Sadanoyama Passes at 79

The former yokozuna Sadanoyama, who was head of the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) during the 1990s, passed away on April 27.

Sadanoyama, whose real name is Shinmatsu Ichikawa, started his sumo career in 1956 and reached the top makkuchi division in 1961. Sadanoyama won his first tournament champion in just his third time participating in a top-division tournament.

Sadanoyama reached yokozuna status after winning the 1965 New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, his third title. After retaining his yokozuna title through 19 tournaments, Sadanoyama retired in the spring of 1968.

He took over the Dewanoumi stable before going on to be the head of the JSA, serving three terms from 1992 to 1998. Sadanoyama then served as a head judge, which is an unusual action for a former JSA head. He retired in 2003 after reaching the mandatory retirement age. Before retirement, Sadanoyama served as stablemaster of what is now the Sakaigawa stable.

Sadanoyama had been in and out of hospitals this year after suffering a stroke. He died of pneumonia.

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