The Daily Manila Shimbun


Ex-Sumo Champion Wajima Dies at 70

October 9, 2018

Tokyo- Former yokozuna sumo grand champion Wajima, who won 14 professional tournament titles, has died at a Tokyo hospital, it was learned Tuesday. He was 70.

Born in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, Wajima, whose real name was Hiroshi Wajima, performed brilliantly in student sumo competitions when in high school and college.

He made his professional sumo debut in January 1970.

Wajima moved up the ladder of the sumo world quickly on the strength of his high physical ability and good sense of sumo wrestling.

He was promoted to sumo's highest rank of yokozuna soon after the May tournament in 1973.

Wajima became the first sumo wrestler to become yokozuna after engaging in the sport as college student. He was also the first yokozuna to use his real name as his "shikona" ring name.

He retired as sumo wrestler in 1981.

Wajima's record of winning the Emperor's Cup 14 times by winning tournaments that are held six times a year for 15 consecutive days each, is the seventh best in history.

During his career, Wajima marked 673 wins and 234 losses.

After his retirement, he succeeded the Hanakago stable, where he belonged as active wrestler.

Due to a scandal stemming from financial trouble, Wajima quit the Japan Sumo Association in December 1985.

He later turned to professional wrestling, but retired after about two years. He also served as a coach of an American football team and appeared in television shows as a TV personality. Jiji Press