Tokitenkū Yoshiaki

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Tokitenkū Yoshiaki
時天空 慶晃
Tokitenku 2008.jpg
Personal information
Born Altangadasyn Khüchitbaatar
(1979-09-10)10 September 1979
Töv Province, Mongolia
Died 31 January 2017(2017-01-31) (aged 37)
Tokyo, Japan
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 141 kg (311 lb; 22 st 3 lb)
Career
Stable Tokitsukaze
University Tokyo University of Agriculture
Record 548-545-56
Debut July 2002
Highest rank Komusubi (March 2007)
Retired August 2016
Championships 2 (Jūryō)
1 (Sandanme)
1 (Jonidan)
1 (Jonokuchi)
Special Prizes Technique (1)

Tokitenkū Yoshiaki (時天空 慶晃, Tokitenkū Yoshiaki, born as Altangadasyn Khüchitbaatar, Mongolian: Алтангадасын Хүчитбаатар; September 10, 1979 – January 31, 2017)[1] was a sumo wrestler.

He made his professional debut in 2002, reaching the top makuuchi division just two years later. The highest rank he reached was komusubi, which he held on three separate occasions, but never retained for more than one tournament. He earned one special prize, for Technique. He wrestled for the Tokitsukaze stable and acquired Japanese citizenship in 2014.

Tokitenkū was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma in 2015 and retired from sumo in 2016 to become a coach; he was the first Mongolian-born wrestler to acquire the right to remain with the Sumo Association as a coach following retirement as an active wrestler. He died in January 2017.

Early life and sumo background[edit]

Born in Töv Province, Mongolia,[2] Tokitenkū was the son of a Mongolian wrestler,[3] who reached a rank equivalent to komusubi in Mongolian wrestling. He first came to Japan in March 2000 to study at Tokyo University of Agriculture, having deferred his studies at Mongolian State University of Agriculture.[4]

Although he joined the university's sumo club and won the under 100 kg collegiate championships in his first year,[5] he originally intended to return to Mongolia to teach what he had learned about agricultural administration and food technology in Japan.[4]

He was inspired to enter professional sumo by watching active wrestlers Asashōryū and Asasekiryū, with whom he had practised judo as a teenager in Ulaanbaatar.[4] He joined Tokitsukaze stable when in his second year of university,[5] just before reaching the upper age limit of 23 set by the Japan Sumo Association. He graduated from the Tokyo University of Agriculture in March 2004.[4]

Career[edit]

Upon entry he was given the shikona or fighting name of Tokitenkū, a reference to Mongolia's clear sky. He began his career in July 2002, winning all of his first 22 official bouts and earning three consecutive division championships in the process.[2] He was the third person to achieve the feat of three consecutive championships, and his 22 consecutive wins tied the record for fourth-highest, with only Jokoryu (27) and Itai and Tochiazuma (26) having a longer unbeaten run upon entering professional sumo. He progressed to the second highest jūryō division in March 2004 and, just two tournaments later, to the top makuuchi division.[2] It took him only 12 tournaments from his professional debut to make the top division, which at the time was the equal-fastest rise since the format of six tournaments per year was introduced in 1958.[4]

Tokitenku in May 2009

He was not able at first to maintain his makuuchi position, dropping back to jūryō twice, but a result of 10-5 in November 2005 gained him the rank of maegashira 1 as well as the technique prize.[4] He made his san'yaku or titled rank debut in March 2007 at komusubi, where he defeated yokozuna Asashōryū on the opening day[4] but missed out on another special prize by falling just short of a majority of wins, posting a 7-8 score. He returned to komusubi in July 2007, but again scored 7-8. In 2008 he suffered make-koshi (i.e. a losing record of 7-8 or worse) at all six tournaments of the year.[6]

He pulled out of the January 2010 tournament on Day 10 after dislocating his big toe; this was his first career withdrawal.[7] He came back strongly posting three winning records in the next three tournaments, which sent him up to maegashira 1 for the September 2010 tournament. However, there he recorded a disastrous 2-13 score.[8]

Tokitenkū returned to the komusubi rank for the first time in 35 tournaments in July 2013, the second longest post-1925 wait for a san'yaku return after Aobajō's 47 tournament wait between 1975 and 1983.[9]

Tokitenkū achieved this despite being ranked as low as maegashira 8 in May.[6] A series of poor performances after that saw him demoted to jūryō for the first time since 2005, but he secured an immediate return to the top division with a 10–5 at the rank of jūryō 3 in March 2014. He repeated this achievement once again when he was demoted in September 2014 and bounced back with a jūryō championship to again return to the top division. In 2015, he completed two tournaments in the top division, dropped back to jūryō in May and returned to the top division one tournament later.

