Seiken Katō

Takamisakari Seiken

Takamisakari Seiken (born May 12, 1976 as Seiken Katō in Aomori Prefecture, Japan), is a sumo wrestler. The highest rank he has reached is komusubi. He is one of the most popular wrestlers in sumo today.

Career

Born in Itayanagi, Kitatsugaru District, Katō was an amateur sumo champion at Nihon University, winning the College Yokozuna title in his final year. He began his professional sumo career as a makushita tsukedashi (a promising amateur allowed to start at a level significantly higher than entry level) in March 1999, wrestling under his own name. He reached jūryō, the second-highest division, in January 2000, at which point he changed his fighting name to Takamisakari.

Three tournaments later, in July of the same year, he was promoted to the top makuuchi division, becoming only the second wrestler from his Azumazeki stable to achieve this feat. In September he acted as tsuyuharai ("dew-sweeper", an honorary attendant) in stablemate Yokozuna Akebono's ring-entering ceremony, but he was injured on the third day of that tournament. Enforced absence from the next two tournaments saw him demoted all the way back to the unsalaried makushita division, where he had begun his career. It took him until March 2002 to work his way back up to the makuuchi division, and in September he reached komusubi, his highest rank to date. He only held this rank for one tournament, however, dropping back to maegashira in November. He has earned five special prizes, and has two gold stars for defeating yokozuna, both earned in the July 2003 tourament where he was also awarded the Outstanding Performance prize. Although he again reached komusubi in November 2003, he again failed to retain the rank and has been a middle-level maegashira since then.

Takamisakari again appeared in a yokozuna's ring-entered ceremony in September 2005, when he replaced Asasekiryū, who was injured, as sword-bearer. On the first day he accidentally scraped the sword against the ceiling.

He came close to demotion from the top division after missing five bouts through injury in November 2007. However in the next tournament he achieved a majority of wins against losses from the Maegashira 14 ranking.

Takamisakari is a hugely popular wrestler. He builds himself up for each bout with a somewhat eccentric series of muscle flexes and slaps, and throws a copious amount of salt onto the dohyō. In a culture where impassivity is sometimes seen as a sign of strength, he makes no attempt to hide his emotions, obviously elated after each win and inconsolably dejected after each loss (though even then often he will receive generous applause from the audience). Even though he usually performs in the middle to lower ranks, the winner of his matches are always greatly rewarded with kensho (prize money) provided by his sponsor, a food company.

He has a straightforward fighting style, rarely resorting to sidestepping at the initial charge. He favours yotsu techniques, preferring a right-hand grip on his opponent's mawashi, and 26 of his 41 wins between July 2007 and May 2008 were by yori-kiri, or a simple force out.

In January 2008 he acquired the rights to the Furiwake toshiyori-kabu, or elder name, indicating that he intends to stay with the Japan Sumo Association upon retirement.

In popular culture

  • He is known in Japan as "Robocop". The nickname was given to him by former Yokozuna Akebono, who was his senpai, in reference to his robot-like movements at the dohyō.
  • He is a fan of the anime series Gundam Seed.
  • He is also nearsighted, which explains why he squints a lot on the dohyō. He wears glasses when outside of the ring.

Top division record

References

See also

External links

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