Championships 1 (Makuuchi)
Height 1.76 m
Retired March, 1965
Makuuchi rank Ozeki
|Role Sumo wrestler|
Debut October, 1949
Name Wakahaguro Tomoaki
Weight 150 kg
|Born Tomoaki Kusabuka
November 25, 1934
Yokohama, Japan (1934-11-25) |
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (1) Fighting Spirit (1) Technique (2)
Died March 2, 1969, Okayama, Okayama Prefecture, Japan
Stable Tatsunami stable (until 1965)
Similar People Haguroyama Masaji, Kashiwado Tsuyoshi, Matsunobori Shigeo, Tochinishiki Kiyotaka, Sadanoyama Shinmatsu
Highest rank Ozeki (November, 1959)
Wakahaguro Tomoaki (25 November 1934 – 2 March 1969) was a sumo wrestler from Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. His highest rank was ōzeki.
A former swimming champion while at junior high school, Wakahaguro made his professional debut in October 1949, joining Tatsunami stable. To meet the weight requirement, he had to drink an enormous amount of water prior to his physical. However, he was able to put on more weight as he moved up the ranks. He reached the second highest jūryō division in March 1954 and was promoted to the top makuuchi division in March 1955. His first big success in a tournament came in March 1956 when he won 12 out of 15 bouts and took part in a three way playoff for the championship with ōzeki Wakanohana and sekiwake Asashio. Although he was defeated, he was awarded the Fighting Spirit prize. After three years of steady progress he worked his way up to sekiwake rank and in the September 1959 tournament was runner-up once again. This performance earned him promotion to ōzeki. In his ōzeki debut he took the tournament championship with a 13–2 record, the first ōzeki debutant to do so since Chiyonoyama ten years earlier. After the tournament a party was held at the Imperial Hotel to celebrate both his ōzeki promotion and his engagement.
Wakahaguro was expected to quickly push on to yokozuna promotion, but his second tournament as an ōzeki ended with an extremely disappointing 7–8 record. After this it was clear that Wakahaguro had neither the consistency nor the determination to reach sumo's highest rank, and he was to be overtaken by two younger rivals, Taihō and Kashiwado. In November 1960 Wakahaguro managed to defeat Taihō for the first time in five attempts but could not prevent him from winning his first championship. Wakahaguro's 12–3 runner-up performance was the last time he was able to challenge for a tournament title. In January 1961 it was Kashiwado's turn to win his first championship, and Wakahaguro could produce only a 10–5 score. After a poor 5–10 record in July 1961 he missed the September tournament through injury. In November 1961, the same tournament in which both Taihō and Kashiwado made their yokozuna debuts, Wakahaguro lost his ōzeki rank after managing only a 5–10 record on his comeback. The rules in place at the time meant three consecutive make-koshi or losing scores would result in demotion, and his absences in September were counted as losses.
Retirement from sumo
Wakahaguro spent the last three years of his career in the maegashira ranks, but he was beset by personal problems, including a gambling addiction. In 1965, heavily in debt, he was forced to retire in disgrace after being caught attempting to sell smuggled handguns to gangsters, which he had acquired in Los Angeles whilst on an overseas tour. He was tried, convicted and given an 18-month suspended prison sentence. A formal retirement ceremony was impossible in such circumstances so a private one was done quietly at a hotel in Miura city.
Divorced from his wife and separated from his children, Wakahaguro spent his last years working at a sumo fan's restaurant in Okayama city. He died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 34.
Wakahaguro was an oshi-sumo specialist, for which his distinctive round, fleshy body type or anko-gata was ideally suited. He won over 40 percent of his matches by a straightforward oshi-dashi, or push out.