Japan Data

Terunofuji Becomes Fifth “Yokozuna” from Mongolia

Sports World

Terunofuji is the seventh foreign-born wrestler to have held the rank of yokozuna, and the fifth originally from Mongolia.

On July 21, an advisory board to the Japan Sumō Association unanimously recommended the promotion of Terunofuji from ōzeki to the highest rank of yokozuna. Terunofuji won the March 2021 Osaka Grand Sumō tournament and, after earning promotion to ōzeki, he won the May competition Then, on the last day of the Nagoya tournament in July, he lost to yokozuna Hakuhō, giving him 14 wins and one loss.

Terunofuji is the first new yokozuna in four years since Kisenosato was promoted in 2017, and the seventy-third in sumō history. Since 1990, there have been 11 wrestlers, including Terunofuji, promoted to the rank of yokozuna, 7 of whom were born overseas. Akebono, from Hawaii in the United States was the first non-Japanese sumō wrestler to become a yokozuna. Following in the footsteps of Asashōryū, Hakuhō, Harumafuji, and Kakuryū, Terunofuji is the fifth Mongolian-born rikishi to earn this rank.

In a demonstration of the strength of this cohort, Hakuhō won the Nagoya tournament with a perfect 15-0 to claim a record 45 championship wins in the highest division. Taihō ranks second with 32 wins.

Yokozuna Since 1990

Name (Number of Wins) Birthplace Time as Yokozuna
Asahifuji (4) Aomori September 1990–January 1992
Akebono (11) United States March 1993–January 2001
Takanohana (22) Tokyo January 1995–January 2003
Wakanohana (5) Tokyo July 1998–March 2000
Musashimaru (12) United States July 1999–November 2003
Asashōryū (25) Mongolia March 2003–January 2010
Hakuhō (45) Mongolia July 2007–
Harumafuji (9) Mongolia November 2012–November 2017
Kakuryū (6) Mongolia May 2014–March 2021
Kisenosato (2) Ibaraki March 2017–January 2019
Terunofuji (4)  Mongolia September 2021–

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Terunofuji (right) takes on Hakuhō on the last day of the 2021 Nagoya tournament. © Kyōdō News Images.)

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