Reed Young: Life After Sumo


Hoshitango Imachi © Reed Young

From another of Reed Young's intriguing photo series, we bring you Life After Sumo. "They're chefs and bar owners, but also hip-hop singers and TV comedians. After retiring from the ring, the road for champions of the legendary Japanese sport divides. But their second life, to be invented, is built precisely on discipline and hard work. Only to discover that the spirit of fighting is in their blood and always will be. I strongly recommend you visit this series on Reed's website where he writes extensively about sumo wresting, and interviews some of the ex-wrestlers that he photographed. Good stuff.

Above: Hoshitango Imachi is a 44-year-old Argentinean who moved to Tokyo when he was 21 to attend the University of Chuo. After arriving he become a sumo wrestler so he could support his family back home. Now he's an official Japanese citizen and works as a professional wrestler for the Japanese company DDT (The Dramatic Dream Team). 


Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old retired sumo wrestler and one of Japan's most recognizable celebrities. Now that he's retired from the sport that made him so popular, he's become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children's television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds (264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.


Yoshitoku Tashiro is a 33-year-old retired sumo wrestler who now works as a writer. He recently published a best-selling book about the real life of a sumo wrestler, including topics such as how to meet a girl, how wrestlers travel, what they eat, and what they do in their spare time. He originally wrote the book with the intent of teaching young wrestlers about the kind of life they might lead, but it ended up selling more to the masses out of curiosity for a sport that is rarely covered with a personal viewpoint. 


Yasuyuki Hirose is a 32-year-old retired sumo wrestler who's become famous in Japan for his part in a comedy trio that performs on TV. His obesity related difficulties are often the topic of the group's jokes. In particular he's known for being able to drink a two-litre bottle of orange Fanta in only ten seconds.


Naoki Hino is a 32-year-old Chanko restaurant owner. Chanko is a stew that's eaten in large amounts by sumo wrestlers to gain weight. Because of Sumo's popularity, Chanko restaurants are becoming extremely successful among the general public. But Naoki's restaurant has the advantage of being one of the few owned by a real sumo wrestler.


Sanyutei Utamusashi is a 41-year-old retired sumo wrestler who practices the art of Rakugo, a form of entertainment that involves complicated yet comedic storytelling. Every day at noon hundreds of businessmen and women fill the plastic covered seats of this auditorium to eat their lunches while watching him perform.

All images © Reed Young

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