Breaking news – Takanohana oyakata hands in his resignation

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Following the incident in which he lost consciousness during the Natsu Jungyo, and following a decision by the NSK that all oyakata must belong to one of the existing five ichimon, with the threat to disband any heya that did not join an ichimon by the end of this month, Takanohana Koji, the former Dai-Yokozuna, handed in his resignation to the NSK today.

A message bidding farewell and asking the supporters to continue to support the heya’s deshi has also been posted on the Takanohana Support Group web site.

It is still unknown whether the NSK will accept the resignation and what the fate of the Takanohana stable will be.

Source: Sponichi

35 thoughts on “Breaking news – Takanohana oyakata hands in his resignation

  1. Oh my. Wow. It has been a while since I last commented on this fine site, but this news is indeed a mind-blowing event! After all the craziness from last year involving Takanohana’s rikishi Takanoiwa and Harumafuji (Really missed the big guy!) and one scandal after another — I couldn’t wait to see if maybe, just MAYBE, he was going rise above it all and bring about the much-needed changes to the world of Sumo. I’m going to keep my eyes and ears on full alert for more news this developing situation.

    As always, thanks for the heads-up Herouth.

    • Seriously, what changes to the world of Sumo? I never once heard a reasonable presentation of what is wrong with it and what should be changed, other than “It’s all very bad”. I see the current chairman, Hakkaku, despite having some really strange views about sports medicine, acting out a lot of gradual reforms (such as openness to the press, inclusiveness for female fans and parents in general, injury control for lower-ranked rikishi). There are many things to change – especially the prevalent tendency for corporal punishment – but I have never heard Takanohana address that.

      • Hmmm…let’s see. Like a lot of folks who have been following this terrific sport of Sumo (I’m NO expert), but it would be SUPER if the sumotori could be given ample time to recover from significantly bad injuries (Like the very popular Ura, who springs to mind) — and not be penalized too heavily by being out for many bashos.

        And, I don’t know if Takanohana would have had great ideas or not on this (honestly, I HAVEN’T heard on any of his suggestions, and at this point, it may be mute now.)

        As a matter of fact, I believed Bruce and others here, have may the statements on why not have the upper rikishi being in the BEST shape of their professional careers, so that we the fans can see sumo being done at this optimal level. To me, my opinion mind you, that would be a welcome changed!

        • This would actually not be a reform but a reverse of a reform. There used to be a rule which allowed rikishi to retain their rank after one basho being kyujo, but it was cancelled citing rikishi abuse (that is, that they would take unnecessary kyujo just to avoid the busy schedule rather than real injury).

          • Ha ha ha! I stand corrected. Thanks for the spell check, lush. Hey, I was tired and going to bed when Herouth broke the news to the blog…so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

      • After reading the comments posted here, I went back and found Bruce’s terrific commentary on Kosho Seido (how did I missed this from last year?). I think you get the gist of what I was alluding to when I mention changes to sumo, or at least I hope so. To piggy-back off of what Bruce and others had discussed within that article, (and my opinion) I believe that sumo really needs to consider certain changes to keep the sport from fading into obscurity, which can happen if it is not careful.

        For example, American football has been taking a beating with all the CTE brain injuries that may be linked to the game’s physicality (of course NO study has been found conclusive, and the debate still rages on) —so changes have been made to the gridiron. I’m seeing this from a purely survival point-of-view, and as many have pointed out, sumo would be wise to make some much-needed alterations to keep the sport from losing anymore face.

        Yes, I have heard the negatives on the sumo world — the scandals, including reports on yaocho, the beatings, the harsh training, etc., and as a sumo enthusiast, it is concerning. Personally, I thrilled every time watching these behemoths banged into each other on that 3-feet high square of clay! It is a vicarious response I wouldn’t want to CHANGE for anything in the world.

        However, my mindset is Western, and I don’t pretend to understand the mindset of the Japanese sumo authority — but whether you or agree not, this kind of bad press CAN NOT keep happening without the Japanese people or the global audience losing interest which could ultimately sink the sport.

        Okay, let me get off my soapbox for now. Again, great article: Time To Bring Back Kōshō Seido?
        https://tachiai.org/tag/kosho-seido/

    • I would not be surprised if he has health problems. The seizure in Nagoya was quickly pushed aside, but it’s not something to be taken lightly.

      • Huge news! Thank you for posting this Herouth!

        My wife mentioned yesterday that the Japanese media had noted how it seemed he’d “become” a chain-smoker recently. Apparently there was a photographer outside a conbini, taking pics as he went through cigarette after cigarette. This was in a conversation about his health, and how he’s picked up a dangerous habit for someone with health issues already. Wow. Everyone’s still asleep now but she’ll be shocked when she gets up.

