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Visitors to Japan, encountering sumo for the first time, are often surprised to learn that not only are there rikishi from places as far afield as Georgia, Mongolia and Hawaii, but that foreigners have dominated the sport for the better part of a decade and a half.

Casual fans are of course aware that prior to the current Mongolian hegemony, a trio of Hawaiians (Takamiyama, Konishiki and Akebono) broke down sumo’s barriers and shattered its various glass ceilings.

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