Asashio, Former Ozeki and Noted Stablemaster, Dies at Age 67

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Asashio smiles with the trophy after winning the Spring Tournament in March 1985 in Osaka.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Former ozeki Asashio, who headed the Takasago stable after retirement and produced yokozuna Asashoryu, has died at the age of 67, Japan Sumo Association sources said Friday.

Asashio, whose real name was Suehiro Nagaoka, reached the second-highest rank of ozeki after the March 1983 tournament and won his lone makuuchi division title at the same tournament two years later.

A native of Muroto, Kochi Prefecture, Asashio was attending Kindai University when he became the first wrestler to win both the national university and all-Japan amateur titles for two straight years.

He joined the Takasago stable and debuted in March 1978 at the third-highest makushita division, using his family name Nagaoka as his ring name. He earned promotion to the second-highest juryo division in two tournaments, and made it to the makuuchi division in November that year.

After joining the makuuchi division, he changed his ring name to Asashio.

He competed in a total of 36 tournaments as an ozeki, and retired in the March 1989. He took over the Wakamatsu stable, then became head of the Takasago stable after it merged with the Wakamatsu stable in 2002.

His most famous disciple, Asashoryu, became a yokozuna in 2003, but retired in 2010 due to a scandal.

Asashio also trained Asanoyama, who became ozeki in 2020 but was sanctioned for violating the sumo association’s pandemic guidelines.

Asashio, who held a senior JSA post at the time, was also found to have breached COVID-19 guidelines and left the association.