Terunofuji Granted Japanese Citizenship

I miss the crowds (photo: NicolaAnn08)

The good news continues for Terunofuji. Yokozuna promotion last week, Japanese citizenship this week. This clears the way for him to become oyakata upon retirement. Isegahama-oyakata will is building an incredible legacy, with beloved disciples in Ajigawa-oyakata and some day, Terunofuji-oyakata. After watching the Kakuryu citizenship drama drag on, this must present a bit of a relief.

After some of the news stories and drama over the past week, this really presents a great surprise. While we hope his reign at Yokozuna is a long and successful one, today’s announcement means we can also look forward to his second career, molding the next generation of young Kaiju. He came through the storied sumo program at Tottori Johoku High School and might use that connection to usher more champions through that dohyo. But I do wonder if he will look to a certificate or other program at Waseda when his active career draws to a close. Either way, I’m eager to see him guide young deshi. This week, we saw Araiso-beya open and Hakuho is already leveraging his GOAT-status to bring in talent and wonder whether Terunofuji will start bringing his own class through Isegahama.

Sometimes events come around that make you look forward to the future, you know?

Kakuryu Acquires Japanese Citizenship

Here is a clip from Japan’s Official Gazette.

Kakuryu is officially a citizen of Japan.

A lot has been riding on this citizenship. With his physical fitness deteriorating, there was a real danger he would be forced to retire without a citizenship. This would have meant he could not stay as an oyakata, as the rules of the NSK only allow Japanese citizens to be toshiyori (oyakata).

This would have been regrettable even without the background noise, as Kakuryu has a good reputation for leadership by example, and his presence in the sumo world would have been missed. But in his case, there was also the issue of the dying wish of his master, the late Izutsu oyakata, who wanted him to take over the heya.

The heya no longer exists as such, and even the building where it was located is currently being demolished. But now that he has earned his citizenship, he will be able to take the Izutsu name (there is some evidence that the former Toyonoshima is only holding it temporarily), and establish the heya again – as has already happened in the history of that heya. I’m sure this will make the Widow Fukuzono happy, and probably the late master’s brother, Shikoroyama oyakata, as well.

And of course, every sumo fan who has come to love and respect Kakuryu.