New yokozuna Kisenosato performed his first ring-entry ceremony on Friday before a large crowd of around 18,000 at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine.

"I'm relieved it ended without trouble," the 30-year-old said after making his ceremonial debut as yokozuna. "I came with a sense of gratitude and wanted everyone to see powerful figure. I focused on being relaxed, making myself big and carrying it out with strength."

"I'm grateful so many people saw it. I concentrated from head to toe," said Kisenosato, who attracted the second-largest audience to the ceremony following Takanohana's 20,000 in November 1994.

The first Japanese native to be promoted to the sport's highest rank of grand champion since 1998, the Tagonoura stable star was accompanied in the ceremony by fellow wrestlers Takayasu and Shohozan.

Kisenosato revealed he had been watching the footage of former yokozuna with the unryu style -- one of two styles for the ritual -- and practiced through late night on Thursday to master the procedure.

JSA Chairman Hakkaku, former yokozuna Hokutoumi, acknowledged the support from the fans as well as the imposing performance from Kisenosato.

"I'm overwhelmed with so many people in attendance. I'm really glad to have been associated with sumo, I was moved," Hakkaku said. "His movement was smooth because he has a flexible lower back. That's why he's strong, too."

"I hope he takes encouragement from this (large crowd) rather than as a load to be carried."

Kisenosato's parents were also in attendance.

"It's finally sunk in that he has become a yokozuna," said his father, Sadahiko Hagiwara. "It feels as if he's no longer my child. He has completely left our hands."

Kisenosato's promotion on Wednesday, after his first career championship at this month's New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, gives the sport four active yokozuna alongside the Mongolian trio of Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu.

"There has never been a week as full as this in the past 15 years (since my debut)," Kisenosato said. "I won't forget it the rest of my life. The sense of responsibility will grow even bigger. I really think it's all starting here."