After losing records in July and September 2015 he withdrew from the November tournament after being diagnosed with malignant lymphoma.[10]

Having been in and out of hospital since October, he also withdrew from the January 2016 tournament to discuss his future with his stablemaster before the spring tournament in Osaka.[11] After missing his fifth consecutive tournament in July 2016, his rank on the banzuke had dropped through the un-salaried ranks to West 26 in the third-tier Sandanme division.[2]

Retirement and death[edit]

The Japan Sumo Association announced on August 26, 2016, that Tokitenkū had retired.[12] He had become a Japanese citizen in January 2014 and had purchased the Magaki kabu (elder stock) in May 2014 from former yokozuna Wakanohana Kanji II, making him the first Mongolian-born wrestler to acquire the right to remain with the sumo association following retirement.[13][14] He became known as Magaki Oyakata and worked as a coach at Tokitsukaze stable, the second Mongolian-born wrestler to remain as a coach after Kyokutenhō.[2]

Speaking about his condition he said that "with prolonged treatment it was difficult to return to physical strength and continue sumo."[15] He recalled his most memorable bout as being his playoff win for the sandanme championship in January 2003, against his stablemate Toyonoshima.[16]

Tokitenkū died on 31 January 2017 at the age of 37.[17] He had been housebound since October,[13] and was unable to perform his oyakata duties at the November 2016 and January 2017 tournaments.[17]

Fighting style[edit]

When Tokitenkū began his sumo career he weighed around 113 kg (249 lb; 17 st 11 lb), but he gained weight steadily and reached about 150 kg (330 lb; 23 st 9 lb), average for the top division. He favoured a migi-yotsu grip on the mawashi, with his left hand outside and right hand inside his opponent's arms.[18] His most common winning technique was yori-kiri, or force out, although he also relied on pull-down techniques such as hataki-komi and hiki-otoshi. He was fond of throwing moves (nage).[18] He was very adept at using tripping techniques which he had gained from his experience in judo,[4] winning 17 career bouts by uchigake (inside leg trip).

He used the extremely rare trip nimaigeri (ankle kicking twist down) on eleven occasions, although he was not credited with the technique in the top division until May 2011 in a win over Shōtenrō.[19]

Career record[edit]

Tokitenkū Yoshiaki[6]
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 x x x (Maezumo) West Jonokuchi #40
7–0
Champion

