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Stars that died 2010

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Takanosato Toshihide, Japanese sumo wrestler, died he was 59.

Takanosato Toshihide was a sumo wrestler from Namioka, Aomori, died he was 59.. He was the sport's 59th Yokozuna from 1983 to 1986 and won four top division tournament championships. After retirement he established Naruto stable which he ran from 1989 until his death.

(Toshihide Takaya, September 29, 1952 – November 7, 2011)

Early career

Takanosato played football and judo before turning to sumo. He was from the same area of Japan as Wakanohana Kanji II and the two entered professional sumo together in July 1968, joining Futagoyama stable. Takanosato reached the top makuuchi division in May 1975 but had some indifferent results and fell back to the jūryō division on several occasions. A late developer, he did not reach the san'yaku ranks until 1979, by which time Wakanohana was already a yokozuna. In 1980 he was runner-up in two consecutive tournaments, but he did so from the maegashira ranks. Nicknamed "Popeye" because of his brawny physique,[1] by 1981 he was a san'yaku regular, and in January 1982 he produced his third runner-up performance, this time at sekiwake rank, and earned promotion to ōzeki. Following his promotion he announced that he had been suffering from diabetes for many years, and had devised a special diet to keep the illness under control.[2] He won his first top division championship in September 1982 with a perfect 15-0 record. He was runner-up in the tournaments of March and May 1983, and then took his second championship in July. Following this tournament was promoted to yokozuna.


Takanosato was almost thirty one years old when he reached sumo's highest rank, and the 91 tournaments it took him to reach yokozuna from his professional debut is the second slowest in sumo history, behind only Mienoumi. Most yokozuna struggle to perform well in the tournament immediately following their promotion, but Takanosato won it with a perfect record—the first yokozuna to do so since Futabayama in the 1930s.[2] Although his yokozuna career was relatively short, he had a great rivalry with fellow yokozuna Chiyonofuji. In the four tournaments from July 1983 to January 1984, the two wrestlers came into the final day with the same score. This is a unique occurrence in sumo.[2] It was Takanosato who won three out of the four tournament-deciding bouts,[2] and he was one of the few wrestlers to have a winning record against Chiyonofuji. He was often able to keep his rival from getting his favoured left hand grip on his mawashi, and he defeated Chiyonofuji eight times in a row from July 1981 to September 1982. In all Takanosato emerged victorious from 18 of their 31 encounters.
Takanosato's fourth tournament championship in January 1984 proved to be his last, and thereafter his yokozuna career was disappointing. He missed most of 1985 through injury, only managing to complete one tournament. He announced his retirement in January 1986 at the age of 33.

Retirement from sumo

Takanosato took the name Naruto upon joining the Sumo Association as an oyakata, or elder, and in 1989 opened his own stable, Naruto, which has produced several top division wrestlers. The first was Rikio (now a professional wrestler) in 1996 and he was followed by Wakanosato in 1998, Takanowaka in 1999, Kisenosato in 2004, and Takayasu and Takanoyama in 2011. Naruto also worked as a shinpan or judge of tournament bouts and for NHK as a sumo commentator.


In October 2011 the Sumo Association launched an investigation into allegations made by the tabloid Shukan Shincho that Naruto had beaten a former junior member of his stable with a block of wood and had injected Takanoyama with insulin so that the barely 100 kg wrestler would increase his appetite and put on weight.[3] Both Naruto and Takanoyama were summoned for questioning by chairman Hanaregoma.[3] Just days later, on November 7, 2011, Naruto died of respiratory failure in Fukuoka at the age of 59.[4]

Fighting style

Takanosato's most common winning kimarite or technique was overwhelmingly yorikiri or force out, which accounted for about 45 percent of his victories at sekitori level.[5] He preferred a migi-yotsu grip (the same as Chiyonofuji), with his left hand outside and right hand inside his opponent's arms. He also regularly won by uwatenage (overarm throw) and tsuridashi (lift out), the latter a technique seldom seen today due to the increasing weight of wrestlers.

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