Former Yokozuna Akebono and former Sekiwake Takamiyama said their good-byes to the late Ushiomaru (Azumazeki-oyakata). Both Hawai’ian greats have strong connections to Azumazeki-beya. Takamiyama fought under Takasago beya but upon retirement received the Azumazeki kabu, opening the stable which would be home to Akebono. Takamiyama reached retirement age in 2009, passing the baton to Ushiomaru.
Since being hospitalized from his own health issues, updates on Akebono’s condition have been rare but we are very happy to see him. Judging from the comments and tweets I’ve seen about this news the sentiment is shared throughout the sumo fan community.
It is wonderful to see Akebono, especially since there is rarely any news on his condition. On a personal note, a very little known fact: Akebono was one of our very first Twitter followers and I still remember freaking out, and the startled look on my wife’s face when I realized it was actually him. This fanboy got into this awesome sport to begin with by watching Akebono highlights on ESPN. (Long before gigabit streams in HD.) Hosted by Larry Biel, they would show half-hour digests of a whole tournament…and with that taste, I was hooked. We extend our best wishes and all hope to hear more good news on his recovery.