        The timing has to be related to the Harumafuji incident but this has to have implications on his heya and wrestlers, the ichimon… Just as Takanoiwa was getting back into makuuchi, this will undoubtedly be more than a distraction for his recovery. I wonder if another former wrestler will take it over or whether the heya will fold with wrestlers taken to other heya…very interesting.

        • I watched both Takanohana and Kyokutenhō smoke up a storm outside the stadium this past weekend. The former didn’t look quite right most of the time he was judging compared to the latter.

        • I read a gossip news outlet (so grain of salt) which said that he is estranged from his wife and also had a row with his son (who is apparently in the middle of a divorce). The Hanada family has never been exactly a model of peaceful family life. But this could explain the chain smoking at least.

  2. It’s worth noting that Takanohana does not actually have a Kabu that he could pass on to a successor. As a highly successful Yokozuna, he was offered ichidai-toshiyori status, essentially an indefinite membership of the JSA without the need to purchase elder stock. And he’s the only elder associated with Takanohana-beya, so this could well result in dissolution of the stable.

      • Ahahahaha… the idea of Isegahama absorbing Takanoiwa… I’m sure the poor wrestler would hand in his intai-todoke (not to be confused with a taishoku-todoke) on the spot.

        Anyway, it’s actually pretty common. Many heya have been dissolved in the past, due to their master’s poor health, death or scandals. That’s how Terunofuji ended up in Isegahama, with the rest of Magaki stable. Every heya that has more than one foreigner has absorbed another heya in its past. With Chiganoura planned to absorb Takanohana, it will also have two foreigners – though Takanoiwa will definitely be the more dominant one.

    • The heya will, indeed, be dissolved. He plans for the deshi to join Chiganoura beya.

      I intend to collect everything into a big post, but it will only happen several hours from now, as I’m at work. I’m tweeting what I can, but organizing a post is a different thing.

      You know he actually held three toshiyori kabu at some point? He got his dad’s Futagoyama, his own ichidai, and yet a third one – at which point the NSK forced him to relinquish the third one.

  3. Can’t say I’m unhappy to hear that. I feel that Takanohana has been a detriment rather than benefitting the sumo world. He surely has been a great Yokozuna and has a lo of public support, but rather than using that to modernize sumo, he only went for his personal agendas.
    With that being said, unfortunately I haven’t been following sumo during his active days, but I very much respect his accomplishments. I wish him all the best for his health and hope he can find his peace with the sumo world.

  4. I am a fairly new sumo fan, but I have to say that Takanohana strikes me as someone looking for attention and drama more than reform. I suspect the real drama is just beginning.

  5. Looking at the totality of his actions, one has to conclude that this is a case of naked ambition gone wrong. Since Takanohana lost the power struggle within the NSK, and since serving a subservient role is intolerable to him, he has decided to take his ball and go home. Whatever the faults of the NSK may be, and there surely are some, Takanohana has failed to serve a constructive role for the association and for sumo in general.

    He’ll always have support from some of his sentimental fans ( he was my favorite rikishi when I was a kid), and the far-right, anti-Hakuho nutjobs will cause an uproar on social media, but in the end, Takanohana was never cut out to be a team player. He’s now estranged from his mother, his brother, the professional sumo world, and apparently his wife and son as well. At some point, the blame must fall on the fulcrum of these incidents. When the soap opera constantly follows you, you must be the one causing it.

    It’s a shame, it will sour some people on professional sumo during an important transitional time, but at some point it was inevitable. It’s probably for the best both for the NSK and for Takanohana that they go through this divorce. While he will likely always be a thorn on their side, at least he’ll no longer be a cancer within the NSK.

  6. Thanks everyone for your input and comments-Takahana-gate continues. I’m sure there will be many more twists and turns to come – I’m just hoping the rikishi caught up in this drama really band together further and focus, helping each other thru what is clearly going to effect them in so many levels, they probably think their world axis has tilted

  7. Beautifully well said, dentay! In all of this, the rikishi from Takanohana beya will hopefully stay in a sport that we have all come to love, and also your statement makes me think about the rikishi at Chiganoura Beya (if that is their final destination) and how they will react to their expanded brotherhood. No one can tell me that that will be an easy adjustment for all involved. Hopefully it will all be settled in the end and those guys can put aside any differences (and distractions) and go far into their careers.

    • There’s a nice pic ignore the boys taken in the heya apparently before their relocation. My heart goes out to all of them, they have to be going through a whole range of emotions which they will have to quash in order to get in with things. I’m also hoping this doesn’t backfire for any of them down the line. Also their new stable mates, I hope there will be no resentment at the impact to their world, and I hope they help them all to adjust as best as they can

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