Takamisakari: No emperor’s cups but a legend in sumo

Takamisakari’s fun-loving sumo brought in a new generation of fans and put the fun back in the ring.

Takamisakari Seiken is a legend amongst the biggest fans of sumo, but why? This wrestler never won any Emperor’s Cups, he won one in Division 2 Juryo, but that’s not much, he was awful clumsy, and furthermore, he had a weird psyche-up routine before each match.

Let’s begin with this, Takamisakari is actually one of the smartest and most well-educated wrestlers in the sumo world. An attendee of Nihon University, he managed to make it to the college yokozuna level and would in fact be welcomed as a Makushita Tsukedashi at Makushita 60 (this was before the bar was raised to rank 15 of Makushita in 2001). He was tall (6 ‘ 3″) but sort of a lightweight wrestler (286lb)

Takamisakari had a meteoric rise as he won 57 out of 80 bouts to make Division 1 in July 2000 as a Maegashira 11. But sumo fans saw something different about this wrestler because he was not “acting normal.” He was visibly dejected after losses and showed strong impassivity (as a show of strength) in pre-match preparations. He would begin with a cutting motion across his chest and then beat his chest twice on one side and then the other side, and then push and pump his fists down 3 times where you could hear the crowd saying: HAI! (Yes!). After that psyche up, he’d do robotic movements prior to the match which delighted the crowd. Akebono lovingly bestowed the nickname of “RoboCop” on him.

In his first tournament as a maegashira 11, he finished 10-5, picking up a fighting spirit prize. When asked what he was going to spend his winnings on, he said, “I don’t know.”

Takamisakari would be demoted however after a 1-3-11 showing at the September tournament. He would not return to Division 1 until March when he won his Division 2 Juryo championship.

Takamisakari was the sword bearer on his first tourney back from Division 2 Juryo and accidentally scraped the sword against the ceiling which earned him a reprimand from the sumo association. While he didn’t mean it, Takamisakari was always visibly frustrated with the Japan Sumo Association having too much tradition. He felt like the things he had to do before the match were simply just unwarranted and unnecessary. “I know it takes a long time to prepare for a match, but sometimes, it’s just so ridiculous for two wrestlers to prep for 3 minutes for a 4 to 12 second bout,” said Takamisakari.

Takamisakari’s greatest accomplishment was winning two kinboshis (gold stars) in July 2003 tournament in which he beat Yokozunas Musashimaru and Asashoryu in succession. Those kinboshi wins got him a nice raise in salary. “I got beat by a clumsy freak,” said Asashoryu, “but I let my guard down, so for good reason he won.” Musashimaru was also taken by surprise as Takamisakari was able to beat him despite a weight disadvantage of nearly 200 pounds. “I mean, he pushed into me and I said to myself, my God this guy is actually moving mountains!” said Musashimaru after the match, he saw Takamisakari yelling into the air. “Impassivity is something special and if you show it, you’re special,” explained Musashimaru.

He was one of the best sponsored wrestlers due to his fun-loving nature as he became the first wrestler to have a sponsorship over $500,000 thanks to signing a deal with a soup company. Estonian wrestler Baruto was a big fan and also good friend to him because Takamisakari taught Baruto how it was always appropriate to have a good attitude while wrestling. “Attitude is important, staying positive is important, you’re important,” said Baruto.

Takamisakari would finish his career 563-564-46 and would undertake the Furiwake stock and then become a ringside judge. Takamisakari also lost a significant amount of weight, taking his weight from a peak 308lb to a more healthy 220lb.

Takamisakari: Legendary for putting the fun back in sumo even without winning one emperor’s cup.

Please follow and like us:

Joshua Leuschner

Orioles/Ravens/Capitals/Terrapins/Inter Miami CF fan. Runs a podcast who tells it like it is (I-95 East Coast Sports Podcast) and loves sports, sports betting (responsibly of course), and finding arcane statistics in professional sports. He is also a devoted classic cartoon enthusiast (1930s rubberhose and 1940s-1960s silver/golden age animation), video game player, Enya enthusiast, devotee of classical music (Mozart, Sibelius, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and others), Hair/Classic/80s Rock fan, beer connoisseur, gym goer, former Slow Pitch Softball Player, and traveler.

You may also like...

Follow by Email