Ōnokuni Yasushi

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Ōnokuni Yasushi
大乃国 康
Onokuni 08 Sep.jpg
Personal information
Born Yasushi Aoki
(1962-10-09) October 9, 1962 (age 52)
Memuro, Hokkaidō, Japan
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 203 kg (448 lb)
Career
Stable Hanakago, Hanaregoma
Record 560-319-113
Debut March, 1978
Highest rank Yokozuna (September, 1987)
Retired July, 1991
Championships 2 (Makuuchi)
1 (Jūryō)
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (5)
Fighting Spirit (2)
Gold Stars 4 (Kitanoumi, Chiyonofuji,
Takanosato (2))
* Up to date as of January 2007.

Ōnokuni Yasushi (大乃国 康, born October 9, 1962 as Yasushi Aoki (青木 康)) is a former sumo wrestler from Hokkaidō, Japan. Making his professional debut in 1978, he reached the top division in 1983. In 1987 he won his first yūshō or tournament championship with a perfect score and became the sport's 62nd yokozuna. However, he was able to win only one more championship before his retirement in 1991. He has remained in sumo as a coach and in 1999 became the head of Shibatayama stable.

Early life[edit]

Aoki was born in Memuro Town, Kasai District, Tokachi, Hokkaidō, Japan. At school he did judo, but after a sumo tournament in the area, he was recruited to Hanakago stable by wrestler Kaiketsu Masateru and fought his first bout in March 1978 aged 15. When Kaiketsu retired from the ring in 1981 he set up his own stable, Hanaregoma stable, and took Aoki with him.

Makuuchi[edit]

He reached the second jūryō division in March 1982, and the top makuuchi division a year later in March 1983. He made his san'yaku debut at komusubi just three tournaments later. In November 1983, ranked as maegashira 3, he won his first special prize and three gold stars by defeating all three yokozuna (Kitanoumi, Chiyonofuji and Takanosato). This earned him promotion to sekiwake. The next March, he defeated three yokozuna and three ōzeki and won special prizes for Fighting Spirit and Outstanding Performance. He was runner-up in the July 1985 tournament, recording 12 wins against 3 losses, enough to secure promotion to ōzeki. He was runner-up again in his ōzeki debut, scoring 12-3 once more. His performance over the next few tournaments was good but not spectacular, until in May 1987 he won his first tournament title with a perfect record of 15 wins and no losses, becoming the first man other than Chiyonofuji to win a top division yūshō in the new Ryōgoku Kokugikan.[1] After two runner-up performances in the next two tournaments, in September of that year he was promoted to yokozuna, sumo's highest rank. His three tournament record of 40 wins and just five losses tied with Wakanohana II as the best produced by a candidate for yokozuna promotion.

Yokozuna[edit]

His first tournament as yokozuna finished with a disappointing 8-7 score, but in March 1988 he beat yokozuna Hokutoumi in a play-off to achieve his second tournament victory. However, the Kokonoe stable yokozuna Chiyonofuji and Hokutoumi were to prove dominant over the next few tournaments and he never won another tournament. He scored a famous victory over Chiyonofuji on the last day of the November 1988 tournament, however, ending Chiyonofuji's 53-bout winning streak in what turned out to be the last sumo match of the Shōwa period.

From 1989 he began to suffer from sleep apnea. He gained weight, passing 200 kg, and began to suffer leg problems. He lost some weight through a combination of training and diet, but this weakened him and he never fully recovered. He missed most of the July tournament due to a knee injury, then in September he became the first yokozuna ever to go make-koshi, or turn in a losing score of just 7 wins out of 15 bouts. He did the only thing expected of him - he offered to resign - but he was told by the Japan Sumo Association to soldier on. In his comeback tournament in January 1990 he scraped by with 8 wins but suffered a serious ankle injury and missed the next four tournaments, an unprecedented absence for a yokozuna.

He finally returned to the ring in November 1990, and scored ten wins, defeating Chiyonofuji again on the final day. In March 1991 he was runner-up for the seventh and final time in his career, finishing one win behind Hokutoumi on 12-3. His final day defeat to Kirishima handed the yūshō to Hokutoumi and robbed him of the chance of a play-off (which Hokutoumi admitted he would almost certainly have lost as he was injured in his bout the previous day).[2] Ōnokuni missed the following tournament in May due to a fever resulting from a skin infection,[2] and upon his return in July he was defeated four times in the first eight days. He announced his retirement from sumo at the age of just 28 after being beaten by Akinoshima on Day 8, leaving a disappointing record of just one yūshō and two runner-up performances in his 23 tournaments at yokozuna rank. Discounting the special circumstances of Futahaguro's departure from sumo he was the second youngest yokozuna to retire, after Tochinoumi.[2]

Retirement from the ring[edit]

Ōnokuni has remained in the sumo world as an oyakata, or elder, and opened his own training stable, Shibatayama-beya in 1999. In March 2008 the stable produced its first sekitori, Daiyubu, but he spent only one tournament in jūryō and retired suddenly in June 2010 after falling out with his stablemaster. Daiyubu filed a lawsuit in September claiming that he was slapped and punched, and his topknot was cut off against his will.[3] Shibatayama was questioned by police over the alleged incidents.[4]

He also has a reputation as a baker of cakes, and published a book (第62代横綱大乃国の全国スイーツ巡業, 62nd Yokozuna Ōnokuni's National Sweets Tour).

