Kanji in shikona of a great rikishi tends to be handed down to his pupils’. Sometimes such shikona is wholly or partially handed down from the 1st generation to the 2nd generation and to the 3rd generation. This hand-down becomes a traditional custom for each sumo school (stable), making the bond between a sumo trainer (stable master) and his pupils stronger. Shikona or its kanji is handed down to rikishi in later years beyond centuries from generation to generation.
How to Read : Tama
“玉” represents all the types of precious stones. This kanji also means a rhetoric word for an excellent person. Therefore, “玉” is a proper type of kanji for the first character as part of shikona of excellent rikishi. This kanji had been very often used as part of shikona among many rikishi before 1962 when “玉乃海” (Tama-No-Umi ) was allowed to found his own sumo school (stable) and began to name his pupils after his own shikona using this kanji. He used this kanji as part of shikona of almost all his pupils, and then his pupils named their own pupils after Tamanoumi, using this kanji. Thus this kanji traditionally has been handed down from generation to generation in his sumo school (stable).
Meaning：Horse Chestnut (a kind of plant)
How to Read : Tochi
“栃” is a kanji standing for a plant named horse chestnut, but this kanji is not so known for its botanical meaning. There is a prefecture named “Tochigi ” in Japan and so this kanji represents this prefecture. The first rikishi who used this kanji as part of his shikona was Yokozuna “栃木山” (Tochi-Gi-Yama). He was named this shikona after his hometown. Tochigiyama was a great Yokozuna around 1920 and also excellent in training his pupils. This kanji partially represents Tochigi Prefecture. All of his pupils were named after their master and their shikona has this kanji in it. Even now this kanji is handed down to rikishi in his sumo school (stable).
Meaning：Long Japanese Harp
How to Read : Koto
“琴” stands for one of Japanese traditional musical instrument, and so this kanji reminds us of something very Japanese and graceful. There was a strong rikishi whose shikona was “琴錦” (Koto-Nishiki). He was allowed to found his own sumo school (stable) in 1955. Since then, he named his pupils after his own shikona using this kanji. Later his pupils also named their own pupils after him using this kanji. Thus this kanji has been handed down from generation to generation.
How to Read : Asa
“朝” (morning) is the start of a day and this kanji makes us feel brisk. This kanji is supposedly a proper type to be used as part of shikona, since a great number of rikishi have used this kanji in their shikona since a long time ago. The current example is “朝青龍” (Asa-Shou-Ryu) and an old and famous example is a former-Ozeki “朝潮” (Asa-Shio), who is the trainer of Asashouryu. This former-Ozeki was “the third generation of Asashio” and named by his own trainer whose shikona was Asashio (the second generation), too. The second generation of Asashio used to name some of his pupils using this kanji, while the third generation has named many of his pupils using this kanji.