Connect with us


COVID-19 Sadness and Shock: Sumo Wrestler Shobushi Dies at 28

Ed Odeven




Fourth-division sandanme division wrestler Shobushi, who had been battling the coronavirus since April, passed away on Wednesday, May 13. He was 28.


The Takadagawa stable wrestler’s given name was Kiyotaka Suetake.


The Japan Sumo Association announced his death.


Shobushi became the first Japanese in his 20s to die from COVID-19.


Shobushi, who turned pro in 2007, hailed from Yamanashi Prefecture. He was the first rikishi to test positive for COVID-19 on April 10.


Nine days later, the JSA revealed, Shobushi was taken to a Tokyo hospital’s intensive care unit. Weeks later, he became the first sumo grappler to die from COVID-19.


“I can only imagine how hard it must have been, battling illness for over a month, but like a wrestler he endured it bravely and fought the disease until the end,” JSA Chairman Hakkaku was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. “I just want him to rest peacefully now.”


The Takadagawa stablemaster and five of the stable’s wrestlers had become infected with COVID-19, Kyodo News reported. Juryo No. 6 Hakuyozan and the Takadagawa chief have left the hospital.


The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, which was to be held at Ryogoku Kokugikan from May 24 to June 7, was canceled due to the coronavirus.


Author: Ed Odeven


Ed Odeven is a longtime sports journalist who previously worked for The Japan Times as its chief basketball reporter for nearly 14 years. He also covered a wide range of other sports for the newspaper, including at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games. A graduate of Arizona State University, Odeven worked for several newspapers in the Grand Canyon State before moving to Japan. He has freelanced for dozens of media outlets around the world.