Asashosakari

Double-checking the Sumo DB's names of foreign rikishi - United States

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Asashosakari    8,528

I've mentioned a couple of times recently that I think the Sumo DB's listings of foreign rikishi have suffered from sub-par sources, especially the Mongolians, and I finally got annoyed enough to start doing something about it. So naturally my first intuition was to - check up on all the non-Mongolian rikishi? :-S Oh well.

Anyway, I'm posting this as a separate thread rather than the usual DB thread, mostly because I want to give it a little more visibility, and because I think there are other people (Wikipedia editors for instance) who may also find it useful. And lastly, there's plenty in here that could use some triple-checking by even more eyes, so I'm hoping to motivate others to give the data a look as well.

I'll start with the biggest non-Mongolian block, the Americans, who I thought I would get through pretty quickly and easily. Boy, was that wrong! I'll highlight the most pertinent parts in red (i.e. mainly what I think to be the correct names, or at least what's an improvement). Also, for clarity I'll usually be putting the surnames in CAPS, same as the DB does.

Anyway, lots of coverage of them in old US newspapers, mainly in Hawaii; I decided to make use of the free trial at newspapers.com for a bit of research. Unfortunately, it turns out that the old reports are often wildly inconsistent...
 

United States (31 rikishi)

Araiwa - given as Carl Lee MARTIN in a Hawaiian news article from January 1970, then as Cal MARTIN in an extensive AP article from February 1971 (photo and press clipping from the article). Not sure if the latter is sufficient to consider the name confirmed. I'd suggest sticking with Cal Lee MARTIN, I guess. (Or maybe not, see discussion in further posts.)

Matsuryuyama - A Washington Post article that confirms the Robert and SUETSUGU parts of the name. I think Masao can also be considered confirmed - I won't link to it because it contains personally identifying information, but a Google search for "Robert Masao Suetsugu" points to an entry in one of those public information databases, for a person of that name with the correct age and area of residence (Washington State).

Wakayashima - referred to as Reid ASATO pretty much everywhere, so I think the DB has it the wrong way around.

Wakatakami - "PULAIAN" appears to be way off, but that's only half of the story. His name is variously given as George BRIAN, George BRYAN or George BRYN, later on also as Bryn GEORGE. In addition, there's a 1987 film credit for a sumo wrestler cameo for a Bryn GEORGE. I'm tempted to believe that Bryn GEORGE is in fact the correct version, because that's the name the Honolulu Advertiser used in its report about his retirement ceremony, and I would hope they knew the correct name by that point.

Takanoumi - the only coverage I can find is as Philip SMOAK, brief mentions in an LA Times article from 1985 and this Newsweek article from much later (1999). Not sure how reliable that is. By the way, where does the -su come from in his unconfirmed middle name? It's not in the katakana. I'm guessing it's meant to be either McHenry or MacHenry, but I have no confirmation.

Gosetsu - consistently referred to in the Honolulu newspapers as Raymond Roland LYMAN (and as Gosetsu, so this might confirm the shikona as well).

Narushio - referred to as Emmanuel KAEHUAEA Jr. by the Honolulu Advertiser, but as Kaehuaea EMMANUEL Jr. by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. :-S As above with Matsuryuyama, a Google check of public data confirms that Emmanuel KAEHUAEA Jr. is very likely the correct version.

Junyo - not sure about this one since he was only active for one basho. The Hawaiian newspapers have him consistently as Roe Isfaailic TAGO during that tournament, except for one reprint of an AP report that says Isaac Faailitago ROE (which is close to what the DB has at the moment). In addition, there's an obituary from 2013, which I think refers to this rikishi and has his name as Isaac Faaili Tago ROE. (By the way, the obit and other information that can be googled for via "Isaac F Roe" indicates that his birthyear was 1964, not 1965 as the DB has it.). Junyo as the shikona appears to be correct.

Takamio -John FELEUNGA can clearly be confirmed by the press coverage, but I found absolutely nothing on that middle name that's in the DB. Does anybody else have something?

Takamishu - contemporary coverage looks to have started with Taylor WILY, then later moved largely to Taylor WILEY (as in the DB), then post-career coverage seems to be WILY again. He has recent TV and movie credits as Taylor WILY, and I tend to think that's the correct spelling. By the way, all the newspaper coverage gave his shikona as Takamikuni - is it at all possible that the DB has the shikona wrong...? (I see this issue was previously discussed but didn't go anywhere.)

