Twenty-four-year-old Nishikifuji earned the Aomori native promotion to sumo’s second highest (jūryō) division.
Reaching the second tier utterly changes a wrestler’s life in the sport. Even becoming a yokozuna doesn’t lead to the kind of immediate and radical difference in day-to-day existence that first-time jūryō promotees experience, reports The Japan Times.
It’s not for nothing that the single rank difference between the lowest rung of jūryō and the highest position in makushita is often compared to the gap between heaven and hell.
Reaching the higher levels of sumo brings many changes and obligations.
Were a freshly promoted jūryō wrestler to pay for everything himself, he’d soon find his new salary disappearing almost as soon as it came in. Supporters’ groups are vital in order to keep the whole machinery running smoothly. Schools and hometowns, especially those in smaller rural districts, are often keen to support their local heroes and bask in the reflected glory.
Source: The Japan Times