Sunday in Tokyo, the retirement ceremony for Yokozuna Kisenosato, now Araiso Oyakata, was held in front of a capacity crowd at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. As is customary with retirement of a top ranking rikishi, the entire event was a celebration of sumo and his long and noteworthy career.
The ceremony included his final dohyo-iri, with Ozeki Takayasu serving as his sword bearer, and Shohozan as his herald / dew sweeper.
Of course the primary event was the cutting of his mage, with many sumo greats mounting the dohyo to take a snip, and pay their respect to the retiring Yokozuna. Though there were a lot of great folks, I got a bit misty when Harumafuji took his cut.
But in time the friends and family had had their turn, and the Yobidashi read a summary of his career, and his accomplishments. Following that, Tagonoura Oyakata mounted the dohyo to finish the job. The last vestiges of Kisenosato were put to rest, and his career as a rikishi was complete.
While it was enough to make a long-term sumo fan a bit wistful, things quickly changed gear, and Araiso received a proper hair cut, donned his suit and shortly thereafter the parties began. One of the reasons I love Japan, the passing of time and the changes in peoples lives are frequently celebrated with family, co-workers and friends.
Thanks for all of the awesome sumo, Kisenosato. We are eager to see your deshi.