The Way of All Flesh

In sumo, the term yokozuna means "grand champion," and few yokozunas were grander—inside and outside the ring—than Japan's Takanohana, who announced his retirement from sumo last week. From his start as a gangly 15-year-old phenom wrestling in his father's stable, Takanohana quickly grew to dominate sumo, winning his first championship at the record age of 19 and earning the coveted title of yokozuna at 22. When he wasn't shoving overmatched opponents around like a human bulldozer, Takanohana—together with his older brother, Wakanohana—charmed the nation with his good looks and pop-star persona. "Taka" had the bluest of sumo blood (both his father...

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