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[sumo] Taiho Oyakata Press Conference - May 21
Upon his impending mandatory retirement at the age of
65 years old on May 28, Taiho oyakata had a press
conference at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 21.
During the 1960s, he and his rival Kashiwado led Ozumo
to an unprecedent popularity and his record of 32
Yushos still remains unbroken in the record book.
He retired from active sumo in 1971 and became one
generation oyakata and founded his heya shortly later.
He suffered a stroke at the age of 36 and battled back
to lead and develop new recruits at his heya.
"I was hit by an illness so I never imagined that I'd
be able to stay with the Kyokai till the retirement
age. This is all due to those who helped me and
supported me throughout my life so that I can
contribute to Ozumo."
Taiho oyakata joined Ozumo at the age of 16 years old
and looked back on almost half a century of his life
"There were many things happened and though it may be
felt long in one sense but it's gone by so quickly.
Even now when I hear about retirement, I don't really
get it," the oyakata said.
"I feel like I'd like to rest my wings a bit but I
don't think they will let me. Even after the
retirement, though what I can offer may be of a
limited value, I'd like to do all I can to help
develop the Sumodoh. I believe I will never able to
live out of Ozumo for the rest of my life."
Taiho oyakata described being a yokozuna with one
word, "loneliness" and Sumo as "life". When asked
about his active days, he said, "There was Taiho
because there was Kashiwado. There was Kashiwado
because there was Taiho."
"I remember going to the Tsuya (wake, vigil for
Kashiwado who passed away in 1996 at the age of 58)
and I shook his body, telling him, 'What are you
doing? Get up, get up'."
Looking back on his long years of rehab to have his
left half of body moving again afte suffering the
stroke, he said, "I hated people saying I'd be
defeated by an illenss so I went to a clinic by 3 or 4
o'clock in the morning. Those days were much more
difficult than when I was active Yokozuna."
"These days we lack rikishis with character. You must
think about five or 10 years ahead and endure. Now we
have too many who give up so easily and quickly. But
Sumo is to learn mental fortitude to endure any that
could happen to you."
Taiho oyakata also commented on Asashoryu who won his
12th Yusho this day. "More you learn about Sumo, you
will feel how difficult it is. I'd like him to do his
best not just to simply win but also to grow
At the end of conferenece, he relaxed a bit to talk
about one of his four grandsons (children of Otake
oyakata, former Sekiwake Takatori and his own
"There is this little kid who is growing big. He can
do shikos already."
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