He rose to the top ranks of sumo wrestling after arriving in Japan from his native Mongolia at the age of 15.
He is known for his wide-ranging attacking style and has been credited with bringing in new audiences to the sport.
But wrestling has taken its toll, and Hakuho had to undergo an operation on his right knee earlier this year.
The 36-year old received a warning last November from the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, who said that any future no-shows at tournaments could force them to retire him.
During his career, Hakuho recorded more titles, wins and perfect championships than any other wrestler in history.
His retirement leaves just one wrestler at the sport's highest rank of yokozuna.
Hakuho made his debut in 2001 and was promoted to yokozuna six years later.