Chanko Thief

Favorite Yokozuna? Past And Present

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I was curious to see which of the Yokozuna past & present that you all favor. Even if they were active before you started watching sumo, based on footage you have seen, or research you have done, who is your all time favorite Yokozuna and why? If you can’t narrow it down to just one, feel free to list a few.

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Musashimaru. He always seemed to have a laid-back attitude and created no scandal nor, do I remember, being lectured by the YDC nor the NSK. 

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Posted (edited)

Kisenosato (Clappingwildly...)

Also Akebono. in his prime one of the most daunting and intimidating rikishi I've seen, the pinnacle of oshi blasting, and without being a total dickhead like similarly intimidating Asashoryu.

Edited by Katooshu
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Posted (edited)

If I limit it to Yokozuna I’ve actually seen and who’ve been active while I followed sumo (since 2005) I’d say Kisenosato. I wasn’t a huge fan but I appreciate that he helped rebuild sumo’s popularity inside Japan. And I wish he could have hung around longer and challenged Hakuho’s dominance. 
 

Second choice is Asashoryu. A controversial guy which is probably why he wasn’t my number 1, but he was fun to watch. 

Edited by Katsunorifuji

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Posted (edited)

I've only been watching sumo since 2013 so I'm going to limit it to 2013 onward.  I choose Harumafuji.  I loved his "small guy" determination.  His tachi-ai was incredible.  If he hadn't been in Hakuho's shadow, I think he would have won more Yusho and consequently been more celebrated.  The fact that he weighed 50 POUNDS less than Hakuho and yet could still defeat him on occasion was amazing!!!  It was a shame his career ended the way it did.

From the fairly recent past, I have to say Asashoryu.  He was a jerk outside the ring and sometimes inside it, but so entertaining to watch.  I could kick myself as I had the opportunity to see him wrestle live back in 2008.  My husband and I were touring Japan and another couple invited us to watch an afternoon of sumo during the May Basho.  At that time, I had the typical stereotype of sumo wrestlers as being pale fat men bouncing bellies, so I said, "No".  Later, I remember the couple laughing about the antics of someone named Asashoryu.

Edited by sumojoann
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Posted (edited)

At the risk of being like an annoying hipster who purposely makes a less obvious choice just to show how *clever* they are, I’ve developed a fondness for Wajima from watching highlights on YT. His career was also one of the more interesting: first and so far only ex-college champ to make Yokozuna, won a yusho despite going kyujo, never took a shikona, had yakuza mates and generally didn’t follow the rules. Lad.

Edited by Eikokurai
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2 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

At the risk of being like an annoying hipster who purposely makes a less obvious choice just to show how *clever* they are, I’ve developed a fondness for Wajima from watching highlights on YT. His career was also one of the more interesting: first and so far only ex-college champ to make Yokozuna, won a yusho despite going kyujo, never took a shikona, had yakuza mates and generally didn’t follow the rules. Lad.

Didn't Wajima also put out a music album?  I recall seeing one on ebay several years ago.

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1 minute ago, sumojoann said:

Didn't Wajima also put out a music album?  I recall seeing one on ebay several years ago.

He did? I must check this out.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

At the risk of being like an annoying hipster who purposely makes a less obvious choice just to show how *clever* they are, I’ve developed a fondness for Wajima from watching highlights on YT. His career was also one of the more interesting: first and so far only ex-college champ to make Yokozuna, won a yusho despite going kyujo, never took a shikona, had yakuza mates and generally didn’t follow the rules. Lad.

and won 14 yusho and 14 jun-yusho during a period when the joi-jin was overloaded with talent similar to this.  It was a fascinating era.

The jima in Asojima is at least partially in his memory

Edited by Asojima
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eikokurai said:

He did? I must check this out.

I'm trying to find verification for this, and I was about to see if I could find something about it in the SF archives but I haven't looked yet.  There are other Wajima recording artists but somewhere several years ago, I believe I read that his music album was ill concieved, and then later, I'm pretty sure I saw it on ebay.  I know someone who is a big fan of Wajima (she's been a fan of sumo for 50 years!!).  I'll ask her!

Edited by sumojoann

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eikokurai said:

He did? I must check this out.

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  • Kintamayama
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Yokozuna Hakuhou has recorded a single with Japanese singer Kae and it will drop on February 24th. It's the first time that an active Yokozuna records music since Wajima recorded an album back in 1978.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Found it!!  (The above information about Wajima recording an album was posted by Kintamayama)..

