Tochinoshin entertained a high-profile guest yesterday…new Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili. Mrs. Zourabichvili was elected last December and is their first female head of state in the Caucasus. Born in Paris, she actually served as the French Ambassador to Georgia before claiming Georgian nationality (both of her parents were Georgian) and serving as Foreign Minister of Georgia under Michail Saakashvili, himself a rather entertaining character. Perhaps she learned an appreciation for sumo from Jacques Chirac?

In this op-ed, published shortly before taking office, she stressed her desire to strengthen the country’s European ties, including hopeful EU and NATO membership. Cold-war rivalries play out with more than bitter elections here. For five days in 2008, the country fought Russian-backed independence wars in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a warm-up for eventual seizure of Crimea. Zourabichvili was elected one month after Russia attacked and boarded Ukrainian ships in the Azov Sea. The country shares its Southern border with Turkey.

Putin is a Judoka, Right? (photo: @NicolaAnn08)

As noted in her article, the President is also hoping to end the outward flow of young talent from the country, bringing them back to Georgia. Tochinoshin has expressed a desire to return home after his eventual retirement from sumo. As long as his knees hold out, he will carry on. And, as we see in the video below, the Georgian giant has his own skills in diplomacy.

Fantastic video provided with permission from our friends at

President Zourabichvili’s term has so far been characterized by these East-West tensions. Protests erupted in June when a Russian member of the Duma, and representative of the Communist Party, was allowed to make a speech from the Georgian Parliament. Public outrage at the Russian occupation of Georgian territory is still substantial and efforts by the Georgian Dream party to soften its tone and attempt diplomatic solutions with Russia have been…not liked.

The protests led to a push for sanctions against Georgia in the Russian Duma. Russia is Georgia’s largest trading partner, drinking more than 60% of its wine exports. Zourabichvili has said she would like to visit the US to meet Donald Trump as soon as invited. Her meeting with Tochinoshin appears to have been in Tokyo yesterday. If European ties haven’t been able to get her on Trump’s guest list, maybe Eastern ties will do the trick?

8 thoughts on “Tochi-plomashi

  1. Oh what a treat that was ! Tachiai, I love you guys. So good to hear him speak in such a long interview. Tochi is all class. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to watch this Andy. I would have missed it for sure, so thanks, for all you do, but for this one especially. Made my day.

    • Thank the folks at Adjara Sport! They’re a sport chanel in Georgia that obviously pays keen attention to their countrymen, Tochinoshin & Gagamaru.

      • I didn’t know they had interviews like this one, but I sometimes watch their basho livestream on YouTube .. I can’t understand a word of their commentary of course, but I love how they get fired up when Toshi is fighting. I will definitely check out what else they have. Thanks again mate

  2. That was cool! He seems like a very humble, gracious guy. I’ve always enjoyed watching him and was as excited as everyone when he made his dramatic comeback all the way to up to Ozeki. I know he’s got a lot of pain in that knee, but I hope he’s able to keep it up for a little while longer, at least.
    Thanks for the video!!

  3. Awesome, Andy. And for Tochinoshin to give so much respect to Kokkai (the first European that I can remember as I started watching the sport, all those many moons ago), Baruto, Hakuho, Tamawashi, Asashōryū and Enho…that shows just how genuine his heart, mind and spirit is. I’ve ALWAYS like this guy. A physically, gifted specimen. One of my favorites and I hope he can pick-up another yusho, before it is all said and done.

  4. You made my day! Tochi is not only a great athlete, he seems to be a good and decent person. His attitude seems realistic too, and I hope by some miracle he can retain his rank a while longer.

  5. much respect to Tochi – what a fabulous interview (agree with your cognac sentiment GikuSquad!) – very heartfelt (esp. the way he spoke of his homeland and family). very honest. am hoping his knee holds out as long as he wants to continue in Sumo. and also hoping that nobody able to lift him as Baruto did so he can feel the heat from the lights!


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