Where are they now? Kitaharima & Yago

When I first started watching sumo, I was fascinated by the Sumo broadcasters giving updates on ex-makuuchi wrestlers fighting in the lower divisions. Of course, I did not know who those wrestlers were, but obviously they had fans who wanted to know how they were doing now that they were no longer on live TV in the top divisions.  As I followed sumo, some of my favorites dropped out of the salaried ranks and I had trouble getting updates on their records.  Sumo content is much more available now, but it can sometimes still be difficult to get news on your former favorites.  So, here is a bit of an update on a few ex-top division wrestlers:


He was in the top division for one tournament back in Nagoya 2016.  A lighter-weight wrestler, he had previously spent six years in the lowest divisions before settling into Makushita. Another four years in makushita saw him first promoted to jūryō in Hatsu 2012. He bounced between jūryō and makushita until Aki 2014 and then settled into the second division.  After his top division debut, he sank right back to makushita after two losing records in jūryō and then bounced between divisions for most of 2017. He fell back to makushita for what seemed like a final time after Aki 2017.  However, he made an excellent comeback in early 2020 and got his silk mawashi back for the Aki 2020 tournament.  He finished 5-10 and dropped back to makushita. 

He fell to the lower third of makushita in 2022 for the first time since 2009 but came back with back-to-back kashikoshi, including a 6-1 performance in Nagoya 2022 to move back into the top 15 ranks.  He fell to Sandanme in Aki 2023, his first appearance in that division since Hatsu 2008.  He managed to go 7-0 from Sandanme 2 West, beating former University club member Naya (one of Ōhō’s brothers), and ex-high schoolers Nobehara, Awanokuni, and prospects Satorufuji and Gōnoumi!  The sandanme championship was his first ever division title in his 21+ years of dōhyō experience. From this rank, he will be back in Makushita’s top 15, with a chance for a late career (he is currently 37 years old) resurgence.  Current career record 549-541-7 (with the seven absences due to a missed makushita tournament: heya COVID suspension), so he is an ironman as well.  He has a 6-9 career record in the top division and a 169-206 record in jūryō! 

Some facts:  His younger brother also joined Yamahibiki-beya, fighting as Tatsunoumi. Tatsunoumi made it as high as Sandanme 78, before retiring after September 2022.

Kitaharima is known for his intense training – he apparently has no hobbies, does not drink, etc.  He misses his former shishō, Kitanoumi, who often inspired him by getting angry at him for his performance.


Yago, who fights under his own name, entered Oguruma-beya as an ex-university champion. He earned the special dispensation to enter as Makushita-15 Tsukedashi.  He went 5-2 in his initial tournament, followed by a 7-0 yūshō at Makushita 11, earning him a promotion to Jūryō after only two tournaments (like Ōnosato).  However, he was unsuccessful in his first stint as a sekitori, going 7-8 in back-to-back tournaments and finding himself back in makushita.  He got an immediate repromotion to Jūryō and despite another makekoshi in his comeback bashō, rolled off four straight kachi-koshi and made his top division debut in Hatsu 2019.  He spent four tournaments in the top division, with a career high rank of Maegashira 10. 

After three straight makekoshi, he was back in Jūryō, where he had a rough end to 2019 and start to 2020 – going 4-11 in three straight tournaments and dropping back to Makushita.  It is likely that his chronic knee problems got the best of him around this time. As he took advantage of the cancelled Natsu 2020 tournament to get surgery He spent three bashō there before obtaining his third promotion back to Jūryō for two bashō before dropping down again. He returned to Jūryō one tournament later and settled into the second division. In Hatsu 2022, ranked as Jūryō 14 he had a break-out tournament – 11-4 and a losing effort in a playoff for the Jūryō championship. However, after two 4-11 records, he dropped back to Makushita in Aki 2022 and has been there since.  In fact, for the Aki 2023 bashō he was at his LOWEST career rank of Makushita 19.  He had a 5-2 performance last time, meaning he will be back in the top 15 ranks and could get a return to the salaried ranks if he wins his second makushita yūshō.

