Image source: ZENON OFFICIAL on Twipple

With the birth of a new sumo wrestling Yokozuna comes new ornamental aprons. And the newest Yokazuna just got his Fist of the North Star ornamental apron.

In 1984, the minds of anime fans exploded when Fist of the North Star hit the airwaves. The series follows Kenshiro through his adventures in the wastelands of a nuclear apocalypse. In those adventures, Kenshiro beats up the biggest baddies that plague the survivors trying to rebuild their lives. And the baddest of the bad is Kenshiro’s older brother, Raoh. In professional sumo wrestling, the Yokozuna is the highest title that can be held. When a wrestler achieves this title, he holds it for the rest of his career. Contrary to some translations, the Yokozuna is not a Grand Champion. However, titleholders are revered within the sport.

One of the most exciting parts of a new Yokozuna’s career, for fans and the Yokozuna himself, is seeing the ornamental aprons they will wear during the daily opening ceremonies of official tournaments. While every high-ranking sumo wrestler has their own ornamental apron, a Yokuzuna has a set of three—one for himself and two for his attendants during the opening ceremonies. So, the first question that comes to mind is what does Fist of the North Star have to do with Kisenosato, the new Yokozuna? It turns out he is a huge fan of the series.

It’s actually kind of surprising considering Kisenosato is just out of the age demographic that read or watched Fist of the North Star when it was published in Weekly Shonen Jump and broadcast on Fuji Television Network in the mid-1980s. But, since Fist of the North Star was first released, it has maintained popularity among all age groups around the world. The series is full of memorable characters and the story is relatable on many different levels. But, it’s hard to deny the popularity comes from catharsis of seeing the protagonist, Kenshiro, beat his opponents to a pulp. His catchphrase, “You’re already dead” still captures the imagination of anime and manga fans. The new Yokozuna is one such person.

Image source: ZENON OFFICIAL on Twipple

Now that Kisenosato has been presented with the Fist of the North Star ornamental aprons, sumo and anime fans want to know what’s on the aprons and which one Kisenosato will wear. The aprons themselves will depict the three Hokuto Shinken Brothers: the protagonist and young brother Kenshiro, the middle brother Toki, and the oldest brother Raoh. A fine choice given that the feud between these three characters is the crux of the story in Fist of the North Star. So, naturally Kisenosato will be wearing the apron featuring Kenshiro, right? Surprisingly, he won’t. In an interview with the Nikkan Sports on April 25, 2017 (via the Coamix Inc. homepage) Kisenosato said, “When I chose the design of my ornamental apron, I felt my personality had a little bit of Raoh. …My former master (Naruto Oyakta) told me, ‘You can’t become strong unless you’re solitary.'”

Image source: ZENON OFFICIAL on Twipple

In the world of sumo, the Yokozuna are like the main characters, so you’d think ornamental apron featuring Kenshiro would have been the best fit for Kisenosato. But, when you study logic behind Kisenosato’s decision, it actually makes a lot of sense. While Kenshiro is the protagonist of Fist of the North Star, he is the type of character who helps those in need; a real hero of the people. Raoh, on the other hand, is an accomplished and strong fighter, which led him to become a very lonely and solitary character. In a certain respect a Yokozuna can fall into either character type (Taihō in the great example of the former and Asashōryū the later), but with Kisenosato’s former master’s words, the Raoh ornamental apron is the best choice for him.

Image source: ZENON OFFICIAL on Twipple

Anime and manga have crossed paths with sumo wrestling a number of times in the past, with other wrestlers wearing ornamental aprons featuring anime/manga characters on them. However, this is the first time a Yokozuna will sport iconic anime/manga characters on his ornamental apron set. Fist of the North Star is by far one of the best choices too, because it’s a very masculine series. Personally, I can’t wait to see Kisenosato channel the spirit of Kenshiro, Toki, and Raoh when he wears the aprons for the first time during the Summer 2017 Sumo Tournament.

Fist of the North Star is streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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