Sumo wrestler Kotoeko, right, watches as Kotooodutsu high-fives a Lester Middle School student at Camp Lester, Okinawa, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. CARLOS VAZQUEZ/STARS AND STRIPES
Sumo wrestler Kotoeko, right, watches as Kotooodutsu high-fives a Lester Middle School student at Camp Lester, Okinawa, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. CARLOS VAZQUEZ/STARS AND STRIPES

Sumo heavyweights introduce Okinawa middle-schoolers to their time-honored sport

by Matthew M. Burke
Stars and Stripes

CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — Students at Lester Middle School received some larger than life guests Friday as two sumo wrestlers from the renowned Sadogatake stable in Kyushu stopped by to impart a little Japanese culture.

Kotoeko — a maegashira ranked seventh in Japan’s top Makuuchi division — and his protégé, Kotooodutsu, were on Okinawa for Saturday and Sunday’s Oozumou Okinawa Basho, or Grand Sumo Exhibition. Maegashira is the lowest of the five ranks in sumo’s top division.

They answered students’ questions, gave pointers on proper wrestling technique, refereed several matches between the school’s teachers and chowed down on some Popeyes fried chicken in what overall turned out to be a raucous affair.

“Today, we got together with the children and taught them about sumo,” Kotoeko said following the assembly in the school’s gymnasium.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.611311

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