limitations those injuries placed on his sumo would prevent him from reaching the top ranks of the sport.
What’s next for Mr Young? Time will tell. He’s a young man with a lot of courage, charisma and drive. His efforts in the world of sumo will do wonders for his future, as his origin story now includes a very rare suite of experiences and accomplishments. His years in sumo will likely have imparted with drive, courage and perseverance in the face of physical and mental adversity. I predict good things for him.
For fans of amateur sumo, especially those of you in Texas, mark your calendars for June 13, 2020. I’ll post reminders as the date comes closer but our friends at Dark Circle Sumo are hosting an Amateur Sumo Tournament with the Austin Japan Community. The tournament is sponsored by the Texas Sake Company. There will be multiple divisions for female and male competitors. They’ve got a great website with more information here. #TexasSumo
Fresh off the Fuji TV tournament, Kokugikan will host another sumo exhibition tomorrow (2/11) afternoon. This time the even is hosted by NHK. The program starts just after noon with some Taiko drumming. I have a video here of some Taiko drumming from the Shinshun matsuri (New Spring Festival) that was held here in DC two weekends ago.
The program continues with a comedy sumo routine (Shokkiri), Jinku singing, the Makuuchi Dohyo-iri, and some exhibition bouts. A great sample of some Jinku singing is in the video below from Inside Sport Japan. *Update via Herouth below, the professional singers featured on the brochure and on the website will compete with makuuchi wrestlers in a singing competition. Your guess is probably better than mine as to who, other than Ikioi, will be participating.* There won’t be a tournament with a purse, and no shot at a Hakuho-Enho bout, but it should still be a fun, relaxed sumo event.