Edited by sumojoann
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2 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

At the risk of being like an annoying hipster who purposely makes a less obvious choice just to show how *clever* they are, I’ve developed a fondness for Wajima from watching highlights on YT. His career was also one of the more interesting: first and so far only ex-college champ to make Yokozuna, won a yusho despite going kyujo, never took a shikona, had yakuza mates and generally didn’t follow the rules. Lad.

If I find a copy of Wajima's record album from 1978, would you be interested?

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28 minutes ago, sumojoann said:

If I find a copy of Wajima's record album from 1978, would you be interested?

Ha. I’d have nothing to play it on. Thanks though! :)

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At the risk of being like a snob jumping on a bandwagon I have to say Hakuho. The guy is pure fascination, albeit slightly (and at times not so slightly) villaineous one. My close nr. 2 would be Harumafuji, with the two sometimes alternating. From the past ones Futabayama, but that's based just on what I've heard or read.

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Favorite from when I first began watching sumo: Takanohana.

He, along with Waka, ushered in the Waka-Taka sumo boom, and, along with the Hawaiian duo, it was an exciting time to be introduced to sumo.

 

Favorite I never got to see: Asashoryu.

The stretch of years he was dominant coincided with a stretch of years during which I had no access to sumo. But every time I see footage of him, I regret that I didn't get to follow him during his active years.

 

Favorite of the most recent era: Kisenosato.

Was never a fan during his earlier career, but to finally break through after so many heartbreaking failed attempts to become the first Japanese-born Yokozuna in a decade, and then the tragically heroic way he won his second yusho and destroyed his career in the process, and finally, his transformation from bland, stoic warrior to entertaining personality...what can I say, the guy won me over.

 

Special mention: Kitanofuji

For his entertaining sumo commentary.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Gaijingai said:

Musashimaru. He always seemed to have a laid-back attitude and created no scandal nor, do I remember, being lectured by the YDC nor the NSK. 

I was most impressed by him having a winning record as a Sekitori in every tournament all the way through his Yokozuna promotion. (Onthebanzuke...)

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Posted (edited)

When I read about Wajima recorded an album my mind somehow immediately connects to this guy also named Wajima, in a kimono-clad heavy metal grandpas band: :-P

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2015/01/20/music/perseverance-wins-ningen-isu-encore/#.Xs_Uc6iEayU

On the topic of the thread:

Asashoryu and Harumafuji for the entertainment, and Kisenosato for the heroic tragedy.

Edited by hakutorizakura

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3 minutes ago, hakutorizakura said:

When I read about Wajima recorded an album my mind somehow immediately connects to this guy also named Wajima, in a kimono-clad heavy metal grandpas band: :-P

 

Wajima kept his family name for his shikona.  There are a lot of Wajimas running around in Japan.  :-D

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I'm a more recent arrival to sumo fandom, but Harumafuji was my favorite until his retirement. He was sort of the "underdog Yokozuna" having Hakuho looming over him, and being smaller than most had to rely entirely on skill and technique. Drove me nuts that he was a bit of a kinboshi vending machine at times, but when he was on he was great. Just keep him away from the remote control. (Order,order!)

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Chiyonofui by a huge margin, his technique was on a vastly superior level.

 

Honourable mentions (including those I never saw): Kitanofuji, Wajima, Kitanoumi, Hokutoumi, Akebono and Musashimaru.

 

Swami

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21 hours ago, Gaijingai said:

Musashimaru. He always seemed to have a laid-back attitude and created no scandal nor, do I remember, being lectured by the YDC nor the NSK. 

Good shout out. He did seem like a cool guy and he was strong as a bull. Always entertaining seeing him out there on the dohyo. I hope he finds great success as an oyakata and that he can one day find the next Hawaiian hope to bring to sumo.

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The past - Chiyonofuji for me as well. He was the very persona of what a yokozuna should be, exciting, talented, a winner and had an attitude worthy of the rank.

Though for the semi-present I'd give a shout out for Harumafuji, ironically for none of the reasons I rate Chiyonofuji, but for the fact he often stayed in a basho when losing and managed to grab one or two.

So, Chiyonofuji for being a model yokozuna and Harumafuji for bloody-mindedness. Miss them both.

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