Kotoshogiku to retire… but not now!

All eyes have been turned to Shodai and his deserved ozeki promotion, following his maiden yusho win. But sumo fans were awaiting news from the former ozeki Kotoshogiku. More precisely, his 2-10-3 record in Aki means certain demotion to juryo, and the question was if the Fukuoka-born wrestler would hang on or call it a day.

And here’s his decision: Kotoshogiku goes on fighting!

He’ll turn 37 in January 2021, but certainly has some energy left. But first of all, he’ll have to heal properly, if he wishes to target an immediate makuuchi return.

Ozeki going on wrestling in juryo are seldom seen. Of course, a very recent example one someone doing so is Terunofuji.

For the record, Kotoshogiku became an ozeki in November of 2011. He lost that rank after the January tournament of 2017, and fail to collect ten wins in Osaka, the same year.

He has won one makuuchi yusho in his career, in January 2016 – as an ozeki.

Giku has kept wrestling after the loss of the ozeki status for three and a half year, now. He has collected three kinboshi in the process.

Let’s hope to see him back in makuuchi by the beginning of 2021. Hakkeyoi!

21 thoughts on “Kotoshogiku to retire… but not now!

  1. Sigh. I wish, then, that he had not returned from his kyujo, and had let his calf muscle heal properly in the first place. Decision making in the Sumo World is deeply flawed.

    • I wonder, though, if he would go out mid-basho like Aminishiki. Even though Fuyu is in Tokyo instead of Fukuoka, it may hold special significance nometheless? Still deeply flawed, though. 100% agreement and Ikioi is my Exhibit A.

      • My point was that if he wanted to go on for next basho, he should have let that leg heal. He is going to be doing it in Juryo anyway, isn’t he? So save your fans the sorry sight, and give yourself a half-chance of being more capable in November.

  2. Well.. When he is as healthy as he can get, he can certainly compete at a upper maegashira level, and certainly has the veteran wiles, but how consistently can he stay healthy? His stablemaster is nowhere near mandatory retirement, is he trying to beat his stablemaster’s retirement age or something? It’s not like he’s going to try for Hanakaze status, right? We’ve thought “surely he will retire after this tournament” at least twice now and yet he keeps going.

    Few active wrestlers can match his tenacity and willpower, and he is my favorite, but I have to wonder what his ultimate goal is, or if he even has one.

  3. This is what I feared and what I feel is going to happen. At least it’s going to be 1 of 2 ways.

    Way 1 and what I expect. – He fights in Juryo, he does terribly because he’s either still to injured or he gets re-injured again because his body cannot keep up with the pounding Sumo puts on it and he Retires from Juryo.

    He does well enough to get promoted and continues to fight in the thought he still has more to offer when in reality he doesn’t really and just puts his battered body through even more destruction it doesn’t need to be going through. and he spends his days at the bottom of rankings or he keeps flipping back and forth between Juryo and Makuuchi until he does finally give out to age or injury he should not of had.

    Guys like him have so much pride tied up in Sumo… it’s not just him or Sumo wrestlers. Many major sports athletes ( and in other professions ) have a VERY hard time walking away from their given profession. Not just switching to a new life style, but also no longer being out there, Performing, or compete, no more cheering of the crowd for you, no more glory. You move on into retirement which is to admit you can no longer do this, Your to old, to broken down, to beat up and for someone like him to admit that is just a bitter pill to swallow. However the long story of it is that it puts them through so much more punishment then they should endure. You feel even more for the guys that can’t afford to retire….

    I wish more Rikishi were like Goedio, he knew and he didn’t want to be one of those former powerhouses who languished in the rank and file.. slowly dropping lower and lower until reality made sure you could no longer deny the Truth.

    Best of luck to our neighborhood Bulldozer, I really do like Kotoshogiku, but…. this can only end poorly in my eyes.

    • I agree with that. I don’t know what his motivation is. Maybe he wants to finish in Fukuoka or maybe he just wants to go out after a decent basho, not a 2-13 one (albeit most rikishi retire that way). In the article I think he says that he doesn’t want to go with an injury. Maybe he is also eyeing a climb in some of the record books. He will nowhere go to the top, but I think he is fairly high in career bouts, top division bouts, top division tournaments etc.
      He also said it’s the first time he had a calf injury. I hope he can get to fighting shape again and bulldoze his way up again from Juryo next basho.

  4. I mostly agree with OneBigbugga’s comment. Many athletes don’t know when it’s time to walk away, and it can be painful to watch. But I get the impression with Kotoshogiku that he really enjoys being a rikishi. It’s not just the glory of winning or being in the limelight. So perhaps he’s hanging on simply to extend the time he can keep doing what he loves and doesn’t care that much if it’s in the top or second division. In any case, I wish him the best.

    • Maybe…. but watch his final matches. Look at the look on his face when he is defeated. The sheer amount of shame and disappointment on his face says it all. He knows…. There is something in his heart that keeps him going against that knowing. All we can do is wait for the next Basho and see I suppose.

      • I tend to agree with you guys. He could have called it a day after the final demotion from ozeki, but he decided to go on, and seemingly to have fun wrestling down the maegashira ranks, with no specific ambition.
        I think he loves sumo, indeed.
        He made me think of Kirishima, who fought until being demoted to juryo. But here they differ opinions.
        As you said, best of luck to Kotoshogiku!

        • Kirishima hadn’t secured a kabu for himself. If he had, he might’ve retired there and then, when he was demoted from ozeki.

      • Yeah, that look. It is quite sad. Who knows, perhaps we’ll be surprised and he’ll be back in Makunouchi in two tournaments or it will be all over in November.

  5. Kotoshogiku does have a wife and a kid to support. Even in Juryo, he gets paid. Does he earn the kinboshi bonus if he goes kyujo during a tournament? Maybe he has an undisclosed financial goal to meet.

  6. Maybe I’m just a stubborn old Kotoshogiku fan, but it seems that he could be/should be remaining in the top division. He was at Megashira 11, not 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17, so I am hoping he will be at the bottom of the top division, perhaps M16 or M17 at the next basho. Let’s not bury him as if dead already!

    • Last time, Ikioi dropped to Juryo from M9 with 3 wins. Kotoshogiku had 2 at M11. He had the third-worst rank-record combination, after Abi and Kyokutaisei. It would be virtually unprecedented for him to stay.

      • Now that sumodb is up, there have been 60 prior instances in the past 60 years of a wrestler ranked M10 or M11 ending up with 2 or 3 wins. Three retired; the other 57 were demoted.

  7. Iksumo, thanks for the comments, so sad to hear that. Do you know if any of those 60 you mentioned were former Ozeki, Japanese, and a Yusho winner? Still hopeful & stubborn.

      • Aminishiki, and more recently Tochiozan, spent time in Juryo and did not immediately retire. Tochiozan surprised me by jumping before dropping to makushita. They’re still sekitori, still salaried, and during COVID that’s probably a very nice thing.

        • Ha, the covid thing might explain it. But neither Aminishiki, nor Tochiozan were ozeki. I find it weird to be stocked to the top of the banzuke during several years, and to see his name then dropping to juryo. But why not.
          Kotoshogiku makes me think of Kirishima – also a one time yusho winner – who also went out fighting down the maegashira ranks for some time. But he stopped fighting when he dropped to juryo.


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