“Fiamalu “Mamu” Penitani.  

I climbed in the back of Kazuko’s small ‘94 Mini Cooper with the side of my face pressed against a course ceiling. Reiko jumped in the front and we sped through Tokyo on our way out of town. 

The sound of clashing flesh and grunting men hit my ears as soon as I emptied the car. We were at the home of Musashigawa Oyakata, the 57th Yokozuna and Japanese Grand Champion - the highest rank in Sumo. Inside, young men battled and bled between thin bamboo walls, against unbreakable clay floors. 

Musashigawa's long wooden stick struck the back of Mamu fighting himself through a mirror. The face in the reflection found our tears and he drove his legs into the ground even harder.

I recognized him. The obsession behind it all.

I held on for every second I could.

Tokyo, Japan 2014

Tokyo, Japan 2014