How do sumoists live? - Georgian wrestler's exclusive interview- Part 2
09 November, 2018
How do sumoists live? - Georgian wrestler's exclusive interview- Part 2
Levan Tsaguria or Kokkai Futoshi is a former professional sumo wrestler from Georgia. He is the first Caucasian rikishi (professional sumo wrestler) to reach sumo's highest division, makuuchi. His highest rank was komusubi. In April 2018 he was appointed as the president of the Georgian Sumo Federation for four years.

Have a look at the other part of the exclusive interview with the sumo wrestler:

6. Japanese culture differs from Georgian culture – what was the main difference between them?

and Japanese cultures are quite similar in many ways. Both Japanese and Georgian people are courageous and hospitable. They are distinguished by their history and nice personality. It is very important in both cultures to respect children and the elderly. If you are not able to accept their traditions, it is better to give up sumo wrestling. The sport itself is a particular culture. I was lucky to be guided by the head of the sumo wrestling club and his wife. Their support helped me get used to the culture easier. That’s why the host country approved me. Meanwhile, I tried to keep my traditions and introduce them to the Japanese. What is more important is that I managed to get high results.
The first professional sumo wrestler from Georgia Levan Tsaguria

7. How did you find the local cuisine?

To be honest, it was really hard to get used to their diet. Japanese cuisine abounds with raw meals and it was not a common thing for me. At first, I had been eating only vegetables and fruits for 3-4 months. Then I realized, I would not be able to get results only through that. No one was interested in your preferences in the club. If you did not like anything about the diet, you could skip it and no one would worry about you. You had to be adjusted to the rules of the club. Step by step, I started to eat Japanese meals. One of their dishes was Chankonabe, famous Japanese stew. It includes fish, vegetables, meat, and tofu. But after the three Georgian sumo wrestlers,Teimuraz Jugheli (Gagamaru), Levan Gorgadze (Tochinoshin) and I gathered in Japan, we used to cook Georgian dishes. When I came back to Georgia and started to eat Georgian meals, I usually missed Japanese dishes.

8. The life of athletes is full of adventures. What kind of adventures have you experienced?

I have been fighting on the Dohyō for 11 years. The most memorable event took place in May 2003 when I moved to Dzurio Division, the second division of the elite group. That had radically changed my life. As for the unforgettable bouts of my life, it was the one with Asashōryū. He had been the unbeatable champion for a year and a half and it was me who beat him.
Georgian sumo wrestlers: Teimuraz Jugheli (Gagamaru) and Levan Tsaguria (Kokkai)

9. Wrestling or Sumo – which one is the most popular sport in Japan?

Both are very popular in Japan. Wrestling is considered as an Olympic sport, while Sumo is a totally different dimension. The latter is the inseparable part of Japanese history and culture. It is the most significant sport full of oldest Japanese traditions. Sumoists differ from other athletes even in appearance. They wear Japanese traditional topknot haircut Chonmage and Kimonos living like old Samurais. Their lifestyle is a big challenge and that’s why people highly respect sumoists. As the sport reflect Japanese history, it is more important to success in sumo than in other sports. During Basho tournaments, the halls for 15-20 000 guests are always crowded especially on weekends.

10. Levan Gorgadze won the Emperor Cup, what can you say about it?

Frankly speaking, the Emperor Cup equals to Olympic Cup. It is the success of entire Georgia. Levan has performed heroic work. His name has been put down in gold characters in the history of Sumo.

Read more: How do sumoists live? - Georgian wrestler's exclusive interview- Part 1

11. You have mentioned Asashōryū. How is it possible for such a legendary athlete to get into trouble?

I do not want to make any comment about it. He was going to quit the sport. No one knows who caused the conflict.

12. But if we look at the Japanese press, we can see that the number of scandals such as disagreements, drugs, biased bouts in sumo has increased and thus, the popularity of the sport has decreased.

A lot of things written in the press are either exaggerations or lies. But there should also be a grain of truth in them. Japanese people worry about negative things that take place in sumo. Even the government had to be involved in sumo the sport is the treasure of the country. The Federation of Sumo in Japan hired 17 members of the elite group several years ago. In some cases, the names of the sumoists were taken away from the history of sumo.
The Japanese ambassador in Georgia Tadaharu Uehara granting Levan Tsaguria an Honorary Grant for his contribution to Sumo Wrestling

13. Don't you think you have quitted the sport too early?

There is a high competition among sumoists - there are about 1000 athletes training in the sport. Only 70 of them belong to the elite group. If you suffer from injuries, you have to skip bouts and you are supposed to be reduced in rank. Due to my injuries, I had to part with the Dohyō. Those who watched my bouts, they would remember that I loved to directly crash my opponents and that affected my backbone, knee, and muscles. It was hard to recover all those injuries and that inhibited my success on the ring. I decided it was better to quit the sport with dignity. I believe I have done the best I could do in sumo. It is important that I am still in touch with the people whom I had met in Japan. I always try to introduce Georgian culture to Japanese people and to deepen the relationship between the two countries.

