Sumo Star Kotonowaka Promoted to Ozeki, Second-Highest Rank in Professional Sumo; Surpassing Father, Going after Grandfather

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kotonowaka, center, speaks to representatives of the Japan Sumo Association in the Sadogatake stable in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday. His father, right, also his stablemaster, is seen.

Kotonowaka was officially promoted on Wednesday from sekiwake to ozeki, the second-highest rank in professional sumo.

The Japan Sumo Association unanimously decided on Kotonowaka’s promotion at a meeting to set the rankings for the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka City in mid-March, and at an extraordinary meeting of its executive board.

After being notified of the promotion by association representatives at his stable in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, he said, “I humbly accept the promotion. I will try my hardest with a sense of gratitude in order to not discredit the name of ozeki.”

Kotonowaka comes from a thoroughbred sumo family — his father and stablemaster who also went by the ring name Kotonowaka is a former sekiwake, and his late grandfather was yokozuna Kotozakura.

Kotonowaka is the first ozeki since Hoshoryu was promoted to the rank after the Nagoya tournament last year. Four ozeki will line up at the rankings for the spring tournament.