Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Mongols Invade Japan – Sumo-style

Mongols Invade Japan Through Sumo
A New Champion is Chosen

From Reuters: Hakuho: the new Yokozuna – sumo champion

What in Xanadu Kublai Khan of Stately Palace Dome fame decreed and failed to do twice over seven centuries ago, two Mongolian sumo wrestlers have accomplished. They have conquered Japan, not in the way their brethren would have done long ago with sword and spear but through their wrestling skills, they have conquered the world of sumo and dominated the headlines in Japan.
Two Sumo wrestlers square off in Tokyo

After his second tournament win in a row, Mongolian-born Hakuho (real name Munkhbat Davaajargal) has been promoted to the highest rank a sumo wrestler can achieve – Yokozuna. For over three years only one wrestler has held onto that title alone – Asashoryu (Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj) also from Mongolia.

Bulgarian Sumo wrestler Kotooshu

In 2003 Asashoryu was promoted to Yokozuna. Since that time he so dominated the tournaments that no other wrestler was able to win two tournaments back to back during the same six tournament season in order to be qualified for promotion. There are six tournaments held every two months throughout the year. Since 2003, Asashoryu has won 18 of them, twenty all together in his impressive career. Asashoyru’s chances of winning his 21st tournament were dashed on Day 13 of the 15-day tournament when he lost his match.

Yokozuna Asashoryu holds tight

Sumo is a rigid hierarchical sport that wrestlers have to climb upwards for attention and salary. Along the way, a wrestler can be demoted if he doesn’t keep his average up. Once attaining the position of Yokozuna, however, there are no demotions. Unlike other contact sports with only one defending champion, sumo can have several Yokozuna competing in a tournament at the same time. There has been as many as four at one time and subsequently there have been tournaments when there were none.

Yokozuna Asashoryu hits the ground losing his chance to win another tournament

With Hakuho’s promotion, there are now two active Yokozuna which the sumo world hasn’t seen in over three years.

Sumo was once primarily a Japanese-only sport and the idea of a foreign Yokozuna was simply out of the question even when foreign wrestler began competing. Now there are more than 60 foreign wrestlers in the world of sumo. Another strong contender for the title of Yokozuna is Bulgarian wrestler Kotooshu (Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov).

Fans throw cushions whenever a Yokozuna is defeated by a non-Yokozuna

Currently there are six other Mongolians in sumo’s top division – Kublai Khan’s vision finally coming to a realization, in sumo at least.

A Yokozuna in the making?

June 1, 2007 - Posted by | asashoryu, Blogroll, japan, life, Sport, sumo, TV, yokozuna


  1. Great post, brother. Is Kotooshu a Yokozuna in the making? I think he has the talent. And, I’m certainly, as a fan, hoping he does. But, it’s hard to tell. The potential is there. It’s largely a matter of him putting it all together at the right times.

    Comment by saij | June 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] by saij on June 7th, 2007 SamuraiDave wrote a great post on the crowning of a new Yokozuna:  […]

    Pingback by New Yokozuna! Hakuho « The Dojo | June 7, 2007 | Reply

  3. Well, some think so but others disagree, we’ll just have to wait and see.

    That rhyme was accidental but I’ll leave it. I don’t know enough to say whether Kotooshu has it in him to be a Yokozuna but one never knows.

    Comment by samuraidave | June 8, 2007 | Reply

  4. Hey Man:

    Thank you for the comment on my vid-clip. I agree on the lack of technological wonder and artistic(porfessional video production)quality of the IMPEACH THE BUSH REGIME pod? Spirit of life, love and truth is everything we need right now. They ($elitists$) give anarchy a band name so they can…I’m glad for the creative critique because all real(US) people have to work all the more harder to rid ourselves of war profiteers monger nazi anti Christ deamons. Survival of the fittest greediest bad spawn will no longer rule. Ghandi, Jesus, MLK, Albert Einstien at al…PL&H Ken

    Comment by Ken (wiscokidd,current) | August 3, 2007 | Reply

  5. Can you send some pictures for having some ideas regarding the dresses used to be wore by the Chinease People at the time of the regime of Kublai Khan?

    Comment by Sanjoy Kumar Dam | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  6. […] Musashimaru will be there to officiate and some of Japan’s current, top Sumo talent (neigh – the mongol hord) will be competing stateside this summer. Tickets start at $35. You can find more information on […]

    Pingback by Rikishi Come to the Southland | Giant Enemy Crab | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  7. Very interesting blog with great images.

    I need a photo of a sumo wrestling match for a book I’ve written about Japanese culture and tourism. I’d like the
    one of the match with the referee. Can I get your permission to use the image in my book? I think the image I want is called “Two Sumo Wrestlers Square Off.”

    BEst wishes,


    Comment by arthur asa berger | August 7, 2009 | Reply

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