Kotozakura Masakatsu

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Kotozakura Masakatsu
琴櫻 傑將
Kotozakura Masakatsu Bronze statue.jpg
Personal information
Born Kamatani Norio
(1940-11-26)November 26, 1940
Kurayoshi, Japan
Died August 14, 2007(2007-08-14) (aged 66)
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Weight 150 kg (331 lb)
Career
Stable Sadogatake
Record 723-428-77
Debut January 1959
Highest rank Yokozuna (January 1973)
Retired July 1974
Championships 5 (Makuuchi)
2 (Jūryō)
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (4)
Fighting Spirit (2)
Gold Stars 2 (Kashiwado, Sadanoyama)
* Up to date as of August 2007.

Kotozakura Masakatsu (琴櫻 傑將, November 26, 1940 – August 14, 2007) was a former sumo wrestler from Kurayoshi, Tottori, Japan. He was the sport's 53rd yokozuna. He made his professional debut in 1959, reaching the top division in 1963. After several years at the second highest rank of ōzeki, in 1973 he was promoted to yokozuna at the age of thirty-two years two months, becoming the oldest wrestler to be promoted to yokozuna since 1958, when the current six tournaments system was established.[1] After his retirement he was head coach of Sadogatake stable and produced a string of top division wrestlers.

Career[edit]

Born Norio Kamatani, he came from a sumo background, as his father was involved in organising regional amateur sumo tournaments and his grandfather's brother had been a professional rikishi.[2] The young Kamatani at first competed in judo, achieving shodan level while still in middle school.[2] However, after doing well in a national high school sumo competition he decided on a career in professional sumo. Initially his parents wanted him to continue with judo but they were persuaded by former komusubi Kotonishiki Noboru to let him join Sadogatake stable.[2]

Kotozakura made his professional debut in January 1959. He reached the jūryō division in July 1962 and the top makuuchi division in March 1963. After making his san'yaku debut at komusubi in January 1964 he suffered an injury and returned to jūryō, but he quickly recovered. After an 11–4 record at sekiwake in September 1967 he was awarded the Outstanding Performance prize and promotion to ōzeki. He won two tournament championships in July 1968 and March 1969, but by the early 1970s he had begun to be regarded as something of a "perpetual ōzeki", often struggling with injuries and finding it difficult to come up with the necessary wins to maintain his rank.[2] He was kadoban, or in danger of demotion from ōzeki, three times during this period. Remarkably however, he won consecutive championships in November 1972 and January 1973 to earn promotion to yokozuna at the age of thirty two, after thirty two tournaments at ōzeki. In July 1973 he defeated Kitanofuji in a playoff to win his only championship as a yokozuna. After injuring his knee in 1974 he withdrew from several tournaments and announced his retirement that July.

After retirement[edit]

He had been expecting to open up his own training stable, but when his stablemaster died suddenly just days after Kotozakura's retirement, he took over Sadogatake stable instead. He produced many top division wrestlers over the years, such as ōzeki Kotokaze, Kotoōshū, Kotomitsuki and Kotoshōgiku and sekiwake Kotogaume, Kotofuji, Kotonishiki, and Kotonowaka. When yokozuna Asashōryū was criticized for his behaviour in 2003, he defended the Mongolian by pointing out the lack of emotional strength in young Japanese sumo wrestlers today.[3] Upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of sixty five in November 2005 he passed on ownership of the stable to Kotonowaka, who had become his son-in-law. Shortly after attending the ōzeki promotion ceremony of Kotomitsuki, Kotozakura died on August 14, 2007.[4] He had battled diabetes for several years and had also suffered the trauma of a leg amputation.

Fighting style[edit]

Kotozakura's favoured techniques were the two most common kimarite in sumo – yorikiri (force out) and oshidashi (push out). When grabbing his opponent's mawashi he preferred a migi-yotsu, or left hand outside, right hand inside grip.

Career record[edit]

Kotozakura Masakatsu[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
1959 (Maezumo) East Jonokuchi #20
7–1
 
East Jonidan #93
6–2
 
East Jonidan #55
6–2
 
West Jonidan #21
6–2
 
West Sandanme #85
6–2
 
1960 East Sandanme #52
7–1–PP
Champion

 
East Sandanme #17
4–4
 
East Sandanme #17
3–5
 
East Sandanme #29
6–1
 
East Makushita #84
5–2
 
West Makushita #68
6–1
 
1961 West Makushita #46
5–2
 
West Makushita #33
4–3
 
East Makushita #24
4–3
 
West Makushita #20
3–4
 
East Makushita #25
2–5
 
East Makushita #37
7–0–P
 
1962 East Makushita #7
3–4
 
East Makushita #9
5–2
 
East Makushita #2
6–1
 
East Jūryō #16
11–4–PP
Champion

 
West Jūryō #7
7–8
 
West Jūryō #8
8–7
 
1963 West Jūryō #4
13–2
Champion

 
East Maegashira #13
6–9
 
East Jūryō #2
11–4
 
East Maegashira #15
9–6
 
West Maegashira #9
12–3
F
East Maegashira #1
8–7
O
1964 West Komusubi #1
3–4–8
 
East Maegashira #5
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
East Maegashira #15
5–10
 
West Jūryō #2
9–6
 
East Jūryō #1
10–5
 
East Maegashira #12
10–5
 
1965 West Maegashira #4
10–5
 
West Komusubi #1
8–7
 
West Sekiwake #1
8–7
 
East Sekiwake #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #1
9–6
O
West Komusubi #1
10–5
 
1966 East Komusubi #1
8–7
 
East Komusubi #1
5–10
 
East Maegashira #3
10–5
 
East Komusubi #1
9–6
 
West Sekiwake #1
7–8
 
West Komusubi #1
10–5
O
1967 East Sekiwake #1
8–7
 
East Sekiwake #1
7–8
 
East Komusubi #1
10–5
 
West Sekiwake #1
11–4
F
East Sekiwake #1
11–4
O
East Ōzeki #2
8–7
 
1968 West Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #2
13–2
 
East Ōzeki #1
6–5–4
 
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
1969 East Ōzeki #2
5–10
 
East Ōzeki #2
13–2
 
East Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
East Ōzeki #2
11–4
 
West Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
1970 East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
11–4
 
West Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
1971 East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
11–4
 
East Ōzeki #1
2–4–9
 
West Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
West Ōzeki #1
2–4–9
 
1972 West Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
1–2–12
 
West Ōzeki #2
8–7
 
West Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #2
14–1
 
1973 East Ōzeki #1
14–1
 
East Yokozuna #1
11–4
 
West Yokozuna #1
10–5
 
West Yokozuna #1
14–1–P
 
East Yokozuna #1
9–6
 
West Yokozuna #1
11–4
 
1974 West Yokozuna #1
3–3–9
 
West Yokozuna #1
8–7
 
West Yokozuna #1
0–4–11
 
West Yokozuna #1
Retired
0–0
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. ^ 鎌谷紀雄氏(第53代横綱琴桜)が多臓器不全のため死去 (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kuroda, Joe (October 2006). "Rikishi Of Old". sumofanmag.com. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  3. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (2003-08-03). "Fears That the New State of Sumo Defiles Tradition". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  4. ^ "Ex-yokozuna Kotozakura dies". The Japan Times. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  5. ^ "Kotozakuara Masakatsu Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 

External links[edit]


Preceded by
Kitanofuji Katsuaki
53rd Yokozuna
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Wajima Hiroshi
Yokozuna is not a successive rank, and more than one wrestler can share the title