Hitachiyama Taniemon

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Hitachiyama Taniemon
常陸山 谷右衞門
The 19th Yokozuna Hitachiyama Taniemon 1908.jpg
Personal information
Born Tani Ichige
(1874-01-19)January 19, 1874
Mito, Ibaragi, Japan
Died June 19, 1922(1922-06-19) (aged 48)
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 12 in)
Weight 146 kg (322 lb)
Career
Stable Dewanoumi
Record 150-15-131
22draws-2holds(Makuuchi)
Debut June, 1892
Highest rank Yokozuna (June, 1903)
Retired May, 1914
Championships 1 (Makuuchi, official)
7 (Makuuchi, unofficial)
* Up to date as of September 2007.

Hitachiyama Taniemon (常陸山 谷右衞門, January 19, 1874 – June 19, 1922) was a sumo wrestler from Mito, Ibaragi Prefecture, Japan. He was the sport's 19th yokozuna from 1903 till 1914. His great rivalry with Umegatani Tōtarō II created the "Ume-Hitachi Era" and did much to popularise sumo. He is remembered as much for his exploits in promoting the sport as for his strength on the dohyō. In his later years as head coach of Dewanoumi stable he trained hundreds of wrestlers, including three yokozuna. Many consider him the most honorable yokozuna in sumo history, which earned him the nickname "Kakusei" (角聖), or "sumo saint".[1]

Early career[edit]

Young Hitachiyama.jpg

Hitachiyama was born as Tani Ichige, on January 19, 1874, to a samurai family which belonged to the Mito Domain. His family was dismissed by the Meiji restoration authorities and was ruined financially. He moved to Tokyo and became dependent on his uncle. He attempted to enter Waseda University where his uncle was employed. At around this time, however, his uncle observed that he was able to lift a rock weighing 58 kan, or 217.5 kg (480 lb). His uncle advised him to become a sumo wrestler. At that time, sumo wasn't seen as a sport of much regard, so his father opposed the idea.[2] Despite his father's protestation, he joined Dewanoumi stable in 1890.

He made his professional debut in June 1892. However, he fell in love with his head coach's niece; and when he was refused permission to wed her, he ran away from Tokyo sumo in the summer of 1894.[2] He moved to Nagoya sumo and then Osaka sumo. He returned to Tokyo sumo in the spring of 1896. He had become much stronger during his absence and won 32 consecutive bouts upon his return.[2] In January 1899, he won a championship at his first tournament in the top makuuchi division. In January 1901 he was promoted to ōzeki. He fought against fellow ōzeki Umegatani Tōtarō II on the final day of May 1903 tournament. He defeated Umegatani and his own promotion to yokozuna was confirmed. Hitachiyama, however, insisted that his rival be promoted as well. Hitachiyama got his wish and he and Umegatani were promoted to yokozuna together in June 1903. With Ōzutsu Man'emon also holding the rank, it was the first occasion that three yokozuna were active at the same time.[3]

Yokozuna[edit]

Hitachiyama in Chicago

Hitachiyama once won 27 bouts in a row, lost one to Araiwa Kamenosuke in his first tournament as yokozuna, then went on another winning streak of 32 bouts.[3] However, he was determined to see sumo held in higher regard with Japanese society, a task he saw as more important than merely winning tournament titles.[3] In August 1907, he went on a tour of the United States of America and Europe. He met President Theodore Roosevelt and performed the yokozuna dohyō-iri (the yokozuna ring-entering ceremony) in the White House. Although he was absent from January 1908 tournament due to the journey, nobody criticized Hitachiyama as he was seen as a visionary and a pioneer for sumo.[3] After his return from his long journey he was not quite as dominant as he had been before, although he still managed to win a title in the first Ryōgoku Kokugikan, which opened in 1909 and which he had helped to build.[3]

Hitachiyama and Umegatani

In the top makuuchi division, he won 150 bouts and lost only 15 bouts, achieving a winning percentage of 90.9.[1] He is the last yokozuna to have a winning percentage over .900 in the top division.[4] He started his powerful techniques only after his opponents' attack.[5] His fighting style is now seen as a model of yokozuna. He also introduced bushidō into sumo, and raised the status of sumo wrestlers in society. He also performed the yokozuna dohyō-iri in an innovative way. Unlike yokozuna before him, he would at first hold out both arms after he made a clap, and after he did the sumo-style leg stomps, he would raise only his right arm.

