Kofuen Sumo Ring

Kōfūen Sumo Ring.

Kōfūen Sumo Ring (光風園相撲場) is located in Honjō, Yurihonjō. It was the first permanent sumo ring in Akita prefecture. It was first built in 1907 and has been used by many of the great, old yokozunas.

Using the facility

If you wish to avail of this faciliy, perhaps to practice for the Akita International Sumo Basho, you must contact Honjō Board of Education at 0184-24-6287. The cost is ¥200 per hour. A large blue tarp covers the ring, this must be removed before practice and replaced afterwards.

Kōfūen & Sumo

The following letter seems to be the only information available about this sumo ring.

English

◎Kōfūen & Sumo

August 1914: Asahiyama vs. Haguroyama.

My Grandfather Sutō Zen'ichirō's (須藤善一郎) goal in constructing the Kōfūen Sumo Ring was that in Honjō's Atagoyama (愛宕山), he wished to revive the yearly sumo events that had prospered before the Meiji restoration, but that had died out completely after the abolition of the Han system (Japanese feudal system), to propagate Sumo among the area's young people, and furthermore, and to create excellent wrestlers from the area.

And, receiving the support of people from neighboring towns and villages, in 1907, they circled out a sumo arena, and it was completed with four posts supporting the shachihoko-decorated roof of the ring, and on July 11th a magnificent opening ceremony was held. With its four posts and prepared with seats for thousands of spectators, this permanent sumo ring (of which, at that time, there were very few in the country), was opened.

The origin of Kōfūen name came from Kōfū Seigetsu (光風霽月). In August 1913 a sumo wrestler by the name of Kotsugai Teizō (小番貞蔵) from Tamanoike, Koyoshi, in Honjō City, entered the Tokyo Grand Sumo under the name Terukaze Sadatarō (光風貞太郎) that had been given to him by his grandfather. Terukaze later got promoted to the komusubi rank (the 4th highest rank in sumo).

The year after the completion of this sumo area on Sept 21st and 22nd 1908 the Yokozuna at that time, Umegatani, and ōzeki Komagatake (駒ヶ岳) held a fight and more than 4,700 people attended. After that every year in August the young people of the neighboring towns met up for Hōraka zumō (放楽相撲), an event for amature sumo wrestlers.

Entrance stone (thing?)
光風園常設相撲場.

In 1933, my grandfather built a shrine deifying Nomi no Sukune, who stood in one corner of this sumo ring and was called the "god of sumo," and every year they gathered for the Hōraka zumō and held a festival.

During my childhood, around the years 1937-42, every summer the Tokyo Grand Sumo Provincial Tour came, and the Yokozuna of those times, Tamanishiki, Musashiyama, and Minanogawa, and also, the Futabayama group and others came.

My grandfather died in April 1937, at the age of 75, and my father upon succeeding him, in the middle of this time of war, joined in the boy's youth club's sumo practice, (and) after the war in 1948 he resumed "Kōfūen Hōraku Sumo, " but this "Fukkatsu Hōraku Sumo" (Revival of Hōraku Sumo), on August 1950, this third time was the last. Still, as for the Tokyo Grand Sumo, the Terukuni Haguroyama group was visiting the ring, and this was not, I believe their last provincial tour to our ring.

The sumo ring's 3.9 meter diameter was outdated, and since the Sumo Association increased the standard, the Grand Sumo Provincial Tour, youth association sumo, and the national sumo meet were unable to be held there.

After this, this sumo ring remained in this state where it was unable to be used for years. Also, 野見宿禰 in 1987, had leaks in the roof, and the building was finally demolished. Still, the area of this sumo ring was passed down from my grandfather to my father, and my mother inherited it. My mother donated it to the city of Honjō, so now it is used as land for Honjō Park. Previously, the four posts supported a shachihoko-decorated roof, but this roof was unfortunately broken as well, so the roof was removed, and only the four pillars remained.

A letter by Sutō Zen'ichirō’s grandchild Sutō 恒久

Akita Sumo History

Japanese

◎光風園と相撲

私の祖父・須藤善一郎が光風園相撲場を建設した目的は、本荘の愛宕山では明治維新前から毎年相撲が行われ賑わっていたのが、廃藩後全く廃れてしまったのを復活させたいと願っていたこと、地域の若い人々の間に相撲を広めること、また地域から優れた力士を生み出すことだったようです。

そして近隣の町村の方々のご支援を戴いて、明治40(1907)年、土俵を囲む四本柱で鯱鉾の載った屋根を支えた相撲場が完成し、7月11日に盛大な開場式が行われました。当時四本柱があり、数千人分の観覧席を備えた常設相撲場は、国内でも数少なかったと開いております。

光風園の名前の起こりは光風霽月からであり、大正2年8月、今の本荘市子吉・玉の池から東京大相撲に入門した力士・小番貞蔵に、祖父は光風(てるかぜ)貞太郎と名付けて送り出しましたが、光風はその後小結にまで昇進しています。

この相撲場が完成した翌年の明治41年9月21.22の両日、当時の横綱梅ヶ谷・駒ヶ岳一行の興業が行われ、4千7百余人の観客で大盛況であったと記録されています。その後も毎年8月に近隣町村の若者の所謂「放楽相撲」が開かれていました。

昭和8年、祖父はこの相撲場の一角に相撲の神様といわれる野見宿禰を祀った宿禰神社を建て、毎年の「放楽相撲」に併せてお祭りをしていました。

私が子供の頃の昭和12年~17年頃には、毎年夏に東京大相撲の巡業が来て、当時の横綱玉錦、武蔵山、男女川、それに双葉山一行なども来たものでした。

祖父は昭和12年4月に75歳で亡くなり、父がその後を継いで、戦時中は青年団の相撲の練習に供し、戦後は昭和23年に「光風園放楽相撲」を再開しましたが、この「復活放楽相撲」は昭和25年8月27日の第3回が最後でした。また、東京大相撲としては、照国・羽黒山一行が昭和26年7月31日に来園していますが、これが当園への最後の巡業ではなかったかと思います。

それはこの相撲場の土俵は、直径13尺の古い形式のものでしたので、相撲協会の規格がもっと大きくなってからは、大相撲の巡業を初め、青年団の相撲や国体の相撲が出来なくなったことによるものです。

その後にこの相撲場は全く使われないまま年月を経ておりました。また野見宿禰神社も、昭和62年雨漏りが激しくなりよしたので同社し、遂に取り壊しを致しました。またこの相撲場のある地域は、祖父から父そして母に相続されましたが、母が本荘市に寄贈しましたので、現在本荘市の公園用地となっています。以前は四本柱が鯱鉾の載った屋根を支えていましたが、その屋根も壊れて仕舞いましたので、屋根を取り外し、四本柱だけが残っておりました。

光風圏 須藤善一郎孫 須藤恒久氏  書簡

秋田県相撲史より

Location

Kōfūen Sumo Ring
Akita, Honjō, Detomachi, Aza Satōbatake
秋田県本荘市出戸町字砂糖畑

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