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Kaikitsune Makoto

Mainoumi interviews KaioU

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This is a translation of Mainoumi's interview with KaioU prior to Nagoya

basho. Translation from original Japanese article was kindly made by the

one and only Aomorian Amanogawa-zeki to whom a BIG cordial thank


M: Mainoumi

K: KaioU

M: Already two years since your last yusho in 01..

K: Right, I want another one, and I do have to win one. People will forget

about me if I keep getting injured and kyujo. Recently I have been a

yusho contender but either of those chances didn't bring yusho. I

couldn't make it blast but just made it tailed-off.

M: You could never regret enough that you lost in the first half of the

tournament against rikishi who are not at the same level as you are?

K: Well.. I guess I was feeling pressure ( at the beginning of the

tournament ).. I was too impatient to win. I just knew what I had to do

but it didn't come out. Then I thought, "Oh this is no good, I really

should get my feet back on the ground" which came to work well

gradually.... but that's exactly something I should do right from the


M: Oh you're so delicate.. maybe more delicate than how you look ...

K: Yes, just like Mainoumi-san. ( laughter ) I just go so quiet.. with my

arms crossed and go pondering ( what's wrong with my sumo spirit ).

But recently I guess I came to think, "I should relax and enjoy sumo".

M: "Enjoy"?

K: Yes, I think I have been too much concerned about what people say

about me. It's something like a car gets overheated after turning the

engine just too fast. I want to get rid of those pressures and want to

do sumo just as I wish to do. Of course I should be humble to take good

advices but I should be strong enough to let it go as well.

M: I know... sometimes you are really too gentle a fellow...

Did you like martial arts ever since you were a little boy?

K: I would go to a karate ashram ( =doujou ) when I was little - I wanted

to be strong. I would often watch pro-wrestling, but I never dreamed of

becoming a sumo-tori. But since I was a big-built, I was made to

participate in ( kids' ) sumo tournament when I was about 10. I really

hated wearing mawashi... how embarrassing it was.. In junior high

school I joined judo-club after being recruited.

M: And then what brought you to sumo-world?

K: I was just guided... As graduating the junior high, my class teacher

advised me to go to a high school. But then someone related to

Tomozuna-beya got to contact me and encouraged me to experience

some keiko session at the heya.... and somehow, before I knew it,

I joined the heya... I guess I coulndn't say "No" until it was too late.

M: You didn't say you didn't like to be a rikishi?

K:No.... you know, those ( heya-related ) people were really so nice taking

care of me ( visiting and staying at the heya and stuff ), and they were

so nice that I could never have a chance to say "No". I was soooo

upset every day even after I joined the heya... Well, to tell the truth, I

once escaped from the heya. I got to meet some Shin-deshi at the

sumo school ( Sumo-Kyoushuu-jo ) and cospired to run away, like,

"What are we doing here? Okay, let's get out of here". Then again,

I followed those shin-deshi fellows before I could manage to say

"No". But then accidentaly the person we were visiting to hide

happened to be a friend of one of Tomozuna-beya related people,

and it(= the runaway ) was immediately reported.

M: Oh that's something most of rikishi have experienced...

K: But it was kind of good because I, for the first time, came to

think I really had to do what I do. Those things that came

across to my mind when I ran away the heya were, all

my family, people who had worked so hard to put me in

the heya... I thought, "This wouldn't make any good. This

only would make Kyushu ( =homeplace) farther. I could

never go home unless my mind is set and try my best."

And then I started to work on keiko hard. It was always

a thrill and joy whenever I felt I was gaining a real power

and strength through keiko, which kept me going.

M: You have Waka-Taka and Akebono as the same class-

mate ( '88 Haru ).

K: Oh, yes, but they were totally different from the start! Do

you know how I thought of them as I saw them chased after

by media? I thought, "AH! here they are! Celebs!"

But what I am now is all thankful for them... I always

told myself, "You can be like them if you keep up with

the best you could make. You can even beat them sometime

if you keep trying"..

M:Oh.... okay, but I really dont think you're too eager for the


K: Hahaha.... Well, my mind had never been 100%

determined... it was something so "in-between" like,

"Well, I wouldn't complain if I can make a higher ranker"..

just like that. But I know I was changed... after I got

married... I came to think I really wanted to make her

happy, and I wanted to impress her with how real a man

I am. And I think I came to realize a sense

of responsibility in many regards.

M: Your wife Mitsuko-san has experienced the

world of martial arts.... I figure she would understand

very well about your situation as a rikishi, a man destined

to fight?

K: Right. She is so caring and thoughtful and try to make things

comfortable where I can do whatever I hope to do. BUT she's

REALLY of a strong minded woman. I have to pay 10,000 yen

as a penalty money whenever I do a no-good bout. There's a

bottle ( used as a piggy bank ) to put MY penalty money... I

wonder how much I have put my 10,000 yen bills into the bottle...

Should be hundreds of thousands of yen in there... I wonder

how she would use that money.

M: I believe you're gentle, a little slow paced nature just like

a spring breeze. But you say you're pretty much determined

( for promotions and stuff ) now. Do I understand right if

I said this was partly because of Asashoryu's impressive

quick promotion to Yokozuna? Did his rapid promotion

ever make you feel bitter?

K: Hmmmm... It was not really a "bitter" feeling, but rather,

it was something like, "Hey, you've got to hold a tight grip

on yourself NOW!" I really do admire Asashoryu's strong

spirits, that rough brutality, and deternimation. He's been

stimulating me in ways to shake me awake.

M: And Asashoryu -- you're doing quite good against him

with scores of 6-4. And Nagoya is the basho where you

decided your ozeki promotion in '00.

K: You're right. I don't plan to finish myself just yet. And I do

never want to be finished just yet. I'm not all that too old yet,

and besides I feel my mental condition has been pretty good

- I'd even say it's even better than ever. I just like to enjoy

my sumo, as concentrating. One bout one day.

***Postcript by Mai-chan

I know Ozeki ( KaioU ) is a real shy guy who gets nervous so easily ...(

think how he and I were tied in face-to-face scores! ). He's so kind

and strong - and I'm so sure the reason he's so strong is all because of

his love and thoughts to family, mates, and people around him. His

gentleness is his strength. I really hope him now to be rough enough to

"blow away" his opponents to make his dream come true.

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I would like to know Kaio's real opinion of Asashoryu, Chiyotaikai, and the other ozeki. But of course he would never reveal in public: he would just be polite and respectful (Sigh...)

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I really hope Kaio sticks around as an active rikishi for a lot longer. More than anyone else right now (IMO), he's the distinguished, elder statesman of sumo, and the sport needs as many guys of his calibre as it can get at the moment.

Lots of thanks to Amanogawa and to you Kaikitsune for translating and posting the interview. (Sigh...)

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BIG thanks to Amanogawa and Kakitsune for translating and posting this interview on the forum. (Sigh...)

I love reading these interviews!

(Sign of approval)

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Thanks, Yuupii!! m(__)m (Sigh...)



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