Daily Archives: June 1, 2005

Sayonara, Oyakata

Sumo elder Futagoyama Oyakata died of cancer on Monday at the age of 55. The father of two of the most popular sumo wrestlers of modern times, Takanohana (photo) and his elder brother Wakanohana, died of oral cancer after a long period at a Tokyo hospital. His funeral will be held tomorrow and the Japan Sumo Association will hold a memorial service at the Kokugikan in Ryogoku, where all Tokyo tournaments are held. A popular ozeki (champion) in his heyday, he fought under the name Takanohana, and had a stellar career record despite being small for a rikishi (wrestler). He was perhaps even more successful as a coach, as both his sons reached Yokozuna (Grand Champion), the highest rank in sumo. Wakanohana, a sports commentator since his retirement several years ago, spoke of his father’s love, often expressed as strictness and anger as he taught the “gentler” of his two sons the fighting art. Takanohana, the better wrestler who won 22 tournaments to become the dominant wrestler of the 1990s, said he was having rtrouble accepting his father’s death. The first time he saw his father’s tears was when he became a sumo pro at the age of 15. He promised never to cry himself until his father’s death. He took over as stablemaster from his father following his retirement in 2003.