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Rijicho

Featured Rikishi - Kotonowaka

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Hey all Sadogatake fans, where are you - am I the first one to reply to this topic (probably thanks to the time-zone I'm in :-O ?

OK so some basic statto - born on 15th May 1968 making him the oldest sekitori (followed by Otsukasa and K-zakura), with declared place of birth in Yamagata prefecture.

Mae-zumo basho in Natsu 1984 (I was 6 then (Sad goodbyes...) ). Came to Juryo in Nagoya 1990 and in Kyushu 1990 he appeared for the first time in Makuuchi. After one tournament spent again in juryo he came back and is holding the longest uninterrupted streak in makuuchi since - 87 bashos already.

He came to Sanyaku in Aki 1993 with his best rank being Sekiwake.

His most common foe in Makuuchi among the active sekitori is Tosanoumi (31 matches) followed by Kaio and Dejima. The most favorite opponents for him (by percentage of wins) might be Tamakasuga (16-1) and Toki (14-2). On the other side stays not suprisingly the ozeki trio.

OK guys enough of boring numbers from me and I'm looking for the stories and insights from the rest of the pack, although I doubt that there is something, that hasn't been said about him on this forum :-( .

Edited by Pikenoyama

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琴ノ若 晴將

================

KOTONOWAKA Terumasa

Real Name: Mitsuya KAWATANI (born Mitsuya Konno)

Born: May 15, 1968

From: Obanazawa-shi, Yamagata Prefecture

Heya: Sadogatake

Dohyo debut: May 1984

Juryo debut: July 1990

Makuuchi debut: November 1990

Highest rank: Sekiwake

Favorite techniques" Migi-yotsu, Yori, Uwate-nage

Awards: Shukun-sho (2), Kanto-sho (5), Kinboshi(8)

Yusho: Juryo, Makushita Yusho Tie, Sandanme (2)

NIckname: Waka

Hobby: Video game, calligraphy

Shikona: Kotokonno (琴今野) -> Kotonowaka Mitsuya (琴の若實哉 ) -> Kotonowaka Masakatsu (琴乃若將勝) -> Kotonowaka Masakatsu (琴乃若 將勝 *) -> Kotonowaka Terumasa (琴ノ若晴將)

*Kanji for 若 is made up with two parts - the top part has what is called "kusakanmuri - a long horizontal line with two short vertical lines) and the bottom part has kanji meaning Right, MIgi (右).

The shikona change above which is read exactly the same, Kotonowaka Masakatsu, the change was made on this Kusakanmuri. Since this change, this crown part of 若 is written with two pluses or crosses like this "+ +" so instead of having one long horizontal straight line, now it has two short lines. But there is formally no such kanji recognized and cannot be written here.

=========================================================

Adopted by the current Sadogatake oyakata (former yokozuna Kotozakura) after marrying his daughter, Kotonowaka is expected to take over Sadogatake Beya after the November 2005 Basho when the oyakata reaches the mandatory retirement age. Kotonowaka previously indicated that he would like to contiune competing and stay active as long as he remains in Makuuchi. If he decides to continue, another oyakata associated with the heya must briefly take over Sadogatake Toshiyori until such time as Kotonowaka decides to retire and assume the custody.

Kotonowaka was the third son of father who operated his own transport business and mother who worked at a hair salon. Before he was born, his parents expected (and desparately wanted) the new born to be a girl and prepared clothes for a girl and subsequently raised him as a girl.

After he entered Obanazawa Elementary School, he started competing in sumo and even entered in Yamagata Prefectural sumo tournaments when he was in Grade 4 and 5. At Obanazawa Middle School, he started participating in Judo, following his older brother and acquired the Shodan rank.

In his final year at the middle school, he could not make up his mind which high school to go to as he had a few favorites of his own as well as some schools asked him to join them as he excelled in athletics. Around this time he was met by an influential Sadogatake Supporters Club member in Yamagata to join Ozumo. Soon Sadogatake oyakata (former yokozuna Kotozakura) came to see him and persuaded him earnestly. Kotonowaka impressed with his devotion, decided to join the heya despite his parents' strong objection after getting his classroom teacher to intervene on his behalf.

In his first recruit physical, he got so nervous that his blood pressure shot up to over 170 and was refused the entry. He was almost ready to go back home. However he passed the next checkup and was able to join along with his new heya mate former sekiwake Kotonishiki.

In his initial years as he had rather weak mental disposition, he tended to lose at crucial bouts, and he fell behind other recruits. However finally in July 1990, he made Juryo debut and two bashos later he made Makuuchi debut. In his first Makuuchi basho he got Makekoshi with 7 wins and 8 losses but he came back to Makuuchi in March 1991, getting 9 wins 6 losses record and since then he has become a Makuuchi fixture.

At the September 1995 Basho, he got kachikoshi with 8 wins 7 losses record as the new Komusubi but was never able to stay in Sanyaku for long and kept hovering between Sanyaku and high Makuuchi ranks. In the Nagoya 1996 he beat both yokozunas Akebono and Takanohana and got the Shukun-sho but he was never lucky enough to attain Sekiwake rank despite a string of kachikoshis until he got 10 wins and 5 losses record as komusubi at the 1998 November Basho. It was a proud moment for him as he finally equalled his heya rival Kotonishiki in attaining his highest rank.

Kotonowaka's strength is his powerful Uwate-nage once he grabs the mawashi but his weakness is his inability to win against opponents with speed and not letting him get the mawashi. Despite his size, he had a tendency to becoming timid and could not utilize the size to his benefit. He is almost unbeatable in long sumo bout as he was often called "Mr. One Minute".

