Kotoshōgiku Kazuhiro

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Kotoshōgiku Kazuhiro
琴奨菊 和弘
Kotoshogiku 08 Sep.jpg
Personal information
Born Kazuhiro Kikutsugi
(1984-01-30) 30 January 1984 (age 33)
Fukuoka, Japan
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Weight 180 kg (400 lb; 28 st)
Web presence website
Career
Stable Sadogatake
Current rank Sekiwake
Debut January, 2002
Highest rank Ōzeki (November, 2011)
Championships 1 (Makuuchi)
1 (Jūryō)
Special Prizes Technique (4),
Outstanding Performance (3)
* Up to date as of Mar 26, 2017.

Kotoshōgiku Kazuhiro (born 30 January 1984 as Kazuhiro Kikutsugi (菊次 一弘 Kikutsugi Kazuhiro?) in Yanagawa, Fukuoka, Japan), is a sumo wrestler. He made his professional debut in 2002, reaching the top division in 2005. He has earned seven special prizes in his career and been runner-up in three tournaments. He wrestles for Sadogatake stable. In 2011 he achieved the standard for promotion to the second highest rank of ōzeki of winning 33 bouts over three tournaments, and he was formally promoted by the Japan Sumo Association on 28 September.[1] On 24 January 2016 he became the first Japanese-born wrestler in ten years to win a top-division tournament.

Early life and sumo background[edit]

Kikutsugi was one of three brothers born to a builder. As a young boy he attended an area sumo exhibition and had his picture taken sitting on the lap of future yokozuna Takanohana. This helped encourage him to try out sumo. He transferred to Meitoku Gijuku Junior High School which is well known for its strong sumo program. In 1998, his third year of junior high, he won a national sumo tournament and was named junior high school yokozuna. He continued sumo Meitoku's high school. In his club, were two Mongolians exchange students, the future sekitori Asasekiryū and future yokozuna Asashōryū. Having become known to the owner of Sadogatake for his sumo skills, he joined that stable after graduating from high school.

Career[edit]

He fought his first professional bout in January 2002 under the shikona of Kotokikutsugi. Rising quickly, he changed his name to Kotoshōgiku in January 2004 before reaching jūryō in July 2004 and the top makuuchi division in January 2005. He steadily climbed the top division ranks, reaching maegashira 1 in July 2006, but a disastrous 3–12 result sent him back to maegashira 7. However, two 10–5 results in the following two tournaments saw him rise back up to maegashira 1 and earned him his first Technique prize. He produced a strong 9–6 score in the 2007 New Year tournament.

In March 2007 he made his san'yaku debut at sekiwake rank, the first newcomer to the rank for nine tournaments.[2] He made a poor start to the tournament, losing eight of his first nine bouts, but he showed great strength of character in winning the last six in a row to finish with a 7–8 record and remain in san'yaku, albeit at the lower rank of komusubi. Further losing scores in the next two tournaments caused him to slip to maegashira 3 by September 2007. However, a 10–5 mark in that tournament returned him to the titled ranks for November, again at komusubi. In that tournament he defeated yokozuna Hakuhō on the opening day and picked up his second Technique prize.

Kotoshōgiku warms up for his first match in the May 2009 tournament.

In January 2008 he was amongst the tournament leaders until he injured his right knee on the eighth day in a loss to Hakuhō and had to withdraw. This was the first time in his career that he had missed any tournament bouts. It was initially reported that he would need ten days of rest, but his stablemaster (the former Kotonowaka) indicated that Kotoshōgiku was keen to return to action as soon as possible.[3] He re-entered the tournament from the 12th day, winning three of his four bouts to finish with nine wins.

Kotoshōgiku was promoted back to sekiwake for the March 2008 tournament, where he defeated the eventual tournament winner Asashōryū on the 12th day (his second career win over a yokozuna) to earn the Outstanding Performance award. He maintained his sekiwake rank for three tournaments but returned to the maegashira ranks after scoring only 6–9 in July 2008. In July 2009 he returned to the san'yaku ranks for the first time in six tournaments, at komusubi, and came through with a winning record. He made sekiwake again in September, but fell short with a 6–9 record. He returned to komusubi for the January 2010 tournament, following a strong 10–5 performance at the rank of maegashira 2 the previous November. However, he had only one win over a san'yaku wrestler in this tournament (ōzeki Kaiō) and could score only a make-koshi 6–9. In July 2010 he returned to the sekiwake rank after scoring 9–6 at komusubi in May. Despite admitting some involvement with gambling the wake of the scandal surrounding his stablemate Kotomitsuki, it was not deemed serious enough to warrant a suspension. He scored only 5–10 in this tournament.

