Komusubi (Jan, 2012)
Maegashira (since 2012)
| March, 1999|
Fighting Spirit (1)
| Masaya Yakigaya
February 24, 1984 (age 31)
Funabashi, Chiba, Japan (1984-02-24) |
Onomatsu stable (since 1999)
Tokitenku Yoshiaki, Asasekiryu Taro, Kitataiki Akeyoshi, Miyabiyama Tetsushi, Tochinowaka Michihiro
Wakakōyū Masaya (born 24 February 1984 as Masaya Yakigaya) is a former professional sumo wrestler from Funabashi, Japan. His highest rank was komusubi. The last two characters of his ring name were taken from his mentor and coach at Ōnomatsu, the former Masurao. He was only the second wrestler from his stable to reach the top division. He was runner-up in one tournament and earned one special prize, for Fighting Spirit. He is now a sumo coach.
Wakakōyū Masaya Wikipedia
Two years after his birth in Funabashi, his father was killed in a car accident and he was subsequently raised alone by his mother. Ōnomatsu being very near the home of one of his relatives, he began visiting the stable from a young age. This eventually led to him entering the stable in 1999.
Fighting under his own surname of Yakigaya, he rose steadily through the ranks until reaching sandanme where he started to struggle. He managed to reach makushita in September 2002 but was demoted back to sandanme after one tournament. In 2003, he missed two tournaments, but upon returning earned two impressive records topped off with a perfect 7-0 record to win the sandanme championship in the last tournament of that year.He fought for four years in the makushita ranks with occasional temporary demotions to sandanme before finally achieving a record that enabled his promotion to the second division, jūryō, in January, 2008. To mark his arrival in the elite sekitori ranks he changed his shikona to Wakakōyū.
After a year and half in jūryō with two demotions to makushita he managed a 9-6 record at the jūryō 2 rank and was promoted to the bottom of the makuuchi division in July, 2009. He only managed a 4-11 record and fell back to jūryō. After a one off 6-9 record this tournament, he took in a string of winning records over the next several tournaments to again reach the top division makuuchi in May, 2010. This time he proved himself with a 10-5 record that would have allowed him to fight in the next tournament at a career high maegashira 8. However, at this time, he admitted to having been involved in baseball gambling along with a number of other higher ranked wrestlers and was forced to sit out the tournament and was demoted back to jūryō having never fought at his (then) highest achieved rank.
He bounced back from this setback with two winning tournaments, the second being an impressive 10-5 at jūryō's highest rank. This awarded him another chance to prove himself in makuuchi in the January 2011 tournament. Wakakōyū and Toyohibiki were the last two wrestlers to again reach the top division after being demoted of it in the gambling scandal. After an 8-7 score at maegashira 10 in the May Technical Examination Tournament, he reached the upper maegashira ranks for the first time at #3. He managed to defeat two ozeki (Kotooshu and the shortly to retire Kaio) but finished with a losing score of 5-10. His best performance in the top division came in November 2011 when he finished runner-up to yokozuna Hakuho with a score of 12-3 and was awarded his first sansho or special prize, for Fighting Spirit. It also saw him promoted to the sanyaku ranks for the first time at komusubi for the following tournament in January 2012. However, a decline in his performances saw him demoted back to the juryo division at the end of 2012 having scored only 4–11 at maegashira 13 in November. After a few years as a fixture in the second division he retired mid-tournament in September 2014 when his losing record had assured his demotion to the unsalaried ranks.
Wakakōyū has stayed in the sumo world as a coach at Ōnomatu stable. He has secured one of the Sumo Association's 105 toshiyori-kabu or elder names, and is now known as Shiranui Oyakata. His danpatsu-shiki or official retirement ceremony was held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on January 31, 2015.
Wakakōyū was an oshi-sumo specialist, preferring pushing and thrusting techniques to fighting on the mawashi. His most common winning kimarite were oshi-dashi (push out), tsuki dashi (thrust out) and hiki-otoshi (pull down).