thursday sumo: he’s toyotomi hideyoshi

File:Asashoryu and Hakuho glare at each other 2008 May.jpgYokozuna Asashoryu (朝青龍) is a controversial figure–the Mongolian Grand Champion has a well-deserved reputation for being brash, even disrespectful, but the last few tournaments have proven that fans, Japanese or not, will fill stadiums to see him fight.  However, despite what some perceive as his attitude problems, he often exhibits surprising kind-heartedness, both on and off the dohyo, as evidenced by this encounter at the recent Soken keiko session:

The moment generating the most buzz came afterwards when Asashoryu walked over to YDC member and perceived enemy Makiko Uchidate and wished her well after her illness and heart surgery performed last December. Uchidate has been out of the public spotlight for most of the year, but cameras flashed as the Yokozuna said, “Sensei, you had me worried there. Are you doing okay? I’m glad you’re getting better.” Asashoryu gave Udate a light hug causing her to comment to reporters afterwards somewhat in jest, “He’s Toyotomi Hideyoshi,” a term used by women in Japan to refer to heroic men they are in love with.  

 (from SumoTalk, linkage mine)

(Asashoryu vs. Ozeki Kotomitsuki, January 2004, day 10)

(This is a nice CNN interview with the Yokozuna, in three parts: here’s two and three, or you can just click through.  And yes, it is still technically Thursday–I never said I’d be prompt.)

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