The biggest Sumo Wrestling star in the world coming to Japan Festival in Mississauga

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Published August 7, 2023 at 1:35 pm

Often called “The Greatest Sportsman You’ve Never Heard Of,” a 45-times Sumo champion will be flying over to the Japan Festival Canada in Mississauga on August 19 and 20.

While the name Hakuhō Shō may be unfamiliar to North American ears, the Guinness World Record holder is the biggest star in Japan and is the Michael Jordan of Japan.

Since the festival attracted some 100,000 in 2022, making it North America’s largest Japanese event, it only makes sense they would import Hakuhō, the country’s biggest name, for the stage.

Being a 45-time sumo champion is what put him in the Guinness Book of World Records, as that is an unfathomable – and likely unreachable – string of championship titles.

Competing in the high level of sumo called Yokozuna since the age of 22, Hakuhō, now 38, retired in 2021, stepping away from 20 years in the ring as a professional.

Speaking to the Guinness people, he admitted his fascination with sumo came at a very young age.

“In 1996, when I was 6, [the 45th yokozuna] Wakanohana came to Mongolia to see Mongolian wrestling. There he met my father and me,” he said. “I remember he gave me some snacks – I think it was a popular Japanese puff called Umaibo. Since then, I watched sumo through Satellite TV. Soon, I wanted to try and become a sumo wrestler myself.”

Hakuhō also holds a number of other records, such as most wins at the yokozuna level (899), most consecutive wins in the six tournaments per year era (63, the absolute record is 69) and most wins in a calendar year (86, achieved twice).

So to the people attending the Japan Festival Canada at Celebration Square in Mississauga on August 19 and 20, Japan’s biggest superstar ever will be there, joining in the fun as a headliner at 2 pm on August 19 with a sumo demonstration scheduled shortly afterward.

Then he’ll hit the mic with a one-on-one interview with Khaled Iwamura, founder of Insauga and MC of the event, which is also a major sponsor of the event.

There’s much more to the festival than a huge name. Organizers say, “The food and beverage section will feature an unprecedented number of booths, surpassing the record set in 2022.”

“In addition to the beloved Japanese gourmet staples such as yakisoba, yakitori, karaage, and takoyaki, which have become a staple at Japan Festival Canada, this year will introduce new areas dedicated to a variety of dishes incorporating Japanese elements.”

Let’s not forget toys and souvenirs as the retail section will welcome an increasing number of vendors from Japan, offering a range of traditional Japanese accessories, toys, and more.

For more on what will be a great two days of fun for the Japanese community (and anyone else who wants to join in), check the full schedule HERE.

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