2024/07/20 20:55

Sumo Wrestler Mainoumi

A graduate of Nihon University College of Economics. He had got a job as a high school teacher in the Yamagata prefecture before graduation, yet he decided to become a professional sumo wrestler despite of the opposition from people around him. He was not able to fulfill the requirement for the pupil examination (back then) since he wasn’t tall enough, so he inserted silicon in his head and passed the examination. In May 1990, he entered the Dewanoumi –beya (Stable). In the same month, he made his debut as a sumo wrestler in the makushita division. In March 1991, he was promoted to the jyuryo [second-division] with the name “Mainoumi” and was promoted to the makuuchi [top division] in September of that year. Although he was the smallest sumo wrestler, he surprised many with techniques such as “nekodamashi” and “hassotobi” and earned the name “the department store for techniques”. Before his retirement in November 1999, he was active and had been awarded the Technique Prize 5 times. These days he has been working as the advertising character for apamanshop and the NHK analyst of the Grand Sumo Tournament.
Shakespeare, an international student from Brunei, interviewed Mr. Mainoumi regarding sumo and Japanese culture.

Q1:I’m aware that you had always wanted to become a teacher, but what made you become a sumo wrestler?

A1:One of my partners who used to practice sumo with me when I was in university suddenly passed away and I was really shocked. He had always been really healthy and had always wanted to pursue a career in sumo wrestling. After his death, I started to feel that I should pursue my dream. I had thought about becoming a teacher and living a stable life, but at the end, I decided to make my challenge in the sumo world partly because you never know when you’re going to die and partly because I wanted to make my friend’s dream come true. I think what was important was that I made up my mind myself.

Q2:As a small sumo wrestler, there are many obstacles to overcome. How did you over come such obstacles?

A2:Even if you’re not tall enough, as long as you try to find a way to overcome the problem, there must be a way. Many people said that to me, but I think the problem is how you approach it. Of course, I was afraid of big sumo wrestlers, but no matter how big they are, they’re humans as well, so I was certain that there must be a way to beat them.

Q3:Why do sumo wrestlers tie their hair in a topknot and put on awash (sumo wrestler’s belt)?

A3:Sumo is one of the oldest Japanese martial arts. It came to existence about 1400 years ago. At first there were no clear rules, but gradually the ring came to existence and it has evolved to the current form. These days many people regard sumo as a sport, but sumo is actually a form of traditional culture. The customs are unique, and sumo wrestlers do not show any happiness on their face even when they win. Showing consideration and thankfulness to the loser is important, so when the match is over, they “bow” to each other quietly. When they’re in a battle, sumo wrestlers fight each other with a strength that can probably kill the opponent. However, once the result has been decided, the winning side does not act big and the losing side does not become jealous. They respect each other. This is a marvellous custom of sumo.

Q4:What has become a memorable event to you as an entertainer?

A4:I taught kinds sumo in a place in Bhutan which was an elevation of 200m. At that time, I got altitude sickness and I had a really hard time. There was neither electricity nor radio, but everyone grew rice and vegetables together and people were really pure. In a way they were really affluent. When I was with them, I felt like my mind was purified and I was really happy.

Q5:Please say a few words to foreign students.

A5:I hope that everyone can have a strong will and achieve his/her initial goals. Also, if you participate in exchanges, I think you can gain a deeper understanding of your own culture while learning about the Japanese culture.

Q6:Finally, please tell us about your cherished motto.

A6:“Never forget one’s kindness and never talk about what you have obliged”. That is, never forget what others have done for you and never talk about what you have done for others.
Please work hard to make your dreams come true.

Thank you for your time.