The 38-year-old veteran, plagued by injury in the latter years of his career, decided to retire July 19 after he lost and fell to a 3-7 record at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
He would have needed unlikely victories in each of his remaining five bouts in the tournament to remain at the exalted ozeki status, a rank one below the sport’s pinnacle level of yokozuna.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but I have no regrets,” Kaio said, referring to his retirement.
Kaio’s win on July 14 against Kyokutenho was the 1,046th of his career, taking him past former yokozuna Chiyonofuji.
Kaio also won five Emperor’s Cup and retained the ozeki rank for 65 tournaments. He had been the oldest active grappler in sumo’s elite Makunouchi division.