 
East Jonidan #30
7–0–P
Champion

 
2003 West Sandanme #33
7–0–P
Champion

 
East Makushita #22
5–2
 
East Makushita #11
4–3
 
West Makushita #6
4–3
 
East Makushita #4
4–3
 
West Makushita #1
3–4
 
2004 East Makushita #3
5–2
 
East Jūryō #11
8–7
 
West Jūryō #10
12–3
Champion

 
East Maegashira #17
6–9
 
West Jūryō #2
9–6
 
West Maegashira #15
7–8
 
2005 West Maegashira #17
6–9
 
West Jūryō #2
10–5
 
West Maegashira #15
8–7
 
East Maegashira #12
9–6
 
West Maegashira #6
7–8
 
West Maegashira #7
10–5
T
2006 West Maegashira #1
5–10
 
West Maegashira #6
8–7
 
East Maegashira #4
5–10
 
East Maegashira #8
10–5
 
West Maegashira #2
7–8
 
East Maegashira #3
9–6
 
2007 East Maegashira #2
8–7
 
West Komusubi #1
7–8
 
West Maegashira #1
8–7
 
East Komusubi #1
7–8
 
East Maegashira #1
6–9
 
West Maegashira #3
9–6
 
2008 West Maegashira #1
6–9
 
East Maegashira #3
7–8
 
East Maegashira #4
6–9
 
West Maegashira #6
7–8
 
West Maegashira #7
6–9
 
West Maegashira #9
7–8
 
2009 East Maegashira #10
9–6
 
West Maegashira #3
5–10
 
East Maegashira #9
7–8
 
West Maegashira #10
9–6
 
West Maegashira #4
8–7
 
West Maegashira #2
5–10
 
2010 East Maegashira #8
5–5–5
 
East Maegashira #13
10–5
 
East Maegashira #6
8–7
 
West Maegashira #3
8–7
 
East Maegashira #1
2–13
 
West Maegashira #11
8–7
 
2011 West Maegashira #8
6–9
 
West Maegashira #13
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–0
West Maegashira #13
8–7
 
East Maegashira #7
8–7
 
West Maegashira #4
6–9
 
East Maegashira #7
6–9
 
2012 East Maegashira #10
11–4
 
East Maegashira #2
3–12
 
East Maegashira #9
7–8
 
West Maegashira #9
9–6
 
East Maegashira #6
6–9
 
East Maegashira #8
7–8
 
2013 East Maegashira #9
10–5
 
East Maegashira #3
5–10
 
East Maegashira #8
10–5
 
West Komusubi
4–11
 
East Maegashira #5
5–10
 
East Maegashira #10
6–9
 
2014 West Maegashira #13
4–11
 
East Jūryō #3
10–5
 
West Maegashira #14
7–8
 
West Maegashira #15
7–8
 
East Maegashira #16
6–9
 
East Jūryō #1
12–3
Champion

 
2015 West Maegashira #13
9–6
 
West Maegashira #8
3–12
 
East Jūryō #1
10–5
 
East Maegashira #11
6–9
 
West Maegashira #13
7–8
 
West Maegashira #14
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
2016 East Jūryō #9
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Makushita #6
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
West Makushita #46
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
West Sandanme #26
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
East Sandanme #87
Retired
0–0
x
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. ^ "力士プロフィール" [Rikishi Profile]. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "元小結の時天空が引退 悪性リンパ腫で5場所全休" [Former komusubi Tokitenku retires, missed five tournaments due to malignant lymphoma]. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 27 August 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Kai, Takehiko (1 February 2017). "巡業で宿なし記者へ「僕の部屋に泊まれば」…間垣親方を悼む" [Mourning Magaki Oyakata... When on circuit, said "Why don't you stay in why room" to a journalist who didn't have a place to stay]. Hochi Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "柔道仕込み、異能の力士…元時天空死去" [Wrestler with superpowers and judo upbringing, Tokitenku dies]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). 31 January 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "37歳元時天空、無念の引退から半年…命も奪われた" [37yo Tokitenku's loses his life half a year after retirement]. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 1 February 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Tokitenku Yoshiaki Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "時天空が右足親指のケガで休場" [Tokitenku withdraws with injury to right big toe] (in Japanese). 19 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "2010秋場所優勝三賞受賞力士" [2010 Autumn Tournament champions and prize winners] (in Japanese). Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "35場所ぶり小結復帰の時天空が本格稽古" [Tokitenku, returning to komusubi after 35 tournaments, training seriously]. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2 June 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Kisenosato looking to end Japanese title drought at New Year sumo". Japan Times. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2018. 
  11. ^ "時天空、悪性リンパ腫で闘病中「頑張って克服したい」" [Tokitenku battling malignant lymphoma "I want to overcome it"] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Sumo: Veteran maegashira Tokitenku calls it quits". Kyodo News. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Ex-komusubi Tokitenku dies at 37". Japan Times. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "時天空が年寄名跡「間垣」取得していた" [Tokitenku had acquired "Magaki" elder stock]. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 17 June 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "元時天空、涙の引退会見" (in Japanese). Reuters. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  16. ^ "Tokitenku accepts retirement due to cancer battle". Japan Times. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Sumo: Former komusubi Tokitenku dies at 37". The Mainichi. 31 January 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Rikishi Profile". Sumo Association. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Tokitenku bouts by kimarite". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 

External links[edit]