Tochinowaka Michihiro

Last updated
Tochinowaka Michihiro
栃乃若 導大
Tochinowaka 2011 Jan.JPG
Personal information
BornDae Won Lee
(1988-04-06) April 6, 1988 (age 35)
Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight177 kg (390 lb; 27.9 st)
Stable Kasugano
DebutJanuary, 2007
Highest rankMaegashira 1 (March, 2012)
RetiredJanuary, 2015
* Up to date as of Dec 24, 2014.

Tochinowaka Michihiro (born Dae Won Lee on April 6, 1988) is a former sumo wrestler from Hyogo, Japan. His father is a Zainichi Korean and his mother is a Korean immigrant. He made his professional debut in 2007 and steadily rose through the ranks. His highest rank was maegashira 1.


Early life and sumo background

Lee was active in judo and also began doing sumo in his second year of primary school. In his third year at Hōtoku Gakuen High School he achieved the status of national high school yokozuna .


He entered professional sumo as a wrestler for Kasugano stable in the 2007 January tournament. After posting a strong 5-2 record in his first official tournament, he achieved a perfect 7-0 record to face fellow up and coming wrestler Yamamotoyama to whom he lost the playoff bout for the jonidan championship or yūshō . Promoted to sandanme in the following tournament, he posted a 6-1 record and a 5-1 record in the following tournament, garnering him promotion to makushita .

He continued fulfilling the expectations of a former high school yokozuna with four consecutive kachi-koshi or winning records. However, upon reaching upper makushita his progress slowed and he finally posted a make-koshi or losing record of 2-5, his first such record in nine tournaments in sumo. In the next tournament he only achieved a 3-4, marking the only time so far in his sumo career that he has had consecutive losing records. It was during this period of struggle that he changed to his current shikona or ring name of Tochinowaka, which is the former ring name of his stable coach, Tochinowaka Kiyotaka. His ring name up to this time had been his simple one character Korean family name of 李 or Lee. This had apparently been somewhat of a challenge for the yobidashi who are required to announce every wrestler's name in a drawn out singsong style of voice and very rarely, if ever, had to call out a ring name consisting of just one syllable.

His fortunes after his name change did not change right away, and after several tournaments alternating between winning and losing records, with an early withdrawal in the March 2009 tournament, he finally achieved two consecutive winning records in upper makushita to grant him promotion to sekitori level, the second highest jūryō division. In contrast to his struggles previously, he soared through jūryō in just three tournaments, narrowly losing the championship in playoffs in two consecutive tournaments.

Tochinowaka fights Shohozan in the May 2014 tournament Shohozan vs Tochinowaka May 2014 001.jpg
Tochinowaka fights Shōhōzan in the May 2014 tournament

His promotion to the top makuuchi division in March 2011 was ill-timed as this tournament was cancelled, the first such cancellation in the history of sumo, due to the bout fixing scandal of that year. Though there was no tournament and no official banzuke , he and fellow makuuchi promotee Kaisei did receive compensation as top division wrestlers for the period of that tournament. He only managed a 7-8 record in the following May "technical examination tournament" but in March 2012 he reached his highest rank to date, maegashira 1. In his first tournament facing all the top ranked men he managed to defeat ōzeki Kisenosato on the opening day, but his only other win over a san'yaku wrestler was sekiwake Aminishiki, and he finished on 5–10. Ranked at maegashira 4 in the May 2012 tournament he had a much easier schedule, facing only fellow maegashira, but he performed well below expectations posting only a 2–13 record. He was demoted from the top division after winning only five bouts at maegashira 14 in July. He managed to fight back after two tournaments and was again promoted to makuuchi in January 2013. However, the following March tournament, he dropped out from injury after losing his first seven bouts. He again fell back to jūryō and was again repromoted after two tournaments. Since then he alternated winning and losing tournaments, moving him up and down the maegashira ranks with regularity.

Retirement from sumo

After the November 2014 tournament, with only a 3-12 record at a low maegashira rank, he faced demotion to jūryō. Following the winter tour he told his stablemaster Kasugano Oyakata that he wished to retire. Kasugano was surprised and talked with him for four hours in an effort to change his mind, but in the end submitted the official retirement papers to the Sumo Association on December 15, 2014. Tochinowaka's name appeared on the January 2015 banzuke despite his retirement. In interviews Tochinowaka revealed that he had been contemplating retirement for two years and had consulted his parents. He did not give any physical injuries as a reason for his retirement but indicated that he suffered from a lack of mental toughness. His retirement ceremony was held on January 25, 2015 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Hotel.

Following his retirement, he joined the Hakuju Bioscience Research Institute, which handles healthcare equipment and food, and he currently provides healthcare guidance as the manager of Hakuju Plaza. [1]


Though his father is Zainichi Korean and his mother is a Korean immigrant, Tochinowaka chose to take Japanese citizenship. This also enabled Kasugano stable to accept him despite already having a foreigner, Georgian Tochinoshin.

