Who is the greatest yokozuna of all time?
Hakuho seems the obvious answer to that question, but cases can be made for other rikishi such as Taiho or Futabayama.
How about the best ozeki?
That list is shorter, and basically boils down to Raiden or Kaio depending on your opinion of sumo in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
All-time top sekiwake isn’t a debate you see often, but Kotonishiki has a solid claim to that title. If Mitakeumi grabs a third championship, however, and avoids getting promoted to ozeki — both very possible — he’ll be the new king of the third rank.
Kotozakura’s bout in the 1967 James Bond movie “You Only Live Twice” was mentioned in the March 15 Rikishi File.
His opponent that day, Fujinishiki, is unquestionably the greatest rikishi whose highest-ever rank was komusubi.
In addition to a 14-1 championship in July 1964, Fujinishiki was runner-up on two other occasions, won seven special prizes and earned seven gold stars in a 15-year career.
Although he was ranked at komusubi in ten tournaments, Fujinishiki only managed a winning record three times. Two of those came back to back in 1961 when he went 8-7 in September and November at komusubi one east, only to find himself a half-rank lower at komusubi one west the following tournament.
After retirement he coached at Takasago Beya and later became stablemaster there.
As a sumo elder, the former Fujinishiki played a large part in the training and upbringing of Hawaiian Takamiyama — the first foreigner to win the Emperor’s Cup — and later he was stablemaster to Konishiki and Mitoizumi.
One of his sons is pro wrestler Shouichi Ichimiya, while another was manager to yokozuna Asashoryu.
Fujinishiki passed away in 2003, a year after reaching sumo’s mandatory retirement age of 65.