In Tokyo, a man who became a millionaire by his talents as Sumo wrestler has been given a nostalgic farewell -- including a ceremonial haircut -- and has left the ring for good.
LTV INT. Sumo wrestling hall
MV Wrestler Taiho fights small boy
GV Taiho wrestles with group of small boys
GV Other Sumo wrestlers onto platform
GV Sumo wrestler goes through ceremonial motions
GV PAN from crowd to Taiho entering onto platform
GV Taiho in ceremonial robes receives retirement haircut
GV Crowd applauding
GV Taiho leaves platform past line of other wrestlers
Initials OS/1152 OS/1412
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Background: In Tokyo, a man who became a millionaire by his talents as Sumo wrestler has been given a nostalgic farewell -- including a ceremonial haircut -- and has left the ring for good. Taiho (only name) with still have a place in the ancient sport, training and promoting his own string of Sumo wrestlers.
This film from cameraman Kimiaki Tanaka in Tokyo, shows Taiho arriving at the Sumo Hall in Tokyo, meeting a crowd of well wishers and fans and having his hair ceremonially cut as he makes his farewell.
SYNOPSIS: At the Sumo wrestling hall in Tokyo, Japan, a nostalgic farewell for the man who dominated Japan's favourite sport for more than a decade. His name is Taiho, which means legendary bird, and he in fact became a legend and a national hero by his exploits in the dirt ring. Taiho is said to be perhaps the most successful wrestler in the two thousand year history of Sumo.
He was reared in poverty on a small island in the far north of Japan. He took up Sumo wrestling when he was a skin boy like these Tokyo youngsters. He turned his skinny body into a three-hundred-and thirty-six-pound power house and left poverty far behind. It is estimated that Taiho is a millionaire by any standards.
Taiho actually announced his retirement from the Sumo ring last May. But his retirement was not complete until the ritualistic hair cutting ceremony in Tokyo. About ten thousand onlookers saw Taiho's backers and former opponents com to do him honour.
Actually, he will not be far from the Sumo ring. Taiho now has his own stable of thirty Sumo wrestlers and Japanese experts are betting it will not be long before one of his proteges takes over from him as master. But no one will be able to use the name Taiho again. As a further honour to him, the Japanese Sumo Association has ruled that the legendary bird will not fly again.