Foreign students from Mongolia join Sakae High School sumo team

Batjargal (second from the left) and Enkhtaivan (fourth from the left) learn the suriashi sumo walk from teammates at their first training session

In January of this year, two foreign students from Mongolia joined the new Hokkaido Sakae High School sumo team that started last spring (in central Hokkaido’s Shiraoi Town). According to the Sumo Division of the Hokkaido High School Physical Education Federation, this is the first time foreign students from Mongolia have joined a high school sumo team. Sumo team manager Takayama Kazunori (34) expressed high hopes, saying, “I believe the presence of foreign students joining our team out of a strong desire to participate in sumo wrestling will be a positive source of excitement for other team members.”

The new team members are Batjargal (16) and Enkhtaivan (16). Both are first year high school students. Manager Takayama selected them, considering in part the results of the screening test for studying abroad held in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar in 2019.

Batjargal is 185 centimeters tall and 80 kilograms in weight. Enkhtaivan is 170 centimeters tall and 61 kilograms in weight. They are both still thin, but Manager Takayama praises them for, “Showing promise in their facial and bone structure.” Neither of them have actual sumo match experience, but they both decided to come to Japan because, “We have liked sumo wrestling since we were children, and want to try doing it ourselves.”

January 11 was their first training session. Both were nervous, but still managed to work up a good sweat in the basic sumo exercises of shiko leg lifts and matawari straddle splits. Batjargal reported, “The movements were a bit difficult, but I had fun. I want to become a sumo wrestler like Hakuho Sho.” Enkhtaivan said, “I am happy to finally be a part of a sumo team. I want to keep practicing and aim for the top place at competitions.”

Both students have already started living at a dormitory together with Manager Takayama and the other team members. One of the members, Azuma Ryosuke (a 16-year-old first year high school student) expressed his joy at the new inclusion, saying, “I’m really happy to have new teammates. I want to communicate with them as much as I can, using gestures and whatever works.”


Hokkaido Sakae High School