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Shikona meanings

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P.P.S. If anyone out there is really knowledgeable about kanji, perhaps they could clarify for me the meaning of the Yo in Yotsukasa. Many dictionaries do not even include the reading for that shikona. I can't remember whether or not the kyokai site gives the proper kanji for it or leaves it as hiragana but that one character has always been the toughest one for me to research. It has the hi-hen, that is the fire radical on the left and the main body of it is ka as in hanahadashii, a character often used to describe things chinese if I'm not mistaken. Think of the ka in chuka-ryori to make that connection.

There, now I await your replies.

Jason 'Itachi' Russell

This is an interesting case. The Kyokai site displays the 'you' (lengthened 'o' sound) in hiragana syllabry whilst the little picture placard next to his picture gives the character written in cursive script. There is a reason for this. They are able to write it in the cursive script because this is essentially a picture. They do not write it as a chinese character elsewhere in the text because they are unable to do so.

The first character of his name is an irregular character that does not exist in JIS script. It means that the Sumo kyokai is not able to produce his name in their regular correspondence etc. It also means that his shikona can't be written in the newspapers either. Shikona can be written anyway they like because they are not covered by legal requirements that cause some other names to be simplified so that they can appear on official documents. He was therefore able to choose the writing of his name.

From my reading, apparently the character was used in the title of an Edo-period (1600-1867) entertainment book, and was one of the characters in the name of a North Korean official a couple of decades ago. Apart from that it doesn't exist as such.

For the record, the 'tsukasa' part comes from the oyakata of Irumagawa-beya, whose shikona as a wrestler was Tochitsukasa. Thus we have Outsukasa, Nadatsukasa, Goutsukasa etc.

I guess it would have been easier if Youtsukasa had stuck with his original shikona (his family name of Suzuki) when he entered Makushita.

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Just to add, that the "You" character of Youtsukasa very well is existing in Unicode character set. So it actually IS possible to use it on the internet, in correspondence etc.

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There are several shikona-related posts on the SML in this section of the archive. :-P Related to the topic of shikona that are based on place names, here's an interesting quote from one of the posts...

And the next two , Shima and Yama have another reason for their frequenct appearance. I don't know why, but it seems that traditionaly Rikishi was often named with geographical terms, like Shima, Yama, Umi, etc. It is also common to use a place name(expecially traditional name) like Dewa, Sado, etc. These two ways are often combined, like Akinoshima, Mienoumi(retired), etc. Akinoshima is from Kochi prefecture, which used to be called Aki. Sometimes one has the name of real places. Kirishima is a famous volcano in Kyushu Island. Among the retired Rikishis, Masuiyama is the mountain in Himeji city and Washuyama is the mountain in Okayama prefecture.

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Re: Roho

Russian Phoenix would be a good translation... As already mentioned "Ro" stands for Russia (Hakurozan also has that kanji in his shikona), and Taiho's "ho" means phoenix, just like Kaiho's and 'Tenho's...

Lots of Phoneices! :-P

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If anyone out there is really knowledgeable about kanji, perhaps they could clarify for me the meaning of the Yo in Yotsukasa.

The kanji "Yo" in Yotsukasa means "to shine/ to lighten / to sparkle".

Thanks for this good chance to look up in my dictionaries. (Clapping wildly...)

Shima and Yama have another reason for their frequenct appearance. I don't know why, but it seems that traditionaly Rikishi was often named with geographical terms, like Shima, Yama, Umi, etc. It is also common to use a place name(expecially traditional name) like Dewa, Sado, etc. These two ways are often combined, like Akinoshima, Mienoumi(retired), etc. Akinoshima is from Kochi prefecture, which used to be called Aki. Sometimes one has the name of real places. Kirishima is a famous volcano in Kyushu Island. Among the retired Rikishis, Masuiyama is the mountain in Himeji city and Washuyama is the mountain in Okayama prefecture.

In ancient Japan it was believed that each land had its own god(s), like, the land A had the god(s) of A, the lake B had the god(s) of B. ( Even in this present time we still would administrate special rituals when we want to build a house/building. It's the rituals to "greet" and "soothe" the gods residing the place. )

Sumo has quite a history from the ancient times. Rikishi would do sumo on the dohyo as a deputy ( what's the best English term for this? Could someone please teach me.. ) of the gods of the place -and that's why rikishi would honorably bear the name of t he mountains ( Yama ), rivers ( Kawa, -gawa ), Umi ( ocean ).

