PhotoGuide Japan Home Akebono Tribute About
Akebono
Home > PhotoExposure > Akebono Tribute > Retirement | Photo Search | Yokozuna | Ozeki | Stable Visit | About Akebono

What's this? Facts about Yokozuna Akebono. Last modified: May 15, 2004

Photos and story by Philbert Ono

ABOUT AKEBONO

Akebono Dohyo-iri

With a total of 11 tournament championships, Akebono certainly upheld the duty and dignity of a yokozuna. This total is the 7th best in the modern era, after Taiho's 32, Chiyonofuji's 31, Kitanoumi's 24, Takanohana's 21, Wajima's 14, and Futabayama's 12 career championships. Standing 203 cm (6'8") tall and weighing 233 kg (514 lbs), he was one of the most awesome-looking grand champions ever.

Akebono, whose real name was Chad Rowan, was only 18 years old when he was scouted in Hawaii by his stablemaster Azumazeki Oyakata, the former Takamiyama or Jesse Kuhaulua who was the first foreign wrestler to reach sumo's top division. In 1988, Akebono left Hawaii for the first time and arrived in a country he hardly knew anything about. His debut in his first sumo tournament was in March 1988. A quick 30 tournaments later in Jan. 1993, he became sumo's first foreigner yokozuna. And not only that, he was sumo's sole yokozuna for almost 2 years until Takanohana finally joined him.

Real name: Chad George Ha'aheo Rowan
Birthdate: May 8, 1969
Birthplace: Waimanalo, Oahu, Hawaii
Education: Kaiser High School graduate, Hawaii Pacific Univ. 1 semester
Height: 204 cm (6'8")
Weight: 232 kg (512 lbs.)
Immediate family: Father Randy (Irish-Hawaiian and former tour bus driver, died in 1993), mother Janice (Cuban-Hawaiian and former high school office worker), 2 younger brothers, 1 younger sister
Stable: Azumazeki (Sumida-ku, Tokyo)
Monthly salary: ¥1,874,000 (as yokozuna in 1993)

Pre-yokozuna Record
Prizes: Shukun-sho Outstanding Performance Prize (4), Kanto-sho Fighting Spirit Prize (2), Kinboshi yokozuna upsets (4)
Tourneys in each division (Total 30): Mae-zumo (1), Jonokuchi (1), Jonidan (3), Sandan-me (2), Makushita (5), Juryo (3), Makunouchi (15)
Tourneys at each Makunouchi rank: Maegashira (5), Komusubi (3), Sekiwake (4), Ozeki (4)
Wins-losses-absences (Total 222-110-15): Jonokuchi (6-1), Jonidan (16-5), Sandanme (11-3), Makushita (25-10), Juryo (30-15), Maegashira (42-33), Komusubi (28-17), Sekiwake (28-17), Ozeki (36-9-15)

Sumo Records Held
- Most consecutive winning (kachikoshi) tournaments from Jonokuchi (18)
- Fastest rise to ozeki (26 tournaments)
- Fastest rise to yokozuna (30 tournaments)
- First foreign yokozuna
- Biggest yokozuna

Career Statistics
Total wins: 654, Total losses: 232, Total absences: 181
Makunouchi tournament championships: 11
Kinboshi (defeated Yokozuna while a low-ranking wrestler): 4 times
Outstanding Performance Award: 4 times
Fighting Spirit Award: 2 times
Number of kinboshi given (losses to low-ranking wrestlers while yokozuna): 35
Makunouchi win-loss record with Takanohana: 21-21
Makunouchi win-loss record with Wakanohana: 18-17
Makunouchi win-loss record with Konishiki: 9-8
Makunouchi win-loss record with Musashimaru: 22-16

Career Chronology
Mar. 1988: Standing 200 cm and weighing 334 pounds, Chad enters sumo with the ring name of Taikai (Big Ocean) and wins 3 of 4 mae-zumo bouts.
May 1988: Enters Jonokuchi Division with ring name Akebono.
July 1988: Enters Jonidan Division and weighs 337 pounds.
Jan. 1989: Enters Sandan-me Division and weighs 340 pounds at a height of 202 cm.
May 1989: Enters Makushita Division and weighs 369 pounds.
Mar. 1990: Enters Juryo Division, making him a sekitori. Weighs 386 pounds at a height of 203 cm.
Sep. 1990: Enters Makunouchi Division as Higashi Maegashira 14. Weighs 411 pounds at a height of 204 cm.
Mar. 1991: Debuts as komusubi and weighs 424 pounds.
May 1991: Debuts as sekiwake.
May 1992: Wins first tournament championship (13-2) and is promoted to ozeki. Weighs 440 pounds.
July 1992: Absent from a tournament for the first time due to a toe injury.
Nov. 1992: Wins second tournament championship (14-1).
Jan. 1993: Wins third tournament championship (13-2) and is promoted as the 64th yokozuna. (Wins 8 other tournaments until retiring.)
Mar. 1993: Debuts as yokozuna but fails to win the tournament.
June 1993: Sumo exhibition tour conducted in Hawaii with Yokozuna Akebono.
July 1993: Wins fourth tournament championship.
Sept. 1993: Wins fifth tournament championship.
Nov. 1993: Wins sixth tournament championship. On the 13th day, Akebono defeats Konishiki resulting in Konishiki's demotion from Ozeki.
Mar. 1994: Wins seventh tournament championship.
Mar. 1995: Wins eighth tournament championship.
Apr. 1996: Becomes a Japanese citizen.
May 1997: Wins ninth tournament championship.
Feb. 1998: Performs dohyo-iri ring-entering ceremony at the Nagano Winter Olympics.
Oct. 1998: Marries Christine Reiko (27).
Nov. 1998-Mar. 1999: Skipped three tournaments in a row due to injury.
July 2000: Wins tenth tournament championship.
Nov. 2000: Wins eleventh and his final tournament championship.
Jan. 2001: Absent from the tournament and announces his retirement.
Sept. 29, 2001: Holds retirement ceremony at Kokugikan sumo arena in Ryogoku, Tokyo.

Page Top

Post your comments in my Guestbook!

Home > PhotoExposure > Akebono Tribute > Retirement | Photo Search | Yokozuna | Ozeki | Stable Visit | About Akebono
PhotoGuide Japan is a trademark of Philbert Ono. Contact Us
Photos copyright © 2001 Philbert Ono. All rights reserved.
Transmitting from Tokyo, Japan.