Speaking of Mongol Invasions …

Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj has succeeded where Kublai Khan failed. Fighting under the name Asashoryu, he has conquered the (less and less) insular world of Japanese sumo. He was promoted to the highest rank of yokozuna (grand champion) upon the retirement of Musashimaru, the last of the two Hawai‘i yokozuna. This marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. (By strange coincidence, Musashimaru bears an uncanny resemblance to Saigo Takamori!)

Judging from the results of the Kyushu basho in November 2003, however, Tokyo-born Japanese wrestler Tochiazuma may soon be promoted to yokozuna, especially if he wins the January basho in his hometown.

Almost 50 foreign-born wrestlers are in the various ranks of sumo, with Mongolians the largest contingent, numbering nearly 30.

The November [2002] Kyushu basho was dominated by foreign-born wrestlers. While Asashoryu took the trophy in the makuuchi division (upper division), South Korean-born Kasugao defeated Mongolian-born Asasekiryu for the title in the juryo division (second division). This was the first time that foreign-born wrestlers had ever won both the makuuchi and juryo divisions in the same basho. And in the lower jonidan class, Mongolian-born Tokitenku finished first as well.

One up-and-coming foreigner to watch is Kokkai (‘Black Sea’), Tsaguria Levan from the Republic of Georgia, who makes his major league (makuuchi division) debut in the January 2004 basho. Perhaps the most fun to watch of the Mongolians is Kyokushuzan, nicknamed “supermarket of tricks“–just like his near namesake and former Oshima stablemate, Kyokudozan, who retired in 1996.

Leave a comment

Filed under Japan, sumo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.