Holder of the “Arashio” elder stock, Sokokurai, has officially retired from wrestling and will take over Arashio-beya under said name. (Now) Arashio-oyakata, who is originally from Peoples Republic of China, Inner Mongolia, acquired Japanese citizenship last September, as it is a prerequisite for attaining elder status in the Japan Sumo Association. He will be replacing his stablemaster, former Komusubi Oyutaka, who turns 65 this Sunday.
As a rikishi, Sokokurai had a roller coaster career, spending most of the last ten years between the top two divisions. He was expelled for two of those years after the great “yaocho” match fixing scandal of 2011, but the charges brought against him were never proven, and in 2013 he was reinstated directly into the top division where he had left off.
After reinstatement, we saw the best performance of his career at the January 2017 tournament, where at the rank of Maegashira 10, he won 12 matches, received the technique prize, and was runner up to champion Kisenosato. Sokokurai’s results have since then become dismal, with the wear and tear that 16 years of pro-sumo will inevitably induce. Nevertheless his often exciting fighting style and surprising strength have made him a memorable wrestler for many.
Thank you for a great career Sokokurai, and good luck (new) Arashio-oyakata!