In 1993, Chad Rowan was promoted to Yokozuna (Grand Champion), the highest achievement in sumo, the national sport of Japan.

He was the first foreign-born person to reach this rank, and one of only 64 to do so in the 200 year old history of sumo.

Akebono (his sumo name) won 11 tournament championships during his 13-year career. Only 6 other Yokozuna have ever won more championships.

His career record was 566 wins and 198 losses, in the Makunouchi (top) division of sumo.

Chad Rowan was born in Hawai’i and graduated from Kaiser High School in 1987. He was recruited and coached by Jesse Kuhaulua “Takamiyama”, another Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

At his retirement from sumo in 2001, Akebono stood 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 515 pounds.

BORN 1969 – DIED 2024

One response to “Chad Akebono Rowan”

  1. Lynn Matsuoka Avatar

    Oh NOOOOO…. I knew he’s been very ill for a long time, when I was last in Japan, Christine, his wife would not let me visit him. So I knew it was bad, he had been living in the hospital for a long time. I knew him from the moment he got to Japan, and was close friends with him through his entire career. Even helped him decide not to marry the few girlfriends he had on and off until Christine came along, and we both agreed. This was the one!
    I’m devastated to hear that he has passed away! RIP, dear, sweet, friend.

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