Hello, my fellow sumo fans and aficionados! I am very honored to have been invited to join the fantastic team at Tachiai.org! Since discovering the world of sumo, Tachiai has become one of my most visited sites for up to date sumo news and rikishi information. I am incredibly excited to be able to contribute to this site in any way I can! One feature that I am hoping to make a weekly post, published every Tuesday, is called Who’s That Rikishi. Many fans get to know the big names of sumo, such as Hakuho, Ura, and Kisenosato, very easily as they get a great deal of media attention. For good reason, as they are the superstars of the world of sumo. There many very talented rikishi in the top Makuuchi division with prosperous careers full of triumphs and setbacks. My goal with Who’s That Rikishi is to give readers, both old and new, exposure to rikishi they may not know a whole lot about. In addition to WTR, I am planning a second weekly post for Thursdays called Legends of the Dohyo, that will go over the rich history of sumo. I’m looking forward to writing for all of you, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the content I add to Tachiai!
With all that out of the way, let’s get on to our first edition of Who’s That Rikishi, beginning with the somewhat overlooked Fuji of Isegahama beya: Takarafuji Daisuke.
Who’s That Rikishi #1: Takarafuji Daisuke
Birth Name: Daisuke Sugiyama
Home Town: Nakadomari, Japan
Highest Rank: Sekiwake
Takarafuji Daisuke was born with sumo in his blood. As a young child, the Nakadomari native would practice at a sumo stable near his home. As a teenager, Takarafuji garnered a lot of attention from several stables after competing in national competitions. Despite being scouted, Takarafuji chose to pursue his education and graduate high school. After high school, he attended Kinki University, the alma mater of Asahifuji Seiya, the 63rd Yokozuna, and shisho of Isegahama beya, who invited Takarafuji to join his stable after graduating. The young rikishi made his professional debut in January of 2009 and would go on to have early success in his career, eventually collecting a Sandanme division championship with a perfect 7-0 record. After four great tournaments in Juryo, Takarafuji made his Makuuchi debut at the 2011 Nagoya basho, the same basho in which his fellow Isegahama stablemate Harumafuji won his first Emperor’s Cup. Although this fist top division basho resulted in a dismal 4-11 record that saw him back in Juryo by September, he would eventually become a Makuuchi mainstay in March of the following year.
In 2015 Takarafuji broke into the san’yaku ranks and debuted at Komusubi for the Natsu basho, but found himself back in the Maegashira by the following tournament. 2016 would prove to be one of the best years of Takurafuji’s career, as he would again have a short stint as Komusubi in March, and would go on to attain his highest rank of Sekiwake after getting a kinboshi victory over Hakuho and the fighting spirit prize in Nagoya. After another terrible 4-11 record at Sekiwake, Takarafuji again found himself relegated to the Maegashira ranks, where he has remained to this day. Takarafuji heavily uses yotsu-sumo in his bouts, winning 35 percent of his matches with an oshidashi or push out technique. His favorite grip is a right hand outside, left hand inside hidari-yotsu. In addition to sumo, Takarafuji has dabbled in the world of acting and starred in a 2016 commercial for Nippon Paint.