Oh by the way, Akinoshima is from Hiroshima Pref... And his shikona Aki is from his hometown Akitsu-cho - if I remember correctly. (Whistling...)

Edited by Amanogawa

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i tried to translate the shikonas of a lot of rikishi a couple of years ago (when i was having nihongo lessons) but found it very hard from time to time.

The results i came by were hiralious in some occasions (pity i haven't kept them....) because i was trying to make the translations without the kanjis (i didn't know many kanjis back then).I realised the futility of my efforts when i asked my Japanese teacher to help me but told me that without the kanjis it would be impossible because the same sound has a lot of different meanings that is clear only when you see the kanji.

Pity i didn't have internet back then to find the names in Kanji...... (Clapping wildly...)

for the record:

My teacher was 28 years old,born and raised in Japan. When i told her about my interest in sumo she thought i was crazy.........She told me: "only old people watch sumo in Japan.I think it will cease to exist in a couple of decades...."

that thing depressed me a lot back then......... :'-(

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Sumo has quite a history from the ancient times. Rikishi would do sumo on the dohyo as a deputy ( what's the best English term for this? Could someone please teach me.. ) of the gods of the place

You mean that they were representing the gods, I take it?

Oh by the way, Akinoshima is from Hiroshima Pref... And his shikona Aki is from his hometown Akitsu-cho - if I remember correctly.  (Whistling...)

(Oops! ) Well, I was just quoting from that ten-year old post. (Clapping wildly...) Thanks for setting the record straight on the origin of Aki's shikona.

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Here is the promised information of origin of 40 makuuchi rikishi (banzuke of kyushu 2003), translated from NHK sumo magazine. Errors and misunderstandings quite possible, so to be taken with a pinch of salt...

AMINISHIKI

Named by his oyakata. "A" from Ajigawa combined with the image of beautiful brocades of his hometown.

ASASEKIRYU

Named by his oyakata, to be similar to Asashoryu. Now his fans and friends only send him red-coloured presents.

ASASHORYU

Named by the principal of his Alma mater, Meitoku High, professor Yoshida Keiichi, after the "Blue Dragon temple (Seiryuji)" up whose steps he used to run for training while in high school, to remind him of his second hometown (after Mongolia) and his determination.

BUYUZAN

Changed it for luck. Wanted the "Bu/Mu" sign (from Musashigawa), and the sound "Buyuzan", also considered alternative spelling but found this one pretty. Often gets encouraging letters from denizens of Buyu(?)-ichi in Saga, and people named Takeo (same kanji as Buyu).

CHIYOTAIKAI

Decided after talk with his mother. "Big sea" because his hometown largely depends on the sea, and also because it has the meaning of swallowing all negative things. "Chiyo" bears the meaning of eternity, and the name "Ryuji"(2 dragons) completes the meaning into "Eternally swallowing all negative things, he will rise like a dragon", his mother's prayer for his success.

DEJIMA

A fairly common surname in Kanezawa. He should have gotten a new shikona upon juryo promotion, but as his name is Takeharu (Take=Mu of Musashigawa) it was discussed whether to change his first name too, to avoid having two "Mu/Take" in the shikona. Then oyakata decided that Dejima Takeharu really sounded good and was easy to remember, and so it stayed.

HOKUTORIKI

Named by his oyakata. Modification of Takatoriki, to inspire him to do the same sort of spirited sumo.

IWAKIYAMA

Changed after streak of injuries, by his oyakata's suggestion.

Mt. Iwaki is the symbol of his hometown, and he strives to be worthy of it.

JUMONJI

When first promoted to juryo he was given a shikona, but he was demoted after just one basho and the languished there for over a year. SO he changed back to his real name a regained juryo in just two basho. Since that is an unusual surname, "and it looks like a shikona, so it's ok".

KAIO

Picked from several suggestions by his oyakata. "Kai" from his oyakata (he was his first deshi), and "O" from the misspelling/misreading of his hometown Nogata as "Ogata".

KAKIZOE

It's his real name. He might change it when he reaches even higher ranks, though.

KASUGANISHIKI

Given by his oyakata, presumably. "Kasuga" from his stable.

KINKAIYAMA

Changed it for luck from "Kinnoumi", resulting in 10 straight kachikoshi and makuuchi promotion.

KOTOMITSUKI

Chosen from three alternatives offered by his oyakata, liked it because of its sound and implied bright prospects.

