Yokozuna Kisenosato’s Retirement Ceremony

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.

18 thoughts on “Yokozuna Kisenosato’s Retirement Ceremony

  1. The irony is that now his injuries have been given due time to heal, he could still be out there winning bashos. Let’s not forget he was harried into early retirement by the sport’s medieval bigwigs

    • Muscle tears don’t heal themselves, no matter how long they are given to heal. He chose not to have surgery, and that choice was his undoing. I’m not sure what you mean by “harried into early retirement” – he was cut a much bigger slack than anyone before him including Takanohana.

  2. thank u for sharing, and thank u Kisenosato! i look forward to what Araiso Oyakata brings to the table in the future….

  3. My long time favorite, sadly blossomed too late and his career cut short by injury after finally reaching his peak and become a Yokozuna. We will never know what would have happened with proper medical treatment, but it was a great ride. Thank you Araiso Oyakata. Looking forward to you running your own stable, after helping Takayasu make the last step ;)

  4. What a fine way to end a career; even without understanding Japanese and as a newer Sumo fan knowing only the outline of Kise’s story, and almost no knowledge of Satoyama’s (whose ceremony was the day before but found its way online), I found myself awed by the ceremony. Imagine sitting in that chair as dozens upon dozens of people who have shaped your career, as mentors and friends and opponents and comrades, come one by one to snip a strand of hair each, knowing only from the announcements who is behind you. From the tenderness of the quick pat on the shoulder you can see how close even the biggest former rivals are in respect for each other, and the inclusion of the top wrestlers even at Satoyama’s ceremony the day before also shows admiration even for one who didn’t quite get to the top levels. Note also that even those who do not ascend the dohyo to snip a strand of hair do their part to ensure the event proceeds smoothly. No comparison at all with ceremonies to honour recently retired sports stars on my side of the Pacific, which are without form or tradition, and tend to drag on for hours when speeches are deemed necessary.

  5. Thank you for the coverage. It’s fantastic to see these moments. As the first Yokozuna I saw promoted as a sumo fan he holds a special place in my sumo heart.

  6. Excellent job, Bruce…in compiling this short, but impact video presentations on Kisenosato! Damn shame with the career-ending injury, but in my honest opinion, he’s left one hell of a legacy. Now, let’s see what the Oyakata called Araiso can do with his recruiting of up-and-coming rikishi!


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