Musashibo - currently no name listed on the DB at all. The Honolulu papers give his name as William MOLINA, no guarantees that they got it right. (Hawaii shusshin of course, in case that's worth adding. Also, his one bout in 1988.01 was a fusenpai, as according to reports he was no longer in Japan by that point.)

Nanyonishiki - in the papers consistently as Jeremiah Peter ONOSAI, which doesn't quite match the katakana in the DB.

Ozora - the DB's Troy Levi TALAIMATAI looks like it can be confirmed by the press coverage.

Kamikiiwa - Wayne VIERRA in the 1980s press. No mention of his middle name there, but based on this obituary of who I presume is his father, I think Wayne Mahelani VIERRA Jr. can be confirmed.

Koryu - there's some pre-sumo football coverage of him in the papers, and my impression is that COSIER and GASPAR are both surnames. The earliest coverage seems to reference him as "Eric Gaspar" while in high school, then later occasionally as "Eric (Gaspar) Cosier", perhaps due to a family name change? In his sumo days they seem to use Eric GASPAR and Eric COSIER pretty much interchangably. I'm not sure how to deal with that, especially as I'm not sure what his actual surname was at that point. Maybe just list him as Eric GASPAR COSIERThat's at least chronological, I think, sort of.

Nanfu - Kaleo KEKAUOHA can be confirmed based on press. The other part of the name appears to be "Pierson", but I'm not sure if that's a middle name or a part of the surname. You can variously find "Kaleo Pierson", "Kaleo Pierson Kekauoha", "Kaleo Kekauoha Pierson", "Pierson Kekauoha", and the public info databases even have a "Pierson Kaleo Kekauoha"...I'm tempted to suggest the last one, especially because that matches the current DB entry, i.e. Pierson Kaleo KEKAUOHA. But definitely no full confirmation about the correct order.

Sunahama - William HOPKINS is easily confirmed, but the middle name is all over the place between "Tayler", "Taylor" and "Tyler". Very recent articles about him making some appearances at Japanese culture exhibitions have opted for "Tyler", and here's a book review whose author refers to him as "my cousin" and uses William Tyler HOPKINS, so I think that's the correct one.

Yamato and Wakachikara - more middle/surname confusion. Press referred to them almost entirely as "George KALIMA" and "Glenn KALIMA". "Heywood" is basically nowhere to be found. So "Kalima" is almost definitely a surname. And in fact, it looks like it's not "Heywood" at all, but rather "Haywood", and that it's a middle name, not a surname. (Some articles refer to Glenn as "Jr.", and it's possible to find articles that appear to reference his father Glenn Haywood Kalima Sr.) So I'd suggest George/Glenn Haywood KALIMA for these two.

 

Edited by Asashosakari
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Fukurou    335
25 minutes ago, Asashosakari said:

Araiwa - given as Carl Lee MARTIN in a Hawaiian news article from January 1970, then as Cal MARTIN in an extensive AP article from February 1971 (photo and press clipping from the article). Not sure if the latter is sufficient to consider the name confirmed. I'd suggest sticking with Cal MARTIN, I guess.

Wakayashima - referred to as Reid ASATO pretty much everywhere, so I think the DB has it the wrong way around.

On Araiwa, did you see the Pittsburgh Press article from Nov 1968 about "Carl" Martin? Does that clarify anything (my sub to Newspapers.com won't let me see it unless I upgrade)

As for Wakayashima, there's an actor named Reid Asato listed in IMDB who has 6 movie credits between 1986 and 2000, and played "Sumo Wrestler #2" in the last one. If it's the same guy that's another data point for the name order.

Edited by Fukurou
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Asashosakari    8,528
33 minutes ago, Fukurou said:

On Araiwa, did you see the Pittsburgh Press article from Nov 1968 about "Carl" Martin? Does that clarify anything (my sub to Newspapers.com won't let me see it unless I upgrade)

Oh, nice catch, I missed that one. Not conclusive evidence, but that's two independent sources for Carl then. I suppose it's possible that "Cal" was just a nickname? (Or maybe the AP article just plain got it wrong. Would be interesting to know what the source for the DB's Cal listing was.)

Thanks for the additional Reid Asato confirmation as well!

