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おつかれさま、東関親方(元関脇・高見山)

ハワイ出身で、元関脇高見山の東関親方が65歳の誕生日前日の15日、日本相撲協会の定年退職を迎え、この日の朝げいこが最後の仕事となりました。

東関親方~現役時代のしこ名は【高見山大五郎】、本名・渡辺大五郎さんは、1944年にアメリカ合衆国・ハワイ生まれ。1964年(ぼぶさんやヒデさんが生まれた頃)2月に先代高砂親方にスカウトされて日本へやってきます。気候の違い(北海道の高校が選手権で『甲子園は暑い』と言うレベルとは全然違う)や習慣の違いに何度も『ハワイへ帰ろう』と思いながらも、3年で十両に昇進。初めての外国出身外国籍の関取となりました。
翌年には新入幕、佐田の山・柏戸の両横綱から金星を挙げました。

1972年には初優勝。この頃は私も相撲が好きで、よくテレビで見ていました(先代・貴ノ花<故人>が好きでした)。今でこそ、両横綱は外国人力士で、外国人力士の優勝は珍しくも何ともありませんが、当時は画期的な事でした。
前年に大横綱・大鵬が引退し、その直後に現役横綱・玉の海が急死するという相撲界の危機を救ったといっても大げさではないと思います。

1984年まで20年間現役を続けて引退。引退後は東関部屋を興し、後進の指導にあたっていました。

通算成績は812勝842敗22休(幕内では683勝750敗22休)。
優勝1回・殊勲賞6回・敢闘賞5回の記録を残しています。また、対戦した横綱は11人で、そのうち6人から12個の金星を挙げています。これは歴代2位(1位は安芸乃島の16個)の立派な記録で、常に幕内上位で活躍していた事がうかがえます。

常夏の島・ハワイから真冬の日本にやってきて色々な苦労もあったと思います。しかし、高見山関が成功したことで、小錦・曙とハワイ出身力士が続き、相撲界の国際化に大いに貢献しました。明るいキャラクターで多くのCMにも出演し、先代貴ノ花とともに相撲の大衆化にも大きく貢献しました。

これからは、のんびりと相撲を楽しんでください
長い間、ありがとうございました&おつかれさまでした

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