Edutainment > Yokozuna - by Daimon Kinoshita, born 1946

Yokozuna Akebono
Yokozuna Akebono - Champion Sumo Wrestler Akebono
Champion Sumo Wrestler Akebono

Yokozuna are Grand Champions of Sumo Wrestling, the popular Japanese sport. Yokozuna is the highest rank possible for a sumo wrestler. In the 1980s the Japan Sumo Association decided to revitalize the old Sumo nishiki-e tradition and commissioned a series of sumo wrestler woodblock prints to the publisher Kyoto Hanga-in and the artist Daimon Kinoshita, born 1946.

First Publication: August 2009
Latest Update: April 2013

The Yokozuna Woodblock Print Series

The series depicts famous Yokozuna after 1950. On this page we introduce 5 famous sumo wrestler champions carved into traditional Japanese woodblock prints.

Kashiwado Tsuyoshi - Yokozuna in 1961, retired 1969 - No. 47

Kashiwado (1938-1996) was a very popular wrestler and the arch-rival of Yokozuna Taiho Koki. After he won the championship in 1961, he and other wrestlers were invited by Air France to a sumo show. At the airport, Kashiwado was mistaken by airport officials as the wife of Kasugano, his sumo mentor because of the sumo wrestler's traditional hair style. Embarrassing!

Yokozuna Kashiwado Tsuyoshi
Yokozuna Kashiwado Tsuyoshi - Grand Champion Kashiwado
Grand Champion Kashiwado

Taiho Koki - Yokozuna in 1961, retired 1971 - No. 48

The 48th Yokozuna, Taiho Koki dominated the scene together with his arch-rival Kashiwado in the 1960s. The Sumo Association awarded him the title of "Ichidai Toshiyori Taiho" and allowed him to open his own sumo school after his retirement in 1971.

Yokozuna Taiho Koki
Yokozuna Taiho Koki - Grand Champion Sumo Wrestler Taiho
Grand Champion Sumo Wrestler Taiho

Akebono Taro - Yokozuna in 1993, retired 2001 - No. 64

Akebono became the 64th "Yokozuna" grand champion wrestler. He came from Hawaii and weighed 212 kg!

Akebono Taro
Akebono Taro - Grand Champion Sumo Wrestlers, Takanohana (left) and Akebono (right)
Grand Champion Sumo Wrestlers, Takanohana (left) and Akebono (right)

Takanohana Koji - Yokozuna in 1994, retired 2003 - No. 65

Takanohana and his big brother, Wakanohana, became the first Yokozuna brothers in the history of sumo.

Yokozuna Takanohana Koji
Yokozuna Takanohana Koji - Grand Champion Sumo Wrestler Takanohana
Grand Champion Sumo Wrestler Takanohana

Takanosato Toshihide - Yokozuna in 1983, retired 1986 - No. 59

Takanosato Toshihide had overcome diabetes from which he had suffered since his childhood, and became the 59th Yokozuna.

Yokozuna Takanosato Toshihide
Yokozuna Takanosato Toshihide - Grand Champion Sumo Wrestler Takanosato
Grand Champion Sumo Wrestler Takanosato

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Dieter WanczuraAuthor: Dieter Wanczura

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