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Aug. 17, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Feb. 21, 2013

Japanophiles - Yasokichi Konishiki

This month, we present a special talk-show series called Japanophiles, featuring lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Yasokichi Konishiki from Hawaii was a "big hit" as a sumo wrestler in Japan. He was recruited in Hawaii for sumo when he was 18. In 1987, he became the first foreign wrestler to be promoted to ozeki, the 2nd-highest rank in the sport. The heaviest sumo wrestler ever, he overpowered opponents with his 284-kilo frame and stormed to the top of the sport. After retirement, he became a TV personality. Now he's a popular figure in children's programming. And these days, one of Konishiki's greatest passions is doing charity work related to children. Right after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 in northeastern Japan, Konishiki swung into action to help the kids of the region. In 2012, he toured the disaster area as Santa Claus and gave out thousands of presents.

Today, we explore Konishiki's 30 years in Japan as a sumo wrestler, media personality, and now charity worker.