The Long Road to Tomozuna

Kaisei (now Tomozuna) as tachi-mochi; Tomozuna (now Oshima) as shimpan

Monday morning brought the banzuke, and with it, the news that fan favorite Kaisei had officially dropped from Juryo and landed in Makushita. Shortly thereafter the Kyokai announced that he had retired but would stay in the Kakukai (sumo world) as Tomozuna-oyakata in Oshima-beya.

Fans may recognize the name as the elder name former Kyokutenho had been using until he switched to Oshima earlier this year. While Kyokutenho was active he was originally recruited to Oshima stable but when the stablemaster retired, he joined Tomozuna beya becoming a stablemate with Kaisei. When Kyokutenho retired, the Oshima kabu (stock) was available so he claimed it but when Tomozuna’s master retired, Kyokutenho jumped at the chance to lead the stable — so he switched to Tomozuna. Then earlier this year, Kyokutenho reacquired the Oshima kabu, renaming Tomozuna-beya, Oshima-beya.

Now that Kaisei has retired, he has taken the Tomozuna kabu which was the name of the stable he had originally fought under. And all is right with the world. Peace and Order shall now be restored in the land.

Got that? No? The next dashboard I build will have a Gantt chart to explain it. Failing that, I may just take a picture of the little diagram I drew to help me get it squared away.

The crazy thing is, I was going through a bunch of pictures that Nicola had taken to find one of Kaisei during his heyday. It was this wild stroll down memory lane. Kiribayama battling Ichiyamamoto in Makushita. Then, the Makuuchi dohyo-iri: Kotoshogiku was there, Ikioi…the list goes on…and the tears well up. Well, one of the pics is from the Yokozuna dohyo-iri. Hakuho was Yokozuna and Kaisei was his sword-bearer, Ishiura his dew-sweeper. The three ascend the dohyo in unison. Pan out a little bit — and would you look at that? Ex-Kyokutenho (now Oshima, then Tomozuna) is the shimpan, sitting ringside. Wild, no? As I said, all is right in the world.

Over his 16 year career, Kaisei won the Juryo yusho, a couple of Makuuchi jun-yusho (2nd place), and three fighting spirit prizes. I, for one, am happy that he is staying in sumo and am eager to see the talent he helps develop as coach.

5 thoughts on “The Long Road to Tomozuna

  1. I’ll miss watching the big Brazilian’s bouts, and I’ll miss Bruce writing about them that sometimes being big is an effective sumo strategy. But, like Ikioi before him, Kaisei’s ankle wasn’t healing and it had robbed him of his power. I wish him well.

    • I didn’t want to dwell on the decline in performance over the last three or four years but I totally agree.

  2. I’m so going to miss the Gentle Giant. He would always do all he could that you either didn’t fall or he would try to keep you from going down hard off the Dohyo. He also was so expressive after he would step down from his matches. He was such a refreshing light up there. I suppose on a good note, we won’t have to worry about a Scandal from being ummm physical with recruits.

  3. Best wishes to him. On Sumoforum there are a couple of pictures of him when he was just starting out, there’s a one of him stretching his legs, looking relatively slim and trim, and sweet-faced as ever.

  4. There was never any roughness in his sumo, always looking out for his fellow rikishi. That only gets you so far but being one massive fellow surely helped him become a mainstay at the top division. His sumo was rather straight forward but being the definiton of a gentle giant and coming from an “exotic” country (in sumo at least) made him quite unique. I’m glad he stays in sumo.


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