Sumo Scandals...

Monday 8 September 2008

Before I start on this let me just say that I LOVE Sumo. I was going to write something earlier this year, when the first scandal hit but didn't. Now the second big scandal hits and I feel I have to mention something.

The last week, one of the biggest news items on Japanese TV has been related to Sumo. Sumo talent, Russian Wakanoho, was arrested for possession of cannabis. The police found 1 cigarette in his wallet containing the drug. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, and it would probably not been a big deal in most countries. Japan is not one of those though.

Wakanoho was fighting as a Maegashira (the highest division in sumo) and was a rising star in the ancient sport. But being caught up in the first major drug scandal in the sport, he was quickly fired. The young Russian (20) thereby loses his monthly estimated income of JPY1,300,000 or USD11,300. You can compare that to what the MMA guys are making… In the case of Sumo, this is a monthly salary.

It is a serious issue, of course, but in this case police have even taken DNA samples from another Sumo-wrestler, Roho, because he was said to have been in Wakanoho's apartment (I thought it was a bit extreme). He is also now caught up in the case, as his urine sample showed traces of cannabis as well. So did his brother, so there is a real danger that the Russian brothers Roho and Hakurozan will also be fired in the upcoming weeks.

This really is the last in a series of very big scandals in Sumo. Earlier this year stable master of Tokitsukaze (Junichi Yamamoto) and 3 wrestlers in the stable was charged with manslaughter after the 17 year old wrestler Tokitaizan died from abuse sustained during training (it has emerged that he was beaten with a beer bottle among other things) last June. The death was initially reported to be caused by a heart-attack, only a persistent father forced an autopsy that revealed the truth.

Let's hope Sumo recovers, the latest scandal might not have been as serious as the pervious one, but rather an indication of the sort of problems Sumo is facing as a traditional sport in a modern world.

I feel it should be an exciting time for sumo, they have 2 very good, young Yokozuna's (one of which has had his share of scandals too) and some good young wrestlers coming up. Unfortunately this latest scandal cuts short a very promising career. Let’s hope Sumo recovers and avoids more scandals like this.

Sources, if you want to read more about this:

Here is an example of why I like Sumo. Asashoryu vs. Kotonowaka from Nagoya in 2004. If you can determine the winner, you are better than the umpires. This led to a rematch and Asashoryu beat the much older Kotonowaka.


Post a Comment


Read about this blog here.

If you have any suggestions for improvements, event we should cover etc.

Please contact me on
*I am not able to arrange or set up fights, for this please contact the organizations directly.

For Gyms in Japan see here

For purchasing tickets in Japan see here

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP