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Le Monde du Sumo
N°2 - february 2004
(Click on the picture to download
the full french issue, with pictures,...)


Gilles Furelaud
translated by Jelena Macan
proofread by Denis Chaton


Hoshitango: intai and danpatsu-shiki in 11 days



Hoshitango

For a long time Hoshitango was a remarkable personality in sumo. First through his origins: Hoshitango, born Imach Marcello Salomon, became the first rikishi of Argentinean origin. Until very recently, he was basically the only Caucasian wrestler in a world where most of the foreigners came from Hawaii or Mongolia. But one of Hoshitango’s particularities was also his age: 38 years, one of the oldest active wrestlers. Last, Hoshitango shows another particularity: he has been naturalised Japanese, since October 25th 2000, and his name is now Hoshi, given name Tango.

Starting in a small heya

Born on September 5th 1965, Hoshitango, 162 kg for 1.82 m, started sumo in May 1987 within Hoshikabuto beya. Step by step, the Argentinean wrestler advanced in the banzuke to be promoted to juryo in September 1992. He then found himself in an unusual situation: his heya numbered only a few rikishi, two, sometimes three. Because of that, even though a sekitori normally benefits from unsalaried wrestlers who assist him (the tsukebito), Hoshitango had to continue to take care of housecleaning duties himself …


Sumo jinku by Toyozakura


In the Michinoku beya

In 1998, Hoshitango joined the brand new Michinoku beya, founded by the former ozeki Kirishima. So he found himself in a great heya, where his status as a skilled wrestler allowed him to dedicate himself to the training of young wrestlers.
He became then an essential part of the Michinoku beya.
At the same time, Hoshitango imposed himself as a juryo division regular, where he reached the rank of juryo 3.


The slow descent…

In September 2000, after an absence due to an injury, Hoshitango was demoted and returned to makushita. He was never to return to juryo again. His results continued to be very respectable. However, in 2003 the make-koshi started to be more frequent than kachi-koshi. Little by little, Hoshitango went deeper into makushita division. After a disastrous Kyushu basho, in January 2004 he found himself in sandanme division.
After 17 years of hard work, he decided to finally end his career. Still, he took part in the Hatsu basho, and finished his career with a final make-koshi. Maybe in this way he could leave without regrets, knowing that he had truly come to the ends of his strength.


The danpatsu-shiki

Less than two weeks after the end of his final basho, Hoshitango organised his danpatsu-shiki. It is during this ceremony that rikishi’s mage (topknot) is cut. In a great hall of Kokugikan in Tokyo, about 150 guests took turns in taking each a scissor snip of the wrestler’s mage. Among them were all the wrestlers of the Michinoku beya (including maegashira Jumonji and juryo Toyozakura), former rikishi such as Sentoryu, Terao (Shikoroyoma oyakata) or Mainoumi, active sekitori (among whom Tosanoumi), and numerous admirers.
It is Michinoku oyakata who made the final cut.
After a quick visit to the hairdresser, Hoshi Tango went back with his new haircut. After the ceremony he intends to pay a visit to his mother in Argentine, before returning to Japan again, perhaps to find another occupation in this sport. But he cannot become an oyakata, since he didn’t spend 30 tournaments as a sekitori.


Some participants cutting Hoshitango’s mage


Terao with his son


Hakuba, the young Mongol from Michinoku beya


Katrina Wats


Sentoryu


The final cut by Michinoku oyakata


Hoshitango’s new look

A big thanks to Liliane Fujimori for the photos !



Download Le Monde du Sumo n°2 to get more information on this subject:
Hoshitango's carrer results
(Understandable without speaking French)