Sumo Scandal ・ 相撲スキャンダル

Updated February 3, 2011.  More links, analysis below

I believe that this is the first time in over a year I’ve posted a piece on events in, an aspect of, Japan that are not based on my first-hand experience.  However, the scandal that’s been erupting in the Sumo World over the past few months (like a dormant Mt. Fuji deciding not to be dormant any more and popping its cap) is worth making note of here at LetsJapan.Wordpress.  Just look at what a big deal this has become:

TOKYO – For the first time since it began televising sumo tournaments 57 years ago, Japan’s public broadcasting network decided Tuesday not to air the upcoming competition [Nagoya Tournament, 名古屋場所 ] live because of a gambling scandal that has sullied the sport’s reputation… Source

The mob (Yakuza – やくざ) is involved.   So are hairdressers.

.   .   .


February 3, 2011 UPDATE:

“TOKYO (AFP) – At least three serving sumo fighters have for the first time admitted fixing bouts, Japan’s government said on Thursday, condemning an “act of betrayal” of an ancient sport that is now synonymous with scandal. . .  Japanese education and sport minister Yoshiaki Takaki, who oversees the sumo industry, said the head of the Japan Sumo Association had informed his ministry that the three wrestlers had confessed to fixing results. . . .”

. . . and from 2010:

Japan Times: Nagoya Basho 2010 – A Tournament That Will Live in Infamy (a rather explosive headline).

Mainichi Daily News: Nagoya Meet Under Way Under Specter of Gambling Ring.

And . . . from the Nihon Sumo Association Grand Sumo Homepage: Sumo Kenko Taiso (sumo exercises for health and fitness.


Sumo Exercises

.      .      .

How I miss Chio no Fuji (千代の富士).  He was incredible.  This vid is excerpted from an NHK special on him that aired in 1991 when I was living in Japan.  Thought I’d never see it again.  YouTube’s wonderful.  Anyway, the television special was produced and aired in the wake of Chio no Fuji’s retirement from the sumo ring.  Regarding this vid – the action starts a little over 1 minute into the video and by around 2 min into it, the wonder of this small-statured sumo legend really picks up and 3 minutes into it, the best-of-the-best “highlight reel” kicks-in.  Chio no Fuji was one of only five sumo wrestlers to win 50 or more matches in a row.  This guy was something to behold.  When the action picks up, just listen to the crowds:


Notice:  The YouTube gods — jerks — have Blocked this wonderful video.  I’ll try to re-find and re-post it, or a comparable one.


    • Lois
    • August 11th, 2010

    Ah, Chio no Fuji. I’d forgotten how I’d always thought of him as such a gentleman.

    Interesting to watch this vid — the successive bouts highlight his technique — as opposed to watching late-night NHK in Ikuno…

      • letsjapan
      • August 11th, 2010

      Natsukashii, neh?


    • Mark Brafford
    • August 13th, 2010

    Met Chiyonofuji on a subway one night with his entourage, I was so star struck all I could say was “Hi”. Anyway great sumo has long passed, no more Terao, Mainomi, even Konishiki. My love for him may be due to his children’s show. Great show.

    On scandal, when Takanohana retired, I seem to recall some Yakuza figure being there to cut his top knot and tickets going to the highest bidder, then Waka retiring siting physical strain only to show up in American Football training camp. The scandal and stain has been around, but like my mother putting plates on watermarks, we always knew they were there.

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