(August, 2003) Los Angeles, CA
AKEBONO offered an historic Sumo Clinic, the first time that an “oyakata” (pro sumo coach) and “yokozuna” (Grand Champion) coached international athletes in sumo in the U.S. He also participated with us in sumo film screenings, and other sumo appearances.
World-renowned AKEBONO was the first “rikishi” (sumo wrestler) not born in Japan to achieve sumo’s highest rank of “yokozuna”. Born in 1969, AKEBONO grew up in Hawaii, but moved to Japan at the age of 18 to enter professional sumo. In under 5 years, he shot up to the rank of yokozuna, where he debuted in March, 1993. From May, 1992 to November, 2000, he won a phenomenal 11 tournaments, before announcing his retirement in January, 2001. AKEBONO also served for a time as an “oyakata” (stable master), continuing the sumo tradition by training aspiring young rikishi. He is now retired from the professional sumo world.
3rd Annual US Sumo Open with AKEBONO
The 2003 US Sumo Open was a phenomenal competition, but the biggest surprise was when AKEBONO stood up from his announcer’s chair, and stated, “I’m gonna fight.” To the amazement of everyone present, he slipped out of his formal wear, walked to a corner, put on a mawashi, and fought seven matches against the champion athletes!