Returning to sekiwake once again in January 2011, he produced double digit wins for the first time in the san'yaku ranks, scoring 11–4 and winning his third Technique Prize. Sumo Association official Takanohana indicated that Kotoshōgiku would be considered for ōzeki promotion if he won or came close to winning the following tournament in March.[4] However, that tournament was cancelled due to a match-fixing scandal, and in the following May 2011 'technical examination' tournament he finished out of contention on 10–5. Needing to win at least twelve bouts in July to be considered for ōzeki promotion,[5] Kotoshogiku seemed on course by Day 11 when he defeated Hakuho for just the second time to move to 9-2.[6] However, he then lost two in a row to rank-and-filers Okinoumi and Wakanosato, dashing any hopes of immediate promotion. He finished the tournament on 11-4 and was awarded his second Outstanding Performance prize.

Ōzeki[edit]

In the September 2011 tournament Kotoshōgiku put in another strong performance, faltering only against fellow sekiwake Kakuryū and maegashira Tochiōzan before beating Hakuhō for the second time in a row on Day 13. This put both men at 10-2 and left open the possibility of a playoff for the yūshō on the final day. In the event however, Kotoshōgiku lost his last bout to ōzeki Baruto while Hakuhō won to clinch his twentieth championship.[1] Nevertheless, Kotoshogiku at 12-3 had achieved the necessary number of 33 wins over the last three tournaments to earn ōzeki promotion. Takanohana commented "Beating the yokozuna was a big factor. It was close to a unanimous decision by the judging committee to promote him."[1] Kotoshōgiku became the first Japanese wrestler to be promoted to ōzeki since his former stablemate Kotomitsuki in 2007.[7] He was also awarded special prizes for Outstanding Performance (his third) and Technique (his fourth).[1] In his debut ōzeki tournament he won his first nine matches, although he lost to two fellow ōzeki and yokozuna Hakuhō and finished at 11-4. He did not win more than ten bouts in a basho over the next year, and had to withdraw from the September 2012 tournament after suffering a knee injury.[8] He was injured again and withdrew early in the November 2013 tournament; after returning he had two mediocre performances followed by a very poor 5-10 in May 2014 and was kadoban, at risk of losing his ōzeki status. In the July 2014 tournament, he responded with his best performance as an ōzeki, and was tied for the lead going into the final day before losing to Gōeidō and finishing 12-3. This was his first runner-up performance as an ōzeki and the third overall in his career. After a mediocre 9-6 in September, he once again fell kadoban after a poor 6-9 performance in the November tournament. However, he comfortably held his rank in the opening tournament of 2015. Another 6-9 in May 2015 saw him kadoban yet again. In July his record was 5-7 after twelve days but he preserved his rank with three consecutive wins including a last day victory over Terunofuji. September 2015 saw a return to form as he recorded an 11-4 result to tie for third place. In November he started strongly, winning seven of his first eight matches, but then began to struggle and withdrew injured on day 14 to end with an 8-6-1 record.

Kotoshōgiku receives the Emperor's Cup in January 2016.

The January 2016 tournament marked the ten years since Tochiazuma became the last Japanese-born wrestler to win the top-division title. Kotoshōgiku began with ten straight victories (including wins over Kisenosato and Kakuryu)[9] before attempting to take sole possession of the lead against the similarly undefetated Hakuhō on day 11. Kotoshōgiku had won only four of their previous fifty meetings but started aggressively, forced the yokozuna to the edge and won by oshidashi: Hakuhō said of the winner; "He is better than he’s ever been. I thought I had room to work with, but I was on the straw before I knew it".[10] Kotoshōgiku maintained his lead with a win over Harumafuji and said after the contest "I did what I had to do and gave everything I had. I’m getting calmer every passing day. I’ve come through tough times so I’d like to have the mindset to enjoy this. I just have to win a battle with myself".[11] On day 13 his winning run ended as he sustained an upset loss to the maegashira Toyonoshima, a long-time friend. A win against Tochiōzan meant that he entered the final day one win in front of Hakuhō and Toyonoshima, and needing a win over Gōeidō to claim the championship. He defeated his opponent by tsukiotoshi to win the tournament with a 14-1 record. His parents who were in attendance, reportedly burst into tears whilst fans in his hometown of Yanagawa celebrated after watching his victory on a big screen.[12] Interviewed after the match he said "I’m so happy, I can’t even put it into words. But I’m also thrilled because I’m standing here now thanks to a great number of people who supported me when I struggled and didn’t get the results I wanted".[13] At a press conference on 16 February, he reflected on the ten-year wait for a Japanese winner and remarked that his fellow Japanese wrestlers may lack the will to win that Mongolian wrestlers have shown.[14] "All the Japanese wrestlers want to win championships... but sumo is about winning. Maybe we Japanese are too set in our ways, maybe we lack the greed to win at all costs... We can learn from them."[14]

