Who’s That Rikishi #5: Okinoumi Ayumi

OkinoumiAge: 32
Birth Name: Ayumi Fukuoka
Home Town: Okinoshima, Japan
Stable: Hakkaku
Highest Rank: Sekiwake

Okinoumi Ayumi never intended to take up professional sumo. Born Ayumi Fukuoka on the Western Japanese island of Okinoshima, he saw his future out on the sea rather than atop the Dohyo. While studying to be a licensed mariner, Ayumi was introduced to former Yokozuna Hokutoumi Nobuyoshi. Now oyakata of Hakkaku beya, Hokutoumi convinced Ayumi to join his stable and pursue a career in sumo. In 2005, Ayumi made his professional debut in Osaka, fighting under his family name of Fukuoka. After three years of hard work and steady progress, Fukuoka experienced his first taste of success when he won the Makushita yusho with a perfect 7-0 record at the Hatsu basho of 2009. This victory earned him his first promotion to the Juryo division. Before his Juryo debut, he addopted his new shikona of Okinoumi to pay homage to his home island. Back-to-back poor performances of 4-11 and 5-10 would see the newly named Okinoumi relegated back to Makushita for Nagoya. This demotion prompted him to adopt the name Fukuoka again, which seemed to have a positive effect on the young rikishi as he earned another Juryo promotion at the 2009 Aki basho.

The re-christened Okinoumi made his Makuuchi debut at the 2010 Haru basho, becoming the first rikishi from Shimane prefecture in 88 years. In early 2010 the sumo world was rocked by the baseball gambling scandal, and as a result of his involvement in illegal betting, Okinoumi was suspended for the Nagoya basho and demoted to Juryo for the following tournament. A strong performance in September saw him back in Makuuchi by the 2010 November tournament. Okinoumi’s 2011 started with an impressive 11-4 at the New Year tournament, where he finished second place in the yusho race and picked up his first special prize. After two years of being a rank and filer, Okinoumi recorded his second career jun-yusho at the 2013 basho in Osaka. His performance also earned him a promotion to Komusubi, but a 4-11 record at the Natsu basho would land him back in the Maegashira once more.

March 2015 would see Okinoumi receive a significant bump up the banzuke from Maegashira 6 to Sekiwake, his highest rank to date, due to the underperformance of several rikishi above him. An injury forced him to cut his first tournament at Sekiwake short, however, and he droped back down to the lower Maegashira for the 2015 Natsu basho. Except for two brief appearances at Komusubi, nagging health issue would keep Okinoumi floating around the mid to high Maegashira throughout the rest of 2015 and much of 2016. A respectable 9-6 showing at the 2016 Aki basho, which also saw him take home the outstanding performance prize and two kinboshi victories, resulted in another promotion to Sekiwake for the November competition. Much like before he would not hold on to this position for long, and was soon back amongst the rank and filers where he has remained to the present. Preferring to fight on the mawashi, Okinoumi uses a variety of yotsu-zumo techniques to win his matches. His favorite kimarite winning move is a yorikiri, and he prefers a migi-yotsu left hand outside right hand inside grip. Much like fellow rikishi Endo, Okinoumi is also very popular with sumo’s female fans due to his handsome appearance.

Endo (left) vs. Okinoumi (right), Kyushu basho 2017.


7 thoughts on “Who’s That Rikishi #5: Okinoumi Ayumi

  1. Once again – it’s awesome that you are putting this stuff together. I love reading these bios.

    So this guy is in a really tough spot. He has an persistent abdominal injury that would require some ugly surgery to repair. Once he is healed up, he should be just fine, with 2 conditions. 1) The surgery will will take 3-6 months to heal 2) Undergoing the surgery will mean he can no longer compete in sumo.

    So when the injury is not bothering him, he can fight like a madman. But sadly it seems to be bothering him more frequently.

      • If what I read is right, he had one during the 2016 Aki basho, one following it, and two in August 2017. So my guess would be that none of these is “the operation” that would solve the issue. Especially not if it’s an operation that can be undertaken during a honbasho without missing a single day.

        • Don’t see anything about August in there, just about an alleged surgery before the July tournament. Without any actual source for that claim, even if it’s true it could have been anything from another major intervention to a simple follow-up procedure to finish up his rehab from last year’s.


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