WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Monday praising Hawaii-born former sumo wrestler Daigoro Takamiyama for promoting relations between the United States and Japan.

The resolution, sponsored by Hawaii Rep. Mazie Hirono and passed by the full House, says the chamber “honors Takamiyama Daigoro’s achievements in sumo and his contributions to enhancing United States-Japan relations.”

The resolution says the House “encourages the international community to recognize the successes of Takamiyama Daigoro in sumo.”

Born Jesse Kuhaulua in Hawaii in 1944, Takamiyama was the first U.S.-born sumo wrestler and in 1972 was the first foreigner to win the top-division championship. Upon his 1972 victory, Ambassador Robert Ingersoll read a congratulatory message from President Richard Nixon, “marking the first time English words were spoken at a sumo tournament,” the resolution says.

Takamiyama competed in more than 1,400 matches, established numerous records and earned many awards over his 20-year career. He became the first and only foreign-born wrestler to be a stable master.

The House timed the passage of the resolution to coincide with Takamiyama’s mandatory retirement Monday from the Japan Sumo Association at the age of 65.

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