To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
iJapan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee

December News


@@TOKYO (December 6) - Five-time world champion Shoko Yoshimura on December 6 revealed plans to retire from competitive wrestling, saying she will now concentrate on coaching a successor. Yoshimura, 36, began wrestling as a student at Seijo University and competed in the first womenfs national championship tournament, the Japan Open, in 1987 and won the title at 44 kg.

@@The Kanagawa native won Japanfs first world championship crown in 1989 at the second world meet in Switzerland. Yoshimura added world titles in 1990, 1993, 1994 and 1995. She also brought home a silver medal and three bronze in 10 trips to the world championships to make her the most decorated wrestler in womenfs wrestling.

@@Domestically, Yoshimura won eight all-Japan titles and seven Japan Open/Queenfs Cup crowns. Her hopes of going to the Olympics at 48 kg, however, ended with losses to Makiko Sakamoto and Chiharu Icho.

@@TOKYO (December 10) - Senshu University heavyweight Akihito Tanaka completed the grand slam of collegiate wrestling titles in Japan by taking the crown at the greco-roman student meet on December 10. Tanaka, a member of Japanfs freestyle national team at 120 kg, took the greco-roman collegiate crown at 96 kg, winning four of his five bouts at Komazawa Gymnasium by fall or technical superiority.

@@Tanakafs four titles in the national collegiate championships and collegiate open this year made him the sixth wrestler in Japanese wrestling history to connect for the student slam. Others were Hidekazu Yokoyama (Nippon Sports Science University, 1992), Takamitsu Katayama (NSSU, 1993), Seiji Shinozaki (NSSU, 196), Shingo Matsumoto (NSSU, 1998) and Toru Yano (Nihon University, 2000).

@@At the other weight categories, Michimoto Fukuma (60 kg), Noritomo Eto (66) and Tsukasa Tsurumaki (84) doubled up on titles they won at last summerfs collegiate open. Tsurumaki of Kokushikan University also won a collegiate national championship crown for a second straight year after last yearfs triumph at 74 kg.

@@In the team standings, NSSU won with two champions and 54 points for their 12th overall team title and first since 1999. Four-time defending champion Takushoku University finished second with 42 points while Kokushikan was third.

Results of individual bouts:

55 kg (20 entries)
F1 - Shinichi Yumoto (Ta) df. Munenori Wada (NSSU), 8-3
F2 - Kohei Hasegawa (Aoyama Gakuin) df. Ryohei Obana (NU) by TF, 10-0, 1:20
SF - Wada df. Hasegawa, 2-1, 9:00
SF - Yumoto df. Obana, 8-1

60 kg (20 entries)
F1 - Michomoto Fukuma (NSSU) df. Kenta Iwasaki (SU) by TF, 10-0, 3:29
F3 - Yoshitaka Kido (Tokuyama) df. Tsuyoshi Okuno (Yamanashi Gakuin), 8-3
SF - Iwasaki df. Okuno by fall, 4:26 (3-1)
SF - Fukuma df. Kido by TF, 12-0, 2:36

66 kg (21 entries)
F1 - Noritomo Eto (Ta) df. Fumiya Itakura (AGU) by fall, 2:38 (8-0)
F3 - Masanori Sakamoto (NU) df. Hiroaki Aoki (Kanagawa) by default
SF - Eto df. Sakamoto, 8-1
SF - Itakura df. Aoki by fall, 6:00 (9-0)

74 kg (21 entries)
F1 - Takeshi Yoshida (NSSU) df. Yuichi Yoshida (Ko), 7-4
F3 - Yuya Yamashita (Ta) df. Hidenori Ozaki (Gunma), 3-0
SF - T. Yoshida df. Yamashita, 6-1
SF - Y. Yoshida df. Ozaki, 7-3

84 kg (21 entries)
F1 - Tsukasa Tsurumaki (Ko) df. Jun Aizawa (Chuo), 6-0
F3 - Norikatsu Saikawa (NSSU) df. Koichi Yamagata (NU), 4-0
SF - Aizawa df. Yamagata, 4-2
SF - Tsurumaki df. Saikawa by fall, 2:01 (3-0)

96 kg (20 entries)
F1 - Akihito Tanaka (SU) df. Kensuke Kutsuwada by fall, 4:55 (9-0)
F3 - Nobuhiko Maeshima (Ta) df. Ken Sogabe (Ko) by TF, 11-0, 3:41
SF - Tanaka df. Maeshima, 3-0
SF - Kutsuwada df. Sogabe, 3-1

120 kg (15 entries)
F1 - Hideki Maruyama (Tokyo Agriculture) df. Yukikatsu Goto (NSSU) by fall, 1:21 (4-0)
F3 - Issei Sugiura (YG) df. Kenta Ogura (Momoyama Gakuin), 5-0
SF - Goto df. Sugiura, 3-0
SF - Maruyama df. Otaru by TF, 11-0, 6:00

Team standings
1. NSSU, 54 points; 2. Takushoku, 42; 3. Kokushikan, 33; 4. Senshu, 25; 5. Nihon, 21; 6. Aoyama Gakuin, 19; Yamanashi Gakuin, 17; 8. Gunma, 14


