Kotozakura Masakatsu

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Kotozakura Masakatsu
琴櫻 傑將
Kotozakura Masakatsu Bronze statue.jpg
Bronze statue of Kotozakura Masakatsu in Kurayoshi, Tottori.
Personal information
BornKamatani Norio
(1940-11-26)November 26, 1940
Kurayoshi, Japan
DiedAugust 14, 2007(2007-08-14) (aged 66)
Height1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Weight150 kg (331 lb)
Career
Stable Sadogatake
Record723-428-77
DebutJanuary 1959
Highest rankYokozuna (January 1973)
RetiredJuly 1974
Elder name Sadogatake
Championships 5 (Makuuchi)
2 (Jūryō)
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (4)
Fighting Spirit (2)
Gold Stars 2 (Kashiwado, Sadanoyama)
* Up to date as of June 2020.

Kotozakura Masakatsu (琴櫻 傑將, November 26, 1940 – August 14, 2007) was a former sumo wrestler from Kurayoshi, Tottori, Japan. He was the sport's 53rd yokozuna. He made his professional debut in 1959, reaching the top division in 1963. After several years at the second highest rank of ōzeki , in 1973 he was promoted to yokozuna at the age of thirty-two years two months, becoming the oldest wrestler to be promoted to yokozuna since 1958, when the current six tournaments system was established. [1] After his retirement he was head coach of Sadogatake stable and produced a string of top division wrestlers.

Contents

Career

Born Norio Kamatani, he came from a sumo background, as his father was involved in organising regional amateur sumo tournaments and his grandfather's brother had been a professional rikishi . [2] The young Kamatani at first competed in judo, achieving shodan level while still in middle school. [2] However, after doing well in a national high school sumo competition he decided on a career in professional sumo. Initially his parents wanted him to continue with judo but they were persuaded by former komusubi Kotonishiki Noboru to let him join Sadogatake stable. [2]

Kotozakura made his professional debut in January 1959. He reached the jūryō division in July 1962 and the top makuuchi division in March 1963. After making his san'yaku debut at komusubi in January 1964 he suffered an injury and returned to jūryō, but he quickly recovered. After an 11–4 record at sekiwake in September 1967 he was awarded the Outstanding Performance prize and promotion to ōzeki. He won two tournament championships in July 1968 and March 1969, but by the early 1970s he had begun to be regarded as something of a "perpetual ōzeki", often struggling with injuries and finding it difficult to come up with the necessary wins to maintain his rank. [2] He was kadoban, or in danger of demotion from ōzeki, three times during this period. Remarkably however, he won consecutive championships in November 1972 and January 1973 to earn promotion to yokozuna at the age of thirty two, after thirty two tournaments at ōzeki. In July 1973 he defeated Kitanofuji in a playoff to win his only championship as a yokozuna. After injuring his knee in 1974 he withdrew from several tournaments and announced his retirement that July.

He made an appearance in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, seen fighting Fujinishiki. [3]

After retirement

Kotozakura had been expecting to open up his own training stable, but when his stablemaster died suddenly just days after Kotozakura's retirement, he took over Sadogatake stable instead. He produced many top division wrestlers over the years, such as ōzeki Kotokaze, Kotoōshū, Kotomitsuki and Kotoshōgiku and sekiwake Kotogaume, Kotofuji, Kotonishiki, and Kotonowaka. When yokozuna Asashōryū was criticized for his behaviour in 2003, he defended the Mongolian by pointing out the lack of emotional strength in young Japanese sumo wrestlers today. [4] After 31 years as head coach, he passed on ownership of the stable upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of sixty five in November 2005 to Kotonowaka, who had become his son-in-law. [3] Shortly after attending the ōzeki promotion ceremony of Kotomitsuki, Kotozakura died on August 14, 2007. [5] He had battled diabetes for several years and had also suffered the trauma of a leg amputation. [3]

Fighting style

Kotozakura's favoured techniques were the two most common kimarite in sumo – yorikiri (force out) and oshidashi (push out). When grabbing his opponent's mawashi he preferred a migi-yotsu, or left hand outside, right hand inside grip.

