Fujinishiki Akira

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Fujinishiki Akira
富士錦 猛光
Fujinishiki 1961 Scan10018.JPG
Personal information
Born Akira Watanabe
(1937-03-18)18 March 1937
Yamanashi, Japan
Died 17 December 2003(2003-12-17) (aged 66)
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 136 kg (300 lb)
Career
Stable Takasago
Record 576-560-5
Debut March, 1953
Highest rank Komusubi (March, 1960)
Retired November, 1968
Championships 1 (Makuuchi)
1 (Makushita)
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (2)
Fighting Spirit (4)
Technique (1)
Gold Stars 7
Tochinoumi (3)
Kashiwado (2)
Wakanohana I
Sadanoyama
* Up to date as of Sep. 2012.

Fujinishiki Akira (born Akira Watanabe, also known as Akira Ichimiya, 18 March 1937 – 17 December 2003) was a sumo wrestler from Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan. His highest rank was komusubi, which he held on ten occasions. He won the top makuuchi division tournament championship or yusho in 1964 and was runner-up in two other tournaments. He won seven special prizes and seven gold stars for defeating yokozuna. After his retirement in 1968 he was an elder of the Japan Sumo Association and was the head coach of Takasago stable from 1988 until shortly before his retirement from the Sumo Association in 2002. He died of liver disease in 2003.

Career[edit]

Making his debut in 1953, he wrestled for Takasago stable, home of then yokozuna Azumafuji to whom the "Fuji" part of his shikona referred. He first entered the top makuuchi division in 1959 and was runner-up in two tournaments that year, winning a special prize for Fighting Spirit in each. His highest rank was komusubi, which he first reached in 1960. He spent a total of ten tournaments at that rank, the last coming in 1967, but never managed to earn promotion to sekiwake. He never managed to win more than eight bouts as a komusubi but was somewhat unlucky not be promoted after two consecutive 8–7 records at the rank in 1961, and he was regarded as certainly being of sekiwake level in ability. He holds the modern record for most tournaments at komusubi without reaching sekiwake.

The highlight of his career came in July 1964 when he took the top division championship or yūshō with a 14-1 record. He was ranked as a maegashira at the time and did not meet any ōzeki or yokozuna during the tournament. He defeated sekiwake Kitanofuji on the final day, avoiding the need for a playoff with ōzeki Yutakayama. He was perhaps fortunate that yokozuna Taihō, who won four championships in that year alone, dropped out after five days.

His tsukebito or personal attendant was Hawaiian born Takamiyama, later to become the first foreigner to win a championship, and Fujinishiki was one of the wrestlers who helped introduce him to sumo and Japanese culture.

Retirement from sumo[edit]

Following his retirement as an active wrestler in November 1968 he stayed at Takasago stable as a coach under the elder name of Nishiiwa. In 1988 he became head of the stable, following the death of former yokozuna Asashio Tarō III. He coached Konishiki, Mitoizumi and Senshuyama (ja) amongst others. He also served on the Japan Sumo Association's board of directors. However, after his wrestler Toki was involved in a car accident that killed a pedestrian in December 2000, he was punished by a demotion and a reduction in salary.[1] In February 2002, in failing health, he passed on ownership of the stable to former ōzeki Asashio Tarō IV, who merged his Wakamatsu stable with Takasago's. He let his former wrestler Mitoizumi use the old Takasago premises to launch Nishikido stable. He remained as a coach under the Wakamatsu name until his retirement the following month upon reaching 65, and continued to attend training sessions after that. He died of liver disease in December 2003.

Fighting style[edit]

He specialized in pushing and thrusting techniques (tsuki/oshi) and was known for his strong tachi-ai or initial charge.