After becoming sekiwake there were high expectations of ozeki promotion but at the 1999 Hatsu basho he injured his knee and fell out of Sanyaku and then at the 2003 Kyushu Basho he again seriously injured his knee, making the knee unrepairable with three of the four major knee ligaments permanently severed. Kotonowaka said he did not want to retire then and wanted to make a comeback for his son so he could see him as a Sanyaku rikishi once again before he finally retires. As he is still active, he may yet accomplish this goal but his time is running out.

While Sadogatake oyakata was hospitalized last year, Kotonowaka assumed and took over the heya duty while still competing. There were times when an active rikishi also assumed the heya owning oyakata, called "Nimai Kansatsu" but the current system does not recognize it so he was designated as "Sadogatake Heya Deputy". "It isn't easy to do both well but 'Nimai Kansatsu' is not something you can do it now so I will be doing my best," Kotonowaka said at the time.

Being a gentle giant with soft features, Kotonowaka has legions of fans especially female. He is well liked by his heya mates and junior rikishis (and his oyakata and father-in-law) and respected by hie peers as he still trains hard and has no abrasive characteristics.

Edited by Jonosuke

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Some links:

Interviews:

http://www.sumoforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1773

http://www.sumoforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=2259 (in 2004 February)

Quite long inteview from May 2004 Sumo-magazine (translated by Jonosuke):

http://www.sumoforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=4097

His makuuchi winning kimarite:

yorikiri 234

uwatenage 128

These two techniques comprise 60.7% of his makuuchi wins. He has the all time record in uwatenage frequency in makuuchi. 21.4% of his wins have come with uwatenage.

oshidashi 37

hatakikomi 31 (lately more than in 1990s)

okuridashi 26

yoritaoshi 22

shitatenage 17

sukuinage 12

tsukidashi 11

fusensho 8

tsukiotoshi 7

tsukitaoshi 7

uchimuso 7

hikiotoshi 6

okuritaoshi 6

oshitaoshi 6

katasukashi 5

uwatehineri 4

kotenage 3

makiotoshi 3

shitatedashinage 3

abisetaoshi 2

kainahineri 1

okurinage 1

shitatehineri 1

susotori 1 (against Takanonami)

tsuridashi 1 (against Mainoumi)

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I only know about Kotonowaka from his matches I've seen. Sumo is a gentleman's sport and no rikishi acts in a more dignified way on the dohyo than he does. From all I've heard, he acts the same way when he's not competing. I can understand why he is so well liked. But he's also a warrior. I will never forget his match against Aminishiki on day 9 of this year's Natsu basho. He fell to the dohyo, landing squarely on his face and doing nothing with his hands or arms to stop his fall. He won the match by doing so, but his face looked like he was in a train wreck. I heard that he was asked if the idea of protecting his face ever entered his mind in those split seconds. He said no, he was trained to do things that way and that's exactly what he did. Those were very impressive words coming from a very impressive rikishi. His discipline and training overcame a natural and completely expected reflex. When he retires, possibly soon, I'm sure he will do it his way--with great dignity. I will miss him.

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Heeeey, nice thread!

I'm looking for the stories and insights from the rest of the pack,

Me too - after all, what do I know, living on the other side of the world (Pulling hair...) I'm really happy with Jonosuke's presence on this forum! (You are going off-topic...)

Sumo is a gentleman's sport and no rikishi acts in a more dignified way on the dohyo than he does.

Yes, I feel the same way. I remember Konishiki's last match. He retired when Kotonowaka beat him and thus secured his makekoshi. I thought Kotonowaka handled this in the best possible way. Letting Konishiki win would have been disrespectful towards the former Ozeki. But the way Koto bowed for him, clearly showed his feelings about what had just happened. One of the better "goosebumps-moments" for me.

Most of my favourite Kotonowaka pics show him with kids, either his own son or little fans. The picture thread has some great ones, and so does the Sadogatake beya site, but here are some more:

post-86-1124373998.jpg

post-86-1124374063.jpg

post-86-1124374244_thumb.jpg

post-86-1124374313_thumb.jpg

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I only know about Kotonowaka from his matches I've seen. Sumo is a gentleman's sport and no rikishi acts in a more dignified way on the dohyo than he does. From all I've heard, he acts the same way when he's not competing. I can understand why he is so well liked. But he's also a warrior. I will never forget his match against Aminishiki on day 9 of this year's Natsu basho. He fell to the dohyo, landing squarely on his face and doing nothing with his hands or arms to stop his fall. He won the match by doing so, but his face looked like he was in a train wreck. I heard that he was asked if the idea of protecting his face ever entered his mind in those split seconds. He said no, he was trained to do things that way and that's exactly what he did. Those were very impressive words coming from a very impressive rikishi. His discipline and training overcame a natural and completely expected reflex. When he retires, possibly soon, I'm sure he will do it his way--with great dignity. I will miss him.

Hi

I

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Kotonowaka's intai thread:

http://www.sumoforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=7733

Also this comment of mine was not correct:

"He has the all time record in uwatenage frequency in makuuchi. 21.4% of his wins have come with uwatenage."

It was not the all time record after all. Kitanofuji had more uwatenage wins. Can't remember the exact number now. Kotonowaka is in top 3 though. Kotonowaka had 130 wins with uwatenage in makuuchi.

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My best favorite picture of Gentle Giant. May have been posted before but..

waka_ts.jpg

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