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SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS - 栃煌山雄一郎(春日野部屋/高知県安芸市出身)第1回「不器用でも真っすぐな相撲道」

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FORZA SHIKOKU(月曜日更新) : 栃煌山雄一郎(春日野部屋/高知県安芸市出身)第1回「不器用でも真っすぐな相撲道」
投稿日時: 2013-07-01 00:00:00

 日本の国技とされる大相撲だが、2003年に貴乃花(現・貴乃花親方)が引退して以来、大相撲の土俵に日本人横綱の姿は消えたままだ。幕内の優勝も06年初場所で栃東(現・玉ノ井親方)が賜杯を手にしてから、44場所連続で外国出身の力士の手に渡っている。春日野部屋に在籍する栃煌山雄一郎は、巻き返しが期待される日本人力士のひとりである。187センチ、158キロの恵まれた体躯から、馬力のある押し相撲が武器だ。

 力強い相撲の取り口を得意とする栃煌山だが、土俵を降りれば、柔和な表情を浮かべる。そんな彼には、豪快なイメージはなく、「力士」というより「お相撲さん」という呼び方が似合うような、どこか親しみやすい雰囲気を漂わせている。

 栃煌山は多彩な技を繰り出す技巧派力士ではない。決まり手も投げ技より、組んでから寄り切りや押し出しなどが多い。愚直に前へとぶち当たっていく、不器用なタイプの関取だ。栃煌山自身は長所を「前に出る、押す力です」と語る。師匠の春日野親方(元関脇・栃乃和歌)もこう証言する。「押す格好の良さがあるね。ただ、栃煌山の相撲は勝つ時、面白くない。何もやっていないように見えるから。でも派手さはないけど、やることはやっているんだよ」

 その見えにくい技術面を説明してもらった。「栃煌山はもろ差しをひとつの型にしている。もろ差しとは、相手の脇の下に手を入れに行くことじゃない。しっかりと当たって、脇を上げさせて入る。実はそこが大事。その何秒という間の動きが、栃煌山はキチッとできているんだよ。良い時は、ヒザの角度や腰の曲げ方、手の使い方が一切変わらない」。単純明快な相撲だが、しっかりと叩き込まれた確かな基礎がそこにはあったのだ。

 春日野部屋の門をくぐる前は、中学横綱、高校個人4冠を達成するなど、アマチュアでの実績は十分である。05年に入門後も、順調に白星を重ね、最高位は関脇まで上り詰めた。現在は東前頭2枚目だが、春日野部屋の部屋頭を務める。その相撲人生は、エリート街道をひた走っているようにも映るが、その道は最初から順風満帆というわけではなかった。

 臆病な少年時代

 栃煌山は高知県安芸市で生まれた。小さい頃から体が大きく同級生たちと比べても、頭ひとつふたつ抜きん出ていたが、性格はおっとりとしていた。父方の祖父が相撲好きということもあり、テレビの大相撲中継をよく観ていた。また安芸市は相撲が盛んな町だったため、自然と角界への憧れは育まれていった。

「運動神経は全然良くなかった」と言う栃煌山。小学校2年生の時に、父親に頼んで地元の安芸少年相撲クラブに入団した。だが、虫を怖がるなど、臆病な面を持ち合わせていた栃煌山は、相撲の稽古でも弱音を吐いてばかりいた。本人は振り返る。「はじめは稽古がきつくて、休みが1日もなかった。それで相撲が嫌いになって、逃げてばかりいました」。そんな彼を上級生が呼びに来て、引き戻されては、また「やめたい」と嘆いた。それを何度か繰り返していた時期もあったという。母親は「いつまで続くやろうね」というぐらいの気持ちで見守っていた。

 両親が初めて稽古を見に行った時、その目に映ったのは弱々しい我が子の姿だった。栃煌山は自分よりも小さい子と組み合っていた。しかし、彼は「痛い」「触るな」「あっちいけ」と叫びながら相撲を取っていたのだ。「ダメだ、これは」と、落胆して両親はその場を後にしたという。

 それでも栃煌山は負けず嫌いの性格で、相撲をやめなかった。そして日々の稽古を積んでいくうちに、精神的にも逞しく成長していった。4年生になると、「やめたい」と漏らすこともなくなった。その後、徐々に才能が開花し始めていく。4年時から全国大会に出場し、6年時には、わんぱく相撲大会でベスト16、全日本小学校相撲優勝大会ではベスト8に入った。全国大会の会場は両国国技館。テレビで見た憧れの土俵を踏むことができた。さらにその際には相撲部屋に宿泊した。4年時は鏡山部屋、5年時は北の湖部屋。そして6年時には奇しくも、数年後に門をたたくことになる春日野部屋に泊まった。

 当時のことは本人も強く記憶に残っている。春日野部屋に泊まったある日のことだ。ふと夜に目が覚めて、トイレに行こうとした際に誤って稽古場の土俵に落ちた。その時にたまたま稽古場に飾ってある力士の名札に目が付いた。春日野部屋は部屋を創立した横綱・栃木山に因んで四股名に“栃”の字が付けられた力士が多い。それを見て「この部屋は“栃”が付くんだなぁ」と、漠然と思ったという。のちに自分が春日野部屋に入門し、その“栃”が付いた四股名になるとは、この時はまだ知る由もなかった。

 その後の栃煌山の足跡は、大相撲の道へ導かれるように歩を進めていった。小学校を卒業すると、地元の安芸中学に進学する。そこで出会った相撲部の監督・吉田道彦との3年間が、彼を大きく成長させ、その後の道へといざなったのだった。

(第2回へつづく)

栃煌山雄一郎(とちおうざん・ゆういちろう)プロフィール>
1987年3月9日、高知県安芸市生まれ。本名:影山雄一郎。小学校2年で相撲をはじめ、安芸中学校に進学し、3年時には全国大会を制覇した。中学生横綱となり、卒業後の明徳義塾高校では世界ジュニア選手権重量級を制するなど個人4冠を達成し、05年に春日野部屋に入門。05年一月場所で初土俵を踏むと、2年間、一度も負け越すことなく番付を上げた。07年三月場所新入幕、その場所で11勝をあげ、敢闘賞に輝いた。10年の九月場所で自己最高位の関脇に昇進。12年の五月場所では12勝3敗の好成績を収める。優勝決定戦で旭天鵬に敗れ、賜杯にはあと一歩届かなかったが、2度目の敢闘賞を獲得した。同年の九月場所では横綱・白鵬を破り、初金星。7月1日現在、東前頭2枚目。通算成績は360勝294敗9休。三段目優勝1回、殊勲賞1回、敢闘賞2回、技能賞2回、金星1個。



(杉浦泰介)


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