Fighting style

Tochinowaka was a yotsu sumo wrestler who preferred techniques involving grabbing the opponent's mawashi . His favourite grip was hidari-yotsu, with his right hand outside and left hand inside his opponent's arms. Nearly half his career victories to date were achieved with just two kimarite or techniques, yori-kiri (force out) and oshi-dashi (push out), the two most common in sumo.

Career record

Tochinowaka Michihiro [2]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
Haru basho, Osaka
Natsu basho, Tokyo
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
Aki basho, Tokyo
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
2007 (Maezumo)WestJonokuchi#32
2008 WestMakushita#38
2009 EastMakushita#21
2010 WestMakushita#11
2011 WestJūryō#2
Tournament Cancelled
2012 WestMaegashira#4
2013 EastMaegashira#15
2014 WestMaegashira#8
2015 WestJūryō#6
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; P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: Makuuchi Jūryō Makushita Sandanme Jonidan Jonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks:  Yokozuna Ōzeki Sekiwake Komusubi Maegashira

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Futen'ō Izumi</span>

Futen'ō Izumi, is a former sumo wrestler. A former amateur champion, he turned professional in 2003, reaching the top division the following year. He earned two special prizes. His highest rank was komusubi, which he held for one tournament. He retired in May 2011 after falling down the banzuke to the third makushita division. He is now a sumo coach.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tochinonada Taiichi</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Tochinonada Taiichi is a former sumo wrestler from Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. An amateur sumo champion, he turned professional in 1996 and reached the top makuuchi division in 1997. He earned twelve kinboshi or gold stars for defeating yokozuna, the second highest ever, and he was a runner-up in two tournaments. His highest rank was sekiwake. He is now a coach at Kasugano stable under the name Takenawa Oyakata.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toyonoshima Daiki</span>

Toyonoshima Daiki is a former professional sumo wrestler from Sukumo, Kōchi, Japan. He made his professional debut in January 2002, reaching the top makuuchi division in September 2004. He was a runner-up in five tournaments, and earned ten special prizes. His highest rank was sekiwake, which he first reached in September 2008 and held for five tournaments in total. Following a suspension in July 2010 he was demoted to the jūryō division, but upon his return to makuuchi in November 2010 he took part in a playoff for the championship. He won four kinboshi or gold stars awarded for yokozuna upsets, three of them earned by defeating Harumafuji from 2013 to 2015. He wrestled for Tokitsukaze stable. He retired in 2020 and was an elder of the Japan Sumo Association under the name of Izutsu-oyakata until his departure from the association in January 2023.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Satoyama Kōsaku</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Satoyama Kōsaku is a retired professional sumo wrestler from Ōshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. A former amateur sumo champion at Nihon University, he entered professional sumo in 2004 and first reached the top makuuchi division in 2007. His highest rank was maegashira 12. He spent much of his career in the jūryō and makushita divisions, and won a yusho or tournament championship in each. He won promotion back to the top division in 2014 after a seven-year and 37-tournament absence, the longest ever. He was a member of Onoe stable. He retired in November 2018 and is an elder of the Japan Sumo Association under the name of Chiganoura.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jūmonji Tomokazu</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Jūmonji Tomokazu is a former sumo wrestler from Aomori, Japan. Joining the professional ranks in 1992, he reached the top division in 2000 and was ranked there for 34 tournaments until 2007. His highest rank was maegashira 6. He was forced to retire in April 2011 after an investigation by the Japan Sumo Association found him guilty of match-fixing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ryūhō Masayoshi</span>

Ryūhō Masayoshi is a former sumo wrestler from Nakagami, Okinawa, Japan. His highest rank was maegashira 16.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Towanoyama Yoshimitsu</span>

Towanoyama Yoshimitsu is a former sumo wrestler from Toshima, Tokyo, Japan. He made his professional debut in 1993. His highest rank was maegashira 13, achieved in March 2002. He had many injury problems and had perhaps the unluckiest top makuuchi division career of any wrestler in sumo, being injured before even fighting a match in the division. He is the only wrestler since the beginning of the Shōwa era in 1926 to have been ranked in the top division without winning any bouts there.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kasugano stable</span>

Kasugano stable is a stable of sumo wrestlers, part of the Dewanoumi ichimon or group of stables. As of January 2023 it had 17 wrestlers. It has been led by former sekiwake Tochinowaka Kiyotaka since 2003. It was one of the most successful stables in 2013, with six sekitori wrestlers, including now retired Georgian Tochinoshin and Japanese born Tochinowaka Michihiro, who used the current head coach's old ring name.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aran Hakutora</span> Russian former sumo wrestler

Aran Hakutora is a Russian former sumo wrestler. He began his professional career in January 2007 and made the top division in a record eleven tournaments. The highest rank he reached was sekiwake. He was runner-up in consecutive tournaments in May and July 2010 and earned two sanshō or special prizes for Fighting Spirit. He wrestled for Mihogaseki stable.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shōtenrō Taishi</span> Sumo wrestler

Shōtenrō Taishi is a former sumo wrestler from Khovd Province, Mongolia. He joined professional sumo in 2001 and was known as Musashiryū Taishi until 2007. He made the top makuuchi division for the first time in 2009 and his highest rank was maegashira 2. He wrestled for Fujishima stable. He acquired Japanese citizenship in 2017 and retired shortly before the January 2018 tournament to become an elder of the Japan Sumo Association. As of June 2022 he is known as Nishikijima Oyakata.

