Interview and Photos
by Mark Buckton
|WT: No, not at all. No one knows it. It will be more popular soon though. From now they’ll know it.
MB: So, given that you live in a hotbed of wrestling, why did you start sumo?
WT: Roho-zeki was in sumo and my father knew his father and asked him to help me. I’d known Roho for a long time – since we were kids. He was like my teacher. Also, in wrestling the competition limit was (is) 120kg but I was 138kg so I stopped and entered sumo.
MB: The same weight problem came up in an interview I did with Kokkai-zeki a while ago, he went over the limit too and had to stop.
WT: Kotooshu too. It’s pretty common.
MB: When you first came to Japan to give sumo a shot, you used your connection to Roho-zeki I understand?
WT: Yes, I stayed in Otake beya for six months - with Roho’s help.
MB: Did you enjoy your time there? Find it hard?
WT: I was shocked more than anything, really shocked – everyone had a mage!
MB: What about the mawashi?
WT: Yeah, that was a shock too. It was really itchy. (he says demonstrating his favored itching technique)
MB: Was it a new mawashi?
WT: Yes, but the itchy feeling
Sumo Fan Magazine’s 3rd rikishi interview to date, December 14th saw
Mark Buckton sit down with Russian up and comer Wakanoho of Magaki beya.|
Just a few days before the Hatsu banzuke was released, with sun pouring in through the window of the heya office, what was supposed to be an interview turned into more of a chat and is herein reproduced as such.
Prepped questions, including some sent in by SFM staff and readers were asked although sometimes out of order and having ventured off at tangents.
Stable life went on around the pair as yobidashi, rikishi and office staff rushed in and out of the office. A vegetable / fruit juice mix was enjoyed by both. ‘Somewhere a dog barked’ would be a classic Stephen King space filler but with no dogs at Magaki, the only non-human on the scene was the heya cat with its torn ear silhouetted against the window (sun pouring in remember) behind the teenage giant come good.
WT: (as MB entered the room) Hello (in English with hand thrust out). Where do you come from? (in Japanese)
And so started the interview – with MB on the receiving end. In handing over an SFM name card and giving him a quick run-down, the reception meaning that most of the formalities went out of the
|window, the small talk ventured into the realm of Internet sites on sumo.
NB: WT does read certain sites and so MB hit him with the one question many sumo fans known to frequent Sumo Forum will have been waiting for – right at the start:
MB: There’s a man out there in cyberspace going by the online shikona of Ossetian Yokozuna, and given that you are from that part of Russia, I’d like to kick off by asking if you’ve ever heard of him?
WT: Yes, yes, yes, yes ,yes! I’ve heard of him. (laughs). Older guy I think. Lives in …….. (location removed for privacy)
MB: (getting back on track and settling into his chair) As a youngster, you went to school in North Ossetia. At that time what sports were you interested in?
WT: Wrestling. Freestyle wrestling.
MB: No other sports? Soccer…….?
WT: Only wrestling.
MB: Why such a…? (gestures to indicate focused vision)
WT: Ossetia has so many Olympic champions in wrestling that it is THE main sport. It’s like that in Mongolia too.
MB: Is sumo famous, popular?