Kisenosato is officially promoted to the top sumo rank of yokozuna on Jan. 25. (Video taken by Wataru Sekita)

Kisenosato has officially been granted the highest sumo rank of yokozuna, the first time for a Japan-born wrestler in 19 years.

The Japan Sumo Association unanimously decided to promote Kisenosato from ozeki to yokozuna on Jan. 25.

Wakanohana was the last Japan-born wrestler to be promoted to yokozuna back in 1998. And a Japan-born yokozuna has been absent from the “dohyo” ring for 14 years since Wakanohana's younger brother, Takanohana, retired in 2003.

The official decision was made in an extraordinary meeting of the JSA’s directors, which was held at the sumo arena of Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.

After the decision, the JSA dispatched director Kasugano and stablemaster Takadagawa to a hotel in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward to convey to Kisenosato, 30, and his stablemaster Tagonoura that the ozeki has been promoted and is the 72nd wrestler in the history of the sport to hold the top ranking.

“I am honored to accept the decision. I will do my best not to tarnish the title of yokozuna,” said Kisenosato after receiving the message in a ceremony at the hotel. The new yokozuna was clad in a traditional kimono bearing a family crest and a pleated hakama skirt.

Kisenosato, from Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, won a tournament for the first time earlier this month, recording 14 wins and just one loss to secure victory at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

In addition, he has been consistently posting good performances. In 2016, for example, he obtained the largest number of bout wins among all sumo wrestlers.

His promotion to yokozuna at the age of 30 and six months was three months earlier than that of his first stablemaster, Naruto, who fought as Takanosato and died in 2011.

Kisenosato will make his debut as yokozuna in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament to be held in the Edion Arena Osaka, which runs from March 12.