Early Monday, Japan time, the Musashigawa heya announced that Texas rikishi Wakaichiro had retired in the prior week. This will come as a great disappointment to sumo fans around the world, who has been following is journey from novice to mid-level competitor.
For his fans, we are going to miss reports of his matches and occasional video clips that were snuck out on twitter and YouTube. Following his retirement, reports say that he has left Japan for the time being, and has returned to the United States to plan the next stage of his life. Along with all of his followers, we wish Mr Young nothing but the best of luck in the next stage of his life. Team Tachiai are grateful for the chance to use him as a vehicle to learn more about the life of a rikishi who starts out from nothing, and works his way into the world of sumo.
Wakaichiro himself had stated at the beginning of his adventure in the world of sumo, that he would give it a few years and see if he could make something of himself, and if not he would end his adventure with a winning record (he finished Hatsu 5-2) and his head held high. True to his word, he did exactly that. Fans will wonder about the timing of his retirement, just before the workup for Osaka. I can share that he has been nursing a set of chronic injuries, and it was becoming clear to him that he was not going to be able to treat them to the point of recovery, and the limitations those injuries placed on his sumo would prevent him from reaching the top ranks of the sport.
What’s next for Mr Young? Time will tell. He’s a young man with a lot of courage, charisma and drive. His efforts in the world of sumo will do wonders for his future, as his origin story now includes a very rare suite of experiences and accomplishments. His years in sumo will likely have imparted with drive, courage and perseverance in the face of physical and mental adversity. I predict good things for him.