Tamakasuga Ryōji

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Tamakasuga Ryōji
玉春日 良二
Tamakasuga 08 Sep.jpg
Personal information
Born Ryōji Matsumoto
(1972-01-07) January 7, 1972 (age 45)
Seiyo, Ehime, Japan
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 155 kg (342 lb)
Web presence website
Career
Stable Kataonami
University Chuo University
Record 603-636-39
Debut January 1994
Highest rank Sekiwake (July, 1997)
Retired September 2008
Championships 1 (Jūryō)
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (1)
Fighting Spirit (2)
Technique (2)
Gold Stars 7
Takanohana II (3)
Wakanohana III (2)
Musashimaru
Akebono
* Up to date as of Sept 2008.

Tamakasuga Ryōji (born January 7, 1972 as Ryōji Matsumoto) is a former sumo wrestler from Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. A former amateur sumo champion, he made his professional debut in 1994 and reached a highest rank of sekiwake in 1997. He fought in the top makuuchi division for twelve years, won five special prizes and earned seven gold stars for defeating yokozuna. He retired in 2008 and is now a sumo coach. In February 2010 he took over the running of Kataonami stable.

Career[edit]

He entered professional sumo in January 1994, after having practiced sumo at Chuo University. He joined Kataonami stable, adopting the shikona (fighting name) of Tamakasuga ("Tama", meaning "jewel", being a common prefix at his stable). Because of his achievements in amateur sumo he was allowed to enter at the bottom of the third makushita division, skipping the lower divisions. After steady but unspectacular progress he reached the jūryō division in March 1995 and was promoted to the top division five tournaments after that, in January 1996. He scored ten wins in his top division debut and was awarded the Fighting Spirit prize.

Tamakasuga had a long career in the top makuuchi division of sumo, earning seven gold stars for defeating yokozuna. He upset yokozuna Akebono, Wakanohana and Takanohana in three successive tournaments from September 1998 to January 1999. The highest rank he achieved was sekiwake, but he never achieved a kachi-koshi win/loss ratio as a san'yaku wrestler, managing only a 7-8 score in his sekiwake debut, and then a 6-9 as komusubi in the next tournament. Subsequently, he spent his career either as a rank and file maegashira, or fighting his way back into the top division, as he was demoted to jūryō a number of times.

Tamakasuga made something of a comeback in 2006, and was awarded the Technique Prize in July of that year, following his 11-4 performance which gave him his best ever top division score and a share of third place. His previous special prize, for Outstanding Performance, was in May 1997, 55 tournaments earlier. This is the longest ever gap between awards. He was promoted all the way up to maegashira 4 in September 2007, fighting the top rankers for the first time in several years. He remained in makuuchi until July 2008, where he was the oldest man in the top division, but could only manage three wins in that tournament and withdrew on the final day, citing a neck injury.

Fighting style[edit]

Tamakasuga was a solidly oshi-sumo wrestler, relying on pushes to the opponent's chest as opposed to grabbing the mawashi. His most popular winning technique was oshi-dashi, a simple push-out. He also frequently employed pull-down moves such as hataki-komi and hiki-otoshi.[1]

Retirement from sumo[edit]

He announced his retirement in September 2008, at the age of 36, after posting a losing record in that tournament.[2] He remained in the sumo world as a coach at Kataonami stable, under the toshiyori (elder) name Tateyama-oyakata. His danpatsu-shiki, or official retirement ceremony, was held at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan on 30 May 2009.[3] In February 2010 he swapped elder names with his old head coach (former sekiwake Tamanofuji) and took charge of the stable.

Tamakasuga has an asteroid named after him. Known as 8432 Tamakasuga, it was named by astronomers at an observatory in his home prefecture.

Career record[edit]

Tamakasuga Ryōji[4]
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
1994 Makushita tsukedashi #60
4–3
 
West Makushita #48
4–3
 
East Makushita #36
5–2
 
East Makushita #22
5–2
 
West Makushita #13
4–3
 
West Makushita #10
5–2
 
1995 East Makushita #3
6–1
 
West Jūryō #12
9–6
 
West Jūryō #9
8–7
 
East Jūryō #7
9–6
 
East Jūryō #3
8–7
 
West Jūryō #1
10–5
 
1996 East Maegashira #16
10–5
F
West Maegashira #5
7–8
 
East Maegashira #6
9–6
T
East Maegashira #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #3
6–9
 
East Maegashira #5
9–6
 
1997 East Maegashira #2
5–10
 
East Maegashira #6
10–5
F
East Maegashira #1
8–7
O
West Sekiwake #1
7–8
 
West Komusubi #2
6–9
 
East Maegashira #1
4–11
 
1998 West Maegashira #6
6–9
 
West Maegashira #9
8–7
 
West Maegashira #4
4–11
 
West Maegashira #10
9–6
 
West Maegashira #3
6–9
West Maegashira #4
8–7
1999 West Maegashira #2
5–10
West Maegashira #4
7–8
 
West Maegashira #5
7–8
 
West Maegashira #6
9–6
 
West Maegashira #1
8–7
East Maegashira #1
3–12
2000 East Maegashira #8
8–7
 
East Maegashira #2
5–10
 
West Maegashira #4
9–6
 
West Komusubi #1
2–13
 
East Maegashira #9
7–8
 
East Maegashira #10
8–7
 
2001 West Maegashira #5
7–8
 
East Maegashira #7
9–6
 
East Maegashira #4
6–9
 
East Maegashira #7
8–7
 
West Maegashira #3
5–10
East Maegashira #7
6–9
 
2002 East Maegashira #9
8–7
 
West Maegashira #7
8–7
 
West Maegashira #5
7–8
 
East Maegashira #6
6–7–2
 
West Maegashira #8
10–5
 
East Maegashira #3
2–13
 
2003 East Maegashira #12
0–5–10
 
West Jūryō #7
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Jūryō #7
12–3
Champion

 
East Maegashira #15
7–8
 
East Jūryō #1
10–5
 
East Maegashira #13
6–9
 
2004 West Maegashira #16
7–8
 
East Jūryō #2
8–7
 
East Jūryō #1
7–8
 
West Jūryō #1
11–4
 
West Maegashira #14
8–7
 
West Maegashira #13
7–8
 
2005 West Maegashira #14
7–8
 
East Maegashira #15
7–8
 
East Maegashira #16
8–7
 
East Maegashira #13
0–3–12
 
West Jūryō #8
11–4
 
East Jūryō #2
5–10
 
2006 East Jūryō #6
12–3
 
East Maegashira #15
9–6
 
East Maegashira #10
6–9
 
West Maegashira #12
11–4
T
East Maegashira #4
1–14
 
East Maegashira #14
9–6
 
2007 East Maegashira #11
9–6
 
West Maegashira #5
4–11
 
East Maegashira #12
5–10
 
West Maegashira #15
8–7
 
East Maegashira #11
8–7
 
East Maegashira #9
8–7
 
2008 West Maegashira #5
4–11
 
West Maegashira #10
6–9
 
West Maegashira #12
8–7
 
West Maegashira #11
3–12
 
West Jūryō #2
Retired
6–8
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. ^ Tamakasuga Bouts by Kimarite- Sumo Reference
  2. ^ "Veteran Tamakasuga hangs up mawashi". Daily Yomiuri online. Archived from the original on 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  3. ^ "Kyokai Information - Coming Events". Japan Sumo Association. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "Tamakasuga Ryōji Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 

External links[edit]