Boarding house owner supports sumo wrestler Chiyoo

Boarding house owner supports sumo wrestler Chiyoo

On May 27, at their house in Uruma, Koji Yamamoto and his wife Mutsuyo recall fond memories of Chiyoo.

June 2, 2013 Shuko Oshiro of Ryukyu Shimpo

On 26 May, the final day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament held in Tokyo, wrestler Chiyoo narrowly posted a losing record with seven wins and eight losses. Chiyoo, whose real name is Miyohito Motoi, has become the first juryo level (second of six divisions) sumo wrestler with a connection to Okinawa in 11 years.

He graduated from Chubu Agricultural High School in Uruma and belongs to Kokonoe Stable. Boarding house owner Koji Yamamoto and his wife Mutsuyo, whom the sumo wrestler refers to as his “parents in Okinawa,” said, “This narrow losing record will lead to better results in the next tournament.” The Yamamotos looked after Motoi when he came from Yoron Island as a boy to train at the high school.


They took Motoi in to their house for two years because their 21-year-old son Kota, who is now at Nihon University, was one year below Motoi in the sumo club at high school. “He’s such a genuine and generous young person, the sort who really has special feelings towards his mother,” said Mutsuyo. She smiled fondly as she recalled serving him his favorite meal of macaroni salad with ice cream as dessert.

When he became captain of the sumo club in his second year they told him to stay focused on his mission and often gave him stern words of advice. He was a wrestler who picked up many injuries along the way. Koji remembers telling the young man, “Things won’t always go smoothly for you. Try to stay positive during the hard times too.”

By the time Motoi finished high school he had effectively become a member of the Yamamoto family. They recall how at his farewell party their son Kota tearfully said, “Miyohito is my big brother for life.” Chiyoo has established a name for himself in the sumo world quickly. Despite only starting at high school he has been promoted to juryo in just three years since his debut. “He has done well in the tough world of sumo,” said Koji. In the Summer Tournament, after two defeats from the first day he won four bouts in a row but then lost the next four bouts in a row, finishing with a record of seven wins and eight losses. “To be promoted to the higher levels in sumo a wrestler needs to be good mentally, technically and physically. On top of that he needs a luck. Chiyoo is just 22 years old. We want him to keep working hard and to become a wrestler who helps to cheer everyone up.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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