is the shikona
(ring name) of a Japanese sumo
wrestler. Although he is not the fastest or the strongest or the most skilled rikishi
in the ring today, Takamisakari is far and away the most popular wrestler among Japanese, due to his childlike naivete, his total lack of pretense or affectation, and his prebout antics, the most famous of which is his habit of slapping his head several times - *really* hard - before he steps into the ring. This head-slapping ritual usually brings the loudest roar of the day from the crowd, topped only by a Takamisakari victory. It also helps that Takamisakari is a native Japanese at a time when several of the dominant sumo wrestlers are foreign-born, such as Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu
Born Kato Seiken in Aomori on May 12, 1976, Takamisakari began sumo wrestling in the 4th grade because at his elementary school, if you joined the sumo team you could get a bigger school lunch. Young Takamisakari soon proved his might as a sumo wrestler and went on to become national junior high school sumo champion and national amateur champion.
As a rising sumo star, Takamisakari entered the Azumazeki beya where he trained under Hawaiian-born Takamiyama who was famous as the first foreign born sumo wrestler to win a tournament, in 1976. Takamisakari made his debut in March, 1999, and rose quickly, rising to the Juryo division in January, 2000, and achieving Makuuchi status by July, 2000. By 2003, Takamisakari rose all the way to Komusubi, the highest rank he has achieved to date, and had become the most popular wrestler in the sport. Takamisakari then receeded back to the middle ranks of the Maegashira, and many sumo watchers predicted that his popularity would decline, but instead, he became possibly even more popular, as he now often enjoyed underdog status against wrestlers the crowd loves to hate.
It is said that Takamisakari's pre-bout head slapping ritual began early in his career when he suffered an injury in a bout which took several months to heal. When he returned to the ring, he had become very hesitant, fearing that he would reinjure himself, and lost bout after bout. Finally, he developed the ritual of slapping himself violently before each bout to rid himself of his fear, and has continued to do so until this day.
To his fans, Takamisakari is affectionately known by his nickname robokoppu - "Robocop".
As of this writing, Takamisakari's record stands at 249-208-41. He has won 1 outstanding performance award, 2 fighting spirit awards, 2 technique prizes, and 2 kinboshi awards for defeating a reigning yokozuna. Takamisakari stands in at 188 cm and weighs 140 kg. His favorite winning technique is yorikiri.