Kisenosato’s Shikona Added To The Yokozuna Stone


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Friday Ceremony At Tomioka Hachiman Shrine

Part of attaining the lofty rank of Yokozuna includes the privilege of having your shikona recorded for the ages on a monument at the Tomioka shrine in Tokyo. The Tomioka Hachiman Shrine is also known as the birthplace of Kanjin-zumō (勧進相撲), founded in 1684, and origin of the current professional sumo. In the days of the shogunate, the spring and fall tournaments were held within the shrine’s grounds, and thus is has a deep history in sumo.

The Yokozuna stone was built around 1900 AD by the 12th Yokozuna, Jinmaku, to commemorate all sumotori who reach sumo’s top rank. Today, it was Kisenosato’s turn to see the kanji for his name added to the monument, next to Kakuryu’s. As part of the ceremony, Kisenosato performed a dohyo-iri, with former dew-sweeper Shohozan moving up to sword-bearer, and Kagayaki taking the role of herald / dew-sweeper. The team appeared in the striking Red Fuji kesho mawashi set, leaving the “Fist of the North Star” set at home.

As with all things Kisenosato, the ceremony was attended by thousands who packed the grounds of the shrine.

Kisenosato’s Meiji Shrine Dohyo-iri


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Massive Crowd Welcomes New Yokozuna

Tokyo – In the overnight hours US / EU time, Kisenosato performed his first public dohyo-iri on the grounds of the Meiji shrine, in front of sumo officials and a crowd estimated to be over 20,000. It is customary for a new Yokozuna to perform this ceremony two days after his elevation to sumo’s highest rank. His attendants were (as expected), Takayasu as sword bearer and Shohozan as dew sweeper.

As there has only been two days to prepare, Kisenosato’s dohyo-iri was a bit rough, and lacked many of the polished, fluid qualities seen in, for example, Hakuho’s dohyo-iri. For this debut dohyo-iri, Kisenosato and his retainers do not yet have their own sword, or their matching Keshō-mawashi (long aprons), so the shin-yokozuna customarily borrows them from a predecessor. In this case it was the great Wakanohana I.

Kisenosato Debut Dohyo-iri Friday


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Meiji Jingu Shrine Expected To See Overflow Crowd

Now that Kisenosato has been officially promoted to Yokozuna, and his tsuna is being prepared, the next major event in the elevation of Japan’s first native Yokzonua in nearly 20 years is the highly anticipated ceremony at the Meiji Jingu Shrine. There will be a number of activities that will take place in the late morning, culminating with Kisenosato and his retainers performing their first public dohyo-iri, or ring entering ceremony.

Reports in the Japanese sumo press say that Kisenosato has been taking instruction in the distinctive Unryu style from retired Yokozuna Ōnokuni. While it is expected that Takayasu will serve as Kisenosato’s tachimochi (sword bearer), his tsuyuharai (dew sweeper) is rumored to be Shohozan.

With a good portion of Japan going Kisenosato crazy in celebration, the crowd at Meiji Jingu is likely to be massive, and any readers in Japan wishing to attend are advised to go hours ahead of time.

Tachiai will bring you full coverage of this historic event.

Happy Birthday Yokozuna Asahoryu!


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The Retired 68th Yokozuna Marks His 36th Birthday

Tachiai would like to wish the retired Asashōryū a happy birthday. During his years as an active Yokozuna, he was a controversial figure in sumo, but he was usually a fierce competitor in the ring. He finished his reign with a worthy 25 yusho and 6 special prizes.

To celebrate his birthday, below is his dohyo-iri (ring entering ceremony) from 2007