Retired Sumo Hakuho Breaks 5 Guinness World Records - Japanspecialist

Retired Sumo Hakuho Breaks 5 Guinness World Records

29 Nov 2022

Not one, not two… but five Guinness World Records for sumo celebrity Hakuho.

Former Yokozuna and Guinness World Record Holder

At 36, sumo coach Magaki formerly known as Hakuho, has just achieved a total of 5 Guinness World Records for his entire career in Japan. Without even speaking of these 5 records, Magaki held the title of Yokozuna – the highest distinction as a sumo wrestler in Japan – for a total of 14 years before he retired last September due to a knee injury and covid restrictions during the tournament schedule.

Source: By FourTildes - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The sumo legend, who holds the titles of most top division sumo championship wins, the longest reigning Yokozuna , the most sumo top division wins, the most matches won in a professional career, and the most undefeated top 2 division championship wins, strengthened his position as a legend of the sumo world by winning 1,187 career matches and 84 grand tournaments.

Let’s just say good luck to the new generation of sumo wrestlers as it won’t be easy to top that.

A Fascination for Sumo Dating Back to His Childhood

Born in Mongolia, Magaki recalls a visit from Wakanohana – the 45th Yokozuna – to watch Mongolian wrestling. The young Magaki received some Japanese snacks from Wakanohana - umaibo, if you are unfamiliar with them, are savoury puffs! As a result of his visit, he nurtured a passion for Japanese sumo until after years of extensive training but only 6 years of active wrestling career in Japan he became the 69th Yokozuna.

Following that initial encounter, Magaki started watching sumo via Satellite TV and shifted his interests to Japanese sports. It wasn't until October 2000 when the young boy weighing only 62 kg arrived in Japan to begin his training as a sumo wrestler. Due to his lightweight stature, he had trouble finding a heya (sumo stable) that would accept him. He could finally enter Miyagino thanks to a fellow Mongolian wrestler interceding for him.

Four months later, he made his professional debut, starting an incredible career that led to the impressive list of Guinness World Records and career milestones. In 2019 he acquired Japanese nationality but when he obtained the title of Yokozuna in 2007 he was only the 6th non-Japanese sumo wrestler to do so. 2 years later, he was already breaking a record with the most bouts won in a calendar year: 86.

Yokozuna Hakuho original tegata (handprint & signature)
Source: By David Dominique PAPILLON - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

But He Was Not over with Records

Now retired, Magaki is enjoying a career as a sumo coach, trying to find the new talents of this ancestral Japanese sport. He did not leave his stable and still works for Miyagino, saying he is now giving back to new wrestlers. As he said to Guinness World Records “I hope the wrestlers I coach can become Guinness World Record title owners as well." It looks like Magaki has not lost his fighting spirit.

Sumo wrestlers about to fight in Japan
Source: By Simon Q, CC BY 2.0

Living the Sumo Life

Sumo wrestling is one of the oldest sports in Japan, mixing traditional culture with religious and entertainment as well. Even though getting your hands on sumo championship tickets might be hard without a partner in Japan like Japanspecialist, you can still tour the Ryogoku neighbourhood near Asakusa and immerse yourself in the sumo way of life. Don’t miss the culinary secret of sumo: chanko nabe.

Chicken sumo wrestler's stew Japanese foods(chanko)

This vegetable and meat hot pot is as heavy as it looks, but restaurants will usually shrink the food portion so you can finish your bowl. It’s perfect after a long day of walking around Tokyo in the cold and can be easily found near the sumo stadium Ryogoku Kokugikan.

To fulfil your curiosity about sumo training and lifestyle, you can book a visit to one of the few stables that allow visitors, however most of them require a Japanese-speaking person to accompany you to translate, as well as teach you the basic rules to respect during a training session. If you’re lucky, you might stumble across a sumo wrestler in the street, or even on a train!

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