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The Yokozuna Kitanoumi Ki'nenkan or Memorial Hall looks like a miniature version of the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena in Tokyo. Although it's near Lake Toya, it's off the main tourist road. There is a bus stop nearby, but I rented a bicycle.
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Front of the Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall, dedicated to Sobetsu's most famous son. Yokozuna Kitanoumi was one of sumo's greatest grand champions in modern times. "Kitanoumi" means "Lake of the North," and this refers to Lak
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Today, Kitanoumi is a stablemaster and the chairman of the Japan Sumo Association. The front entrance of the Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall which opened in May 1991..
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Right outside the Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall are sumo banners. From left to right, they read, "Kitanoumi Stable," "Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall," and "Sobetsu History Museum."
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This is what you first see. Photos of Kitanoumi growing up in Sobetsu town. Looks like any ordinary kid. Admission is 250 yen for adults, 100 yen for kids. Open 9 am to 5 pm, closed Jan. 1.
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Little Kitanoumi. He was born in May 1953 in Sobetsu-cho town which includes the eastern shore of Lake Toya (Toyako). At age 13, he moved to Tokyo and entered the Mihogaseki Stable.
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Kitanoumi as a young sumo wrestler. Even as Ozeki, he already had the aura of a Yokozuna. He had an ideal sumo physique, quiet dignity, and awesome sumo technique and power. He was a shoo-in to be a yokozuna.
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In July 1974, he became the youngest sumo wrestler to be promoted to Yokozuna at age 21. His 18-year sumo career included 24 tournament championships.
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This is the main room of the Kitanoumi Memorial Hall. It includes half of a sumo ring (dohyo) with a mannequin.
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The sumo ring is not made of real dirt.
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Top row has miniature versions of the tournament champion portraits awarded to the wrestler and hung in the Ryogoku Kokugikan. Bottom row of photos show his best career moments.
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Some photos are captioned with memorable quotes by Kitanoumi.
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The mannequin is a slightly larger-than-life likeness of Yokozuna Kitanoumi performing the Yokozuna Dohyo-iri (ring-entering ceremony). Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall, Sobetsu, Hokkaido
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Above is an actual tournament champion giant portrait which once hung in the Kokugikan.
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He is doing the Unryu-style dohyo-iri.
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It sort of looks like Kitanoumi...
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Actual-size ringside seats are also on display.
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It looks kind of strange without his two attendants, the sword bearer and dew sweeper...
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Kitanoumi's kesho mawashi set (ceremonial apron) on display.
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His Yokozuna "tsuna" rope belt.
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And some of his trophies. Besides the Emperor's Cup (not displayed), the tournament champion receives numerous trophies and awards from various organizations and countries.
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Kitanoumi-beya stable sign at top, and various award certificates.
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Award from Czechoslovakia in 1978.
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Scale model of a sumo drum tower
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Tournament champion portrait. Kitanoumi retired in Jan. 1985 and started his own Kitanoumi Stable. In 2002, he became chairman of the Japan Sumo Association. We missed Kitanoumi, but another great Yokozuna from Hokkaido, Chiyonofuji, filled the void.
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Photos of other tournament champions. Six official 15-day sumo tournaments are held every year in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.
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Referee costumes in the showcase.
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Sacred offerings buried in the dohyo before each tournament.
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The other half of the building is the Sobetsu History Museum. This panel shows how Lake Toya was formed.
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Typical abode of early Hokkaido settlers who first came to this area in 1879.
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Artifacts of early Hokkaido settlers.
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Artifacts from the defunct local Iburi rail line discontinued in 1986. There was a Sobetsu Station.
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Power generation machinery
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Natural history exhibit
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Local wildlife exhibit, including the Ezo deer.
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Kitanoumi souvenirs for sale.
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When I got to the museum, the parking lot was quite full. It seemed that the museum was really popular. But most of them were there to play at the miniature golf course next to the museum.
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Miniature golf course
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G8 Summit welcome sign near the museum.
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