Tomokaze Yūta

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Tomokaze Yūta
友風勇太
Personal information
BornYūta Minami
(1994-12-02) December 2, 1994 (age 27)
Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight181 kg (399 lb)
Career
StableOgurumaNishonoseki
UniversityNippon Sport Science University
Current ranksee below
DebutMay, 2017
Highest rankMaegashira 3 (September, 2019)
Championships1 (Juryo)
1 (Sandanme)
1 (Jonokuchi)
Special Prizes1 Outstanding Performance
Gold Stars2 (Kakuryū)
* Up to date as of 27 November 2021.

Tomokaze Yūta (Japanese: 友風 勇太, born Yūta Minami (南 友太) on December 2, 1994) is a Japanese professional sumo wrestler from Kawasaki, Kanagawa. He debuted in sumo wrestling in May 2017 and made his makuuchi debut in March 2019. His highest rank has been maegashira 3. He wrestles for Oguruma stable. He has one special prize and two kinboshi for defeating a yokozuna. He picked up his first make-koshi or losing-record in his entire career on Day 14 of the Aki (September) Tournament.

Early life and background[edit]

Yūta Minami participated in many sports at an early age competing in karate and basketball when attending Elementary School before taking up judo at Junior High School.[1] He also took up sumo at junior high and competed for the schools successful sumo team[2] although he had little interest in the sport.[3] He began to take sumo more seriously when attending Oka Prefectural High School for Kanagawa Prefecture, reaching the final of a national competition in which he was defeated by the Mongolian Altankhuyag Ichinnorov.[3] After graduating high school Minami attended Nippon Sport Science University, and continued to compete with some success in national sumo competitions.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In the spring of 2017 Minami entered the professional sumo world as he joined the Oguruma stable led by the former ōzeki Kotokaze. He adopted the shikona Tomokaze, combining the kanji for "friend" with the kanji for "wind" (風), the latter being often adopted by many Oguruma wrestlers including Yoshikaze and Takekaze.

He made his debut in the Nagoya tournament (basho) when he was unbeaten in seven bouts in the lowest jonokuchi to claim the championship (yusho). He was moved up to the fifth jonidan division in September and secured a second promotion as he posted a 6-1 record. In November he made his first appearance in the fourth sandanme division and took his second yusho as he won all seven of his regulation matches and then defeating Tsuyukusa in a play-off. Tomokaze began 2018 in the third makushita division and worked his way steadily up the ranks with four consecutive winning records (kachi-koshi) to land at makushita 4 for the September basho. He won five of his seven matches, securing his promotion to the second juryo division with a win over Gagamaru in his final match.[4]

On his juryo debut, Tomokaze initially struggled and lost three of his first five matches but then reeled off nine consecutive wins to enter the final day one win ahead of the former sekiwake Kotoyuki. He defeated his more experienced rival by oshidashi to take the yusho but his low rank of juryo 14 meant that he was not eligible for promotion. In January Tomokaze was ranked at juryo 4, giving him a realistic prospect of promotion with a strong kachi-koshi but his chances appeared slim when he ended the eighth day with a 3-5 record. In the second week however, he went unbeaten in seven bouts to end the basho on 10-5 secure his elevation to the top makuuchi division.[4] His progress from his jonokuchi debut to makuuchi in eleven basho was the joint-fourth fastest in modern sumo.

