If you are a sumo wrestling fan, you must have heard the name Musashimaru Koyo.
Koyo is a former professional American sumo wrestler from Waianae, Oahu, Hawaii. He has four special prizes and twelve top division championships.
Later, he retired in November 2003.
Koyo’s last wrestling match was for the Musashigawa stable. After which, he could not continue due to an injury.
Later, Musashimaru returned and remained in the sumo world as an oyakata.
|American Name||Fiamalu Penitani|
|Japanese Name/ Shikona||Musashimaru Koyo|
|Birth Date||May 2, 1971|
|Birth Place||American Samoa|
|Nationality||Japanese (American till 1996)|
|Education||Waianae High School|
|Height||In Centimeters – 192 cm
In feet and inches – 6 ft 3 in
|Weight||In Kilograms – 235 Kg
In Pounds – 518 lbs
|Martial Status||Married since 2008|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Highest Rank||Yokozuna (July 1999)|
|Record||779W – 294D – 115L|
|Favorite Grip||Tsuko Oshi|
|Favorite Technique||Yorikiri, Oshidashi|
|Last Updated||November, 2023|
Musashimaru Koyo: Early Life
Musashimaru Koyo was initially known as Fiamalu Penitani. He was born in American Samoa.
Additionally, Fiamalu was the fourth son of a German Tongan father. His mother was half Portuguese and half Samoan.
Later, when Fiamalu was ten years old, the family moved to Oahu, Hawaii. In Hawaii, Fiamalu attended Waianae High School.
He played American football in high school. In addition, he also had success in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Pasadena City College also offered him a football scholarship to study in California.
However, due to his success in wrestling, his coach encouraged him to try sumo.
As a result, he moved to Japan and joined a stable on a trial basis.
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Musashimaru Koyo: Career
The sumo wrestler moved to Japan to join the stable of former Yokozuna Mienoumi for trial in 1989. Due to his success in wrestling, his sumo trial was a success.
Later he made his professional debut in September of 1989. Additionally, he adopted the ring name of Musashimaru Koyo.
Musashimaru won the lowest division of sumo, Jonokuchi, in his first tournament in the division.
Similarly, he won Sandame in his second tournament in the division.
Additionally, the wrestler was promoted to Juryo from Makushita after his sixth tournament in July 1991. He kept a record of 26-16/42 in the Makushita division.
Juryo and Makuuchi
Musashimaru won his first tournament after his promotion to Juryo with a fantastic 11-4 record.
Additionally, he made a promising performance with a similar record of 10-5 in his second tournament.
As a result, the wrestler was promoted to makuuchi after only two tournaments in Juryo.
He rose to makuuchi in November 1991. Successively, he reached the rank of komusubi in May 1992.
Similarly, after two months, he made it to the sekiwake rank. Additionally, he only played in two tournaments while moving from komusubi to sekiwake.
The wrestler also won a Gino-Sho prize for his technique during his time as a Komusubi.
After nine tournaments as sekiwake and runner-ups honor in November, he was promoted to ozeki. Takanonami was also promoted alongside Koyo.
As a sekiwake, Musashimaru won a Gino-Sho and a Shukun-Sho for his technique and outstanding performance.
Additionally, he kept a record of 89-46/135 as a sekiwake with nine tournaments and one runner-up.
He spent the longest time of his career as an Ozeki. He was an ozeki for five years.
However, he showed great consistency and did not miss any bouts due to injury. Additionally, Koyo got at least eight wins.
Musashimaru was an ozeki for 32 tournaments because he could not gain the successive championships needed to become a yokozuna.
Despite failing to become a yokozuna, he seemed happy to maintain his rank. The wrestler won his first top division championship in July 1994 with a perfect 15-0 record.
However, in the following tournament, he could only manage 11 wins. As a result, Takanohana became yokozuna at the end of the year.
Takanohana joined Akebono, who was the first foreign yokozuna from America.
Later, the wrestler won his second championship in November 1996 when Takanohana was absent.
He won the tournament after a five-way playoff with an 11-4 score. The score is the lowest needed to take a top division title since 1972.
Finally, his third championship as an ozeki came in January 1998.
Takanohana and Akebono were both struggling with a loss of form due to injury.
As a result, Musashimaru suddenly won two consecutive tournaments in March and May to earn his long-awaited promotion to yokozuna.
