The Japan Sumo Association board of directors on Friday named stable master and former wrestler Hakkaku as its new chairman.

The 52-year-old Hakkaku, formerly the yokozuna Hokutoumi, has been serving as the JSA's acting chairman since the death of chairman Kitanoumi in November.

"I feel a heavy sense of responsibility," Hakkaku said. "I will defend this place (the world of sumo) with my life. I will give my all to that degree."

Hakkaku took over as chief of operations, the No. 2 post in the JSA, in April 2014 and since then had served as Kitanoumi's chief lieutenant.

Hakkaku becomes the first chairman to rise to the position from the Takasago group of stables, and will serve until the end of March's Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

"Although there will be limits to how much can be accomplished in such a short term, I want to maintain things in a way that we can move forward in the future," he said.

The JSA is expected to select its officer candidates at the end of January, and the board of trustees will choose the JSA's next administration after the March tourney. The selection of the next chairman will follow.