@@TOKYO (December 1) - Heigo gAnimalh Hamaguchifs exhortations to daughter and Olympic bronze medalist Kyoko Hamaguchi to gFire up!h was selected one of the top trendy phrases of 2004. Publishers of the gEncyclopedia of Contemporary Termsh (Gendai Yogo Kiso Chishiki) picked Hamaguchifs gKiai da-!h as one of the top 10 phrases from a list of 60 entries determined by an Internet poll. gKiaih can be translated as a gshouth or gyellh as well as being one of many terms in Japanese for gfighting spirit.h

@@In the realm of sports, coaches often implore their athletes with gKiai wo irete yareh or gFire up and do it.h In Hamaguchifs case, the former professional wrestler often reminded his daughter, the winner of five world championships, that, literally, gItfs fighting spirit!h Or, in more familiar terms gFire up!h

@@The encyclopedia compiles an annual list of terms or phrases, often coined by Japanese teenagers, which have gained widespread use and popularity.

@@At the Gendai Yogo awards ceremony on December 1, Hamaguchi, a popular former pro wrestler, explained that gIf you hold your dreams out in front of you and gather all of your strength, you will have super power.h gThere is only a little time left in the year, but I hope everyone will do their best with the idea of gKiai da-!f,h he added.


@@TOKYO (December 10) - Tadashi Numajiri, former international class referee and vice president of the Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, died of heart failure on December 10. He was 72. According to the Ibaraki Wrestling Association, a wake for Numajiri will be held January 15 with the funeral the following day in Mito. Numajiri was a graduate of Takushoku University and quickly earned a reputation as an international class wrestling official. He officiated at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (1964), Montreal (1976), Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988).

@@In Seoul, Numajiri was caught in a comical photo in which he was sent tumbling off the mat platform while officiating the match between a young Alexander Karelin, then of the Soviet Union, and Swedenfs Tomas Johannsen. Numajiri also served as the head of the middle school wrestling federation, working to develop cadet-level wrestling in Japan by hosting the middle school national championships and other activities for younger wrestlers.


@@TOKYO (December 17) - Athens Olympic gold medalist Saori Yoshida will join Sogo Keibi Hosho in April, officials of the security company announced on December 17. Yoshida, who will graduate from Chukyo Womenfs University in April, will continue to practice at CWU under the guidance of head coach Kazuhito Sakae.

@@Yoshida, undefeated in international competition, will target another gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Sogo Keibi Hosho sent four of its employees to the Athens Games -- wrestlers Makoto Sasamoto and Kunihiko Obata as well as judoka Kosei Inoue and Maki Tsukada. Barcelona Olympian Masanori Ohashi is the head coach of Sogofs wrestling team, which also includes Shingo Hirai and Tomohiro Matsunaga.


@@TOKYO (December 15) - Olympic bronze medalist Kyoko Hamaguchi has agreed to a contract with the Japanese Olympic Committee which will make the five-time world champion the JOCfs gsymbol athlete.h

@@Under the agreement with the JOC, the gsymbol athleteh hands over image and marketing rights to the JOC who then grants sponsors exclusive use of the athlete in commercials and other promotional activities. The money obtained by the JOC under this sponsorship program is then distributed to Japanese sports organizations to help develop and train the countryfs Olympic-class athletes. The gsymbol athleteh receives 10 million yen for the year from the JOC for the image rights.


@@SAITAMA, Saitama Prefecture (December 31) - Rulon Gardner prevailed in a battle of former Olympic gold medalists, but reigning champion Karam Gaber took it on the chin in short mixed martial arts debut on New Yearfs Eve.

@@At Saitama Super Arena, Gardner floored Barcelona Olympic judo champion Hidehiko Yoshida in the first round of their bout and went on to win by decision. Gardner shocked the sports world in 2000 when he upset previously unbeaten Alexander Karelin in the greco-roman final at 130 kg in Sydney. He also took a bronze medal last year in Athens and retired from the mat.

@@Meanwhile, at Osaka Dome, Gaber, widely considered the most exciting greco-roman wrestler in the world today after taking the gold medal at 96 kg in Athens, came out aggressively against Kazuyuki Fujita. Fujita, a former Japanese national freestyle champion, however, countered one of Gaberfs kick attempts with a right hook that put the Egyptian down for the count 67 seconds into the first round.


@@TOKYO (December 31) - Athens gold medalists Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho along with bronze medal winner Kyoko Hamaguchi appeared on Japanfs nationally televised New Yearfs Eve song festival to ring out the Olympic year.

@@Yoshida and Icho won gold medals in Athens last summer in the Olympic debut of womenfs wrestling, while Hamaguchi took a bronze. Hamaguchi, who is also a five-time world champion, appeared on the song festival in 1999. The song festival, aired by the Japan Broadcasting Company (NHK), is an annual event featuring Japanfs most popular male and female singers and personalities.


@@TOKYO (December 23) - The Japan Wrestling Federation announced winners in freestyle and greco-roman at the national championships will compete in the 2005 Asian wrestling championships May 24-29 in Wuhan, China. Japanfs entries in the womenfs event will be decided at the Japan Queenfs Cup meet on March 25. The freestyle and greco-roman national team for the world championship meet in Hungary next fall will be decided at the all-Japan invitational in