Personal life[edit]

His eldest son Shōichi Ichimiya (ja), born in 1969, is a professional wrestler. His second eldest son Akihiro was once the personal manager of yokozuna Asashoryu (who was criticized for failing to attend Fujinishiki's funeral). It was Akihiro who was initially reported to have been punched by Asashoryu in a drunken brawl at a dance club in January 2010, although it soon emerged it was the manager of the club and this led to the yokozuna's enforced retirement.[2]

He was seen in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, fighting in a bout against Kotozakura.[citation needed]

Career record[edit]

  • The Kyushu tournament was first held in 1957, and the Nagoya tournament in 1958.
Fujinishiki Akira[3]
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
1953 x Shinjo
3–0
 
West Jonidan #26
5–3
 
Not held East Jonidan #10
4–4
 
Not held
1954 East Jonidan #5
5–3
 
West Sandanme #50
4–4
 
East Sandanme #48
4–4
 
Not held West Sandanme #44
6–2
 
Not held
1955 East Sandanme #29
5–3
 
East Sandanme #8
4–4
 
East Sandanme #3
3–5
 
Not held West Sandanme #5
5–3
 
Not held
1956 East Makushita #53
5–3
 
West Makushita #43
6–2
 
East Makushita #35
6–2
 
Not held West Makushita #24
7–1–P
Champion

 
Not held
1957 West Makushita #6
2–6
 
East Makushita #15
7–1
 
East Makushita #3
3–5
 
Not held East Makushita #8
4–4
 
East Makushita #8
5–3
 
1958 West Makushita #4
6–2
 
West Jūryō #24
8–7
 
East Jūryō #23
11–4–P
 
West Jūryō #14
8–7
 
West Jūryō #10
11–4
 
West Jūryō #2
11–4
 
1959 East Maegashira #18
5–10
 
East Jūryō #3
12–3
 
West Maegashira #18
9–6
 
West Maegashira #14
12–3
F
West Maegashira #3
4–11
 
East Maegashira #11
12–3
F
1960 East Maegashira #2
9–6
 
West Komusubi #1
7–8
 
West Maegashira #2
5–10
 
West Maegashira #6
5–10
East Maegashira #7
6–9
 
East Maegashira #11
11–4
 
1961 East Maegashira #4
10–5
F
West Komusubi #2
8–7
 
East Komusubi
7–8
 
East Maegashira #1
9–6
 
East Komusubi #1
8–7
 
East Komusubi #1
8–7
 
1962 West Komusubi #1
4–11
 
East Maegashira #5
7–8
 
West Maegashira #4
4–11
 
West Maegashira #10
9–6
 
East Maegashira #5
8–7
 
West Maegashira #1
4–11
 
1963 West Maegashira #7
11–4
 
East Maegashira #1
8–7
O
West Komusubi #1
4–11
 
West Maegashira #3
9–6
O
West Komusubi #1
2–8–5
 
West Maegashira #7
8–7
 
1964 West Maegashira #3
7–8
 
West Maegashira #3
4–11
 
West Maegashira #5
5–10
 
West Maegashira #9
14–1
FT
East Komusubi #1
4–11
 
West Maegashira #4
6–9
1965 East Maegashira #6
8–7
 
West Maegashira #3
5–10
 
West Maegashira #5
6–9
 
West Maegashira #7
10–5
 
East Maegashira #3
7–8
West Maegashira #3
8–7
 
1966 East Maegashira #3
8–7
 
West Maegashira #2
6–9
West Maegashira #3
9–6
East Maegashira #1
6–9
 
West Maegashira #3
7–8
 
West Maegashira #3
10–5
 
1967 West Komusubi #2
6–9
 
East Maegashira #2
8–7
East Maegashira #1
2–13
 
West Maegashira #5
7–8
 
West Maegashira #6
5–10
 
East Maegashira #9
8–7
 
1968 East Maegashira #7
8–7
 
West Maegashira #5
5–10
 
West Maegashira #8
7–8
 
East Maegashira #9
6–9
 
East Maegashira #12
8–7
 
West Maegashira #9
Retired
1–14
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: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "大砂嵐、追突事故 無免許の疑いも…本人は否定、夫人運転と主張" (in Japanese). Hochi. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "Charges could see Sumo champ expelled". 29 January 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Fujinishiki Akira Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 7 February 2017.