Government to honor late yokozuna

Kyodo

The government will award a posthumous national honor to the late yokozuna Taiho in recognition of his historic sumo victory record, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday.

Taiho, who died last month of heart disease at 72, “left glorious achievements as a great yokozuna,” the top government spokesman told reporters in explaining the conferring of the People’s Honor Award. He was a “national hero loved by lots of people, giving society hopes, dreams and courage.”

It will be the 21st time for the honor to be awarded. Taiho will become the second sumo wrestler after former yokozuna Chiyonofuji, who received the award in 1989.

The sumo legend, whose real name was Koki Naya, won a record 32 tournaments. His family will receive the award in a ceremony to be held at the prime minister’s office on Feb. 25.