His autobiography, titled Winning Even When You Lose, was published in 2008.

He has been married since 1989.

Fighting style[edit]

Ōnokuni favoured grip on his opponent's mawashi was migi-yotsu, a left hand outside and right hand inside position. His most common winning kimarite was yori-kiri, which accounted for nearly half his victories at sekitori level. He was also fond of uwatenage, or overarm throw. He had a somewhat defensive style, preferring to wait for his opportunity rather than take the initiative right from the beginning of a bout.

Career record[edit]

Ōnokuni Yasushi[5]
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
1978 x (Maezumo) West Jonokuchi #15
4–3
 
West Jonidan #86
3–2–2
 
East Jonidan #99
5–2
 
East Jonidan #49
5–2
 
1979 West Jonidan #19
3–4
 
East Jonidan #32
5–2
 
East Jonidan #3
6–1
 
West Sandanme #43
3–4
 
East Sandanme #53
2–5
 
West Sandanme #78
5–2
 
1980 West Sandanme #46
5–2
 
West Sandanme #12
4–3
 
East Sandanme #2
2–5
 
East Sandanme #29
3–4
 
East Sandanme #46
4–3
 
West Sandanme #25
6–1
 
1981 West Makushita #49
3–4
 
East Sandanme #1
4–3
 
West Makushita #48
5–2
 
West Makushita #27
4–3
 
West Makushita #20
5–2
 
East Makushita #8
5–2
 
1982 East Makushita #1
4–3
 
East Jūryō #11
5–10
 
West Makushita #6
4–3
 
East Makushita #4
4–3
 
West Makushita #1
5–2
 
East Jūryō #11
10–5
 
1983 West Jūryō #2
11–4–PP
Champion

 
West Maegashira #9
8–7
 
West Maegashira #2
6–9
 
East Maegashira #5
8–7
 
West Komusubi #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #3
10–5
O
1984 East Sekiwake #1
9–6
O
East Sekiwake #1
10–5
OF
East Sekiwake #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #1
10–5
O
West Sekiwake #1
10–5
 
East Sekiwake #1
8–7
 
1985 East Sekiwake #1
9–6
 
West Sekiwake #1
9–6
 
East Sekiwake #1
10–5
O
East Sekiwake #1
12–3
F
West Ōzeki #1
12–3
 
East Ōzeki #1
11–4
 
1986 West Ōzeki #1
12–3
 
East Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #2
11–4
 
West Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
1987 East Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
15–0
 
East Ōzeki #1
12–3
 
East Ōzeki #1
13–2
 
West Yokozuna #1
8–7
 
1988 West Yokozuna #2
5–5–5
 
East Yokozuna #2
13–2–P
 
West Yokozuna #1
11–4
 
East Yokozuna #2
12–3
 
West Yokozuna #1
8–7
 
West Yokozuna #1
11–4
 
1989 West Yokozuna #1
11–4
 
East Yokozuna #2
12–3
 
West Yokozuna #1
12–3
 
West Yokozuna #1
1–4–10
 
East Yokozuna #2
7–8
 
East Yokozuna #2
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
1990 East Yokozuna #2
8–7
 
East Yokozuna #2
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
East Yokozuna #2
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
East Yokozuna #2
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Yokozuna #2
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Yokozuna #2
10–5
 
1991 East Yokozuna #2
10–5
 
East Yokozuna #2
12–3
 
West Yokozuna #1
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
East Yokozuna #2
Retired
4–5–6
x x
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharnoff, Lora (1993). Grand Sumo. Weatherhill. p. 59. ISBN 0-8348-0283-X. 
  2. ^ a b c Kuroda, Jpe (August 2010). "Rikishi of Old: The 62nd Yokozuna Onokuni Yasushi (1962 ~ ) Part 2" (PDF). Sumo Fan Magazine. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Former Mongolian sumo wrestler sues stablemaster over retirement". Mainichi Daily News. 8 September 2010. Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Sumo stablemaster quizzed over suspected injuring of ex-wrestler". Mainichi Daily News. 8 September 2010. Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ōnokuni Yasushi Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 

External links[edit]

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Hokutoumi Nobuyoshi
62nd Yokozuna
September 1987 - July 1991
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Asahifuji Seiya
Yokozuna is not a successive rank, and more than one wrestler can share the title