Career record

Kotozakura Masakatsu [6]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
March
Haru basho, Osaka
May
Natsu basho, Tokyo
July
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
September
Aki basho, Tokyo
November
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
1959(Maezumo)EastJonokuchi#20
71
 
EastJonidan#93
62
 
EastJonidan#55
62
 
WestJonidan#21
62
 
WestSandanme#85
62
 
1960EastSandanme#52
71PP
Champion

 
EastSandanme#17
44
 
EastSandanme#17
35
 
EastSandanme#29
61
 
EastMakushita#84
52
 
WestMakushita#68
61
 
1961WestMakushita#46
52
 
WestMakushita#33
43
 
EastMakushita#24
43
 
WestMakushita#20
34
 
EastMakushita#25
25
 
EastMakushita#37
70P
 
1962EastMakushita#7
34
 
EastMakushita#9
52
 
EastMakushita#2
61
 
EastJūryō#16
114PP
Champion

 
WestJūryō#7
78
 
WestJūryō#8
87
 
1963WestJūryō#4
132
Champion

 
EastMaegashira#13
69
 
EastJūryō#2
114
 
EastMaegashira#15
96
 
WestMaegashira#9
123
F
EastMaegashira#1
87
O
1964WestKomusubi#1
348
 
EastMaegashira#5
Sat out due to injury
0015
EastMaegashira#15
510
 
WestJūryō#2
96
 
EastJūryō#1
105
 
EastMaegashira#12
105
 
1965WestMaegashira#4
105
 
WestKomusubi#1
87
 
WestSekiwake#1
87
 
EastSekiwake#1
69
 
EastMaegashira#1
96
O
WestKomusubi#1
105
 
1966EastKomusubi#1
87
 
EastKomusubi#1
510
 
EastMaegashira#3
105
 
EastKomusubi#1
96
 
WestSekiwake#1
78
 
WestKomusubi#1
105
O
1967EastSekiwake#1
87
 
EastSekiwake#1
78
 
EastKomusubi#1
105
 
WestSekiwake#1
114
F
EastSekiwake#1
114
O
EastŌzeki#2
87
 
1968WestŌzeki#2
105
 
EastŌzeki#2
105
 
EastŌzeki#2
96
 
WestŌzeki#2
132
 
EastŌzeki#1
654
 
EastŌzeki#2
105
 
1969EastŌzeki#2
510
 
EastŌzeki#2
132
 
EastŌzeki#1
87
 
EastŌzeki#2
114
 
WestŌzeki#1
105
 
EastŌzeki#2
96
 
1970EastŌzeki#2
96
 
WestŌzeki#1
105
 
EastŌzeki#1
96
 
WestŌzeki#1
114
 
WestŌzeki#1
87
 
EastŌzeki#2
96
 
1971EastŌzeki#2
96
 
WestŌzeki#1
114
 
EastŌzeki#1
249
 
WestŌzeki#2
96
 
EastŌzeki#2
105
 
WestŌzeki#1
249
 
1972WestŌzeki#2
105
 
EastŌzeki#1
105
 
EastŌzeki#1
1212
 
WestŌzeki#2
87
 
WestŌzeki#1
96
 
WestŌzeki#2
141
 
1973EastŌzeki#1
141
 
EastYokozuna#1
114
 
WestYokozuna#1
105
 
WestYokozuna#1
141P
 
EastYokozuna#1
96
 
WestYokozuna#1
114
 
1974WestYokozuna#1
339
 
WestYokozuna#1
87
 
WestYokozuna#1
0411
 
WestYokozuna#1
Retired
00
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Top Division Runner-up Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: Makuuchi Jūryō Makushita Sandanme Jonidan Jonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks:  Yokozuna Ōzeki Sekiwake Komusubi Maegashira

See also

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References

  1. 鎌谷紀雄氏(第53代横綱琴桜)が多臓器不全のため死去 (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2008-10-26.[ permanent dead link ]
  2. 1 2 3 4 Kuroda, Joe (October 2006). "Rikishi Of Old". sumofanmag.com. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  3. 1 2 3 Gunning, John (15 March 2020). "Kotozakura had limited run as yokozuna but successful tenure as stablemaster" . Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  4. Onishi, Norimitsu (2003-08-03). "Fears That the New State of Sumo Defiles Tradition". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
  5. "Ex-yokozuna Kotozakura dies". The Japan Times. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  6. "Kotozakuara Masakatsu Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
Preceded by
Kitanofuji Katsuaki
53rd Yokozuna
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Wajima Hiroshi
Yokozuna is not a successive rank, and more than one wrestler can hold the title at once