KOTONOWAKA

Already with this shikona he suffered bad-luck streak, and after falling to sandanme decided to change it if he loses just one more bout. So he won zensho yusho, and after a year without makekoshi reached juryo promotion.

KOTORYU

Named by the advice of a teacher, from several possibilities chosen as the most auspicious.

KYOKUSHUZAN

Named by his parents. In Mongolia, "eagle" (Shu) is the heavenly animal, symbol of strength, and is respected because of it. He did have problems remembering his shikona at first, and was teased mercilessly by his elder heya-mates until he remembered it.

KYOKUTENHO

Named by his oyakata, because his height and looks reminded him of great Taiho in his youth. So, to Taiho was added one stroke to make "Tenho". The shikona contains hope of becoming an ozeki or yokozuna.

MIYABIYAMA

He always wanted to use "Miyabi" kanji from his real name Masahito. He was thinking of "Miyabiumi" or "Miyabikaze", especially the last one since it associated windlike freedom of movement. But his childhood sumo-trainer, Oso Masato (Musoyama's father) suggested "Miyabiyama", and the strength of mountain as the fitting choice.

MUSASHIMARU

His oyakata suggested it, "Musashi" from the stable, and "maru" from his real name Fiamalu. Added is the name "Koyo" (shining sea) to complete the image of a famous ship crossing the shining Pacific and returning triumphantly to Hawaii.

MUSOYAMA

Chosen from two alternatives (other was Musoumi) jointly by himself, his father and his oyakata. "Mu" came from "Musashigawa" and "so" is the "futa" from the famous Futabayama.

OTSUKASA

Named by his oyakata, presumably, "tsukasa" coming from his oyakata's active days' shikona. Unfortunately, it is frequently misread as "Koji" or "Oji", because he still isn't famous enough.

SHIMOTORI

His real name. The former Tokitsukaze-oyakata told him that he will get a new shikona upon reaching juryo, but didn't. So Shimotori thought it was in order to inspire him to reach Makuuchi quickly, and eventually remained Shimotori still.

TAKAMISAKARI

Given by his oyakata, who was inspired by sake commercials on TV to take "sakari" and add it to "Takami" from his active days' shikona. Other candidates were "Takamimori" and "Takamijo", but Takamisakari immediately liked his shikona and pestered his oyakata until he was given it.

TAKANONAMI

Given by his oyakata, joining "Taka" from his shikona "Takanohana" with Takanonami's real name "Namioka". It seems the promotion to juryo took the oyakata by surprise, so he just put it together in a hurry. There was talk once of changing the "no" kanji, but it stopped. He doesn't feel that the change of name can influence his luck, so he will fight under this shikona until the end.

TAKANOWAKA

Given by his oyakata, who combined the first kanji of his shikona "Takanosato" with his own oyakata's (Wakanohana I) kanji.

TAKEKAZE

His oyakata offered him to choose from: Iwakaze, Takekaze, Miyabikaze. In the end he took "Takekaze" which contains kanji from his oyakata's first name "Kouki".

TAMAKASUGA

Combination of "Tama" from his oyakata and name of his junior highschool's sumo dojo, "Kasuga-kan".

TAMANOSHIMA

He was very nervous when he informed his oyakata he wanted to change his name from Tamanonada to Tamanoshima, because that was the name of heya's legendary yokozuna Tamanoumi until his ozeki promotion.

TAMARIKIDO

Chosen from three suggestions by his oyakata. Combines the traditional "Tama" of his heya with the shikona of late Rikidozan from the same ichimon.

TOCHIAZUMA

He received his shikona from his father and oyakata. His okamisan and mother didn't like it, saying "It's a shikona of many injuries".

TOCHINONADA

Combines the traditional "Tochi" of Kasugano-beya with "nada" (ocean) since he comes from a fishing family in a town on the coast of Japanese sea. Allegedly, announcers' tongues often trip when pronouncing it.

TOCHISAKAE

Changed it in time of injuries by advice of the pricipal of his alma mater, Saitama Sakae High, to remind him of happier school times.

TOKI

Taking "To" from his idol who he wants to emulate, Takatoriki, he and his seniors in the heya searched the dictionary for a fitting second kanji. He started growing sideburns at the same time, so that his looks would match the fierceness of his shikona.

TOKITSUUMI

Given by his oyakata Tokitsukaze, "umi" (sea) because he comes from the coast.

TOSANOUMI

Named by his shisho, "Tosa" because he comes from Kochi province, and "umi" because Kochi reminds of the sea.

