Sumo wrestlers visit Saipan

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ON Saturday afternoon, the Hyatt Regency Hotel hosted a team of sumo wrestlers from Japan so they could meet with local community members, especially the youth.

The visiting sumo wrestlers, who are with the Tomozuna stable, were Kaiho Tatsuaki, Kainoryu Hiroki, Kainishiki Tatsuya, Kokutaisei Takuya, Kyokushiuho Koki, and Asahisho Kota

They prepared a traditional Japanese stew called “chankonabe” which they shared with the local children and other community members.

At the Hyatt beach, from left, standing: Kyokutaisei Takuya, Kyokutenho Masaru, Tatsunori Fuse, Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick Nishikawa, Kyokushiuho Koki and Asahisho Kota. Front row, from left: Kaiho Tatsuaki, Kainoryu Hiroki and Kainishiki Tatsuya.  Photo by Prince Factor

“Chankonabe is a special dish served to wrestlers before a competition,” said Tomozuna owner and sumo elder Kyokutenho Masaru. “It is an ideal meal for all competitors — it is packed with essential nutrients a sumo wrestler needs to gain strength.”

He added, “This is our second time here on the island of Saipan as a team, but for me, I’ve been here many times, maybe a total of 10 times.”

He said he loves the island, the local people’s hospitality, the tropical weather and the beaches. “It’s paradise,” he added.

After the traditional meal, the sumo wrestlers showcased a variety of skills in a makeshift dohyo or ring at the beach. They also held a friendly tournament that involved local children and adults willing to face off a sumo wrestler.

Sumo wrestlers Kyokutaisei Takuya and Kyokushiuho Koki  pose with children and other local fans at the Hyatt beach on Saturday afternoon.  Photo by Prince Factor

Masaru’s 8-year-old son, Ren, competed in the friendly matches with several local children. “He’s only 8 years old,” Masaru said, referring to his son. “We don’t know yet if it’s his path, but we’ve shown him skills and defensive tactics that’s utilized in the sport of sumo wrestling.”

Ren’s skills in the ring amazed the spectators.

In a separate interview, Nick Nishikawa, Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager, said: “We decided to bring the sumo wrestlers to introduce Japan’s cultural sport to the local people, especially to the kids who are the future of Saipan. I’m glad many people enjoyed today’s event.”

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