Later years[edit]

Statue of Hitachiyama

After his retirement in May 1914, he became the stablemaster of Dewanoumi stable. It had been a minor heya when he had first joined it, but even while still an active wrestler Hitachiyama had trained many wrestlers, such as later yokozuna Tachiyama Mineemon, even though they were not members of his stable. He was a masterful recruiter and coach.[6] He had such charisma and personality that he was able to tempt many wrestlers away from the less successful Osaka and Kyoko based sumo associations, which caused friction between the rival organisations.[7] As head coach he produced many top division wrestlers, including no fewer than three yokozuna: Ōnishiki Uichirō, Tochigiyama Moriya and Tsunenohana Kan'ichi. At the stable's peak he was in charge of two hundred wrestlers. To feed them, he devised the chankonabe style of food preparation which still prevails in sumo today.[8]

He died suddenly in 1922 at the age of 48. As a much respected figure in the sumo world, he was the first yokozuna for whom the Japan Sumo Association organised a formal funeral.[3] His cortege was reportedly 6 kilometres long.[3]

Top Division Record[edit]

Hitachiyama[9][10]
- Spring Summer
1899 East Maegashira #4
8–0–1
1d
Unofficial

 
Sat out
1900 East Maegashira #1
7–1–1
1d

 
East Sekiwake
7–1–1
1d

 
1901 East Sekiwake
8–0–1
1d
Unofficial

 
West Ōzeki
7–2–1
 
1902 West Ōzeki
7–1–2
 
West Ōzeki
6–0–4
 
1903 West Ōzeki
8–0–1
1d
Unofficial

 
West Ōzeki
9–0–1
Unofficial

 
1904 West Yokozuna
7–1–2
Unofficial

 
Sat out
1905 West Yokozuna
2–0–8
 
West Yokozuna
5–0–2
2d 1h

 
1906 West Yokozuna
9–0–1
Unofficial

 
West Yokozuna
8–0–2
Unofficial

 
1907 Sat out for a world tour West Yokozuna
6–2–1
1d

 
1908 Sat out West Yokozuna
5–0–5
 
1909 East Yokozuna
6–0–4
 
East Yokozuna
7–1
2d

 
1910 East Yokozuna
7–0–1
2d

 
East Yokozuna
2–0–8
 
1911 East Yokozuna
5–2
3d

 
Sat out
1912 West Yokozuna
5–1
4d

 
Sat out
1913 East Yokozuna
6–1
3d

 
West Yokozuna
2–0–7
1h

 
1914 West Yokozuna
1–2–7
 
East Yokozuna
Retired
0–0–10
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Retired Lower Divisions

Key:  =Kinboshi(s);   d=Draw(s) (引分);   h=Hold(s) (預り)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

*Championships for the best record in a tournament were not recognized or awarded before the 1909 summer tournament and the above championships that are labelled "unofficial" are historically conferred. For more information see yūshō.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kuroda, Joe (February 2006). "A Shot At the Impossible-Yokozuna Comparison Through The Ages". sumofanmag.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  2. ^ a b c Kuroda, Joe (December 2007). "Hitachiyama Taniemon (1874-1922)". Sumo Fan Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kuroda, Joe (February 2008). "Hitachiyama Taniemon (1874-1922) Part #2". Sumo Fan Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  4. ^ "横綱一覧" (in Japanese). Grand Sumo Tournament Records. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  5. ^ "Hitachiyama Taniemon". National Diet Library. 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  6. ^ Schilling, Mark (1994). Sumo: A Fan's Guide. Japan Times. ISBN 4-7890-0725-1. 
  7. ^ Newton, Clyde (1994). Dynamic Sumo. Kodansha. p. 56. ISBN 4-7700-1802-9. 
  8. ^ "巴潟のちゃんこ鍋" (in Japanese). Chanko Tomoegata. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  9. ^ "Hitachiyama Taniemon Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  10. ^ "大相撲優勝力士" (in Japanese). ja.wikipedia. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 

External links[edit]

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Ōzutsu Man'emon
19th Yokozuna
1903 - 1914
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Umegatani Tōtarō II
Yokozuna is not a successive rank, and more than one wrestler can share the title