With the passing of Tochinoumi on Jan. 29 there are now just 15 surviving active or retired yokozuna.

Sumo’s highest rank has few, if any, parallels in other sports. Perhaps the closest comparison would be an NFL quarterback finding himself inducted into the Hall of Fame while still active, but even then, no football player (or indeed any athlete) is expected to be the living embodiment of their game in quite the same way a yokozuna is for sumo.

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