Yoshibayama's handprint displayed on a monument in Ryōgoku, Tokyo
April 3, 1920
|Died||November 26, 1977(aged 57)|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||143 kg (320 lb)|
|Highest rank||Yokozuna (January, 1954)|
|Sanshō||Outstanding Performance (3)|
|* Career information is correct as of September 2007.|
Yoshibayama Junnosuke (吉葉山 潤之輔, April 3, 1920 - November 26, 1977), real name Junnosuke Ikeda, was a sumo wrestler from Atsuta, Hokkaidō, Japan. He was the sport's 43rd Yokozuna. He suffered a number of injuries and only one won tournament championship, but he was a popular wrestler. After his retirement he was head coach of Miyagino stable.
He entered sumo in a curious way. He had travelled to Tokyo on a train to attend school, but was met at the station by a sumo wrestler who was expecting a new recruit, who had in fact had second thoughts and not made the trip. The conspicuously large Ikeda was mistaken for him and taken back to Takashima stable before he even realised what was going on. He made his professional debut in May 1938. After suffering appendicitis he had to undergo emergency surgery and changed his shikona from Hokutoyama to Yoshibayama in honour of the doctor (a Shosaku Yoshiba) who had saved his life. He got to the verge of promotion to the jūryō division in 1942 but was then drafted into the Japanese army and took part in World War II. He was seriously wounded during gunfights. His death was reported for a while, and he was surprisingly thin when he returned to Japan. If he hadn't been conscripted and lost several years of his career, he could have become more strong. He was shot in the leg twice, and the second bullet permanently lodged itself in his foot.
In spite of his war injury, he returned to sumo in 1947 and was promoted to the top makuuchi division in November of that year. He remained in the maegashira ranks until September 1950, but was then was promoted to ōzeki in May 1951, after two successive runner-up performances of 13-2 at the rank of sekiwake. He recorded an azukari, or hold, on the 12th day of September 1951 tournament. The reason is that his opponent, Azumafuji, couldn't stand up any more. Yoshibayama could have been awarded a win, but sportingly conceded the draw. In May 1953 he finished with 14 wins and only one loss, but the championship went to an undefeated maegashira whom Yoshibayama had not been paired against. He was promoted to yokozuna after winning his first championship with a perfect 15-0 record in January 1954.
Although he was promoted to yokozuna, the bullet remained in his ankle, so his style of fighting was a mess. Besides, his favourite technique was ketaguri, or leg kick. A controversial move, it was considered to be unacceptable at his top yokozuna rank, but he had no time to understand sumo's techniques due to the war. He wasn't able to win any championships in his yokozuna career. Although he was popular with the public, he ate and drank to excess and had several internal ailments, including kidney problems.
Having finally reached his physical limit, he announced his retirement during the January 1958 tournament. His old rival Kagamisato, who had been promoted to ōzeki alongside him in May 1951, also decided to retire on the final day, the first time that two yokozuna had quit in the same tournament.
Retirement from sumo
After his retirement, Yoshibayama became the 8th head coach of Miyagino stable. The previous head coach was the 24th yokozuna Ōtori Tanigorō, but Miyagino stable was closed once after his death in 1956. While still an active wrestler, he managed his makeshift stable. Ōtori's son-in-law Fukunosato Ushinosuke belonged to his stable. He officially renamed his stable to Miyagino stable in 1960. He developed a number of top division wrestlers, such as Myobudani. He was also a shinpan or judge of tournament bouts, and on the Japan Sumo Association's board of directors. He also opened a number of chankonabe restaurants that still operate today.
Future makuuchi wrestler Chikubayama also joined his stable, but could not reach the top makuuchi division by 1977 when Yoshibayama died. Chikubayama accepted future yokozuna Hakuhō when he was the Miyagino stablemaster. Yoshibayama performed the yokozuna dohyō-iri (ring entering ceremony) in the shiranui style. When Hakuho was promoted to yokozuna, he succeeded to Yoshibayama's style. At the Meiji Jingu shrine on June 1, 2007, Hakuhō performed dohyō-iri wearing Yoshibayama's keshō-mawashi and used a sword (tachi) of another yokozuna Ōtori.
Top division record
*The different tables represent a change in the tournament system over the years
|1947||no tournament held||x||East Maegashira #13 (8-3)|
|1948||no tournament held||East Maegashira #7 (8-3)||East Maegashira #2 (5-6)☆|
|1949||East Maegashira #3 (7-6)||East Maegashira #3 (2-13)||East Maegashira #10 (10-5)|
|1950||East Maegashira #3 (10-5)O☆||East Maegashira #1 (10-5)O||East Sekiwake (13-2))O|
|1951||East Sekiwake (13-2)||West Ōzeki (10-5)||East Ōzeki (9-5-1hold)|
|1952||West Ōzeki (12-3)||West Ōzeki (10-5)||West Ōzeki (12-3)|
|1953||West Ōzeki (6-3-6)||West Ōzeki (10-5)||West Ōzeki (14-1)||East Ōzeki (11-4)|
|1954||East Ozeki (15-0)||Sat out due to injury||West Yokozuna (0-1-14)||West Yokozuna (11-4)|
|1955||West Yokozuna (5-2-8)||East Yokozuna (3-2-10)||West Yokozuna (0-2-13)||West Yokozuna (9-6)|
|1956||East Yokozuna (9-6)||West Yokozuna (11-4)||East Yokozuna (8-7)||East Yokozuna (12-3)|
|1957||West Yokozuna (10-5)||East Yokozuna (3-3-9)||West Yokozuna (5-6-4)||no tournament held||East Yokozuna (9-6)||West Yokozuna (11-4)|
|1958||West Yokozuna (3-6-6) (Retired)||x||x||x||x||x|
- The wrestler's East/West designation, rank, and win/loss record are listed for each tournament.
- A third figure in win-loss records represents matches sat-out during the tournament (usually due to injury)
- an X signifies the wrestler had yet to reach the top division at that point in his career
|Green Box=Tournament Championship||F= Fighting Spirit Prize||O= Outstanding Performance Prize||T= Technique Prize||☆= Number of Kinboshi.|
- Kuroda, Joe (August 2007). "Rikishi of Old". Sumo Fan Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
- Newton, Clyde (1994). Dynamic Sumo. Kodansha. p. 63. ISBN 4-7700-1802-9.
- "止むに止まれぬ「けたぐり」（第43代横綱・吉葉山）" (in Japanese). Nihon Sumo Kyokai. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
- "白鵬が奉納土俵入り 朝青龍超えた" (in Japanese). Daily Sports. 2007-06-02. Retrieved 2008-11-24.[dead link]
- "Yoshibayama Junnosuke Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
|Yokozuna is not a successive rank, and more than one wrestler can share the title|
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