Japan Mourns Death of Sumo Legend Taiho

Japan was mourning on Sunday after the death of former sumo grand champion Taiho, who won a record 32 tournaments and became a hugely popular figure in the 1960s when the sport was untainted by the damaging scandals seen more recently.

Taiho, whose real name was Koki Naya, died of heart failure in hospital in Tokyo on Saturday, the Japan Sumo Association said. He was 72.

His death was front-page news in Japan, with the Nikkan Sports daily calling him “the strongest yokozuna (sumo grand champion) in history”.

“He was sumo history,” former yokozuna Chiyonofuji, whose 31 championships are second on the all-time list, told Kyodo news agency. “That one additional title he won, that was something beyond my reach. It is a measure of his greatness.” 

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