Kakizoe Toru was born in Oita
on August 12, 1978
. He is, along with Dejima
, one of the very few sumo
wrestlers who compete under their own name rather than a shikona
or "ring name".
Kakizoe took up sumo at an early age; as a student in primary school he was made national grade school "yokozuna" (Grand Champion). He then went on to prove that this was no fluke by winning the National Sumo Championship for Middle schoolers (Zenkoku Taikai).
After college, where he also became college-level yokozuna, Kakizoe decided to try to follow his childhood dream: in September 2001 he joined professional sumo. He was the first to fall under a new rule from 2000, that allows successful amateur sumotori to skip the lower divisions, and go straight to the third highest: makushita. In March 2003 he was promoted to juryo1, the second highest division - and the first salaried, and less than six months later he entered the top division, makuuchi.
Kakizoe shot up through the makuuchi during the next couple of basho (tournaments), and was promoted to the rank of komusubi in March 2004. He didn't do so well though, and soon found himself among the maegashira2 once more, and despite being fairly consistent in his sumo he has remained a maegashira, albeit in the top half of the division.
Being only 177cm tall Kakizoe is among the shortest rikishi (lit. strong man) in makuuchi. He weighs 136 kg at the moment, and he is very strong and well balanced. Tall wrestlers, e.g. Ozeki Kotooshu (at 203 cm), find it hard to get a grip on the much shorter opponent. The two have met nine times, and Kakizoe has won four of those meetings.
Kakizoe has won the following Special Prizes:
- 1 Gino sho (Technique Prize)
Kakizoe is a strong and stable wrestler, and I believe he will reside in the upper half of makuuchi for some years to come.
In February, 2007, Kakizoe married 25 year old Emi Asai, whom he has known since 1999, when they attended Nihhon Sport Science University together. Fans are hoping for the couple to provide future sumo wrestlers, but Emi Asai says she would prefer her children to chose different careers.
- The divisions are, from the bottom up: maezumo (not included in the banzuke), jonokuchi, jonidan, sandanme, makushita, juryo, and makuuchi.
- The ranks in the top division are, from the bottom up: maegashira, komusubi, sekiwake, ozeki and yokozuna.
My sources are, besides being glued to the TV whenever sumo is on, http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/eng and http://www.sumoforum.net/glossary.html.
Also, for this writeup, the official Musashigawabeya blog has been very helpful.