TOYOZAKURA

Named by his father, who was a sandanme-ranked rikishi once.

WAKANOSATO

Given by his oyakata upon request, same as Takanowaka combined from "Takanosato" his oyakata, and "Wakanohana" his oyakata's oyakata. He feels the weight of that shikona...

WAKATOBA

Named by his oyakata, from "Akatoba", famous horse from Annals of three kingdoms, in order to inspire him to be quickwitted as a rabbit ("to") and wild as a horse ("ba").He won't tell whether he read the Annals or not.

YOTSUKASA

Given by his oyakata, presumably, so his sumo would be as brilliant as fire. As the kanji "yotsu" cannot be written on personal computers, it can be mistaken with a similar kanji, so he was called "Kabatsukasa" once.

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Again the myth that Yōtsukasa's name can't be written... Here to prove otherwise:

燁司

Edited by Doitsuyama

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Here is the promised information of origin of 40 makuuchi rikishi (banzuke of kyushu 2003), translated from NHK sumo magazine. Errors and misunderstandings quite possible, so to be taken with a pinch of salt...

(Applauding...)

TAKAMISAKARI

Given by his oyakata, who was inspired by sake commercials on TV to take "sakari" and add it to "Takami" from his active days' shikona. Other candidates were "Takamimori" and "Takamijo", but Takamisakari immediately liked his shikona and pestered his oyakata until he was given it.

It seems somehow appropriate, doesn't it? :-P

Very interesting to learn that the shikona of both Hokutoriki and Toki were inspired by Takatoriki.

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Thanks for this. I have often wondered where some of the shikona come from.

(Sigh...)

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Bumpity-bump. Resurrecting an ancient thread, so careful to what posts you reply. (Jumping in ecstasy...)

When I headed to Kokugikan I realised there are many new sekitori whose shikona I couldn't recognise on sight, a sad change from couple of years ago... So, to polish my shikona-recognition skills, I offer to provide translations (artistic or not) of sekitori no already mentioned in this topic. Alas, I haven't the time or the will to make a list of said sekitori. If someone does, please post the list here and I'll translate. If not, not.

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I would like to know what Goeido means

Also I am thinking about changing my forum name to Musashoryu......is that Warrior Blue Dragon? what would be the Kanji?

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I would like to know what Goeido means

Also I am thinking about changing my forum name to Musashoryu......is that Warrior Blue Dragon? what would be the Kanji?

I believe Musashoryu would be Mushashoryu and the kanji would be it is 武者青龍 (variations are always possible of course, especially for ryu 竜 being the other common one). Are shikona ever 4 kanji long? I'd probably shorten it more to 武青龍 Mushoryu (compare with Bushuyama 武州山).

Oh, and you should know that 青龍 is not just a blue dragon, it is actually a quasi-diety, the azure dragon of the east, protector of Kyoto along with, among others, the black (mysterious) warrior of the north 北方玄武 which is often called the black tortoise of the north though there is no tortoise in the kanji. Byakko 白虎 the white tiger of the west is another protector and a shikona in current use at Sandanme 50 west. I don't think the vermillion bird of the south has been used 朱雀, sujaku.

豪栄道 is most likely 'strength/power/magnificence' 'prosperity/glory' 'way', the magnificent glorious way. Not conceited at all (In a state of confusion...)

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豪栄道 is most likely 'strength/power/magnificence' 'prosperity/glory' 'way', the magnificent glorious way. Not conceited at all (In a state of confusion...)

This shikona by itself is meaningless.

He just made it up using three kanji, each of which is meaningful to him.

豪 comes from his own name, 豪太郎, GO-taro.

栄 comes from his high school 埼玉栄 (Sai-tama SAKAE).

道 comes from both 相撲道 (Sumo-DOH) and 道紀 (MICHI-nori), his high school sumo club manager Michinori Yamada.

No point in trying to figure out what most shikona mean as some are the rikishi's own family name or made up of kanji that have some meaning to their rikishi or where they are from or even just happen to have a lucky brush stroke. Some even change their shikona for that reason as Kotooshu did a while back changing the way he writes "Shu".

Edited by Jonosuke

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Are shikona ever 4 kanji long?

22 four-kanji shikona on the current banzuke, plus 30 with three kanji and a kana.

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Thanks for looking those longer shikona up guys. It must be the end of the basho. I must sleep and recharge my brain a bit...

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