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Interview with Maegashira Kakuryu (May 2008)

by Harumi Hotta and Martina Lunau


When did you decide to become a sumo wrestler?

Sumo started to be broadcast in Mongolia when Kyokutenho-zeki became a sekitori.  I watched the programmes whenever they were  broadcast; then, one day, I wanted to become a sumo wrestler .


Why did you choose sumo for your profession?

I played basketball, but I knew I wouldn't be able to make my living from it.  I thought about what else I could do; then, I thought I could be a sumo wrestler.


Is it true that you wrote a letter direct to Nihon Sumo Kyokai about becoming a sumo wrestler?



Why did you choose Izutsu-beya?

I didn't know which heya I would belong to.  I received a reply not from NSK but from an acquaintance of Izutsu Oyakata.  So I was brought to Izutsu-beya when I came to Japan. 



What did your parents think about your going to Japan to become a sumo wrestler?

I don't know- but they encouraged me a lot! 


What was your first impression of Japan?

When I got off an airplane, I thought the air was dirty- I felt sick immediately.

On the other hand, I thought Japan was very clean- nice buildings, roads-


What did you struggle to get used to?  As you have been getting used to your life in Japan, what have you been enjoying?

I didn't understand any Japanese, which was hard for me.  However, as I learned the language, I began to communicate with people in the heya, and I started enjoying my life in Japan.


How much did you weigh when you first came to Japan?  How did you gain your weight?

I weighed only 72 kilogrammes.  I couldn't eat much Japanese food-  Senior rikishi advised me to take some protein.  Then, slowly, I began  to eat a lot...


Who taught you the Japanese language?

I bought a Japanese text book which is written in Mongolian in Mongolia.  I took it to Japan.  First I pointed at pictures in the book and everyone taught me the right word in Japanese.  And- I watched TV very often.  I asked my seniors about the content and words which I caught in the drama..  So  I learned the language in daily life.


Who is your ideal rikishi?

I don't have a big body- so- I like Terao-zeki, Takanohana-zeki- and Chiyonofuji-zeki..  They were great rikishi even though they were not so big.


How do you prepare for your next day's bout?

I watch a video of when I fought with the opponent before.  I also watch videos of how he has fought this basho so far.


How often do you go to degeiko?

It depends on the timing..  Usually, I go to degeikos more frequently as the basho is approaching.  I often go to Tokitsukaze-beya.


What is your favorite technique?



How do you describe yourself?

mmmm-. People think that I am quiet and gentle- but I don't know-  I am a bit shy with people when I first meet them...


What do you do in your free time?

I watch other sports or movies, and I read  Mongolian books-


What is your favorite food and drink?

I like meat.. and I like beer.


Which food and drink don't you like?

I am OK with everything.


How often do you go back to Mongolia?

After I became a sekitori, I could go back to Mongolia quite freely, but I go there only once a year.  This is just after the Nagoya-basho because it is the best season there.



What do you do when you go back to Mongolia?

I spend my time with my family, relatives and my friends.  I escape from the media.


Which active rikishi you admire?

Both yokozuna.


Which rikishi don't you want to fight?

I am fine fighting anyone.  You know, even though I don't want to fight, I have to fight with him anyway, so I don't care much about it.


Who is your special rival now when your banzuke is rising up?

The rikishi who are almost the same age as me.  Kisenosato, Ama- I don't want to lose the bouts with them.


Your banzuke has jumped up recently.  We are sure that you will become an ozeki one day - sometime soon we hope -  What is your dream?

I concentrate on each bout- one by one.  I have a dream, but I was told that the dream wouldn't come true if I told it to anyone- so it is secret. 

If I continue to concentrate on each of my bouts, then I think my dream will come true one day.


Could you say something to your fans all over the world?

I try my best to show you my best sumo!


Thank you very much and ganbatte kudasai.