Facts:  He is now part of Oshiogawa-beya, following Takekaze there after the Oguruma Oyakata reached 65 and closed his stable. His connection to Takekaze is via Chūō University. He studied Law there, and was in the Amateur Yokozuna after winning the All Japan Sumo Tournament – which is what got him the Makushita 15 ranking.

Yago was born big, and by the time he finished elementary school he was 180 cm and 120kg.  He injured both knees for the first time in Junior High, which limited his training at Saitama Sakae High School as he needed to rehabilitate. Yago’s favorite singer is B’z, his favorite food is chanko-nabe and Genghis Khan-nabe, and his hobby is watching baseball.

Projected Makushita Promotions

Welcome Justin (Hōchiyama)

Justin is a current resident of the DC area. Like Andy, I do my best to avoid visiting the downtown DC area. I “adopted” the rikishi Hōchiyama (active 2000-2016) in one of the early Sumo Forum’s games to “adopt a rikishi”, and was proud that he was the first of the original adoptees to make the top division. Now, I “adopt” him again as my writer’s shikona.
I first saw sumo in the summer of 1993 and fell in love. In 1994, I lived in Nerima-ku as a poor student, spending most of my time in a local izakaya and learning as much as I could. I got a black belt in Kōdōkan jūdō and learned shōgi. I cultivated my passion for sumo just as Takanohana made Yokozuna and enjoyed the Ake-Taka jidai and sumo boom. I have followed sumo since, and have become a “sumo otaku”.

Favorite sumo moments in my life are acting as gyōji for a young Ama and Hakuhō in the pool at Mandalay Bay during the Las Vegas kōen and climbing into the dōhyō at the DC Sumo and Sushi event! And pulling out a win against moto-Chiyonoshin, aka Enya in Sanctary!

Projected Makushita Promotions

Permit us to introduce the rikishi who are projected to join Makushita (Division 3) for the first time when the banzuke for the November tournament is released.

I anticipate that five rikishi will receive their first promotion to Makushita:  Satorufuji, Haruyama, Asashinjō, Kenshin, and Gōnoumi.

Satorufuji (聖富士) is another Isegahama prodigy out of Hiryū High School (like stablemates Midorifuji, Atamifuji and Hayatefuji)1. Satorufuji is a 19 year old,  5’9”” (178cm)/ 351 lbs (160kg) wrestler out of Shizuoka prefecture. In his four tournaments on the banzuke, he has a career record of 23-5, with a Jonidan Yūshō in the Natsu 2023 bashō – where he defeated ex-college Ōshōryū in a playoff.  His only losses are to prospects Asahakuryū (twice), Gōnoumi (see below), Tanji, and to the veteran Kitaharima. He has a variety of skills – winning by yorikiri almost 40% of the time and oshidashi about 25 perent of the time.  He also has won by various throwing techniques and a few times by Katatsukashi (possibly an influence from his elder stablemate).   He started sumo at Yaizu boy’s Sumo Klub and Kanehira Dojo when he was in second grade.  In his second year of junior high, he was part of the team that won the National Junior High School Sumo Tournament, winning a team championship with Yoshii.  In his third year of junior high, he won third place in the National Prefectural Junior High School Tournament. In the second hear of high school, he was on the team that won a national team championship and he also has won many various tournaments. He clearly has the size and skills to succeed in makushita and is still young enough to develop into another Isegahama-beya sekitori.  His has won a divisional playoff bout and has not yet reached his peak.  He will be an interesting prospect to watch develop in the near future.

Haruyama (春山) is one of Onoe-beya’s recruits from its pipeline at Nihon University.  He was recruited to Onoe-beya along with his Nihon U teammate and last bashō’s Jonokuchi division winner Shiroma.  He was also part of powerhouse Saitama Sakae High School’s sumo team prior to joining the university.  He is a 23 year old, 5’11’’ (181cm)/310 lbs (141kg) wrestler out of Kagoshima Japan and fights under his own name. He has a career record of 19-2, including a jonokuchi championship in Natsu 2023. He has only lost to high school prospects (and kohai of his from Saitama Sakae) Wakaikari and Gōnoumi (see below).  In his short career he is also showing he can use mixed techniques – Oshidashi (around 25%), yorikiri (around 25%), and some nage techniques.  He blasted his way through jonokuchi (mostly oshidashi and tsukidashi) and has relied more on the belt as he rose through jonidan and sandanme in one tournament each.  He has already done a lot of development at the high school and university level, and although he has not won any university titles, he finished in the top 16 in the All Japan Championships, and was in the top 16 in the National Student Championships, and achieved third place in the Kariya Tournament. He was team captain of the club at Nihon University. He is the cousin of Fujishima-beya’s Kainoshima.  As he was not a top-tier university wrestler, he started in mae-zumo.  He has potential to reach sekitori.

