1997 in sumo

The following are the events in professional sumo during 1997.





  • In Osaka, Takanohana takes his 16th championship after an unusual four way playoff also involving Akebono, Musashimaru and maegashira 1 Kaio, after all finish on 12–3. He defeats Kaio and then Akebono, who had eliminated Musashimaru. Kaio, who had upset both Takanohana and Akebono earlier in the tournament, is awarded the Outstanding Performance prize. Dejima receives Technique and Fighting Spirit prizes for scoring eleven wins in his top division debut. Tamakasuga also receives a share of the Fighting Spirit prize. Wakanohana withdraws early after tearing a muscle in his right leg. Terao is also forced to withdraw after breaking his big toe, ending a run of 1359 consecutive bouts from his debut in 1979. Chiyotaikai wins the juryo championship. Former komusubi Naminohana retires.


  • Akebono wins his 9th yusho, and first for over two years, by defeating Takanohana twice on the final day, once in regulation and once in a playoff after both yokozuna finish on 13–2. It is the first time that Takanohana and Akebono alone have fought a playoff, and comes after Akebono had lost seven times in a row to his rival. Wakanohana sits the tournament out. Kaio suffers a serious leg injury after standing at 7–4 on the 11th day and has to withdraw. Tamakasuga wins his second successive sansho, for Outstanding Performance. Tosanoumi and Tochiazuma share the Fighting Spirit Award. Oginishiki wins the Technique Prize. Tokitsuumi wins the juryo yusho in his debut in the division. Toki wins the makushita championship. Former sekiwake Kotogaume retires, as does juryo wrestler Sunahama (William Taylor Hopkins) from Hawaii.
  • Former ozeki Daiju takes over the running of Asahiyama stable following the death of its stablemaster.



  • Takanohana defeats Akebono on the final day in Nagoya to claim his 17th championship with a 13–2 record. Akebono is runner-up on 12–3. Takatoriki is third on 11–4 and wins the Outstanding Performance Prize. Tochiazuma wins his first Technique Award, and Tochinonada receives the Fighting Spirit Prize. Wakanohana just preserves his ozeki status with an 8–7 record. Chiyotaikai wins his second juryo championship and promotion to makuuchi, the first top division wrestler produced by the former Chiyonofuji (Kokonoe-oyakata). Former juryo veteran Dairyu retires at the age of 37 after 21 years in sumo.


  • At the Aki basho Takanohana wins back-to-back titles for the first time in a year, defeating Musashimaru in a playoff after both men finish on 13–2. Takanonami is third on 12–3. Dejima finishes on 11–4 and wins Technique and Outstanding Performance Prizes. Tochiazuma also receives a share of the Technique Prize in his debut tournament at sekiwake. The Fighting Spirit Award goes to Tochinonada for the second time in a row. In the juryo division Oginohana wins his fourth championship. Toyozakura wins the makushita yusho. Rikio retires after a disagreement with his stablemaster (the former Takanosato).


  • In Kyushu, former ozeki Konishiki retires after winning only five bouts at maegashira 14, bringing to an end a career that encompassed three yusho and 81 consecutive top division tournaments. His final match proves to be his eighth defeat in his bout against Kotonowaka on Day 13, as he is not allowed onto the dohyo to face Misugisato on the following day due to his stablemaster having already handed in his retirement papers. Former sekiwake Wakashoyo, and maegashira Kotobeppu also retire. The championship is won by Takanonami, his second. He defeats his stablemate Takanohana in a playoff after both wrestlers finish on 14–1. All the sekiwake and komusubi record losing scores, the first time this has happened in seven years. Unsurprisingly only one special prize is awarded, to Musoyama for Fighting Spirit. Akebono sits the tournament out. Wakanosato wins the juryo title after a playoff with Susanoumi. Kitazakura wins the makushita yusho.


  • 20 May: Asahiyama Oyakata (former komusubi Wakafutase), aged 55.
  • 5 July: Former sekiwake Kainoyama (also briefly Onogawa Oyakata), aged 57.
  • 18 August: Former sekiwake Tochiakagi, aged 42.
  • 17 September: Tatsutayama Oyakata (former maegashira Amanoyama), aged 43.
  • 24 September: Asakayama Oyakata (former komusubi Aobayama), aged 47.

See also

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