Makuuchi career and injury[edit]

On his top division debut Tomokaze was ranked at maegashira 13 and recorded nine wins including victories over Toyonoshima, Takarafuji, Asanoyama and Shōhōzan. At maegashira 9 in May he made his twelfth consecutive kachi-koshi with eight wins and secured a move up to maegashira 7 for the July basho in Nagoya. In July 2019 Tomokaze was in contention for the yūshō after winning nine of his first eleven matches but lost to his old high school rival Ichinojō on day 12. On day 13 he faced the biggest challenge of his career when he was matched against yokozuna Kakuryū and in a major upset he earned his first kinboshi as he defeated the grand champion by hatakikomi. After the bout he commented: ″I'm happy, but it still doesn't feel real.″[5] He moved to eleven wins by beating Kotoeko but lost tamely to Terutsuyoshi on the final day to end with an 11-4 record. His achievements saw him awarded the shukun-shō or special prize for Outstanding Performance.[4] On receiving the award he said ″It’s still like a dream, but I’m really happy to win this award. I put out some good sumo, but some bouts weren’t that good... I’m grateful for the opportunity to challenge the upper-ranked fighters but I have a long way to go. I’ll do my best to grow and catch up with them″.[6] In September he defeated Kakuryū for the second straight tournament on Day 7 and afterwards dedicated the win to his stablemate and friend Yoshikaze, who had just announced his retirement. He picked up his first make-koshi or losing-record in his entire career on Day 14 of the Aki (September) Tournament, losing to West Maegashira 2 Asanoyama on that day.[7]

Tomokaze sustained a serious injury to his right knee in losing to Kotoyuki on the second day of the November 2019 tournament in Kyushu, suffering a dislocation and ligament damage, with his stablemaster saying he could be out for up to a year.[8] Following surgery and rehabilitation he sat out the next six tournaments (not including the cancelled May 2020 tournament). He made his comeback in the March 2021 tournament, with a 6-1 effort in jonidan, and two more winning records in May and July saw him progress to near the top of the sandanme division by September 2021.

Fighting style[edit]

Tomokaze has shown a preference for tsuki and oshi techniques which involve pushing and thrusting rather than grasping his opponent's mawashi or belt. His most common kimarite or winning moves are hatakikomi, the slap-down and oshidashi, the push-out.[9]

Career record[edit]

  
Tomokaze Yuta[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
2017 x x(Maezumo) East Jonokuchi #25
7–0
Champion

 
East Jonidan #15
6–1
 
East Sandanme #53
7–0
Champion

 
2018 East Makushita #31
5–2
 
East Makushita #18
4–3
 
East Makushita #13
4–3
 
East Makushita #10
5–2
 
West Makushita #4
5–2
 
West Jūryō #14
12–3
Champion

 
2019 East Jūryō #4
10–5
 
East Maegashira #13
9–6
 
West Maegashira #9
8–7
 
West Maegashira #7
11–4
O
West Maegashira #3
7–8
West Maegashira #3
0–3–12
 
2020 East Jūryō #1
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Jūryō #13
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Makushita #11
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–0
West Makushita #11
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
East Makushita #52
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
West Sandanme #35
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
2021 West Sandanme #95
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
West Jonidan #55
6–1
 
East Sandanme #88
5–2
 
West Sandanme #55
6–1
 
East Sandanme #3
5–2
 
East Makushita #37
6–1
 
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; P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "全国選抜高校相撲弘前大会で準優勝した 南 友太さん". タウンニュース. 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  2. ^ ベースボール・マガジン社]]刊 『[[相撲 (雑誌)|相撲』 2017年8月号(名古屋場所総決算号) 69頁
  3. ^ a b "公益財団法人 日本相撲連盟 平成24年の試合記録・結果". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  4. ^ a b c d "Tomokaze Yuta Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference.
  5. ^ "Sumo: Kakuryu suffers 1st loss in Nagoya, tied with Hakuho on Day 13". Kyodo News+.
  6. ^ "Kakuryu beats fellow yokozuna Hakuho on final day to clinch sixth title". July 21, 2019 – via Japan Times Online.
  7. ^ "Unbeaten Okinoumi alone at top". Japan Times. 14 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Sumo: Hakuho, elite wrestlers rebound on Day 3 of Kyushu meet". The Mainichi. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Rikishi profile Tomokaze Yuta". sumo.or.jp.

External links[edit]

  • Tomokaze Yūta's official biography (English) at the Grand Sumo Homepage