| May, 1990|
| Shuhei Nagao
February 17, 1968 (age 47)
Aomori, Japan (1968-02-17) |
Komusubi (September, 1994)
Dewanoumi stable (1990–1999)
Memoirs of a Geisha, Red Shadow, Ultraman Cosmos: The First
Kitanofuji Katsuaki, Konishiki, Hakuho Sho, Tomonohana Shinya, Chiyonofuji Mitsugu
Mainoumi Shūhei (born 17 February 1968 as Shūhei Nagao) is a former sumo wrestler from Aomori, Japan. His highest rank was komusubi. During the 1990s he was one of the most popular wrestlers in sumo due to his wide variety of techniques and great fighting spirit in battling opponents nearly twice his size.
Born in Ajigasawa, Nagao was an amateur sumo champion at Nihon University, where he studied economics. He originally wanted to be a teacher, but decided to join professional sumo in honour of a close friend who died before he could achieve his own ambition of being a sumo champion. Mainoumi initially failed the Sumo Association's physical entrance exam, because he was too short to meet their height requirement, which at that time was 173 cm. He got round this by persuading a doctor to inject silicone into his scalp, giving him the necessary couple of centimetres. To prevent any future hopefuls from having to go through this painful procedure, the Sumo Association changed its rules to allow special dispensation for amateur champions who do not meet the height requirements.
Nagao made his professional debut in May 1990 in the third makushita division and reached jūryō in March 1991. To mark his promotion he changed his shikona from his own surname to Mainoumi (which means "dancing sea"). On his debut in the top makuuchi division in September 1991 he scored eight wins and was awarded the Ginō-shō or Technique Prize, the first of five he was to win during his career.
Mainoumi said his ambition in the top division was to reach a san'yaku rank at least once, and this he achieved in September 1994 when he was promoted to komusubi. In July 1996 he broke his leg when the 275 kg Konishiki fell on it, ironically in a bout which Mainoumi won. He was forced to sit out the rest of that tournament and all of the next, dropping to the jūryō division. He returned to the top division in May 1997 but since his injury he had lost some of his speed and he was finding it more difficult to hold his own. In March 1998 he fell back to jūryō once again, where he remained until his retirement from sumo in November 1999.
Mainoumi had such an extensive knowledge of sumo techniques that he was nicknamed Waza no Depaato, or the Department Store of Techniques. He used up to 33 different kimarite during his career. In November 1991 he defeated the 204 cm, 200 kg wrestler Akebono by mitokorozeme, a "triple attack force out", which involves simultaneously tripping one leg, grabbing the other, and pushing with the head into the opponent's chest to force him down backwards. He is the only sekitori to have used this technique since the beginning of the Heisei era. Mainoumi also had a very unusual tachi-ai, and was the first to introduce the tactic of nekodamashi, of clapping of the hands in front of the opponent's face to distract him at the initial charge.
Mainoumi chose not to stay in sumo as a coach after retiring from the ring, a decision that caused some disquiet in the Sumo Association at a time when the sport's popularity was at a low ebb. Instead he launched a new career as a television personality. He can still be heard commentating on NHK's sumo broadcasts. He has turned down many offers from political parties to run as their candidate. He appeared in 2005 Hollywood film Memoirs of a Geisha as a sumo wrestler, credited as Shūhei Nagao, his real name. He has also worked at Sakaigawa stable (run by his ex-stablemate Ryōgoku) as an assistant instructor.
Mainoumi was married in May 1997, to a nightclub manager with two children from a previous marriage.
Mainoumi Shūhei Wikipedia