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Monday, 25th January 2016
In Japan Entertainment News,

Japan returns to sumo supremacy

Sumo wrestling is a sport that most people associate with Japan, so it may come as a surprise that the country has not had a champion in the discipline for more than a decade.

This state of affairs came to an end this weekend, after Kotoshogiku became the first Japan-born wrestler to win a tournament in ten years.

He claimed the Emperor’s Cup on Sunday (January 24th), when he threw his opponent, Goeido, to the ground and win victory in the New Year tournament.

Fans went wild in the arena in Tokyo when Kotoshogiku achieved victory with 14 wins and just one loss in the entire competition.

For the last decade, sumo wrestling has been dominated by contestants from Mongolia, with few Japanese participants managing to come anywhere close.

This has in turn led to a decline in the number of young Japanese people who have been interested in the ancient sport.

In comparison, tourists often like to attend competitions at the arena in Tokyo, but it is hoped that this most recent victory will lead to a resurgence of support from the local population.

No Japanese wrestler had won a tournament prior to this weekend since Tochiazuma ten years ago and Takanohana, who retired in 2003, was the last grand champion to have hailed from the country.

Kotoshogiku burst into massive smiles after his win yesterday and his parents could be seen in floods of tears in the audience.

The people of his hometown of Yanagawa were also proud of their famous son’s feat, as they watched his success on the TV and celebrated accordingly.

Kotoshogiku told The Guardian: “It’s hard to find the words to describe how I feel. I am so delighted… I thought about the tough times when I struggled [with injury] and my record was poor, but I have come this far with the support of so many people and the guidance of my stable master.”