The head of the Japan Sumo Association's Judging Department, Isegahama-oyakata, indicated that if he achieved a "high quality championship" in the March Grand Sumo Tournament, he would be recommended for promotion to yokozuna rank.[15] This would have made Kotoshōgiku the first Japanese yokozuna to be promoted since Wakanohana Masaru in 1998. In March he began very strongly to win seven of his first eight matches. His hopes of promotion however, disappeared in the second week as he suffered a series of defeats and ended with an 8-7 record. He withdrew from the July 2016 tournament in Nagoya after suffering five losses in the first six days, citing knee and foot injuries.[16] He escaped demotion with a 9-6 record in September. In November 2016 Kotoshōgiku didn't have the best tournament managing only five wins which will put him on kadoban status for the January 2017 tournament, this is his seventh time being kadoban in his career. Kotoshōgiku didn't perform well in the January 2017 tournament and was only able to get a 5-10 record, but was able to give Kisenosato, who ended up winning the tournament, his only defeat. Since Kotoshōgiku was kadoban and failed to get the necessary 8 wins he was demoted to sekiwake after 32 tournaments at ōzeki. In March 2017, he was unable to obtain the ten wins required to return immediately to ōzeki status, falling one win short at 9–6. His sixth defeat was controversial – up against Terunofuji on Day 14, with Terunofuji among the leaders, Kotoshogiku needed to win his last two matches for a return to ōzeki. At the tachiai, Terunofuji sidestepped the onrushing Kotoshōgiku and won by hatakikomi, ending the popular Kotoshōgiku's quest for a return to ōzeki with the palatable disapproval of the Osaka crowd.[17]

He is the owner of the Hidenoyama toshiyori kabu or elder stock, indicating he intends to stay in sumo as a coach upon his retirement.

Personal life[edit]

Kotoshōgiku announced his engagement in February 2015, revealing that he had proposed the previous October. He credited his fiancée with helping him through his injury in the Kyushu 2013 tournament.[18] Kotoshōgiku had previously announced an engagement in November 2012, but that was broken off three months later.[citation needed] After marrying in the summer of 2015, the wedding reception was held on 30 January 2016, Kotoshōgiku's 32nd birthday, and just a week after his first tournament championship. 630 guests, including former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, attended.[19]

Fighting style[edit]

Kotoshōgiku is a yotsu-sumo specialist, preferring techniques which involve grabbing the opponent's mawashi or belt. He favours a right hand outside, left hand inside grip (hidari-yotsu). His most common winning technique is a straightforward yori-kiri or force out, which he has used in sixty percent of his career victories.[20] His trademark is gaburi-yori, which involves using his torso to bump his opponent out, aided by his low centre of gravity and momentum.[1][21] The next most often used technique is oshi-dashi or push out. His style is simple, aggressive and direct but can be somewhat predictable,[21] and he is not noted as a technician.[20]He is also noteable for the exaggerated back-stretch he performs just before the tachiai, which often generates a reaction from the audience in attendance.

Career record[edit]

Kotoshōgiku Kazuhiro[22]
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
2002 (Maezumo) East Jonokuchi #32
6–1
 
