Who’s That Rikishi #4: Chiyomaru Kazuki


Age: 26
Birth Name: Kazuki Kinoshita
Home Town: Shibushi, Japan
Stable: Kokonoe
Highest Rank: Maegashira 11

With his rotund physique and jolly personality, one would be hard-pressed to miss Chiyomaru Kazuki. Born in Shibushi city in 1991, Chiyomaru practiced judo throughout much of his youth before entering Kokonoe beya after high school. His younger brother Chiyootori Yuki joined him a year later, and together the two trained under former Yokozuna Chiyonofuji. In 2007 Chiyomaru made his professional debut and made steady progress through sumo’s lower ranks over the next few years. Tragedy would strike his family in 2011 when a fire burned down his parents’ home. Chiyomaru and his brother, now an active rikishi as well, decided to turn their tragedy into motivation and vowed to become more successful to help their parents rebuild their home.

It appeared that Chiyomaru’s younger brother was more serious about their vow, and in 2012 Chiyootori overtook his elder sibling and reached the salaried rank of Juryo. In an attempt to motivate him to train harder, Chiyonofuji assigned Chiyomaru to be a tsukebito for his brother. This assignment had the desired effect on Chiyomaru, who felt shame in being his little brother’s personal attendant. From this point on he applied himself full-heartedly to his training and eventually joined Chiyootori in Juryo at the 2013 Aki basho. In January of the following year, Chiyomaru won his first division championship, taking the Juryo yusho with a 13-2 record. This victory ensured his promotion to the Makuuchi division for the following tournament, where Chiyomaru  joined Chiyotoori and marked the tenth time in history two brothers had competed in the top division simultaneously. Another strong performance saw him promoted to Maegashira 11 for the 2014 Natsu basho, his highest rank to date. Chiyomaru remained in the lower Makuuchi for the next year until a disastrous 3-12 record in May of 2015 saw him relegated back to Juryo. Unable to put together a streak of winning records good enough to warrant a return to the top division, he remained in Juryo for another two years. In July of 2017, Chiyomaru was able to re-establish himself as a top rank rikishi, and he has remained in Makuuchi ever since. Chiyomaru mainly uses oshi-zumo on the dohyo, winning nearly 60% of his matches with either an oshidashi pushout or a yorikiri forceout. Chiyomaru has developed a large following of female fans who find him incredibly kawaii, and who affectionately nicknamed him 22, referencing his body fat percentage.

Kaisei (left) vs. Chiyomaru (right), Aki basho, 2017.


10 thoughts on “Who’s That Rikishi #4: Chiyomaru Kazuki

  1. In the Aki basho I saw him occasionally execute some decent yotsu-zumo. I believe he is heading into mid-maegashira land.

    One thing that interests me in general is how the death of Chiyonofuji and the resulting change of oyakata is going to affect Kokonoe beya. The current Kokonoe oyakata seems to have a completely different personality than the deceased dai-yokozuna.

    At the end of the Aki basho, after all his Makuuchi deshi achieved kachi-koshi, Ryuji Kokonoe, the current oyakata, remarked that he will continue in his own style of coaching, in which he tells his deshi why they won, rather than why they lost. I wonder if this approach is what changed Chiyomaru’s fortunes.

    • Very interesting insight! The new approach does seem to be working. I have a feeling he’ll be improving his highest rank too, especially after back to back 9-6 records. That’s the hard thing about doing bios for active rikishi. At some point these articles are going to be out of date. I’m going to have to devise a system to keep them current.

      • I wonder if it would be possible, and how labor intensive, to go backwards with the heya power rankings to examine this question. I can imagine it could take a considerable amount of time from the data entry…unless there are any data scientists out there who can automate that?

        • I think it sounds possible to script, depending on the format of the data and how complete it is. It’s not too far off from looking at trends in character balance data, team meta and win rate in esports.

          Trying to separate out the effect of positive reinforcement coaching style from all the other things that factor into both an individual or a stable’s effective win rate might be really hard.

        • I am SURE it is possible, but I’d probably have to rewire how I do the data entry as it’s a bit slapdash in Google Sheets at the moment

          There is such an incredible wealth of talent in the Tachiai comment (and contributor!) section these days that you truly never know, there may well be an incredible data scientist lurking here somewhere!

          (that said I may know someone who can help me wangle my way into some decent data viz platform or other)

  2. A thought for future WTR posts – it’d be really cool to include a video or two of the rikishi in action, showing off what they can do. Ideally one which highlights their strengths and preferred techniques (like Arawashi’s last-moment throws).

      • Any fun videos of media appearances would be nice to add too. Especially in cases like Chiyomaru, where his personality and looks have made him more popular than purely his statistical performance over time. I know I started following him more from seeing social media and variety shows.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.