Edited by Asashosakari

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Asashosakari    8,528

I left out one guy because I wasn't able to find anything in the press and because the DB doesn't list his name as unconfirmed, so I figured there's no need for attention there. But on second thought...

Taikai - is that Akebono's brother about whom his Wikipedia article says:

Quote

He grew up with two younger brothers, one of whom, Ola, also became a sumo wrestler for a brief period after Chad.

? Given name doesn't match the DB entry, obviously.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Fukurou    335
1 hour ago, Asashosakari said:

I left out one guy because I wasn't able to find anything in the press and because the DB doesn't list his name as unconfirmed, so I figured there's no need for attention there. But on second thought...

Taikai - is that Akebono's brother about whom his Wikipedia article says:

? Given name doesn't match the DB entry, obviously.

Did you see this forum thread from 2007?

This isn't news to you I'm sure, but please bear with me.  I did a straight-up google of "Ola Rowan" and ended up reading sections of "Gaijin Yokozuna" that were offered. (anyone read French? I found a French version at http://www.sumofr.net/archives/Gaijin-Yokozuna.pdf ) The only brother of Akebono mentioned in my reading is Ola Rowan. From what I was able to pick out (a few pages were offered as a preview read, the rest were snippets), he entered sumo about the same time as Musashimaru.

There's a piece beginning on page 47 where the author is leading up to meeting with Ola: "To this day Chad Rowan believes he was initially recruited by Azumazeki-Beya because Boss wanted his younger brother Ola to join him later. Unlike Chad, Ola was a compact 6'2", 250 pounds, with stocky legs and beefy arms - the perfect build for sumo. His athleticism had been proven since childhood on baseball and football fields across the state, and his fighting spirit was unmatched. And since he grew up with the same humble beginnings and the same powerful mother, eating the same food in the same small kitchen in the same house on Humuniki Street, one might easily expect that he and I also talked  story at some point along the Nihon Sumo Kyokai's jungyo exhibition tour."  That section goes on to explain that Ola's spent a lot of time in prison.

As for sumo, Ola did go to Japan. He joined sumo at the same time Musashimaru did. Apparently he had a bad experience. The book says "Ola's experience here complicates the admirable fact that Chad Rowan made it as Akebono because he was able to keep his mouth shut and put up with sumo's harsh realities". Also "The most telling observation regarding the Oyakata's treatment of the Hawai'i deshi came from Ola Rowan, who said, "It's like when you have one father who's the coach of his son's team. Of course he going be harder on his son.""  Finally there was a partial section shown that says "...out of "licking him and making him stay." And the conversation with Boss was short. "You going be punishing me every single day for this kin stuff," Ola told him. "I cannot go through this. I cannot..."    So for me, it sounds as if Ola couldn't/didn't want to put up with the sumo lifestyle of doing as he's told, no arguments.

There's a 2009 Honolulu Advertiser article that says "Aweau, who did some scouting for Kuhaulua, liked their size and and asked about the interest. George, who was still in high school, was too young and Chad, who had just graduated, was planning to attend college and play basketball. But after a brief stay at Hawai'i Pacific University, Rowan and Aweau talked again."

Putting pieces together, I think someone got confused, and George Rowan in the database and the Advertiser is actually Ola Rowan. Maybe they got confused with Chad - Chad's name is (in most sources) Chad George Rowan.

Edited by Fukurou

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Fukurou    335
2 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

Takamishu - contemporary coverage looks to have started with Taylor WILY, then later moved largely to Taylor WILEY (as in the DB), then post-career coverage seems to be WILY again. He has recent TV and movie credits as Taylor WILY, and I tend to think that's the correct spelling. By the way, all the newspaper coverage gave his shikona as Takamikuni - is it at all possible that the DB has the shikona wrong...? (I see this issue was previously discussed but didn't go anywhere.)

Gaijin Yokozuna refers to him as Taylor Wylie.  Google has Taylor Wily also known as Teila Tuli. Wikipedia for Telia Tuli (says Taylor Wily) has his shikona as Takamishu.

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Yamanashi    5

Bryn George is listed in the Social Security claims list under three names (probably three different requests for benefits):

 

Bryn Kuakeawe George

Bryn Henry George

Bryn George

 

Assuming this is the same man, he was born June 14, 1958 and died September 18, 2006.

