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Born Saleva’a Fauali Atisano’e, Konishiki Yasokichi was the first foreign-born sumo wrestler to be named champion or Ozeki. Konishiki won his first 11 matches as an amateur athlete in the Japanese sport. He left after more than 15 years with the Sumo Association and started his own business as a marketing professional, publicizing his persona through television. Konishiki has appeared in several TV advertisements for Japanese companies and products. He is also an established recording artist, debuting in the music scene in 2000.
All of Konishiki’s successes are put in to good use as he strives to uplift the lives of not only his family and relatives but also the hundreds of children who are on the verge of losing hope at such a young age. Konishiki founded the Konishiki Kids Foundation to mentor and guide disadvantaged children towards the right path. One of the main philosophies that the foundation wants to put forward is the idea that children have a “choice”.
“One of the challenges is making people understand the same situation that I went through that they are going through right now,” Konishiki says. “I tell the kids that everyone makes a choice and making choices either take you were you, it can be good or it can be bad.”
“A lot of us are struggling but yet we make our choice to even struggle and work towards greatness,” he adds.
Evan and Kari interview Konishiki Yasokichi and share with us a story of hope and optimism. Konishiki talks about his childhood days growing up in the “west side” of Oahu as a less-privileged kid. Stereotyped as crooks, he and his friends were able to change other people’s perception about them through diplomatic means. Eventually, Konishiki and his peers were everyone’s friends in the community.
Listen and find out more about Konishiki’s rise to the top, albeit full of hardships, nonetheless all worth it, and how faith and family play an important role in his life endeavor.
American Name: Saleva’a Fuauli Atisano’e
Japanese Name: Yasokichi Konishiki
Height: 184 cm
Blood Type: AB
1982 Graduated from University Laboratory High School in Hawaii
Recruited by Jesse Takamiyama (Azumazeki Oyakata) and joined Takasago Beya Stable
1983 November Entered the Juryo Division
1984 July Entered the Makunouchi Division
1987 May Promoted to Ozeki
1989 November Won the Makunouchi Division Championship
1994 February Became Japanese Citizen
1997 November Retired from Sumo after the November Grand Sumo Tournament
*Highest ranking: Ozeki Career Record: 733 wins, 498 losses, 95 absences
* Total number of wins in Makunouchi: 649 (ranks 8th in history)
* Career as Ozeki: 39 seasons (ranks 4th in history)
* Outstanding Performance Award: 4 times
* Fighting Spirit Award: 5 times
* Technique Award: 1 time
January 1998 *Mainichi Athlete Award (Impressive Athlete Award)
*Special Sports Award from TV Asahi
February Athletic Tokyoite Award from Tokyo Metropolitan Govßft
September *UNESCO Japan Fair Play Trophy Award
*Best Jeanist Award from J.J.M.A.
November 38th ACC CM Festival Talent Award
December Japan Humor Grand Prix
March 1999 The Hitmaker ßf99 Award from Japan TV Producer Association
December CM King Award
October 2001 14th Japan Best Dressed Eyes Entertainment Field Award
*KONISHIKI KIDS FOUNDATION
* Hanshin-Awaji Economic Revitalization Campaign
* Established “KONY MUSIC EDUTAINMENT” (KME) in 2005
* Regular appearances on Japanese TV shows
* Talk shows and Hawaiian concerts
*Mar 23, 2000 CD debut in Japan
May 23, 2000 CD debut in U.S.A. Debut album “Konishiki KMS”
* June 21, 2002 CD album “SIMPLY…”
* April 23, 2003 CD album
* July 2, 2003 CD album “Nanakuli”
* June 23, 2004 CD album “PAINA”
* June 23, 2004 CD album “KAMA’AINA MELE”
* June 23, 2004 Three DVD “KAMA’AINA HULA” (AIKANE, PUA, MAKANI)
* June 22, 2005 CD album
* June 21, 2006 CD album “HAWAI’I TIME”
Publications *Hadaka No KONISHIKI (YOMIURI SHIMBUN)
*Kyo Mo Kaisei KONISHIKI Nikki (CHUOKORON- SINSHA, INC.)
* Hadaka Hyakkan(Kodansha Ltd.)
* Minami no shima kara no okurimono(SHINSEN-SHA)
* KONISHIKI+HuLa Hut Hawaiian Dining (Parco Publishing)
TV Commercials DAIHATSU MOTOR CO., LTD.
SANYO Electric Co., Ltd.
SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT Inc.
KYUSHU ELECTRIC POWER CO., INC.
SUNSYU PAINT Co., ltd.
CRYMSON Co., Ltd.
All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.
Office KP CO., LTD.
1-33-6 Geminis2 Bldg. 8F Hongou, Bunkyou-ku
Tokyo 113-0033 JAPAN