Related stories:

Georgian Sumo wrestlers Tochinoshin and Gagamaru preparing for the next Basho

Georgian sumo wrestler Tochinoshin awarded with Medal of Honor in Japan

Georgian sumo wrestler wins historic Emperor’s Cup in Japan
Other Stories
Georgian Kickboxer Signed The Contract With One Championship
Former lightweight champion David Kiria has signed a contract with the prestigious organization ONE Championship.
Giga Chikadze talks exclusively to Georgian Journal
Giga Chikadze, a Glory successful sportsman and kickboxer is an outstanding UFC fighter.
Passion for rugby is in Georgian’s blood, Pete Drewett says
It is around three months since 61-year-old Pete Drewett has become Georgia’s general manager of high performance in rugby.
Georgia will host Snowboard Cross Europa Cup
Georgia's popular winter resort Gudauri will host Snowboard Cross Europa Cup this weekend
Georgian Judoka Defeats Russian Rival
Tato Grigalashvili has won a historic gold at the Dusseldorf Grand Slam
Georgian Wrestler Becoming Two-Times Champion at Europe Championship
Three-times World Champion in Freestyle Wrestling, Geno Petriashvili, won a gold medal at European Championship in Rome
Two Georgians competed at European Championship
Georgians received two silver and two bronze medals at the European Championship.
Tornike Shengelia-the best basketball player at Spanish Championship
Georgian professional basketball player Tornike Shengelia has been recognized as the best basketball player and was awarded "Premio Gigante del Año" (Giant of the Year) by the top professional basketball division of the Spanish basketball league system.
BBC remembering Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili
"This coming week marks the 10th anniversary of the death of the Olympics of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili."- BBC publishes an episode remembering Nodar.
Lasha Talakhadze wins three gold medals at World Weightlifting Championship in Italy
Georgian athlete Lasha Talakhadze defeated his rivals at the World Cup.
Zaza Pachulia expresses condolences for Kobe Bryant death
Georgian basketball player Zaza Pachulia has expressed his condolences over Kobe Bryant death.
Lasha Talakhadze set a new world record
On September 27, Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze won a gold medal at the World Championships.
Georgian strongman hits world record (Watch video)
Giorgi Rostomashvili, Georgian strongman and weightlifter hit record.
Nikoloz Basilashvili wins Hamburg European Open for 2nd year
Nikoloz Basilashvili has won Hamburg European Open for the second straight year by defeating Russian Andrey Rublev.
Brazilian footballer Rivaldo visits Georgia
Famous Brazilian footballer Rivaldo arrived in Georgia on July 21.
Georgia will host FIBA EuroBasket 2021
FIBA is the world governing body for basketball, formed by 213 national federations across the world.
Statue of Ozeki Tochinoshin erected in Japan
The Statue of the Georgian sumo wrestler Levan Gorgadze has been erected in the central part of Tokyo, Japan.
Georgian Guram Tushishvili defeats Russian judoka Inal Tasoev
Guram Tushishvili of Georgia won against Inal Tasoev of Russia in the Men's 100+kg Judo at Chizhovka Stadium on June 24, 2019, in Minsk, Belarus.
Georgian pupils win European School Chess Championship 2019
Georgian pupils Davit Tatvidze and Kesaria Mgeladze became the winners of the European School Chess Championship 2019.
Exclusive interview with Georgian Sumo wrestler Levan Gorgadze Tochinoshin
Georgian sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (Levan Gorgadze) reclaimed an Ozeki Title
Georgian canoeist Zaza Nadiradze wins gold at World Cup
Georgian canoeist Zaza Nadiradze won the first stage of the Canoe Sprint World Cup.
Tochinoshin reclaims Ozeki title
Georgian Sumo wrestler Levan Gorgadze, Tochinoshin beat his opponent Yoikuzuna Kakuryū Rikisaburō and reclaimed an Ozeki title, one he lost on the previous tournament.
SUMO Natsu Basho 2019: Tochinoshin loses for the fourth time
Tochinoshin, Levan Gorgadze was beaten on the 13th day of Natsu Basho tournament 2019 for the fourth time.
SUMO Natsu Basho 2019: third loss for Tochinoshin
Tochinoshin, Levan Gorgadze was beaten on the 12th day of Natsu Basho tournament 2019 for the third time.
Another loss for Tochinoshin, one more victory needed for Ozeki title
Tochinoshin, Levan Gorgadze lost the second time on the 11th day of Natsu Basho tournament.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Georgia’s Under-20 national rugby team have claimed their second victory at the ongoing Rugby World Cup in Japan
You can be hopeful of us like we are of you, - sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (Levan Gorgadze) told Georgian Prime Minister
On June 4, world-famous Georgian sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (born Levan Gorgadze) arrived in his homeland.
Georgian rugby team claimed yet another historic victory over French Barbarians – the second national team of the French Rugby Federation.
For the first time in the history of Sumo wrestling, a Georgian national has become the owner of the Emperor’s Cup.
Renowned Georgian chess player Nana Dzagnidze claimed the gold medal
It was in the beginning of the 1980s, when FC Dinamo Tbilisi was enjoying their best
The Georgian national rugby team defeated the U.S. squad at the Mikheil Meskhi stadium in Tbilisi on November 25.
Georgian athletes defeated British in sitting volleyball at the Invictus Games Toronto, Canada, 2017.
The national basketball team of Georgia defeated Israel at the Eurobasket
GEL Exchange
September 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30