Ōzutsu Takeshi is a former sumo wrestler from Mie, Japan. Beginning his professional career in May 1971, he was ranked in the top makuuchi division continuously from March 1979 to January 1992, and his record of 1170 consecutive bouts there is the second best in history after Takamiyama. His highest rank was sekiwake. He was runner-up in one tournament and earned ten kinboshi or gold stars for defeating yokozuna. He also won four sanshō or special prizes. He wrestled for Taihō stable and after his retirement in May 1992 he worked there as a coach before leaving the Japan Sumo Association in 2008.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kimurayama Mamoru</span>

Kimurayama Mamoru is a former professional sumo wrestler from Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. His highest rank was maegashira 7. He is now a coach at Kasugano stable. He was the only wrestler in the elite ranks in his time from Wakayama Prefecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mōkonami Sakae</span> Mongolian sumo wrestler

Mōkonami Sakae is a former sumo wrestler from Mongolia. After making his professional sumo debut in March 2001, he had his top makuuchi division debut 8 years later in July 2009. His highest rank was maegashira 6. He has acquired Japanese citizenship. In April 2011 he was ordered to retire by the Japan Sumo Association after an investigation found him guilty of match-fixing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tosayutaka Yūya</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Tosayutaka Yūya is a former sumo wrestler from Tosa City, Kōchi Prefecture, Japan. He made his professional debut in March 2007, reaching the top makuuchi division in July 2009. His highest rank was maegashira 1. After a long hiatus due to injury, he worked his way back up the ranks, logging several lower division championships on the way. In January 2015 he finally reached the top division again after an 18 tournament absence. His comeback from sandanme 84 was the lowest any wrestler since World War II has fallen and still managed to again reach the top division, until surpassed by Terunofuji. After further injury setbacks he announced his retirement in January 2016. He became stablemaster of Tokitsukaze stable in February 2021 after the Japan Sumo Association asked the previous stablemaster to retire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sōkokurai Eikichi</span>

Sōkokurai Eikichi is a former professional sumo wrestler from Inner Mongolia, China. He is the only Chinese national to reach the top makuuchi division. Sōkokurai is of Mongolian descent. He made his professional debut in 2003 and was promoted to the top division in September, 2010. In April 2011 he was ordered to retire by the Japan Sumo Association after being found guilty of involvement in match-fixing. Refusing to do so, he was dismissed. However, in March 2013 his dismissal was nullified by the Tokyo District Court. After the Sumo Association decided not to appeal the decision, he reappeared on the banzuke in July 2013 at the Nagoya Basho, ranked as a maegashira 15, the rank he was at when he was expelled. His highest rank of maegashira 2 was achieved in March 2017. He won one special prize for Technique and one gold star for beating a yokozuna. In 2019 he acquired Japanese citizenship and he retired after the March 2020 tournament to take over Arashio stable.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Takarafuji Daisuke</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Takarafuji Daisuke is a Japanese professional sumo wrestler. He competes in the makuuchi division. The highest rank he has reached is sekiwake.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tenkaihō Takayuki</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Tenkaihō Takayuki is a retired sumo wrestler from Tamana, Kumamoto, Japan. He made his professional debut in January 2007, and reached the top division in January 2012. His highest rank was maegashira 8. He won one sandanme championship. He retired in March 2019 to become a coach in the Japan Sumo Association.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokushōryū Makoto</span> Sumo wrestler

Tokushōryū Makoto is a Japanese professional sumo wrestler from Nara. He wrestles for Kise stable.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amūru Mitsuhiro</span>

Amūru Mitsuhiro is a former professional sumo wrestler from Lesozavodsk, Primorsky Krai, Russia. After an initial influx of Russian wrestlers from the early 2000s, he was the last ethnic Russian in top level sumo. He made his debut in May 2002 and, after a serious knee injury in 2012 sent him down the rankings, reached the top makuuchi division in November 2014. His highest rank was maegashira 5. He had nine tournaments ranked in the top division, but finished his career in the third highest makushita division.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Meisei Chikara</span> Japanese sumo wrestler

Meisei Chikara is a Japanese professional sumo wrestler from Setouchi, Kagoshima. He debuted in sumo wrestling in July 2011 and made his makuuchi debut in July 2018. His highest rank has been sekiwake. He wrestles for Tatsunami stable. Unusually for a top-class sumo wrestler, he uses his given name as his shikona.


  1. "責任を持つことが自分の人生を生きること". Athlete Live (in Japanese). 22 September 2019. Archived from the original on 22 September 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  2. "Tochinowaka Michihiro Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2011-10-15.