Kisenosato Yutaka (Wikimedia Commons)

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

Grand champion Kisenosato, the only Japanese wrestler at sumo’s highest rank, has decided to retire after three straight losses at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Kisenosato needed a strong start to the New Year tourney to salvage his career but wasn’t able to win in the first three days and decided to retire, his stablemaster said on Wednesday.

“I spoke to him for about 30 minutes yesterday,” stablemaster Tagonoura said. “It was his decision. He told me he could no longer perform at the level he wanted to.”

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank in March 2017. He won his second straight championship in his yokozuna debut at the following tournament.

But injuries prevented Kisenosato from completing a record eight straight grand sumo tournaments and he has not been able to live up to the high standards required of a grand champion.

Sumo has been dominated by foreign-born wrestlers in the past decade with Mongolian grand champions Asashoryu and Hakuho winning a majority of tournaments. The lack of Japanese wrestlers has been a cause for concern among sumo officials and some observers suggested Kisenosato was promoted prematurely to give the sport a Japanese yokozuna.

In addition to the lack of Japanese wrestlers at the top, the sport has been rocked by a series of scandals in recent years including bullying of younger wrestlers and wrestlers gambling on professional baseball games.

Last year, the Japan Sumo Association came under fire when it ordered female first responders to leave the ring as they attempted to revive a male official who collapsed at an event in northern Kyoto.

The sumo ring, or dohyo, is considered sacred in the male-only sport. Women are banned from entering it because they are seen as “ritually unclean.”

Kisenosato made his professional sumo debut in March 2002 and joined the top division in 2004.

Jim Armstrong, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Press release: Port Alice Health Centre service model announced

“a sustainable and dependable model of health care service delivery in Port Alice is a priority”

First annual Pride Day coming to Port Hardy in August

Pride contributes to a more inclusive and safe community for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals.

Blaney plan helps seniors late with taxes

Simple solution to important issue: North Island-Powell River MP

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read