• Kyodo

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Kumamoto-born wrestler Shodai and members of his Sakaigawa stable visited the quake-struck prefecture on Thursday, making donations and wrestling with elementary school children to do their part in a bid for the region’s recovery.

Rank-and-file maegashira Shodai, who is from the city of Uto, visited the prefectural government office along with his stablemaster to donate more than ¥4.6 million ($43,300).

Shodai went into the ring and answered questions from children during a visit to the town of Mashiki, severely hit first by a magnitude-6.5 temblor on April 14 before the magnitude-7.3 tremor two days later that left 49 dead and one missing in the prefecture.

“I was really worried at the time after hearing from my family that they had to sleep in the car,” Shodai said. “I’m glad I could come here to hand this (donation) over directly.

“The kids were enjoying their time too, and I’ll try to put in a performance that will excite the fans at the (next) Nagoya tourney.”

Sakaigawa, whose stable administrates the November tourney in neighboring Fukuoka Prefecture, said, “I wish they make good use of (the money) for recovery. We’ll also be thinking about inviting people from the affected area in some ways (to the Kyushu tourney).”

Another stable member from Kumamoto, maegashira Sadanoumi, had the design of the prefecture’s popular Kumamon black bear mascot emblazoned on the ceremonial ring-entering apron he wore during May’s Summer Tourney. The native of Kumamoto City wished for his home region’s quick recovery.

“I want Kumamoto to get back to being a place where everyone can live safely as soon as possible,” he said.

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