Additionally, he became the only second foreign sumo wrestler to be yokozuna after Akebono.
Moreover, Yokozuna Deliberation Council praised his impressive record of never missing bouts in his career.
He made a respectable performance in his yokozuna debut with a score of 12-3. In addition, he won two more titles in the same year.
The sumo wrestler kept a record of 55 consecutive tournaments with a majority of wins. Unfortunately, this run came to an end in January 2000 due to an injury.
Additionally, his run for kachi-koshi started from the makushita division in November 1990.
Moreover, he was only one tournament short of matching Kitanoumi’s top division record.
As a result, he only won a single title in 2000. However, the wrestler made an impressive result, winning his first 14 matches.
Unfortunately, he failed on the last day and couldn’t become the first wrestler with a perfect record in four years.
His ninth title came in November 2001. Koyo showed his dominance that year when Takanohana was sidelined through injury.
In 2002, he won three tournaments despite missing most of the January 2002 tournament.
Additionally, he also won against Takanohana for his twelfth and final championship. As a result, 2002 was his most successful year after 1999.
Musashimaru Koyo: Injuries and Retirement
After his final tournament in September 2002, Musashimaru faced an injury. The sumo wrestler had torn a tendon in his left wrist.
As a result, he failed to perform competitively at the top level. He tried to enter July 2003 tournament but could not continue after just six days.
Later, he announced his retirement after he suffered four defeats in seven days in November.
The wrestler retired officially on October 2, 2004, with his retirement ceremony at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
In an interview in 2003, he also revealed his neck injury from his days playing American football. As a result, he was unable to move his left shoulder properly.
The sumo also had a significant injury in January 2000 when he had to be pulled out of the tournament on the fourth day.
Koyo won twelve top division championships and won over 700 top division bouts making him one of only six wrestlers to do so.
He was the last Hawaiian wrestler in sumo. He ended a dynasty that started with Takamiyama.
After his retirement as a sumo wrestler, Musashimaru continued in the sumo world as a coach.
Initially, he did not have a permanent elder name because he had to use the name of Musashimaru Oyakata as a former yokozuna.
Additionally, he was entitled to use the name for five years after retirement.
Finally, in October 2008, he started using the name Furiwake as his elder name.
He later changed his elder name to the Oshima in August 2012. The Oshima was the elder name of former ozeki Asahikuni.
He also inherited the prestigious Musashigawa name upon his old stablemaster’s retirement.
In addition, the sumo wrestler opened his stable of wrestlers under the name Musashigawa in 2013.
While he opened stable under the name, his old stable under which he fought was renamed Fujishima stable.
Musashimaru Koyo: Personal Life
During his time as coach, Musashimaru got married to Masami Enmoto in 2008. She was a hula instructor from Tokyo.
The two of them got married in April 2008. However, the wedding ceremony was held in Hawaii in August 2008. Currently, the couple has a son.
He has also appeared in commercials for iconic commercials for a Japanese mobile phone company named Softbank.
In addition, Koyo appeared alongside Brad Pitt, whom he carries as a form of providing service in the commercial.
With the help of his wife, Musashimaru lost 90kg of weight after his retirement. Initially, he weighed around 240 kg, which he cut down to 150 kg.
However, he had to regain his weight to train his wrestlers after he opened his stable.
Later he acquired Japanese citizenship and changed his legal name to Musashimaru Koyo on January 22, 1996.
Recently, he underwent a kidney transplant in 2017 after he fell ill while golfing. Additionally, the kidney was given by his wife, Masami Enmoto.
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Musashimaru Koyo: FAQs
What is Musashimaru Koyo’s pleasure in life?
In multiple interviews, Koyo has said his favorite meal is meat and rice.
Additionally, he enjoys playing games and listening to music in his free time.
What was Musashimaru Koyo’s fighting style?
Initially, he favored pushing and thrusting techniques, but later, he fought more on the mawashi.
In addition, his usual technique was a grip with his left-hand outside, and right hand inside called migi yotsu.
About sixty percent of his career wins were achieved using the combination of oshidashi or push out and yorikiri or force out.
What are the records kept by Musashimaru Koyo?
Koyo is tied for the 8th most career championships with 12 championships. The sumo wrestler is also tied for the 4th most championship playoffs with seven championships.
Finally, with 706 wins, he has the record of 9th most top division wins.