Terao: The Eternal Typhoon

In The Beginning
The Long Walk


Terao's Official Site - in Japanese

I lived in Misawa, Japan from 1998-1999, with my sister and her husband, both in the Air Force. We didn't have English-language TV, but I did watch lots of Japanese TV, including some samurai TV programs and Murder, She Wrote, dubbed into Japanese. I was also introduced to Sumo.

Initially I watched it just to see what it was like, but also because two Hawaiians were in the forefront of the sport, Akebono was a Yokozuna, and Musashimaru was an Ozeki, the two top ranks in the Sumo hierarchy.

Below the Ozeki is the sekiwake, then komusubi, and below them, the remaining sanraku of the maegashira division.

Terao at 16 - 1979

Terao at 19 - 1982

I'm not too interested in watching extremely overweight men shove each other around (although that weight lies on top of muscle, it must be noted), however my attention was drawn by the "small" (not short, but light-weight) rikishi who were in the ranks at that time, Asanowaka, who had an original salt-throwing move that amused me, Mainoumi, a scrappy little fighter, and Terao - very handsome, very muscular, with only the slightest of paunches.

Terao also had a distinctive fighting style. He used tsuppari, or a barrage of open-handed slaps to the face, to knock his opponent off balance so he could be pushed off the dohyo. This style, and his longevity, gave Terao the nickname of The Eternal Typhoon.

Bashoes are held every two months, and I watched them all for that year that I was in Japan, hoping that these small rikishi, in particular Terao, could win the basho. They never did, but it was fun to watch.

I put together this photo gallery of Terao, with the help of a few other fans.

In the beginning

Terao's real name is Yoshifumi Fukuzono (Fukozono being his surname), and he was born on February 2, 1963. Yoshifumi's family had a long history of sumo. His father, under the shikona Tsurugamine, had had a 20-year career and had reached a top rank of sekiwake (just under ozeki). He had two elder brothers who entered sumo as teenagers (Sakahoko, who had a successful career, and Fukuzono, who did not). Yoshifumi only entered sumo in 1979, at age 16, after the death of his mother, from cancer. He used her maiden name, Terao, as his shikona, or dohyo name.

Go to the Training page.