Kitanoumi and Taiho





 Speaking of Japanese Sumo Wrestlers, you have wondered who was strongest (and best) in Sumo history in Japan, haven’t you? That is one of the most popular questions non-Japanese have in Japanese Sumo wrestling.

 It is quite natural that critics have different opinions about the question and usually name several Yokozuna ( wrestlers, just to be safe. Kitanoumi and Taiho, however, are never missed out! Unanimously in NATION, they were among the strongest and the best in Japanese Sumo Wrestling.

 I don’t know Taiho’s days, but every Japanese absolutely believe Taiho is the strongest. His record proves it, too. On the other hand, Kitanoumi ruled the days when I was hooked on Seasonal Sumo Wrestling Tournament. He was a super hero in those days. Like “GOD (or some said he was a DEVIL!).” Nobody seemed to be his enemy! He came up on Dohyo ( and won. That’s it! Wh..wh…what!? NOT cool! His match always looked like the fist fight between a grown-up man and a fifth grader. He was way too strong. That’s why very few people, including me, liked him. The stronger he became, the more he sucked! What an irony!

 My hero Sumo wrestler was never promoted to Yokozuna rank. The highest rank he ever got on to was Ozeki. It is kind a sucky rule in Sumo wrestling, but staying on the Ozeki rank was probably toughest while Yokozuna wrestlers never get demoted. Since my hero never kept away from injuries and troubles in internal organs, he couldn’t stay on the Ozeki rank for a long time. Still, he qualified for the rank back again for twice after his demotion. His name is Kaiketsu (


(One of His Best Days)

 Kaiketsu had 3 Gold Stars, which were against Kitanofuji, Kotozakura, and KITANOUMI! It was in 1974 when I was 13 years old. Kitanoumi and Kaiketsu had won same number of matches and, as a result, they had to fight the Special Final Match, in which the winner would win the championship. On that day before the match, which was on air live, I went to the nearby Shinto Shrine to ask God to help out Kaiketsu so he could win. I am NOT a religious person at all, but I couldn’t sit down and wait for the match without doing anything else. It worked any way! The result matters, right? Kaiketsu pushed, pushed, pushed, pushed, and pushed Kitanoumi, who was a lot heavier than Kaiketsu. Finally Kitanoumi went down out of Dohyo! I couldn’t believe my eyes. But I knew Kaiketsu deserved to be a champion. Everyone loved his personality and admired his integrity. Well, that was one of my happiest memories in my life – My wish came true! Thank you, God! You are the man! That’s what I thought after the match.

 Well, you can answer the question somebody else might ask you – Who was the strongest Yokozuna wrestler in Japan? According to YOKO from, it was Taiho or Kitanoumi. Okay?

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