Japan legend Hanahara passes away at 84
Friday, February 9, 2024 - 18:39 By United World Wrestling Press
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (February 9) -- United World Wrestling and the Japanese Wrestling Federation, with heavy hearts, announce the passing of Mr. Tsutomu HANAHARA, a revered Olympic champion who etched his name in history through his extraordinary feats in the realm of Greco-Roman wrestling.
Mr. Hanahara, at the age of 84, passed away February 5th, 2024, at approximately 23:00, succumbing to illness.
Mr. Hanahara's crowning achievement came at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, where he captured the hearts of a nation by defeating Angel KERESOV (BUL), clinching the 52kg Greco-Roman gold medal.
Following his career on the mat, Mr. Hanahara continued to shape the landscape of Greco-Roman wrestling in Japan, assuming the role as Chairman of the Strengthening Committee of the Japanese Wrestling Federation. His leadership was instrumental in propelling the Japanese wrestling team to new heights, notably steering them at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
As a coach, Mr. Hanahara led his alma mater, Nippon Sports Science University, to 18 consecutive East Japan Student League Championships, spanning from 1979 to 1996.
Mr. Hanahara's passion for wrestling carried over to his son and grandson. His son, Daisuke HANAHARA (JPN), finished in 11th place at the 1992 Olympic Games, where he competed in the 57kg Greco-Roman bracket. Furthermore, his grandson, Hiroto HANAHARA (JPN), clinched a 57kg freestyle bronze medal at the 2023 U15 Asian Championships.
UWW and the Japan Wrestling Federation mourn the passing Mr. Hanahara and express our deepest sympathies to the Hanahara family.