August 23, 1971
|Height||1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||102 kg (225 lb)|
|Highest rank||Jonidan 89 (March 1990)|
|* Up to date as of May 2007.|
Hidenokuni Hajime (born August 23, 1971 as Nathan John Strange) is a former professional sumo wrestler, who was active from 1989 until 1990. The highest rank he reached was jonidan 89. He was the first, and so far only sumo wrestler from the United Kingdom.
A former photographic printer from Edgware, London, he was inspired to join sumo after seeing broadcasts on Channel 4. After months of training in martial arts techniques with Syd Hoare of the British Sumo Association, he went to Japan and joined the Azumazeki stable run by former sekiwake Takamiyama, who had already taken on a number of foreign recruits from Hawaii. The name Hidenokuni was chosen to acknowledge his pioneering status as the first ever rikishi from the United Kingdom: the first and last characters of Hidenokuni together mean England. Hajime is a common given name in Japan, and can be taken to mean start or beginning.
Hidenokuni's sumo career was short. After coming though maezumō (pre-sumo) in September 1989, he fought his first tournament in the bottom jonokuchi division in November 1989 and, recording a 5-2 score, performed sufficiently well to be promoted to jonidan for the January 1990 tournament. He celebrated by going out to a disco with ōzeki Konishiki, who had just won the top division title. He again achieved kachi-koshi in January. He had gained quite a lot of attention due to his status as the first ever European in sumo, and even started to receive fan mail. However, he also received very harsh treatment in training from his stablemates, who were not pleased at the attention he was getting, and this influenced his decision to return to England. He did not appear in the next two tournaments, and retired from sumo.
|Year in sumo||January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
Haru basho, Osaka
Natsu basho, Tokyo
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
Aki basho, Tokyo
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
|1989||x||x||x||x||(Maezumo)||West Jonokuchi #38
|1990||West Jonidan #123
|East Jonidan #89
|West Jonokuchi #7
|Record given as win-loss-absent
Yokozuna — Ōzeki — Sekiwake — Komusubi — Maegashira