Kiribayama Promoted to Ozeki

It’s official. Balance has been restored to the banzuke. Kiribayama will debut as Shin-Ozeki in Nagoya.

*Update* He will also appear on the July banzuke with a new shikona: Kirishima, taken from his oyakata who was a former Ozeki.

The Japanese sumo press has been full of pictures of the new Ozeki as a young boy, and a young man, growing up in Mongolia. Nicola has several pictures of Kiribayama, the sumo wrestler, as he was coming up as a young sekitori and even a few from Makushita. Here, he had just defeated Akiseyama. He only faced Akiseyama four times, winning all of them. Nicola must have been a bit of a good luck charm because she has pictures of him defeating Ichiyamamoto in Makushita, the only time he was able to beat Ichiyamamoto on the dohyo.

I bring this up because with Terunofuji as Yokozuna, he sure needs a lucky charm. Kiribayama is so far winless against the Kaiju. This reminds me of the long, dominant streaks Hakuho had over Kotoshogiku. And if Kiribayama aspires to further promotion, he must figure out a way to defeat Terunofuji. Kotoshogiku had a distinguished career as Ozeki but it was Kisenosato who inspired much more discussion of Yokozuna, partly because he presented a challenge to the Great Hakuho. Maybe Kirishima will have better luck!

13 thoughts on “Kiribayama Promoted to Ozeki

  1. A bit premature thinking maybe, but I reckon if he does ever go on to become Yokozuna that he should take his shikona back

    He’s probably gonna need a whole bunch of new kesho-mawashi. Expensive!

  2. Congratulations to Kirishima.

    I see he’s also changed the second character of his ring “given” name Tetsuo to the chikara/ryoku/riki kanji.

    Does anyone here with greater knowledge of Japanese than I know if that’s legit? I’ve never seen Tetsuo written that way, or that kanji pronounced “o” in any name or word.

    • I certainly hope so!

      I started watching sumo in the second half of 2016, and only officially began following it as a fan in January 2017. So I came in at the very end of Kisenosato’s long and successful run as ozeki.

      Since then, however, there hasn’t really been a successful ozeki other than Takakeisho, and even for him it’s been a pretty bumpy ride. (The other exception could be said to be Terunofuji, but he zipped up through the rank so quickly that he doesn’t seem to count, and when I first saw him as an ozeki in 2017 he was about to begin the long ride down to jonidan.) The rank has just looked kind of snake-bit these years.

      So I look forward to Kirishima holding the rank with strength and style! (not that I’d begrudge him further promotion if he earns it)

  3. Thanks again to the Tachiai team for the updates. Great to see the feed of the official announcement and all of the subsequent festivities. I had seen past announcements/promotions only in documentaries and tribute videos, to see it all as it unfolds really brings the scale into proper view. How’s the saying go, “big f-ing deal.” The new shikona, or old as it was his Shisho’s, is also indicative of what a big deal it is for his entire beya that he’s now “champion.” I hope he continues to stay healthy and feisty as he establishes himself as a pillar atop the banzuke, I also hope he keeps that big smile, it’s always nice to see rikishi like him and Ura who look so happy to be doing Sumo.


    Herouth pointed out that ALL Five Mongolian Wrestlers that were promoted to Ozeki became Yokozuna – Sure hope this rings true for Kiribyama!!!


  5. Anyone know what was his “Sworn to allegience to the Ozeki rank” phrase vow…thingy…that he choose ?? (I have no idea what is the japanese term they choose to call it.)

    All i know is that all Sekitori who become Ozeki choose one and it’s ofthenly different.


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