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Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010

News photo
The original Wakanohana, shown in a 1958 file photo during a ceremony commemorating his becoming the 45th yokozuna, died Wednesday of kidney cancer. Wakanohana, a former JSA chairman whose real name was Katsuji Hanada, was 82. Story: Page 18 KYODO PHOTO

'Devil of the Dohyo' Wakanohana dies

Kyodo News

The original former yokozuna Wakanohana, whose nickname in the ring was the "Devil of the Dohyo," died Wednesday evening of kidney cancer at a Tokyo hospital, the Japan Sumo Association said. He was 82.

News photo
Devil is gone: Original former yokozuna Wakanohana, shown here after winning his first Emperor's Cup in 1956, passed away on Wednesday in Tokyo. Wakanohana won 10 championships before retiring in 1962. KYODO PHOTO

Wakanohana, a former JSA chairman whose real name was Katsuji Hanada, lived the second longest of all yokozuna after the first Umegatani, who passed away at the age of 83.

Hanada was the elder brother of former stablemaster Futagoyama (former ozeki Takanohana) who died in May 2005, and uncle to former yokozuna brothers Wakanohana and Takanohana.

He made his debut in the fall of 1946 under the name Wakanohana and was promoted to the elite makuuchi division five years later at the 1950 spring meet.

After gaining promotion to the second-highest rank of ozeki at the 1955 autumn meet, he became the 45th yokozuna three years later at the 1958 New Year tournament. Wakanohana, who was relatively light for a sumo wrestler at just 105 kilograms, was known for his trademark overarm throwing techniques.

Wakanohana won 10 Emperor's Cup titles in his heyday. He was appointed JSA chairman in February 1988 and held the post for two terms until 1992.



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