The 45th yokozuna Wakanohana I, (former Futagoyama oyakata) stablemaster and older brother of former Ozeki Takanohana I and uncle to yokozuna Takanohana and Wakanohana, died Wednesday in Tokyo of kidney cancer.
During his time wearing the mawashi Wakanohana I wrestled around 100kg, one of the lightest yokozuna ever. He fought from the Shibatayama/Hanakago stable and in his 15 years and change, he scored 6 kinboshi, 2 outstanding performance awards, 2 fighting spirit awards, 1 technique prize, and 10 yusho, as well as earning himself the name “Devil of the Dohyo.” (just one testament to that name would be the 17 minute bout he had with then yokozuna Chiyonoyama, which was eventually called a draw.) He also served as chairman of the NSK from 1988-1992. During his tenure he prohibited false starts, and ordered rikishi to place their fists at the shikiri-sen before the tachi-ai in. Wakanohana was the 2nd longest lived yokozuna in history.
As for the keiko. It appears that Goeido did not participate in the Sakaigawa-beya opening keiko, claiming another thigh injury, although Toyohibiki said that his demotion to juryo will, in so many words, kick his ass in gear. Let’s hope so. Kaio also had some trouble with the left shoulder injury that made him withdraw from Nagoya and only partook in shiko and teppo practices. Personally I don’t see how Kaio is gonna pull his 8 out of this one.
It appears as the all-hands NSK meeting at the kokugikan on the 31st, Hakuho, representing all rikishi, stood and spoke their request to hold a danpatsu-shiki for the excommunicated ozeki. Hanaregoma-rijicho avoided the request by saying that it as not a decision he could make on his own. More on that as it becomes evident.