East Jonidan #61
7–0–P
 
West Sandanme #59
5–2
 
West Sandanme #29
6–1
 
East Makushita #46
6–1
 
2003 East Makushita #20
3–4
 
East Makushita #30
4–3
 
West Makushita #24
4–3
 
East Makushita #19
5–2
 
West Makushita #10
3–4
 
West Makushita #17
3–4
 
2004 East Makushita #22
6–1
 
West Makushita #6
4–3
 
West Makushita #5
5–2
 
East Jūryō #13
10–5
 
West Jūryō #5
9–6
 
West Jūryō #3
10–5
 
2005 East Maegashira #16
5–10
 
East Jūryō #4
13–2
Champion

 
East Maegashira #14
10–5
 
East Maegashira #9
8–7
 
East Maegashira #6
7–8
 
East Maegashira #7
6–9
 
2006 West Maegashira #10
8–7
 
East Maegashira #8
9–6
 
East Maegashira #3
9–6
 
East Maegashira #1
3–12
 
West Maegashira #7
10–5
 
East Maegashira #2
10–5
T
2007 East Maegashira #1
9–6
 
West Sekiwake #1
7–8
 
West Komusubi #1
7–8
 
East Maegashira #1
5–10
 
West Maegashira #3
10–5
 
West Komusubi #1
9–6
T
2008 East Komusubi #1
9–4–2
 
West Sekiwake #1
8–7
O
West Sekiwake #1
8–7
 
West Sekiwake #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #3
9–6
 
2009 East Maegashira #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #2
6–9
 
East Maegashira #6
10–5
 
West Komusubi #1
8–7
 
West Sekiwake #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #2
10–5
 
2010 East Komusubi #1
6–9
 
West Maegashira #3
10–5
 
East Komusubi #1
9–6
 
West Sekiwake #1
5–10
 
East Maegashira #3
9–6
 
West Maegashira #1
9–6
 
2011 West Sekiwake #1
11–4
T
East Sekiwake #1
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–0
East Sekiwake #1
10–5
 
East Sekiwake #1
11–4
O
East Sekiwake #1
12–3
OT
West Ōzeki #2
11–4
 
2012 West Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
West Ōzeki #3
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
West Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #2
2–2–11
 
East Ōzeki #2
8–7
 
2013 West Ōzeki #2
8–7
 
West Ōzeki #2
8–7
 
East Ōzeki #2
11–4
 
West Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
West Ōzeki #1
1–2–12
 
2014 East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
West Ōzeki
5–10
 
West Ōzeki #1
12–3
 
East Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #1
6–9
 
2015 West Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
West Ōzeki #1
6–9
 
East Ōzeki #2
8–7
 
West Ōzeki #2
11–4
 
East Ōzeki #2
8–6–1
 
2016 East Ōzeki #2
14–1
 
East Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
West Ōzeki #1
1–6–8
 
West Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #2
5–10
 
2017 West Ōzeki #2
5–10
 
East Sekiwake #2
9–6
 
x x 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. ^ a b c d e "Sumo: Hakuho wins 20th career title at autumn sumo". Mainichi Daily News. 25 September 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Kotoshogiku hopes to shine; focus on Asa". The Japan Times. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2008. 
  3. ^ "Hakuho, Asashoryu remain on collision course". Japan Times Online. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2008. 
  4. ^ "Sekiwake duo have shot at ozeki". Japan Times. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Harumafuji clinches second Emperor's Cup of career". Japan Times. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Kotoshogiku takes big step toward promotion with upset of Hakuho". Japan Times. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Kotoshogiku becomes only active Japanese ozeki". Asashi Shimbun. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Kotooshu exits basho with injury". Japan Times. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Kotoshogiku takes out Kakuryu". The Japan Times. 19 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Kotoshogiku gets by yokozuna Hakuho to claim sole lead". The Japan Times. 20 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Kotoshogiku shocks Harumafuji to home in on prize". The Japan Times. 21 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Justin McCurry. "Japan's decade-long wait for sumo champion comes to an end". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ "Kotoshogiku captures 1st career Cup". Yomiuri Shimbun. 24 January 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "'Greed' the key to sumo's lost mojo, says Japan champion". Daily Mail. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Kotoshogiku on track for yokozuna promotion". The Japan Times. 25 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "Kisenosato stays on course for 1st title in Nagoya". Japan Today. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "Sumo association queried about hate speech taunts during spring tourney". Japan Times. 1 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  18. ^ "Ozeki Kotoshogiku announces engagement". Japan Times. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "Ozeki Kotoshogiku holds wedding reception week after major triumph". Asahi Shimbun. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  20. ^ a b Buckton, Mark (27 January 2016). "Fortune smiled on Kotoshogiku during surprise run to Emperor's Cup". Japan Times. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  21. ^ a b Schreiber, Mark (6 February 2016). "Does sumo commentary need to stress the foreignness of the wrestlers?". Japan Times. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  22. ^ "Kotoshogiku Kazuhiro Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 

External links[edit]