This is the ninth in a series on influential figures in the Heisei Era, which began in 1989 and will end when Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30. In Heisei, Japan was roiled by economic excess and stagnation, as well as a struggle for political and social reform. This series explores those who left their imprint along the way.

In sumo's 2,000-year history, few men have been as steeped in the sport's traditions as Koji Hanada.

Born into sumo royalty, the man better known as Takanohana ended up rejecting those conventions and rituals, publicly and emphatically.