Japan’s agonising wait for a homegrown sumo champion has ended after Kotoshogiku on Sunday became the first Japan-born wrestler in a decade to win a tournament.
The 31-year-old claimed the Emperor’s Cup and sparked wild celebrations inside the arena after throwing his opponent, Goeido, to the ground to end the New Year tournament in Tokyo with an unassailable 14 wins and one loss.
His victory could mark the beginning of a challenge to years of domination by Mongolian wrestlers, and reignite interest in the ancient sport among younger Japanese people.
The overseas sumo onslaught began with Konishiki and other Hawaiian wrestlers in the 1990s, and continued into the next decade with the arrival of the Mongolian wrestler Asashoryu, whose brilliance in the ring was sometimes tarnished by bad behaviour off it. Read More