Hamatensei Danpatsushiki

元濱天聖断髪式

While the sumo world can still be a bit shy about social media, we do get occasional glimpses into their lives through platforms like Twitter and Instagram. This morning, the former Hamatensei shared photos from his private danpatsushiki ceremony. The youngster, still just 23 after an 8 year sumo career at Shikoroyama beya, expressed his appreciation to his supporters, his oyakata, family, and anideshi and ototodeshi (fellow wrestlers).

He had quite an injury plagued career, never escaping Jonidan division and dropping off the banzuke a couple of times before, according to his statement on Twitter, the doctors have finally put a hard end to his career. Aside from a neck hernia which limited his arm motions, he suffered multiple knee injuries. After the third surgery his doctors told him they could do it again but he probably wouldn’t be able to walk or would find it extremely difficult to do basic things.

Hamatensei Retirement Statement

In his final year at the heya he was able to graduate from high school and, interestingly, started driving lessons. That is very unusual because rikishi are not allowed to drive. However, driving school in Japan is quite intensive so there is a substantial amount of classroom training and videos. Perhaps that’s how he got around the prohibition. Bottom line, the guy was 23 with no high school education or skills beyond what he learned in the heya. So it would not surprise me if he got an exception for his second career. He mentions many times struggling with the heya lifestyle and the rigid social structure.

4 thoughts on “Hamatensei Danpatsushiki

  1. @kukufuji, Yeah I guess everyone here will wind up agreeing with your comment about this kid. This is one of those stories that creeps you out as a sumo fan because we all know that this is not an isolated instance. I’ll bet there’s a lot of these guys who pay a dreadful toll physically and never sniff anything even resembling fame or glory or anything. Very sad, indeed.

    • I would be interested to know how it compares to other sports. Klay Thompson tore his ACL last night. KD’s Achilles the other day. Chára’s fractured jaw. And not just at the elite level. Hezekiah Walters died in practice, playing HS football the other day. I think sumo would be well served with more transparency.

  2. I have heard before that there are cases, if a rikishi is known to be about to retire, the heya and NSK look the other way when he takes driving lessons, as it is deemed necessary for his second career. Basically, it’s a special dispensation.

    Hamatensei’s story is quite famous – first, because Shikoroyama is a highly visible heya. Second, because there is a lot of media interest in his story over in his home town, Yokohama. There have already been two stories in the local press about his post-heya life, which he also linked from his Twitter account.

    Here is one of them, published May 4th. It tells us that he is employed in school lunch distribution at a primary school in Yokohama. To get this job he had to finish school remotely and pass the city’s entrance exam for candidates, while still in the heya. He says he chose that job to give back to his home town whose people supported him during his sumo career.

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