Asashinjō (朝心誠) arrives in makushita after seven years in sumo, having started in the Haru 2016 tournament. He fights out of Takasago-beya, is 25 years old and 5’7’’ (170cm)/256lbs (116kg).  He hails from Aichi Japan (Nagoya), and is a product of Tokai Industrial College Atsuta high school. He was a jūdōka in high school and was in the top 16 in the over 100kg weight class at the Aichi Prefecture General Championships.  At that time, his specialty was ippon-seoi throw, He has a career record of 154-143-11.  He spent most of 2018-early 2022 bouncing between jonidan and sandanme and has only recently taken a big step forward, attaining four kachi-koshi in a row. He is undersized and light weight, and likely at the peak of his skills, achieving a 6-1 record in upper sandanme last tournament, only his second career 6-1 tournament.  He may not achieve much longevity in makushita. He mainly wins by yorikiri and uwatenage (35% of wins). He works as one of the chankoban in Takasago-beya.

Kenshin (謙信) reaches makushita after eight years in the lower divisions, having started in the Hatsu 2015 tournament. He wrestles out of Sakaigawa-beya, is 27 years old, and is 5’7’’ (172cm)/285lbs (129kg).  He hails from Niigata Japan and is a product of Takada Agricultural High School. In his sophomore year, he placed second in a national team competition. He has a 174-151-32 career record.  He was given the name “Kenshin” by Sakaigawa Oyakata in honor of Kenshin Uesugi, a famous local general. He is a cousin of Sekinoto Oyakata (former Iwakiyama). He has been a solid sandanme wrestler since Aki 2017, spending all but one basho in the 4th division in the past six years – only dropping due to injury.  He has flirted with a third division debut for the past two years, and finally makes it after a 5-2 record. He is mainly a pusher/thruster (63% of wins by oshidashi or tsukidashi) and is not against the slapdown (11 percent of wins). He likely is at the peak of his career and not likely to rise much further than the lower part of makushita.

We return to a discussion of a prospect with Gōnoumi (豪ノ湖). He comes out of former Gōeidō’s Takekuma-beya and will rise to makushita after only four tournaments on the banzuke and with a career record of 23-5.  He hails from Shiga Prefecture, is 19 years old, and is 5’10’’ (178cm)/282lbs (128kg).   He started Sumo with the Nagahama Sumo Club when he was in 6th grade. In his third year of junior high school, he won second place in the National Junior High School Sumo Tournament and second place in the team competition. He joined the Saitama Sakae High School sumo team, where he won the National Semba Yurikai Individual Championship and became a High School Yokozuna), as well as many other tournaments. He has rapidly moved up the banzuke.  He has fought a lot of prospects, defeating Satorufuji and Kazeeidai, and losing to Wakaikari and a rematch with Satorufuji. He was in the run for the sandanme championship, going 6-0 and only losing to former top-division veteran Kitaharima by oshitaoshi on day 13. His shikona receives the “Gō” from his stablemaster, Gōeidō, and the umi (lake) from Lake Biwa in Shiga, as well as deference to the late-yokozuna Kitanoumi. He feels he is under a lot of pressure to perform up to the expectations of a former high-school Yokozuna. In July of his senior year, he and three other club members received a letter of appreciation from the Omiya-Nishi Police Station of the Saitama Prefectural Police for protecting an elementary school boy who gotten lost.

1  Hiryū High School has been assembling quality prospects and is turning itself into a top-tier high school club.  Its non-Isegahama wrestlers include Tochikōdai, Fujinoyama, Tendōzan, Daiseizan, Nagata, Ryūtsukasa and Nagamura.