Philippine Embassy - Tokyo, Japan > Akira Takayasu, First Japanese-Filipino Ōzeki Sumo Wrestler, Honored at Grand Reception | Philippine Ambassador Commends Sumo’s Newest Star

Akira Takayasu, First Japanese-Filipino Ōzeki Sumo Wrestler, Honored at Grand Reception | Philippine Ambassador Commends Sumo’s Newest Star

New Ōzeki Akira Takayasu, his Filipino mother Mrs. Bebelita Takayasu, father Eiji and brother Hiroyuki receive felicitations from Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V (4th from L), Consul General Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol-Ignacio and Minister Josel F. Ignacio (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Bebelita Takayasu).

New Ōzeki Akira Takayasu, his Filipino mother Mrs. Bebelita Takayasu, father Eiji and brother Hiroyuki receive felicitations from Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V (4th from L), Consul General Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol-Ignacio and Minister Josel F. Ignacio (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Bebelita Takayasu).

Philippine Ambassador to Japan H.E. Jose C. Laurel V joined a crowd of 1,000 people in honoring Japanese-Filipino sumo wrestler Takayasu Akira at the formal reception celebrating his promotion to “ōzeki”, sumo wrestling’s second highest rank, held last September 2 at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

Takayasu, 27, the second son of Mrs. Bebelita Takayasu, a Filipino from Bohol and Cebu, and Mr. Eiji Takayasu of Ibaraki prefecture north of Tokyo, was formally promoted to the rank last May 31 by the Japan Sumo Association (JSA). The promotion makes him the forty-eighth wrestler to earn the rank in modern sumo history dating back to 1927, and one of only three currently active ōzekis in the sport. It also places him within striking distance of the highest rank of “yokozuna”, a title currently held by only four wrestlers, all of whom also graced the reception. The former yokozuna Hokutoumi, presently JSA Chairman, also attended the event.

LEFT: Ambassador Laurel joins the four reigning Yokozunas, JSA Executives and prominent supporters in the traditional sake barrel lid-breaking ceremony (kagami-biraki) to open the celebration. RIGHT: Ōzeki Takayasu is presented and extolled before the reception’s over 1,000 guests.

LEFT: Ambassador Laurel joins the four reigning Yokozunas, JSA Executives and prominent supporters in the traditional sake barrel lid-breaking ceremony (kagami-biraki) to open the celebration. RIGHT: Ōzeki Takayasu is presented and extolled before the reception’s over 1,000 guests.

The promotion is the latest feat in the storied career of the half-Filipino ōzeki, coming 12 years after his very first tournament in March 2005. Since then, he had steadily risen in rank and stature as he competed in sumo’s grueling schedule of six annual grand tournaments. His latest promotion from third-ranked “sekiwake” to ōzeki came after he exceeded the minimum requirement of posting at least 33 wins in the immediately preceding three tournaments, as well as satisfying the governing body’s other criteria covering skill, prowess, improvement, fighting spirit and other traits expected of top-echelon wrestlers.
“Ōzeki Takayasu has brought a very rare honor not only to his family and his sumo stable, but also to the Philippines and the 270,000-strong Filipino community in Japan. This is a feat that we will not probably see repeated in 50 years,” said Ambassador Laurel, as he greeted the ōzeki and his family. “As a Japanese-Filipino who achieved success through discipline and fortitude, his accomplishment mirrors the great heights to which Philippine-Japan relations have risen in recent years, and the great possibilities that remain. We have high hopes for Ōzeki Takayasu and wish him well in his coming tournaments”. END

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