 

 

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It's probably worth having the cyrillic names in the DB somewhere.  A data line 'name in native language', for instance, that displays their name the same no matter if you're on the japanese or english side of the DB for all rikishi.  

(That looks like an old Haru basho, if I remember my Cyrillic.  No?)

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Asashosakari    8,528

Just an administrative note: Because the American names data has already generated a good bit of discussion (with hopefully more to come), I've decided to split this stuff into three threads to keep things from getting too messy. I'll hopefully get the "other countries" thread posted later today after I've beat my collected info into shape, and I'll start up the Mongolian thread then as well - I haven't got that deep into their data yet, but shimodahito's post already hit on some of the pertinent points, so there's certainly room for starting up that discussion even while I'm not yet able to contribute myself.

Thanks again to everybody who already has offered their comments. :-)

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Yatagarasu    26
11 hours ago, Fukurou said:

This isn't news to you I'm sure, but please bear with me.  I did a straight-up google of "Ola Rowan" and ended up reading sections of "Gaijin Yokozuna" that were offered. (anyone read French? I found a French version at http://www.sumofr.net/archives/Gaijin-Yokozuna.pdf ) The only brother of Akebono mentioned in my reading is Ola Rowan. From what I was able to pick out (a few pages were offered as a preview read, the rest were snippets), he entered sumo about the same time as Musashimaru.

Yes! I read French!  Give me some time and I'll pick out a few passages for you.  Kind of sad reading so far.  A passage says that Chad was convinced that the only reason he was recruited to the Beya was because they actually wanted Ola to follow and join him there - they had earmarked Ola for success.  He recounts some sad experiences of having been genuinely laughed at in training.  Ola seems to have ended up (at the time of the book) spending various stays in jail connected to drug offences.  I'll try to find more specifics concerning Ola's sumo career.  But it's an interesting read and I keep getting sidetracked.  ;-)

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Yatagarasu    26
13 hours ago, Fukurou said:

This isn't news to you I'm sure, but please bear with me.  I did a straight-up google of "Ola Rowan" and ended up reading sections of "Gaijin Yokozuna" that were offered. (anyone read French? I found a French version at http://www.sumofr.net/archives/Gaijin-Yokozuna.pdf ) The only brother of Akebono mentioned in my reading is Ola Rowan. From what I was able to pick out (a few pages were offered as a preview read, the rest were snippets), he entered sumo about the same time as Musashimaru.

Ok, here's an overview of the relevant excerpts of the book concerning Ola.  The author observes that Ola had a similar stature to Musashimaru.  He seems to have been the better built of the Rowan brothers (there was a younger brother, Nunu, but he doesn't seem to have entered sumo).  It seems everyone had him pegged as the future pro-athlete of the Rowan brothers.  Ola started drug dealing at 14 years old and, on everyone's view, lacked discipline, unlike his older brother.  On account of his build he was the debt collector...  

In September 1989 Ola arrived at the Azumameki Beya, to join Chad just before Aki Basho.  Unsurprisingly, he had discipline issues (frequently getting into fights with other rikishi and there's an account of a kawaigari).  In short, he doesn't seem to have had the right temperament for the sport or sumo's hierarchical culture.  Akebono seems to have taken some distance from the situtation, in the sense of not displaying any favoritism towards his brother on the grounds that every rikishi must succeed on his own merits and follow the same rules as everyone else.  In other words, Ola had to play the game.  Ola apparently misconstrued this as a lack of support from his brother.  In the Kyushu Basho 1989, Ola is listed 'right at the bottom of the banzuke as Taikai, along with Ozora (Troy Talaimatai - Azumameki Beya) and Musashimaru.'  Ola and Chad had a falling out and Ola went AWOL for the first four days of the Basho.  Ola finally made contact with his mother by phone and it turned out he was hanging around with yakuza in Shikoku.  He was recalled back to the Heya and given his marching orders to return to Hawaii.  He was put on the plane from Fukuoka the following day.  He had only lasted two months.    
 
Unfortunately Ola later ended up in jail for drug-related offences, with no rehab options and (at the time of the book) his future looked bleak.  No idea what happened to him after the book was written.  
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Fukurou    335
30 minutes ago, Yatagarasu said:

Ok, here's an overview of the relevant excerpts of the book concerning Ola.  The author observes that Ola had a similar stature to Musashimaru.  He seems to have been the better built of the Rowan brothers (there was a younger brother, Nunu, but he doesn't seem to have entered sumo).

