“This is my first tournament as yokozuna. This is my first tournament as a yokozuna, and I want people to see what I’m capable of.
Terunofuji, 29, who was promoted to yokozuna in July and became a Japanese citizen in August, told those around him that he was determined to make it to the first day of the Grand Sumo Tournament on September 12.
Hakuho, who had won the previous tournament, was absent from the tournament due to the spread of the new coronavirus in his Miyagino Stable. Terunofuji is suddenly going into the autumn tournament as a “one-man yokozuna. It is natural for him to be fired up.
“In the past, Terunofuji had requested that the number of the car he would take to and from the tournament be 72, because he wanted to become the 72nd yokozuna. But he was beaten to it by Rare-no-sato. Since then, I have changed my pickup truck number to ’73’. I’m sure he will achieve his goal this tournament and enter the tournament with a clear conscience.
Terunofuji is the 73rd Yokozuna. Terunofuji, the 73rd yokozuna, was demoted from ozeki to ranking second in the rankings due to repeated injuries and illnesses, and it is well known that he went through the hell of retirement. I would like to introduce you to a man who rose from the bottom of the barrel to the top, and whose untold hardships during his young career are worthy of note.
No athletic experience until age 17
“Terunofuji had no special athletic experience until he turned 17. Neither of his parents had any sports experience. This is an unusual background for a rikishi, many of whom have been involved in sumo since they were in elementary school. It was Hakuho’s father, Jigjidu Munhbat, who discovered Terunofuji, who was a big man even then. Mr. Munhbat is a wrestling silver medalist in the Mexican Olympics and a Mongolian hero. Terunofuji took up martial arts on Mr. Munhbat’s advice.
The turning point came in 2007. When I was traveling in Japan with my mother, I happened to observe a training session at a sumo stable. Terunofuji was so impressed by the power of big men clashing naked head to head that he quickly became a sumo fan, and when he came to Japan again in 2009, he entered Tottori Johoku High School. In the beginning, however, he had the power but not the skill. He was no match for the rest of the team. It is said that he shed tears of regret every day because he was completely outmatched.
One year later, Terunofuji became a regular player at Tottori Johoku High School after enduring rigorous training. A year later, Terunofuji became a regular at Tottori Johoku High School, and before graduating, he joined the Magaki-room. However, he suddenly found himself in a difficult situation.
“It was the year after he started. The Mongolian mining company that his father worked for went bankrupt. After that, his father started his own company, but it failed. Terunofuji, the only male of the three brothers, was determined that his family would be lost if he did not support them. Terunofuji, who was the only male among the three brothers, was determined that his family would be lost if he did not support them. Even when he was demoted to shodan, he sent nearly 200,000 yen a month to his parents.
He is very generous to young people. He often treats them to meals with his pocket money. When I ask him to buy something, he gives them more money and doesn’t take change. He laughs and says, ‘I won’t be able to save money even if my ranking rises.
Unlike his harsh attacks in the ring, Terunofuji is usually easygoing. It’s no wonder he is so popular among young rikishi. He may be able to bring new fans to the sumo world.
Photo： Kyodo News