Do you have any is who "George" is? George Rowan is in the DB and the article in the Honolulu paper (near ed of my long post about Ola) mentions both Chad and George. Is George Ola, Nunu, or someone else?

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Yatagarasu    26
2 minutes ago, Fukurou said:

Do you have any is who "George" is? George Rowan is in the DB and the article in the Honolulu paper (near ed of my long post about Ola) mentions both Chad and George. Is George Ola, Nunu, or someone else?

It appears to be George Kalima, a schoolfriend of Akebono: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamato_Gō

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Yatagarasu    26
27 minutes ago, Yatagarasu said:

It appears to be George Kalima, a schoolfriend of Akebono: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamato_Gō

Sorry this wasn't clear.  Rather, the book refers to George Kalima.  The article seems to simply be off-base and misnaming Ola as George  - all of the stuff in the article about 'George' still being in high school and too young to start, etc. matches the book's narrative but about Ola.  

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ryafuji    180
14 hours ago, Fukurou said:

 Wikipedia for Telia Tuli (says Taylor Wily) has his shikona as Takamishu.

Yes but that's probably just following the DB. An early version of the Wikipedia article has his shikona as Takamikuni, which as Asashosakari says, if all the newspapers went with that at the time it  may well be the correct one.

Edited by ryafuji
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ryafuji    180
18 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

Yamato and Wakachikara - more middle/surname confusion. Press referred to them almost entirely as "George KALIMA" and "Glenn KALIMA". "Heywood" is basically nowhere to be found. So "Kalima" is almost definitely a surname. And in fact, it looks like it's not "Heywood" at all, but rather "Haywood", and that it's a middle name, not a surname. (Some articles refer to Glenn as "Jr.", and it's possible to find articles that appear to reference his father Glenn Haywood Kalima Sr.) So I'd suggest George/Glenn Haywood KALIMA for these two.

 

Yeah the DB is definitely wrong here. It's confirmed in Gaijin Yokozuna   that Kalima is George's surname. The author also spoke to George and Glenn's father, who is named as Haywood Kalima in the acknowledgments.

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Yamanashi    5

U.S. Public Records Index has "Philip McKinley Smoak"  (one L, one P, no E) born 3/10/1963; living in Texas in the 90's.

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Bumpkin    213
57 minutes ago, Yamanashi said:

U.S. Public Records Index has "Philip McKinley Smoak"  (one L, one P, no E) born 3/10/1963; living in Texas in the 90's.

That's two p's. At the risk of doing an old joke from 'Fletch."

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Yamanashi    5

Explaining the number of p's is not as hard as explaining the Oxford comma, but just as frustrating.

 

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Tsuchinoninjin    148
Quote

Nanyonishiki - in the papers consistently as Jeremiah Peter ONOSAI, which doesn't quite match the katakana in the DB.

The DB gives his surname as INIREMIA  but this seems like a corruption of IEREMIA which in the Hawaiian language is Jeremiah (Also the name of the book Jeremiah in the Hawaiian Bible)

From government records it seems he has gone by both Ieremia and Jeremiah in the past, on official record.

Somewhat confusingly, in the pacific islands, IEREMIA is also a surname. 

The katakana should be イエレミア instead of イニレミア (The OCR or transcriptionist missed the vertical stroke there)

Edited by Tsuchinoninjin

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Fukurou    335
44 minutes ago, Yamanashi said:

Is Sentoryu (Henry Armstrong Miller) missing from this list?

His mother is Japanese. I don't know how that impacts these lists.

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Tsuchinoninjin    148

I believe the intention of this list is to verify correct names of wrestlers, and super obvious ones that don't really need checking like Sentoryu and Akebono have been left off.

If I assumed wrong please correct me Asashosakari ;)

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Fukurou    335

Is this list all US-born rikishi or just the ones you have questions about? As Yamanashi pointed out, Sentoryu isn't on the list, and neither is Shinnishiki who is from Los Angeles.

Ancestry has info for Vincent F DEVOUX, but the DB says Shinnishiki's name is Vincent DIVOUX. I assume it's the same person.DEVOUX is given in the California state birth record, a high school yearbook photo, and a 1996 public record. The birth record also has him born 10 Jan 1970 (DB says 10 Feb 1970.

Edited by Fukurou

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